I’ve sent 6,812 Slack messages in the past 30 days, equivalent to almost 230 a day, making me the 10th most active Slack user at Business Insider. I had a special interest in the messaging company’s direct listing, therefore, and BI Prime covered every angle.
Some venture capitalists, like Bill Gurley, would like to see more direct listings, saying they save companies time and money. Megan Hernbroth talked to former Slack board observer and Index Ventures partner Sarah Cannon, who said more companies may follow Slack’s lead.
But, as Troy Wolverton writes, there are lots of reasons why a direct listing isn’t workable for every startup looking to go public.
Becky Peterson had the inside story on exactly what went down between Slack and its Wall Street advisers. After after the successful debut, Troy had this story on whether Slack can live up to investors’ sky-high expectations.
Whether Slack will grow into its $US19 billion valuation is like asking about whether people will ever travel to Mars, Jerry Braakman, the chief investment officer at First American Trust, an investment firm that has about $US1.5 billion under management, told Troy.
“Can we get to Mars? Sure we can,” said Braakman. “But when? And how long do we have to wait, and how bumpy is the road?” Slack, he added, is “high risk with potential high return.”
Elsewhere in deal news this week:
- JPMorgan-backed $US1 billion payments company Bill.com is picking bankers for an IPO
- $US31 billion Atlassian just revamped its M&A term sheet to take on more risk in the acquisition process and make it less stressful for founders to sell their companies
- Going public makes $US12 billion CrowdStrike an anomaly in the crowded cybersecurity space where M&A is the norm. Here’s why.
- Private-equity giant Warburg Pincus just struck a deal to create a huge new doctor group, combining $US600 million CityMD with Summit Medical Group
- Pfizer just struck an $US11 billion deal, and it marks an ambitious shift in the US drug giant’s blockbuster cancer strategy
As always, get in touch if you have any feedback! I’ll be out for the next few weeks, but there may be guest appearances on this email while I’m away.
Quote of the week
“Everywhere I go, the key question I hear from people is, ‘What do you have beyond Keytruda?'” – Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier describes the pharma giant’s strategy to grow beyond its top cancer drug.
- The former basketball star Troy Murphy transitioned from a 12-year NBA career to one advising the newly wealthy. Marley Jay talked to Murphy about his 3-point play for achieving financial success.
- Dakin Campbell talked to Ronald O’Hanley, CEO of State Street. He explained why he’s going toe-to-toe with Bloomberg and BlackRock by offering asset managers a one-stop technology shop.
- Rosalie Chan talked to Marie Myers, the CFO of robotic process automation startup UiPath. She spoke about how managing the HP split and teaching herself to build bots led her to the $US7.1 billion startup.
- Shona Ghosh talked to Cesar Carvalho, the founder of Vision Fund-backed startup Gympass, about why he took SoftBank’s Saudi cash after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
- Tanya Dua talked to Facebook‘s marketing chief Antonio Lucio about how he plans to fix the dented brand, why he’s using agencies for the first time, and what it’s like to work at a founder-led company.
- Charlie Wood talked to Joy Howard, the outgoing chief marketing officer of Lyft, about the one thing tech startups must do to build and sell a successful brand.
- Ashley Rodriguez talked to WarnerMedia exec Jesse Redniss about the challenges of uniting HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros. and launching the company’s new innovation lab.
- Lydia Ramsey talked to B.J. Moore, who left Microsoft after 26 years to join the West Coast health system Providence St. Joseph Health as its chief information officer, about his new role.
Finance and Investing
Goldman Sachs has tapped a trio of little-known executives to run a newly created alternative-investing unit, and selected a media-shy partner as its chairman.
The next generation of fixed income experts will know as much about programming language Python as they do about corporate-grade bonds, a BlackRock executive said.
Tech, Media, Telecoms
Within the next six months or so, Microsoft is going to pull the plug on supporting SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 – two outdated, but still reasonably common, server products.
A new alliance spanning advertisers, agencies, and tech giants including WPP’s GroupM, Unilever, Facebook, and Google formed this week to improve digital safety. It has some in the ad world worried.
Healthcare, Retail, Transportation
When Amazon acquired the online pharmacy PillPack for $US750 million one year ago, it sent shudders through the healthcare industry.
Shopify has pulled the cover off its newest initiative to help its merchants take a larger slice out of online shopping in North America.
Raising money for a cannabis company is challenging, even if your startup doesn’t have anything to do with selling THC-containing products.
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