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  1. #1
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    [EN] Foursquare: Unicornio manco

    Foursquare Raises $45 Million, Cutting Its Valuation Nearly in Half

    Mike Isaac

    When Dennis Crowley helped found Foursquare in 2009, he was ahead of the pack in creating a social app that used location technology. Now Foursquare may be at the front of another coming wave: tech start-ups that are raising money at lower valuations than before.

    On Thursday, Foursquare said it had raised $45 million in a new round of venture funding, as it tries to bolster its location data-based advertising and developer businesses. The financing pegs Foursquare’s valuation at roughly half of the approximately $650 million that it was valued at in its last round in 2013, according to three people with knowledge of the deal’s terms, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Foursquare, which is based in New York, is likely to be joined by other start-ups this year in doing what is known in investing circles as “down rounds,” in which companies that once raised money at soaring valuations are forced to accept funding at lower values. While tech start-ups boomed in recent years — with many easily attracting investors and big sums — that environment has now turned on fears that many of these young companies got ahead of themselves.

    Investors have grown more cautious; the amount of money funding private companies has fallen 30 percent, to $27.3 billion, in the last quarter of 2015 from the previous quarter, according to a report from the research firm CB Insights. Mutual fund investors have also recently marked down valuations of some of the most prominent private companies, such as Snapchat, the messaging start-up, and Dropbox, the file storage service.

    “The short of it is, expect more down rounds,” said Anand Sanwal, chief executive of CB Insights. “You might be able to raise, but not at the valuation you might have gotten even just a year ago.”

    Foursquare’s valuation plunge reflects how the buzz around the company — which was once the talk of the start-up scene — has faded, something that Mr. Crowley, who is stepping down as chief executive to be executive chairman, acknowledges.

    “Everyone thought we were going to be the company that toppled Facebook, which is crazy talk,” Mr. Crowley, 39, said in an interview. Still, he added, “we’re building a really amazing, very scalable business around the many successful products we’ve built that people love.”

    Foursquare declined to comment on its valuation or specific fund-raising details, except to say that the round was “oversubscribed” and that the terms were “employee friendly.” Recode and TechCrunch earlier reported that Foursquare was raising a down round.

    “To raise $45 million in this environment, and on very employee-friendly terms, is a testament to the real business we have,” said Jeff Glueck, Foursquare’s chief operating officer, who is being promoted to chief executive. Steven Rosenblatt, the chief revenue officer, will also shift roles to become president.

    The executive moves reflect Foursquare’s future direction, said Mr. Crowley, who added that his new role would be more advisory. “I know what my strengths are — building, prototyping and making things from scratch,” he said. “I believe it’s important for Foursquare to be run by executives who have previous experience scaling companies.”

    At its birth, Foursquare made a splash as a pioneer of using the global positioning technology found in Apple’s iPhone. The app let people “check in” to venues and businesses, a type of social game that quickly rose in popularity among tech elites and young audiences.

    The attention made Foursquare a star of New York’s start-up scene. Investors including the venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures flocked to give the company money. In total, Foursquare has raised more than $100 million.

    As of early 2012, Foursquare said it had 1.5 billion check-ins and 15 million users. The company began making money by selling location-based ads to local businesses; a sandwich shop, for instance, could send a coupon in the form of a smartphone notification to a Foursquare user walking by its restaurant, all using the GPS technology running in the background of the app.

    But the location check-in quickly became a standard feature among other apps like Instagram and Facebook, and users became less interested in the gamelike aspect of Foursquare. The start-up shifted direction to focus on “discovery,” and split itself into two apps: Swarm, an app for check-ins, and Foursquare, which recommends users to nearby restaurants and venues based on their location and preferences.

    That vision, which has had stop-and-start degrees of success, has also changed over time. Today, Foursquare’s business is primarily selling data and insights about consumer trends to developers. Foursquare said it planned to spend its new capital on bolstering that business, which accounts for a majority of its revenue. The company says it now has 50 million monthly active users and has had 7.8 billion check-ins.

    Even with the new capital, down rounds can be brutal on start-ups for several reasons. In addition to any shifts in the public perception of a company’s fortunes, employees who had joined at the higher value may find the equity they own isn’t worth as much as it once was. Investors who bought in at the higher value also will see the worth of their stakes decline.

    “In a down round, there are a few folks who can suffer,” said Mr. Sanwal of CB Insights.

