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Good Monday Morning,
Daylight – Whoooooaaaaa Nellie – Saturday morning Delta put out this tweet –
Style – Best Western stepping up to the heavy lifting is one thing but Delta, followed by United, is carrying the whole truckload. These are live rounds as the NRA has five million members, but its leadership made a huge PR mistake of looking like the big bad wolf when it said it would not move an inch or “ban anything.” With the kids speaking out in Florida, moms have jumped in on this thing and they will take you out. By the way, could we lighten up with the NRA PR spokeswoman Dana Loetsch – a little warmth and empathy might be due. She and her boss Wayne Lapierre should go watch a Billy Jack film or something. By the way, Shawn Lovejoy, since businesses jumped in the fray with revenue on the line, where are all the pastors? One Tin Soldier Rides Away. By the way, I fancy myself an expert on small towns and if you are in one overnight – Best Western Plus is not a bad place to stay.
M&A – It’s all over but the Shoutin – The Weinstein Company will file for bankruptcy after last ditch effort talks about a sale collapsed over the weekend.
The Stepping Stones Group acquired and recapitalized Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services, a Georgia-based provider of speech language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and school psychology services to school districts in the Southeastern U.S.
Simplura Health Group, acquired SarahCare, an adult day care company.
Buzzard’s Roost – When you get to your Airbnb, will the bathroom have enough toilet paper? To give you some peace of mind, the company is introducing Airbnb Plus, a brand of higher-end accommodations that are guaranteed to meet a 100-point quality checklist.
Hot – Olympics numbers are in – On the business side – NBC paid a billion for broadcasting rights and sold about $900 million in advertising. Some advertisers have turned in their forms for a refund since ratings were down 24 percent in the key 18 – 49 year-old demographic. They will not be getting one. In the contract, NBC buried a line that said promised TV ratings number “includes viewers from all platforms.” Sneaky. Bring back Bob Costas or Bryant Gumbel. Tirico didn’t cut it.
On the medals side, Norway won the most with 39. U.S. came in fifth with 23. Don’t laugh at Lichtenstein bringing up the rear with one bronze. More medals than all these countries combined: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Eritrea, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Unified Korea and Uzbekistan which all got skunked with zero.
Economics – The Supreme Court will hear a big deal case today that is life or death for public-sector unions. The legal question: Should state government employees have to pay their union for representing them in collective bargaining?
The First Amendment bars forcing government workers from having to pay anything, and the court has signaled that it agrees.
Canada, Mexico and U.S. will start over on a new round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement instead of saying a deal can’t be reached.
Live Rounds – Buying time is over. Climate change is down to who stays and who you let go to the tides. Particularly in Southern Louisiana in communities like Jean Lafitte where a lot of the land has already disappeared and the other half floods twice a week. By the way, get to Venice Marina and eat there at least once in your life. Also, don’t forget about the Book Conference in Oxford Mississippi March 21 – 23. Weekender above.
Investment Banking – Amulet Capital Partners invested in Peloton Advantage, a provider of a clinical-focused strategic consulting and scientific communication services.
Hedge Funds – Caltius Equity Partners sold Vision Technology Solutions, a provider of website solutions for government organizations in the U.S. and Canada, to Granicus.
IPO – If Uber would throw in the towel on Asia, they could make an IPO early next year. If they stay and invest, IPO could be 2020 or later. Their largest investor SoftBank is saying they will leave Asia soon but, Uber CEO is saying they are there for the long haul. Imagine that.
Venture Capital – Vision Esports, a esports investment fund and management company formed by Vision Venture Partners, has raised $38 million.
Hoth Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company, raised $3 million.
Amino Payments, an adtech and blockchain-focused company, raised $4.5 million.
Eventcore, a provider of enterprise-level event registration and technology solutions, raised $4.1 million.
Feature Labs, a company that automates feature engineering for machine learning and AI applications, raised $1.5 million.
Complai, a maker of Shep, a business tool for travelers, raised $1.4 million.
Spotlight – Enterprise Entrepreneur, Trump Supporter and Registered Democrat
And that’s just the start of the fun when you sit down with New Member and Founder of Kingdom Insurance, Charlie Lewis, whose company has over 25,000 commissioned insurance agents. I met him and his Entrepreneurial clan (his wife, a highly successful multi-unit retail operator, their son, Nick who is now President of Kingdom) at the second oldest golf course in America located in Thomasville, GA where they built a sprawling, national company. I missed their other son Zack who was off on a business trip.
Culture – With or without me, they would have eaten together as they do every day for lunch. A lot of success, personal and professional, was sitting around me at the table, so the next time I saw Charlie I asked him how? He surprised me by saying the Scripture was front-to-back all about how to be successful, which he turned into a system. By the way, at the event above, Trump waved them to the front. Besides systems, style still does well in business.
Venture Capital – Indigo Fair, a San Francisco-based platform that connects independent retailers with manufacturers, raised $12 million.
Agent IQ, an AI-enhanced customer engagement platform, raised $6.3 million.
ChronWell, a technology-enabled platform company for the workers’ compensation insurance industry, raised $4.5 million.
And that’s what’s ahead, Cliff