What YGCC is Reading

What YGCC is Reading #322

Like companies in all industry sectors, many biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are struggling to understand and find strategies to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak. For many companies, the impact of the pandemic on the conduct of clinical trials has forced both smaller biotechs and Big Pharma to make tough decisions to pause ongoing trials and reconsider timelines for data readouts, regulatory reviews, and product launches. For example, Provention Bio recently paused a Phase 3 trial in type 1 diabetes and Iveric Bio temporarily stopped a pivotal trial in geographic atrophy. These decisions are not limited to smaller companies. Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Pfizer have announced pauses or delays in multiple development programs. In the longer term, delays in clinical trials may lead smaller companies to need additional funding at a time when their stock values have likely dropped and market conditions are not optimal. Many companies may be forced to make difficult cuts or prioritize development opportunities. Delays in clinical trials are also likely to cause delays in projected launch timelines.

  • What kind of projects (clinical trials) are most affected by COVID-19 in the short term? 

  • Brainstorm the potential impact of delays in the projected launch timeline of a drug.

 

Read more: 

COVID-19 & Clinical Trials: Understanding The Long-Term Impact (Clinical Leader)

What YGCC is Reading #321

Opportunistic investors have been on the hunt for cheap companies to take over since coronavirus roiled financial markets. US investment groups have made a $7bn bid to acquire CoreLogic, which is the first large unsolicited takeover attempt for a real estate data analytics company since pandemic hit. Despite CoreLogic having a strong market position as a provider of data and analytics for the real estate and mortgage industries, the investors believe the company’s management strategy failed to help its growth and bolster its value. They would like to find new ways to reignite growth at CoreLogic, increase operating efficiency and improve the overall allocation of scarce capital resources.

  • What factors would you consider in order to evaluate whether US investment groups’ acquisition of CoreLogic was worth the price?

  • How would you help CoreLogic drive their revenue growth? 

 

Read more: 

US investors launch $7bn hostile bid for CoreLogic (FT)

What YGCC is Reading #320

Increased at-home coffee consumption during the pandemic has translated into a relative boom for coffee subscription services that send bags of artisan beans to their doorsteps and some smaller-scale coffee roasters. Several coffee subscription services, like Bean Box and Trade Coffee, observed a two- to four-fold increase in its overall sales and an even more significant increase in the number of new customers. As the customer base grew, they also noticed similar trends in buying habits: People consistently purchased on the middle to the higher end of the products. Data from consumer research firm Nielsen showed that whole-bean sales, which are considered the high-end of the retail coffee sector products, had more considerable sales growth than the less-premium ground and instant products. The temporary or permanent closure of coffee shops has also forced high-end coffees into the direct-to-consumer market.

  • The cost of having a 12-ounce bag of coffee delivered every two weeks ranges from $15 to $22. How would you suggest Bean Box price its monthly subscription service?

  • In what ways can a small local cafe increase its profits during its temporary closure?

 

Read more: 

Coffee drinkers are seeking out subscriptions and higher-end beans amid the pandemic (CNN)

What YGCC is Reading #319

When shoppers go to stock up on items to eat at home, they find less variety on grocery store shelves. This is because 1) items are selling out more quickly than they used to; 2) major food companies increase production lines on their most popular items and cut down fringe offerings to meet the increasing demand for some products. With smaller product portfolios, companies can speed up the production process, and narrow their advertising, distribution and sales efforts. However, some customers were disappointed when they didn't find the items they were looking for. Retailers like Walmart worked with suppliers to prioritize the most productive products to help maximize the production of high demand items and will work with suppliers to increase assortment.

  • Brainstorm the major reasons for a food supplier to increase the complexity in the supply chain before the pandemic.

  • Please help the food suppliers predict the customers’ behavior and demand after the pandemic. How would you help them adjust their supply chain?

 

Read more: 

Why brands like Oreo are cutting back on wacky flavors right now (CNN)

What YGCC is Reading #318

Slack is partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a multi-year agreement to deliver solutions for enhanced enterprise workforce collaboration. As part of the deal, all Amazon employees will start to use video-conferencing and business communication platform Slack. Slack will migrate its voice and video calling features over to Amazon’s Chime platform, AWS’s communications service that lets users meet, chat, and place business calls. Voice and video conferencing is a particularly weak point of Slack compared to Microsoft Teams and this new integration will probably vastly improve it in the future. Slack will also use Amazon’s cloud services as its preferred partner for storage, computation, database-use, security, analytics, machine learning and future collaboration features. This partnership allows both companies to scale to meet demand and deliver enterprise-grade offerings to customers and allows Slack to compete more efficiently with Microsoft’s Teams platform.