    Foursquare’s new financing was led by the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures, which was an existing investor in the company. Other previous investors including Andreessen Horowitz and DFJ Growth, as well as a new participant, Morgan Stanley, are also involved in the new funding.

    “Location is one of the linchpins for creating compelling experiences on mobile,” said Albert Wenger, managing partner at Union Square Ventures.

    The funding will buy Foursquare some time to prove that its new vision can become a reality. The company said it planned to hire 30 more employees across sales, engineering and other divisions to meet what it expects to be great demand for the location platform.

    “Good things happen to companies who are performing really well,” Mr. Crowley said. “If we continue performing how we have been, we’ll find that we have a lot of options down the line.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/15/te...y-in-half.html

  2. #2
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    Jawbone Gets $165 Million in Complex Down Round, as Sameer Samat Heads Back to Google

    Kara Swisher and Mark Bergen
    January 15, 2016

    Jawbone, the San Francisco maker of activity trackers that has seen numerous ups and downs in its short history, has raised $165 million in new funding (up), even as its relatively new president Sameer Samat is leaving to rejoin Google (down).

    A spokesperson confirmed the funding and departure when called by Re/code for comment.

    Google also confirmed the hire. “We’re thrilled to welcome Sameer back home,” said a spokesperson. “He’s a talented executive who will be a perfect match for Google Play, an exciting and rapidly growing area for us.”

    According to sources, the new investment is largely coming from the Kuwait Investment Authority in an all-equity deal (up). But it drops the valuation of the company by half to $1.5 billion (down) — ironically, its valuation in 2011.

    The restructuring of the cap table — which is what this is, diluting investors not participating in the new round (down) — has an unusual twist in it. Despite a lower valuation, a larger pool of equity for employees has apparently eliminated losses in value of their shares (up).

    You get the idea here.

    The protection of employee stock is important at this juncture for Jawbone, but also for many other public and private tech companies that have seen their values decline recently after years of ever-escalating valuations.

    So far, Jawbone has raised $1 billion, with a valuation as high as over $3 billion in previous transactions, which had all kinds of complex financial structures and liquidation preferences that gave some investors more value than others.

    Meanwhile, as these valuations are rejiggered all over the sector, companies like Jawbone are facing increasing costs of holding on to talent.

    Case in point: Samat, who left his post as head of commerce at Google in May to join Jawbone in a high-profile hire. His purview was huge — he was in charge of product and engineering, including product development, product management and business development, software engineering, design and product experience and the CTO org.

    But the lure of Google — where he is going to work for Google Play head Jamie Rosenberg, handling product, engineering and user experience — and especially an enormous pay package that Jawbone cannot match, pulled Samat back. While Google would not comment, sources said it is paying up for talent it wants, sometimes in the tens of millions. That is obviously hard for startups — except for rocket ships like Uber — to contend with.

    Also important, Samat has been a close colleague of new Google CEO Sundar Pichai. In fact, one of his first interviews at Google when he came on was with Pichai and he has been a mentor since.

    In general, Pichai has been assembling a strong team of execs around him, and Google Play is considered an important growth area, which was apparently attractive to Samat too. A distant second to Apple in mobile revenue, Play is ramping up its digital media offerings.

    Many inside Google believe the division can be another big business after search, something the company needs. Google offered a stat, noting that more than 1 billion people around the world use Google Play each month in 190 countries.

    While he will remain an adviser to Jawbone, Samat’s departure is obviously not a good thing for that company. He has been critical in attempting to reorganize at Jawbone, as it has sought to compete in the difficult device space (see GoPro and Fitbit). It recently released several new activity trackers, including the Up3, which have had mixed reviews.

    In Samat’s place, CEO and co-founder Hosain Rahman will take up some of the duties, as will CFO Jason Child, who arrived in June from Groupon.

    While ever upward, Jawbone’s funding has also been rocky. In 2014, it had secured a commitment of $250 million from Rizvi Traverse Management. But Jawbone only received $25 million of that commitment, said sources. It then had to obtain a convertible note from BlackRock, which is essentially a $280 million loan secured by its valuable patents.

    This has come as Jawbone’s board has shifted and gotten smaller. Samat will leave the board, and the company no longer has investor Vinod Khosla as a director, for example. Current board members include Rahman, Andreessen Horowitz’s Ben Horowitz and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who has troubles aplenty to deal with of her own. Sequoia Capital’s Roelof Botha is a board observer only.

