Lululemon’s Harper Valley PTA, Dell and VMware is a Nothing Burger, Big News for Bustle and Vinfast: Vietnam’s New Car Brand

Good Tuesday Morning,

Daylight – In case you missed it, the U.S. market took a dip yesterday and this morning Dow futures swing wildly this morning. Go long.

Hedge Funds – It’s the house (hedge funds) cleaning the table and resetting bets at the Wall Street craps table, which is only marginally better than bitcoin as an economic indicator. By the way, not exactly a “historic sell off” as The NY Times writes to tweak Trump. The drop yesterday puts the market back to where it was on Dec. 15 after a historic romp to its highest point ever.

Live Rounds – The total surprise yesterday was the firing of Lululemon’s highly successful CEO for what the company said was conduct that “fell short,” often referred to as an affair. The complaints did not come from the other party, but from other members of the team who were most likely jealous they didn’t have an affair. It’s a problem and it’s why Entrepreneurs can’t consensually date anyone on the team. I tell you who was way ahead of his time on this office romance stuff, the founder of UPS, Jim Casey, who had no dating among any co-workers, going back as early as the 1930s. The rule was one left the company. Every time I think Casey had one thing wrong – time tells he was right. In his time, probably as perfect a company as you could get.  

Culture – Just wondering how many men on that Lululemon board had the standing to say someone’s conduct “fell short” on such a matter. I am feeling a business Harper Valley PTA moment – tell widow Jones to keep her window shades pulled completely down. By the way, Harper Valley was written by country singer Tom T. Hall for Jeannie C. Riley, who sang the daylights out of it. It was an international hit song. We know why. Harper Valley Hypocrites.

M&A – Dell Technologies and VMware are talking over options that could include a potential merger of the two companies with some byzantine financing terms through shared customer agreements that could instantly reward shareholders of both firms. Deal’s not going to happen. Dell Technologies has a lot of debt and is a tech commodity business run with a computer hardware-maker mindset.

Style – In 1875, a visitor to Yosemite recorded his predicament in a guest registry. “Can’t get out of Yosemite on account of a sick horse,” he wrote, adding: “Yosemite Valley is a lovely place in which to be incarcerated.” The park received more than 5 million visitors in 2016. Visit.

Economics – Vinfast, Vietnam’s new car brand, will begin producing electric motorbikes at a factory, near the port city of Haiphong, later this year, then next year a sport utility vehicle. Design sketches for the two cars, which will be unveiled at the Paris car show in October, show sleek and sporty models, each with a “V” emblazoned on their grilles.

This is a big number – 3.1 percent of U.S. household spending goes toward apparel, down from 6.2 percent in 1977. People dining out, technology spending and traveling have filled in that gap, but the reasons why are complicated. One cause is fast fashion taking over the country, sure, but don’t count out the fact that an increasing number of Americans can dress casual at the office, hence negating the need for a work wardrobe.

Buzzard’s Roost – A landmark settlement involving Wells Fargo shows a new regulatory emphasis on holding board members accountable. A federal agency demanded the firing of four board members who all had conflicts and gains from the widespread consumer abuses.

Hot – The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am runs this week and has attracted golf’s top names. Weather forecast for the Monterey Peninsula: sunny and 70.

Investment Banking – PE firms are sitting on $545.5 billion of dry powder, and it looks like they’re about to start deploying it. Many large PE groups are looking to buy a considerable stake in paint maker Akzo Nobel. The deal could be worth as much as $12.4 billion.

The transaction comes at a time when PE firms are under growing pressure to deploy the record amount of capital they have raised in recent months.

IPO – While IPO’s have been on a run for the past 12 months, the number of publicly traded companies has been in sharp decline from 7,500 in 1998 to less than 3,700 today.

Venture Capital – Bustle, a blog for millennial women, is reportedly raising $30 million.

Oak Hill Capital Partners acquired Safe Fleet Holdings, a provider of safety and productivity solutions, from Sterling Group.

Spotlight – Member Event Calendar coming out Thursday.

Rash of new members since Friday so we will set new member date this afternoon and put out calendar by Thursday.  Save Feb 22 9:00 a.m. and Feb 28 6:00 p.m.

Deal Stream>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Exits – ION Investment Group agreed to acquire Openlink Financial, a transaction lifecycle management software provider, from Hellman & Friedman.

Venture Capital – Figma, an open design platform, raised $25 million.

Indio Technologies, a developer of a platform which provides tools for traditional commercial insurance brokers, raised $6 million.

Private Equity – Audax Private Equity recapitalized Protective Industrial Products Global Holdings, a provider of hand protection products and other consumable personal protective equipment.

Ridge Runner Resources, an oil and gas exploration and production company, raised up to $300 million.

And that’s what’s ahead, Cliff