HQs Leaving the Suburbs, Upside of Business Coaches and San Francisco Votes for Prop C

Good Friday Morning,

Daylight – Google employees gain a victory after the company said it would do away with forced arbitration when reporting sexual misconduct allegations. The walkout worked. The city of Pawtucket, RI is facing a different kind of walkout with Hasbro weighing its HQ options.

Crackdown – The FDA will ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and will probably require an age verification for online shoppers. The move targets industry leader, Juul. “It’s reportedly part of the agency’s efforts to curb sales of e-cigs to minors, since studies show that flavors tend to attract underage buyers. The FDA says that there’s been a 77 percent increase in the use of e-cigarettes among high school students in 2018”.

Clarification from Yesterday’s Morning Report – Elon Musk will stay on as Tesla’s CEO, but has been replaced by Robyn Denholm as the new chair of the board. Musk’s SEC settlement prohibits him from being chairman for three years.

Founders – First-time CEO and Founder of Reel – Daniela Corrente said hiring a business coach was the best decision she’s made. Without having much of a background in business after studying industrial design and communications in school, she said hiring a coach was a no-brainer.

She says using a business coach is more common than you might think. She’s open to say she knows what she doesn’t know. Her reasoning – growth. “The Founder you are when you have one employee has to be fundamentally different to the Founder you need to be when you have 50 employees.” Reel is a personal finance app that sets aside funds in order to pay for fashion items.

Live Rounds – From San Francisco, residents voted in favor of Proposition C to address the homelessness crisis which includes a tax on businesses that have more than $50 million in gross receipts.

Zynga co-Founder Mark Pincus, after being an outspoken opponent, pivoted his tone and says he wants to make the proposition successful. The prop will allocate $300 million of yearly funding to house the homeless.

M&A – From M&A Guru Zack Eller – Wells Fargo is looking to sell its retirement plan services. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Wells Fargo has been surrounded by scandals recently. However, it’s questionable the bank would drop the one area that hasn’t been surrounded by a scandal.

One Equity Partners agreed to sell PeroxyChem, a chemical maker, to Evonik Industries, for $625 million.

Symantec agreed to acquire Appthority, a provider of mobile security services.

Leggett & Platt agreed to buy Elite Comfort Solutions, a provider of specialized foam technology for the bedding and furniture industries, for $1.25 billion.

Platinum Equity agreed to acquire Jostens, a provider of products, programs, and services for high schools and universities, from Newell Brands in a deal valued at approximately $1.3 billion.

MavenHill Capital acquired Gasser & Sons, a maker of metal components used in mission critical medical, defense and industrial applications.

Hot – Pawtucket is a suburb of Providence, Rhode Island and the home of Hasbro, the world’s second largest toy company. Mayor Donald Grebien called for state officials to come together in an effort to keep the company in the area. Grebien says “they are a private company and play it close to the vest.” Pawtucket relies on Hasbro for 1,200 jobs.

Companies are leaving suburban areas for more city-like regions to appeal to younger workers. Millennials don’t want to work in the suburbs because they don’t want to settle down. Opportunity and growth lies in talent and it’s all about where the young talent wants to be.

Culture – Joni Mitchell turned 75 this week. Her first big hit came from George Hamilton IV of the Grand Ole Opry covering her “Urge for Going” which reached number seven on the charts. In 1970, Willie Nelson and Glen Campbell covered “Both Sides Now”.

The painter, poet, and ukulele strummer inspired several Nashville stars including Mindy McCready. Mitchell, while still a force, is one of those artists who gets her influence criminally downplayed. She helped others succeed, making her an institution in herself.

Investment Banking – Pamlico Capital agreed to make an investment in TRG Screen, a provider of enterprise subscription management solutions.

Hedge Funds – Versa Integrity Group acquired the assets of Maintenance & Turnaround Resources, an asset integrity management company that provides non-destructive testing to customers in the oil and gas industry.

Waffle House Hero – After fighting off a gunman at a Nashville Waffle House, James Shaw announced he will run for mayor of the city. Similar trajectory to polarizing politician Cory Booker who saved a woman from a burning building while mayor of Newark. He was later elected senator.

Venture Capital – TripActions, a corporate travel management company, raised $154 million.

RealtimeBoard, a visual collaboration platform, raised $25 million.

FLEx Lighting, a provider of front lighting for low power displays, raised $9 million.

Drivetime, a developer of voice games for drivers, raised $4 million.

Spotlight –  


Check out Gregg Stebben’s ForbesBooks Radio interview with Ted Wright, founder and CEO of Fizz. Wright has been at the forefront of word-of-mouth marketing since he helped re-ignite the Pabst Blue Ribbon brand in 2000. We talk with Ted about why word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful, how he stumbled into it himself, and what every brand can learn about WOMM from his successes for brands like PBR. As a bonus, you will hear Ted explain why adding the f-bomb to his company’s mission statement has been a brilliant strategic move.

And that’s what’s ahead.

Please send comments and suggestions to mattg@oxfordcenter.com and lfeldman@oxfordcenter.com.

BECOME AN OXFORD MEMBER