    But on the bright side, it now has $165 million in new funding from KIA, a long-term and stable investor, as well as some from existing investors such as Sequoia Capital. Interestingly, according to several sources, Samat is also personally investing in the round.

    KIA has been upping its tech investments in Silicon Valley and also has significant money at work with a range of firms, such as TPG and BlackRock.

    It will be interesting to see where Jawbone goes from here — it had once been thought that it might go public, although those waters are choppier than ever (see Twitter) for everyone. Meanwhile, the private market is also fraught (see Foursquare).

    “It’s the beginning of the new future,” said one person about the new market realities that are likely to iterate across the tech landscape. “It may get ugly out there, but it is for the best to get companies with great prospects on better financial footing.”
    http://recode.net/2016/01/15/as-same...ex-down-round/

  3. #3
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    Silicon Valley has nowhere to go but down

    Jared Dillian, Mauldin Economics
    Jan. 12, 2016

    Silicon Valley guys are funny—I met a few of them in the last cycle.

    Everyone knows it’s going to end. But they really think it will go on forever.

    There are now 145 unicorn companies (private companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more), with a total combined valuation of $506 billion.

    And some of the biggest ones don’t make any money…

    Many people think that they ring a bell at the top of a bull market. Ding-a-ling-a-ling.

    That is indeed often the case. The bell was rung in 2000 at the top of the dot-com bubble—I like to think it was 3Com spinning off Palm that broke its back.

    But sometimes there is no bell, no catalyst, no story to tell. A bull market becomes a bear market, and it happens just like that.

    And now we’re watching the top happen right before our eyes.

    Square

    If you were paying attention a couple of weeks ago, you might have read the news about a company called Square going public.

    Square got a round of financing in 2014 at a $6 billion valuation, and now it’s a public company. If you pull up SQ on Yahoo! Finance, you will see that the market cap is $4 billion.

    As Square was making the rounds in the roadshow, investors decided they didn’t want to overpay just to make the mezzanine round investors rich.

    So there wasn’t much demand for Square at a $6 billion market cap. It eventually went public at a $3 billion market cap, or $9/share. (The deal performed well in the aftermarket, at least. The stock is trading at $12.)

    No catalyst. No bell ringing. The price simply got too high, and people pulled back.

    But you know what this means: If one deal can trade below private valuations, they can all trade below private valuations.

    On to the next data point…

    Fidelity

    You may not know this, but Fidelity owns shares of private companies in some of its funds (like Contrafund). Fidelity has to figure out how to value these things.

    In general, venture capital firms have to mark their investments to “market,” whatever that means. To do this, they use the services of third party valuation firms.

    Those valuation guesses are probably subject to mood or opinion, and as you can imagine, there are a lot of bad guesses.

    The valuations don’t mean much—if you’re a limited partner, at the end of the day all you care about is cash in and cash out. But mark-to-market creates some interesting short-term incentives.

    As for Fidelity, they also have to mark things to market, and they also use valuation firms.

    But valuation firm A that Sequoia is using is different than valuation firm B that Fidelity is using. And Fidelity perhaps wants its valuation firm to be more conservative.

    So Fidelity has been marking its private investments to market at levels that are below the most recent funding rounds.

    This puts the VCs in a bit of a pickle. Do they copy Fidelity or do they press on with their own higher valuations in the face of dissenting opinions?

    None of this makes people very bullish on startups.

    Uber

    Uber is the biggest unicorn of all with a $50 billion valuation. Side note: they don’t make any money.

    Uber is trying to raise another billion—at a $70 billion valuation.

    Now, the only reason you would invest in Uber at a $70 billion valuation is if you thought they would go public at $80 billion or more. But looking at what happened to Square, that will almost definitely not happen.

    And why would you pay $70 billion for Uber when Fidelity is going to mark it in your mush? Another great question.

    I don’t think anyone is in the mood to pay $70 billion for Uber. Uber is stuck. They will have to go public or take a down round if they really need the cash.

    And this, folks, is how bear markets start.

    Is Old Tech Making a Comeback?

    For full disclosure, I started calling the top (or at least asking hard questions) on Silicon Valley about a year and a half ago. But I think most dedicated observers saw what happened with the Square IPO and said, “Yep, that might be the top.”

    So let’s do some brainstorming on what this could mean if it really were the end of the line for Silicon Valley (at least in the medium term).

