Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

onmnicom-publicis-break

Earlier this month, Omnicom and Publicis revealed that they were walking away from their proposed $35 billion “merger of equals” that they had originally announced to great fan-fare last summer as they claimed that greater scale would allow them to better face a changing media landscape and the likes of Google. The news of the cancelled deal (which was a “cancellation of equals” if you will in that neither will pay the $500M breakup fee) was a major story in the worlds of finance and media, as the combination would have toppled WPP as the world’s largest advertising agency holding company.

However, this result did not come as a complete surprise, given that the deal had faced an onslaught of regulatory hurdles and that the companies’ most recent earnings calls did little to reassure investors, with one analyst saying the two CEOs were “not singing from the same song book.” Indeed, it was ultimately a lack of agreement and consensus at the highest levels that proved a bridge too far for this transatlantic deal to cross.

Some of the aforementioned regulatory hurdles were certainly posing problems, with anti-trust clearance in China and tax approvals in Europe being two of major government blessings that had yet to be secured. There were also technical elements that were proving sticking points, such as which firm would be the acquirer from an accounting standpoint.

The real stumbling block here though came on a human level. The two CEOs, Omincom’s John Wren and Publicis’ Marcus Levy (who were slated to share power for the first 30 months with Wren taking the reins thereafter) could not agree on who would fill key roles, such as those of CFO and General Counsel. Both wanted their respective firms’ executives in those positions, and Levy feeling that Omnicom was in fact, if not in name, taking over Publicis – an outcome he felt obligated to prevent.

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

Crimea formally became part of Russia last week as US sanctions (especially those aimed at  a big Russian bank) started to take a toll on some business and its stock market, while the search continued for any clues to the missing Malaysian airliner, a story that was actually getting much less front-page coverage as any big clues started to fade.

Elsewhere:

  • The First Lady and entourage travel to China, making for countless ping pong photo ops;  Obama is off to Europe;
  • Fed Chief Yellen speaks and markets shake in what was called by many as overreaction to the central bank’s outlook on short-term rates (which are expected to remain n ear zero this year);
  • The Fed also announced it would cut its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $55 billion (no surprise), citing ongoing signs of a recovery;
  • The Dow, meanwhile, rose 1.48 percent for the week to close Friday at 16,302, down 1.65 percent for the year;
  • Score one for the sharing economy as Airbnb, in talks to raise money, sees its  valuation estimated at near $10 billion;
  • The White House may dump Blackberry, one of the last high-profile bastion for the device as its tests other devices;
  • Turkey moves to ban Twitter, with everyone from Mia Farrow to Richard Branson tweeting outrage and encouragement support/use of the social-media channel; and

Of course, March Madness. End of Story

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The US employment report last week shed some positive light on the economy with non-farm payroll adding 175,000 jobs in February, helping the markets continue what is now an official five-year bull run (marked by several stories over the weekend). The slightly bullish jobs report eases concerns about a spring meltdown and the negative impact of cold weather this winter.  The Dow, meanwhile, for the week rose about 0.8 percent to end at 16,452.

Elsewhere:

  • The Ukraine remained under pressure from Russia, with the Crimea in play, while the West looked for solutions;
  • A Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand over the weekend amid reports of stolen passports by two passengers, adding mystery to an already mysterious situation;
  • President Obama forgets how to spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T before Aretha performed at the White House;
  • Bill Weir, a former Nightline co-anchor, is reported to be the replacement for Piers Morgan’s nighttime slot;
  • Newsweek magazine relaunches in print amid big-time controversy as its cover story unmasking the founder of the currency bitcoin was called inaccurate by the man – and countless others -- himself, a claim the magazine has defended saying, “We are absolutely standing by this”;
  • The biggest newspaper publisher in The Netherlands has launched a new service called “Blendle,” which is the iTunes of journalism, where consumers can buy individual stories (for a song) at just 0.10 euros;
  • The Twitter-er behind @GSElevator lost his book contract, shortly after his identify was revealed and his resume showed he never worked at Goldman Sachs; and
  • Just in time for Lent, Christians take to their cellphone cameras on Ash Wednesday to launch the craze of Ashtags, selfies for the soul.
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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The Polar Vortex attached New York and apparently the markets last week amid concerns about weaknesses in emerging markets and Asia and the ongoing talk in the pullback in Fed stimulus (that taper stuff).  In fact, US stocks suffered some of their worst losses in more than seven months, the Dow dropping 2 percent alone on Friday for a total decline of 3.5 percent on the week to end at 15,879.

Elsewhere:

  • Jamie Dimon was handed a 74 percent raise, in a unanimous board approval on the way he handled a difficult year (his annus horribilis) that included more than $20 billion in legal payouts;
  • Not all things go better with Coke when stolen laptops from headquarters meant personal data on 74,000 people are not that personal anymore;
  • The President will give his State of the Union address Tuesday so lots of debate on both sides of the aisle this week;
  • Investor Icahn is putting up a fight for seats on the eBay board, always a good ringside read;
  • Pimco big Mohamed El-Erian steps down as CEO, keeping full leadership role to Bill Gross;
  • Dow Jones CEO Lex Fenwick resigns amid talk of strategy rethink; and
  • The Twitter account @GSElevator will soon be a book but author will remain anonymous #somethingsarebetterat140. End of Story
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This is a real thing that happened on Friday.

Justine Sacco TweetAt 10am ET as her plane was taking off, Justine Sacco, (then) Senior Director of Corporate Communications for IAC - the $6B publicly traded digital media company run by Barry Diller with high-profile holdings like Match.com, Tinder, Vimeo, OK Cupid and College Humor - publicly tweeted "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!" - Before turning her phone off for the duration of her 10 hour and 46 minute flight to Africa.

Justine Sacco's career suicide unfolded in its entirety over the course of 10 hours and 46 minutes while she was on that plane.

Soon after she hit send (at around 10am), Valleywag writer and former Sacco Twitter follower Sam Biddle saw the Tweet and posted this story at 1:30pm.  Hundreds of media outlets picked up on Biddle’s post including The New York Times, New York Daily News, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Adweek, Business Insider, Mashable and many, many more. Hundreds crested over a thousand once IAC finally realized what was going on two hours (!) later and released a statement (presumably written by one of Sacco’s colleagues...awkward). By the time she arrived in Capetown, South Africa, her offending Tweet had sat atop her profile as the Internet’s punching bag for close to 12 hours and #HasJustineLandedYet was trending worldwide.

Regardless of your personal threshold for offensive humor or your views on free speech, there are smarter moves to make when your bio starts with "CorpComms at IAC."  But I'm not here to crucify Justine Sacco. The Internet has done a great job of that already.  Frankly, I'm more interested in how nobody at IAC seems to have noticed their front line communicator gleefully Tweeting a litany of remarks ranging from questionable to inappropriate to outright offensive for well-over a year.

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