Good Week: Bayer – The German giant’s kingdom now spans aspirin to asparagus with the $66B purchase of Monsanto, the year’s largest mega-merger. Bayer sweetened its earlier offer by $10B to win the approval of Monsanto’s board. Next up: winning the approval of global antitrust regulators. Bayer has already planted the seeds for a major headache: Monsanto gets $2B if the deal dies on the vine.
Mixed Week: Uber – The ride-share leader started testing driverless cars in Pittsburgh this week, shepherding riders around the city’ notoriously hilly and challenging streets in self-piloted vehicles equipped with human safety engineers in the driver’s seat who could take control “just in case.” Apparently, “just in case” occurred several times during a New York Times reporter’s test ride. All of this comes amid reports of another fatality – this time in China – involving a Tesla’s driver-assist system. Personally, it was a big leap from “let me drive” to “let us drive.” It’s gonna be a while before I’m ready for “let it drive.”
Worse Week: Samsung – As the electronics manufacturer’s stock price plummets on the heels of the Note 7 flaming fiasco – where a “minor battery flaw” resulted in a major global recall – it’s now being sued in Northern California federal court by an LG sales manager who was allegedly denied employment at Samsung because the companies have a tacit agreement not to poach each other’s employees. The suit accuses both companies of antitrust violations and attempting to drive down employee wages. #WellsFonego