    • Could value start to outperform growth? (If I’m not mistaken, it already is.)
    • Could large cap start to outperform small cap? (Boy, is it ever.)
    • As new tech is in the process of topping, have you seen what old tech has been doing? Check out the chart of Microsoft, at 15-year highs:




    Now draw conclusions yourself…
    http://www.businessinsider.com/silic...ut-down-2016-1
    Última edição por 5ms; 16-01-2016 às 09:04.

  4. #4
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    "Down Round"

    Down rounds occur when a company raises capital at a lower valuation than the previous funding round.

    Down rounds cause dilution of ownership for existing investors. This often means the company's founders stock or options are worth much less, or even nothing at all. Unfortunately, sometimes the only other option is going out of business. In this case down rounds are necessary and welcomed.

    Down rounds are commonplace when a red hot economy turns bad. A perfect example was the dot-com crash of 2000-2001.

    Sep 24, 2015 by Alex Niehenke

    Talking about down rounds in a bull market feels like shopping for an umbrella in this unprecedented California drought. You get some funny looks, but it pays to be prepared.

    When the current market shifts, as we know it will, capital will dwindle and shrink valuations. We’ll see down rounds spike, just as they always do when the markets fall. A down round can happen to anyone, but conscious founders can minimize their company’s risk.

    Down rounds occur when a company raises capital at a lower valuation than the previous funding round. In addition to jumping through some legal and financial hoops, which any lawyer or investor can handle, you face more dilution. (In all likelihood the previous investment round negotiated an anti-dilution provision, so your dilution is compounded.)

    But you got your capital, you have a new investor, and you can get back to business. Right?

    The reality is much more grim than just dealing with some dilution. Investors buy momentum, and they see a company that raises a down round as having lost momentum. Two out of three investors will automatically pass.

    Those who consider investing will likely want concessions. They may ask existing investors to reduce their preferences, or may request better terms for themselves. They may impose some strong points of view about changes to strategy or management. In any case, they’ll use their leverage to get what they want, because they know a down round is rarely competitive.

    The perception of momentum loss within your company can be even worse. Startups, like sharks, need to keep swimming or risk drowning. A down round feels like a pause in forward movement — or worse, a step back.

    Founders often become disenfranchised. Employees jump ship for faster moving opportunities. The overall market opportunity comes under scrutiny. Existing investors get anxious, and the board starts to micro-manage. Everything becomes more difficult and wrought with conflict.

    The key to avoiding all of this is to minimize the risk of a down round in the first place. Make sure you raise at a reasonable valuation today so you can avoid this challenge in the future.

    When you raise a round, ask yourself: Can we achieve profitability with the current capital? If the answer is yes, you know you won’t have to raise again, and face little risk. In other words, you can maximize the valuation without worrying about a down round.

    If you find that you’ll need more capital, as many companies do, create a conservative plan and plot the point at which you’ll likely need to raise again. Think about the multiple the market would need to support for you to achieve an up round at that point of fundraising. How likely is that, given the current climate? What about in a steady state climate?

    Remember that multiples compress as growth compresses. Calculate value they way investors do: by projecting your revenue and growth rate, and assessing whether your revenue will be greater than the impact of multiple compression over time.

    Experienced entrepreneurs do this analysis frequently. They want to maximize their ownership today, but they also don’t want to bet everything on one spin of the wheel. After all, building a company is about playing the long game — as the market inevitably fluctuates, you have to be ready for the storm clouds, umbrella in hand.
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/24/how...-a-down-round/
    Última edição por 5ms; 16-01-2016 às 11:24.

  5. #5
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    Sell everything ahead of stock market crash, say RBS economists

    Nick Fletcher | The Guardian
    12 January 2016

    Investors face a “cataclysmic year” where stock markets could fall by up to 20% and oil could slump to $16 a barrel, economists at the Royal Bank of Scotland have warned.

    In a note to its clients the bank said: “Sell everything except high quality bonds. This is about return of capital, not return on capital. In a crowded hall, exit doors are small.” It said the current situation was reminiscent of 2008, when the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank led to the global financial crisis. This time China could be the crisis point.

    Stock markets have already come under severe pressure in 2016, with the FTSE 100 down more than 5% in its worst start since 2000. In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average has made its poorest ever start to a year.

    Oil prices have also fallen sharply on fears of lower demand and a supply glut, especially with Iran due to start exporting once more when sanctions are lifted. Tensions between Iran and Saudia Arabia make it less likely that Opec can agree to cut production to halt the slide in prices. Brent crude is down another 1% at $31.18, its lowest level since April 2004.