  • What are the advantages and potential risks of the partnership between Slack and AWS? 

  • How would you help Slack to win the competition in the area of business communication?

 

Read more: 

AWS and Slack Join Forces to Deliver the Future of the Enterprise Workplace (Businesswire)

What YGCC is Reading #317

Instagram announced updates aimed at helping creators make money directly on the platform. At the beginning, although influencers are free to negotiate their own brand deals, Instagram doesn’t pay creators directly or give them a percentage of sales. On Wednesday, Instagram introduced new monetization features for influencers, including ads on IGTV videos, digital badges that fans can purchase through Instagram Live, merchandise sales through Instagram Shopping, and expansion of Brand Collabs Manager, which facilitates sponsored campaigns between companies and creators. With its new monetization features, Instagram hopes to retain influencers and convince creators that its platform can support their work both functionally and financially.

  • Brainstorm the potential financial benefits of these new monetization features for Instagram.

  • What non-financial factors should Instagram consider when launching the new monetization features? How can they mitigate any risks associated with these factors?

 

Read more: 

Instagram Wants Its Influencers to Make More Money (NYT)

What YGCC is Reading #316

​Shares of Moderna, which last week announced positive early results for its coronavirus vaccine, have skyrocketed as much as 253% year-to-date, even though the company doesn't sell any products yet. It's now valued at more than $26 billion. If future studies go well, Moderna has said its vaccine could be available to the public as early as January. After spiking to as high as $87 on Monday, Moderna's stock price has since retreated below $70 as medical experts have concluded the company did not release enough information to know how significant the Phase 1 findings are. Moderna's chief medical officer and financial officer sold their stocks. Even though it is legal, some experts thought that the optics are terrible because it shows a lack of confidence in your company going forward.

 

  • If you were an investor, what factors would you take into considerations when investing in Moderna?

  • If the vaccine could be approved by FDA, how would you help Moderna commercialize the product?

 

Read more: 

Moderna unveiled encouraging coronavirus vaccine results. Then top execs dumped nearly $30 million of stock (CNN)

What YGCC is Reading #315

J.C. Penney, an American department store chain filed for bankruptcy protection after a prolonged decline over the past 20 years. JCPenney is the fourth national retailer to file for bankruptcy just this month. The other retailers include J. Crew, the Neiman Marcus Group and the designer men’s clothing brand John Varvatos. J.C. Penney tried several ways to turn around their business before Covid-19 but they did not work. For example, even partnered with Sephora, the cosmetics chain with shops inside hundreds of J.C. Penney locations, it’s still difficult to appeal to younger customers. However, the company's bankruptcy filing doesn't necessarily mean J.C. Penney will go out of business. J.C. Penney could use the process to shed debt and other liabilities they can't afford while closing unprofitable operations and locations.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of J.C. Penney compared with retailers like Walmart and Costco?

  • Brainstorm short-term and long-term effects the closure of J.C. Penney will have on the retail sector.

  • What measures could J.C. Penney have taken to prevent the liquidation of its stores?

 

Read more: 

J.C. Penney, 118-Year-Old Department Store, Files for Bankruptcy (NYT)

What YGCC is Reading #314

Uber is leading a $170m investment to provide a bailout to Lime, the Silicon Valley-based e-scooter sharing company. As part of the transaction, Lime will take over Uber’s e-bike division, Jump. During the coronavirus pandemic, Lime predicts that virus-conscious commuters will choose micromobility, like bikes and scooters. However, Lime’s valuation will fall from more than $2bn last year to about $500m today. Although Lime has now raised about $940m since it was founded just over three years ago, after burning through hundreds of millions of dollars to flood dozens of cities with scooters, the company has been forced to change course to conserve cash. Lime has already made two rounds of staff cuts this year and is trying to find new ways to become profitable.

  • How would you help Lime to increased revenue during the coronavirus pandemic and post-pandemic?

  • In addition to cutting the number of employees, what are other ways that Lime could decrease costs? 

  • What factors should Lime consider when deciding which markets (i.e., cities) to enter?

 

Read more: 

Uber leads $170m investment in Lime (FT)

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