    Investors have been spooked by fears of a severe slowdown in the Chinese economy and a fall in the value of the yuan, not helped by a crash in the country’s stock market despite attempts by the country’s authorities to curtail selling.

    Andrew Roberts, RBS’s credit chief, said: “China has set off a major correction and it is going to snowball. Equities and credit have become very dangerous, and we have hardly even begun to retrace the ‘Goldilocks love-in’ of the last two years.”

    Markets have been supported for some time by low interest rates, stimulus measures from central banks including quantitative easing, and hopes of economic recovery. But with the Federal Reserve raising rates and the Bank of England expected to follow suit, that prop is being removed.

    Roberts said European and US markets could fall by 10% to 20%, with the FTSE 100 particularly at risk due to the predominance of commodity companies in the UK index. “London is vulnerable to a negative shock. All these people who are long [buyers of] oil and mining companies thinking that the dividends are safe are going to discover that they’re not at all safe.

    “We suspect 2016 will be characterised by more focus on how the exiting occurs of positions in the three main asset classes that benefited from quantitative easing: 1) emerging markets, 2) credit, 3) equities … Risks are high.”

    RBS is not the only negative voice at the moment. Analysts at JP Morgan have advised clients to sell stocks on any bounce.

    Morgan Stanley has said oil could fall to $20 a barrel, while Standard Chartered has predicted an even bigger slide, to as low as $10. Standard said: “Given that no fundamental relationship is currently driving the oil market towards any equilibrium, prices are being moved almost entirely by financial flows caused by fluctuations in other asset prices, including the US dollar and equity markets.

    “We think prices could fall as low as $10 a barrel before most of the money managers in the market conceded that matters had gone too far.”
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/...rbs-economists
    Última edição por 5ms; 17-01-2016 às 13:24.

  6. #6
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    Southern Europe’s banks feel cost of Portuguese actions at Novo Banco

    Martin Arnold and Thomas Hale in London | Financial Times
    January 17, 2016 4:15 pm

    The price of bank debt in Europe’s peripheral countries has fallen sharply since Portugal imposed heavy losses on some Novo Banco bondholders late last month, raising fears that other investors may suffer a similar fate.

    While the sell-off partly reflects a broader mood of pessimism since the start of the year, investors say it also shows the Novo Banco move has contaminated the market for weaker banks in southern Europe.

    “Certainly for the names that are under stress, whether it is the other Portuguese banks or whether the second-tier Italian banks with very large books of non-performing loans, you have seen some pretty dramatic moves in the way their senior and subordinated bonds are trading,” said Philippe Bodereau, portfolio manager at Pimco.

    Portugal’s central bank on December 29 moved five of 52 senior Novo Banco bond issues to the “bad bank” it set up to hold the lender’s toxic assets after a bailout of Banco Espírito Santo in mid-2014.

    Since then, the price of bonds issued by some Italian and Portuguese banks has fallen. In Italy, a Monte Paschi senior bond maturing in 2019 is down 3 per cent since December 29, trading at 97.6 cents on the euro. A senior Banco Popolare bond is down 2 per cent since the same date.

    In Portugal, Novo Banco bonds that were not hit by the regulator are still markedly weaker. A senior unsecured bond maturing in 2019 is now trading at 85 cents on the euro, down nearly 7 per cent since December 29.

    The movements in peripheral markets were sharp enough to have an impact on overall high yield bond markets in Europe. The financials sector of the Bloomberg high yield corporate bond index has fallen 4 per cent since December 29.

    Paul Hatfield, global chief investment officer at Alcentra, said his funds have been heavily underweight peripheral banks. “We don’t see any reason to dip our toes in at the moment at current spread levels,” he said. “I don’t think you are adequately compensated for the risk you’re taking.”

    “You don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of central bank action, because each country appears to have a different set of rules,” said Mr Hatfield.

    The controversy over the Novo Banco move — triggering the threat of lawsuits from investors — has cast a shadow over the start of Europe’s new system for bailing in bondholders of failing banks rather than using taxpayer money to bail them out.

    Mr Bodereau at Pimco, one of the asset managers to be stung by Portugal’s actions, said: “There is an important read-across here about the arbitrary and unpredictable nature of resolution of banks in Europe.”

    “In Italy, in particular, there are a number of banks there looking for private sector solutions to recapitalise and I think some of those efforts could be undermined by the amount of uncertainty coming out of the Novo Banco precedent,” he said.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/93be3c46-b...5c9a029fb.html

  7. #7
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    Growth funds dumping Apple stock as iPhone sales seen sagging

    By David Randall

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major U.S. growth mutual funds have been among the largest sellers of Apple Inc shares over the past six months, fueling speculation that the company's days of supercharged growth have come to an end.

    Amid concerns that iPhone sales may be set to drop, the $77.3 billion American Funds Capital World Growth & Income Fund has sold all of its 1.7 million Apple shares since the end of June, according to Lipper data. The $9.3 billion Hartford Capital Appreciation Fund sold 1.4 million shares over the same period, reducing its position by 91 percent.

    The selling of Apple stock by growth-oriented managers, who seek higher returns from fast-expanding companies, pushes Apple further toward being a so-called value stock – more appealing for its balance sheet or cash than its growth prospects.

    Investors see Wall Street's expectations of fewer phone sales this year as a reflection of a maturing U.S. smartphone market and the economic slowdown in China, where Apple has been deriving most of its growth.

    They were jolted when Taiwan-based iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co – commonly known as Foxconn – said its revenue fell by a fifth in December, one sign that iPhone demand could be slowing.

    The massive manufacturer also plans to cut worker hours over China's week-long Lunar New Year holiday in February, a period when it previously had often paid overtime, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

    Wall Street analysts expect Apple to grow revenue by just 4 to 7 percent in the current fiscal year ending next September – down from 28 percent the year before, according to Thomson Reuters data.

    The slowdown concerns have helped to drive Apple's shares down almost 29 percent to $95.98 late on Friday morning, from last April's peak of $134.54.

    "The upside from the phone segment, which is what has carried them for several years, is becoming more limited," said Tony Arsta, a co-portfolio manager of the growth-oriented Motley Fool Great America Fund, which sold all of its Apple shares – 2 percent of its assets – over the past six months. "They were able to juice it by introducing a bigger screen, but all the easy decisions have played out."

    Apple did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

    VALUE STOCKS AND ACTIVIST INVESTORS

    The transition of Apple to more of a value than a growth investment is underway at funds giant Fidelity.

    Its growth-oriented Fidelity Capital Appreciation fund has sold all of its 2.48 million Apple shares since June, according to Lipper data. At the same time, the value-oriented Fidelity Series Equity-Income fund bought 1.05 million shares after having no previous stake, and making it one of the ten largest buyers in the second half of last year.

    The Fidelity, American Fund Capital and Hartford Capital growth funds were among the ten largest sellers of Apple over the last six months of 2015. Fidelity did not respond to requests for comment and both American Fund and Hartford Capital declined comment.

    Value fund managers are more likely to take an activist role, criticizing management and pushing for share buybacks, dividends, or restructuring to deliver shareholder returns because a company is not growing quickly enough to raise its share price, said Todd Rosenbluth, director of mutual fund research at S&P Capital IQ.

    Apple has already seen activists move in. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn wrote a letter to Apple's board in October 2014 calling the company "dramatically undervalued" and urging a bigger share buyback program and a dividend increase.

    The company increased its share buyback program by 50 percent in April 2015, with plans to buy back $140 billion in stock by March 2017. It also increased its quarterly dividend by 11 percent, to 52 cents per share.

    According to the most recent disclosures recorded by Lipper data, Icahn is the company's fifth-largest shareholder, with 52.7 million shares worth approximately $5.8 billion.

    TRANSITION CAN BE DIFFICULT

    Apple already resembles a value stock by some measures. Shares trade at a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of about 10.5, based on earnings in its last fiscal year. That compares with a P/E of 95 for the fast-growth stock Facebook Inc (O:FB).

    Overall, 41.4 percent of growth funds hold Apple, a decline from 47.2 percent at the end of 2012, according to Lipper. Apple is held by 20.1 percent of value funds, up from 13.9 percent over the same period.

    Companies that transition from growth to value stocks sometimes see share prices stagnate for long periods. Microsoft (O:MSFT), a favorite during the late '90s tech bubble, fell below $40 per share in July 2000 and did not trade above that price again for almost 14 years. Still, some growth-oriented managers are holding their Apple positions.

    John Barr, portfolio manager of the Needham Aggressive Growth fund , has not reduced his 5 percent weighting in the company. He expects slower but steady growth.

    "The law of large numbers is happening," he said. "But nothing is dramatically broken with the iPhone market, and we think Apple is going to continue to be the innovation leader driving it forward."

    David Chieuh's Upright Growth Fund has a larger share of Apple – 21.2 percent – than any other fund.

    His fund was down 4.4 percent over the three months through Wednesday, partly because of Apple weakness, but it has outperformed the S&P 500 over that period.

    Apple stock could fall another 10 percent before stabilizing, Chieuh predicted, but lower prices will make it more attractive – ultimately bringing in more buyers and lifting its share price.

    Some investors are hoping that the biggest breakthrough product in Apple's future will be a car – possibly an electric vehicle, suitable for car-sharing. The company has never fully acknowledged it has an automotive project, but the company has recruited dozens of experts from automakers.

    For now, though, the lack of another big hit weighs on the stock price. Some of the recent decline stems from disappointment with the Apple Watch, which was launched last year, said Graham Tanaka, portfolio manager of the Tanaka Growth Fund .

    "People thought it would be the next big thing, and it's only an okay product," he said.

    Still, Tanaka is maintaining his Apple holdings because he expects the company to expand its line of smart products for the home – similar to Alphabet's Nest line of products – including Wifi-enabled thermostats and home security cameras.

    Such new products can increase dependence on the iPhone. In June, the first products compatible with Apple's HomeKit software were launched, allowing users to tell the iPhone voice-assistant Siri to turn on lights or open door locks.

    Hedge fund manager Morris Mark, managing partner at Mark Asset Management, meanwhile, is looking for Apple to sign deals with media companies such as Walt Disney Co (NIS) to stream more of their live content through Apple TV, allowing consumers to cut their cable subscriptions.

    That, in turn, would prompt more consumers to opt for an iPhone to manage and control their content libraries, he said.

    "Nothing in the world is more important to Apple than the iPhone," he said.
    http://www.investing.com/news/techno...ving-in-380319

  8. #8
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    LinkedIn shares drop 43% as weak forecast spooks investors

    As of Thursday, LinkedIn shares were trading at 50 times forward 12-month earnings versus Twitter’s 30 times, Facebook’s 34, Alphabet’s 21 making it one of the most expensive stocks in the tech sector.


    Reuters
    Friday 5 February 2016

    LinkedIn Corp’s shares plunged as much as 43% on Friday, wiping out nearly $11bn of market value, after the social network for professionals shocked Wall Street with a revenue forecast that fell far short of expectations.

    The stock sank to a three-year low of $110 in early trading, registering its sharpest decline since the company’s high-profile public listing in 2011. At least seven brokerages downgraded the stock from “buy” to “hold” or their equivalents, saying the company’s lofty valuation was no longer justified.

    “With a lower growth profile, we believe that LinkedIn should not enjoy the premium multiple it has grown accustomed to,” Mizuho Securities USA Inc analysts wrote in a note.

    Mizuho downgraded the stock to “neutral” and slashed its target price to $150 from $258. Raymond James, Cowen and Co, BMO Capital Markets, JP Morgan Securities, RBC Capital Markets and Suntrust Robinson also downgraded the stock. At least 22 brokerages cut their price targets on the stock, with RBC slashing its target by almost half to $156.

    LinkedIn forecast full-year revenue of $3.60-$3.65bn, missing the average analyst estimate of $3.91bn, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    “This would imply that LinkedIn will grow around 15% in 2017 and 10% in 2018,” the Mizuho analysts said.

    Underscoring the slowdown in growth, LinkedIn said online ad revenue growth slowed to 20% in the fourth quarter from 56% a year earlier.

    RBC analysts said they had thought LinkedIn was on the cusp of “fundamentally positive” change. “We were wrong,” they said in a client note.

    As of Thursday, LinkedIn shares were trading at 50 times forward 12-month earnings versus Twitter’s 30 times, Facebook’s 34 and Alphabet’s 21, making it one of the most expensive stocks in the tech sector.

    Even after the selloff, LinkedIn’s shares may still be overvalued, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.

    LinkedIn should be trading at $71.79, a 35% discount to the stock’s Friday’s low of $75.54, according to StarMine’s Intrinsic Valuation model, which takes analysts’ five-year estimates and models the growth trajectory over a longer period. Facebook, Alphabet and Amazon.com Inc are better picks for investors than LinkedIn, Evercore analysts wrote.

    LinkedIn has been spending heavily on expansion by buying companies, hiring sales personnel and growing outside the United States, but is now facing pressure in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific due to macro-economic issues.

    “Given those macro concerns and LinkedIn’s recent execution issues, we expect investors will demand financial outperformance before there is meaningful recovery in LNKD’s multiple,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a client note.

    LinkedIn shares have lost nearly a quarter of their value in the last three months.
    http://www.theguardian.com/technolog...-low-investors

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Bye-bye Internet bubble 2.0

    John Shinal | USA TODAY | February 5, 2016

    The signs that the second great Internet investment bubble was nearing its end have been there for months for those who know where to look. Those included the decrease in funding rounds for private startups valued at $1 billion or more; more tech startups, including Uber, having to go overseas to raise money at higher valuations; and prominent venture capitalists writing blog posts encouraging more private companies to go public sooner than later.

    All these suggested that big U.S. investors were beginning to turn up their noses at Internet valuations.

    Now, thanks to the worst start of a year for technology stocks since the Great Recession, these more-obscure data points have been confirmed by a more glaring one.

    The collapse of LinkedIn shares — which plunged 44% on Friday — shows that even profitable Internet firms are now being abandoned by professional money managers.

    Along with Facebook, LinkedIn is one of the few Internet stocks among those valued above $10 billion that went public during the last five years to still be trading above its IPO price.

    By sharp contrast, Alibaba, Twitter, Groupon, Zynga, Box, HortonWorks, FitBit, GoPro and Square are all below their initial offering prices.

    And because Facebook lost roughly 50% of its value in its first six months as a public company, LinkedIn still holds the distinction of having never traded below its IPO price of $45.

    While that's good news for the professional investors who got it at that price in 2011, it's now little comfort for those who bought the company's shares at the top.

    Thanks to its Friday plunge -- prompted by a 2016 revenue forecastthat badly lagged Wall Street estimates -- LinkedIn is now 60% below its 52-week high.

    And LinkedIn has plenty of company amid the sell-off, as the list of Internet issues that have punished retail investors is extensive.


    TWITTER, GROUPON



    Twitter and Groupon are the biggest dogs of this boom, both off 70% from 52-week highs and well below their IPO prices.

    FitBit shares have collapsed 70%, while Yelp's valuation has shrunk by two-thirds.

    Box, which has the distinction of posting quarterly net losses in excess of revenue, is down by half.

    Match.com, the holding company for dating sites owned by parent Interactive Corp. that went public late last year, is down 39% from its high.

    Alibaba, which sold the largest IPO ever 30 months ago, is off by a third, as is fellow Chinese Internet giant Baidu.

    More established Internet firms that went public during the last boom have also not been spared.

    Yahoo shares are off 39% and Netflix, the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 last year, is now off by 37% from its 52-week high.

    Likewise, Priceline is off 31% and eBay, 22%.

    Amazon, among the best-performing large-cap tech stocks of 2015 thanks to a 117% gain, has now lost 28% since hitting an all-time high in late December.

    Tencent Holdings, meanwhile, is now straddling the line between a correction phase and outright bear market territory, with a drop of 17% from its 12-month high.

    If you want to see which Internet companies are still held in highest favor by investors, look for those which have held up best during this year's collapse. (Scroll below the chart).




    Google and Facebook are down just 11% and 10%, respectively, from their 52-week highs.

    The huge sell-off in these other smaller, less valuable Internet names suggests that any company whose business depends on online advertising is likely to get crushed under the dual weight of Facebook and Google.

    Both reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results and have a combined market value of over $800 billion.

    That doesn't leave much room in investor portfolios for Internet also-rans.

    The history of the dotcom collapse strongly suggests that stocks that are more than 50% below their highs are not getting ready for a rebound that will reward patient investors -- even though a long parade of fund managers have appeared on CNBC this year saying just that.

    Instead, their stock prices are signaling that their days as independent companies are numbered.

    When tech-industry pundits someday try to divine when the evidence of a popped social media bubble became conclusive, they may well point to this week.

    With LinkedIn's collapse, it's quite clear that the second big Internet investment party ended in Silicon Valley the same week the Super Bowl party arrived here.

    John Shinal has covered tech and financial markets for more than 15 years at Bloomberg, BusinessWeek,The San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch, Wall Street Journal Digital Network and others.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/c...e-20/79887644/
    Última edição por 5ms; 06-02-2016 às 12:47.

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