tv Bloomberg Business Week Bloomberg September 25, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT
>> welcome to bloomberg businessweek. >> we are inside the magazine headquarters in new york. >> an investigation of the helicopter killing u.s. troops. >> the $2 billion mistake samsung made in its rush to compete with apple. and in new credit card that is causing as much height. >> all that ahead on "bloomberg businessweek." carol: we're here with ellen pollock. editor-in-chief. you take a look at the most influential people when it comes to the markets. ellen: this is something bloomberg has done for six years.
it has been in markets and we talked to various experts within bloomberg news editors and reporters about who they thought was influential this year. >> there are interesting people outside the world of finance. ellen: john oliver is among them. i am not sure if everyone will agree with him, but if you look at the story he did on puerto rican debt, and got an unbelievable number of hits online. most people know about that of john oliver. hedge funds are not doing so dramatically well. david: there is a profile of for in the global economic section. now they're moving toward article 50.
tell us about theresa may. ellen: so the story is about how they are calling her "theresa maybe," because she is contemplating article 50. she says she needs to make decisions. they can come up with a trade deal before they actually exit. carol: but from what i hear, once she makes a decision she sticks with it. you guys take a look at samsung. what about apple? ellen: they realized apple was going to have a tremendous number -- it looks as though it did not turn out so great. it is substantial. david: there is so much enthusiasm about the product from samsung.
some of their phones called -- can't fire. them happen sot likely. carol: and will consumers now want the phone? like what happened to their reputation, right? -- david: tell us about this card chase hit on. ellen: chase hit on the magic formula with this sapphire card. it's designed to be the hot card. although not for everybody because they are running between plastic.
carol: they are working to and the cachet of the card. >> if a credit card could the it credit card, it could be this. it moves around but chase has got it. they had the last one. this is a $450 annual fee. for that $450 you will get $300 reimbursed to you every year for travel expenses. it knocks the fee down to 150. you get triple points on dining and travel. and if you sign up right now, you get 100,000 points that can be transferred to other airlines or used to book travel, dining, or entertainment.
>> is it truly perfect card? >> people that follow the credit card market will sign up for new cards and have been rushing to chase. in droves. carol:" but they do charge an interest rate. >> it is a standard credit card. they are not giving you free money. the same kind of interest rates from other kind of typical cards. 16% to 23%. depending on your credit rating. but most pay their balance in full. they are not paying close attention to the interest rates. what they want are the rewards. and that is what chase has served with abundance.
david: even though it has these perks, demand is way bigger than they thought it would he. >> three things have disrupted the order of operations. in 2014 after the target data breach when chase had to reissue millions of newly numbered cards. the second one was in year later. when we had to switch over to chip-enabled cards. after the card was announced, they use up the entire inventory of link metal cards. they ran out of all of them. in about two to three weeks. they were supposed to last a full year. carol: it is kind of cool. >> this is not the first card to have that. they have been other metal core or fully metal cards is well. it also has the metal core and people seem to like it.
david: who are they going after here? you mentioned these are people who pay of their balance every month. carol: younger. >> it turned out to be younger. they thought this card would trend older because of the fee. but it is supposed to be someone well-to-do in 2016 who has a conception of wealth that is perhaps different than 10 or 20 years ago. but it is supposed to be someone who wants to feel intelligent. david: they write about the
obsessiveness hat -- that surrounds this credit card. >> we threw in a couple of ideas. we are usually a little more critical. we thought how much these people love their card. that is what we did. we got close to 20 models. that kind of like zombie-like quality. we had the models stand stiff. and then we did some retouching to make their eyes glow after the shoot. carol: you are stealing a line from american express.
>> there is a chart that says american express has gone down in j.p. morgan chase is going up. like i said, we wanted to avoid just having this look like an ad. david: putting the car on the -- the card, the thing itself on the cover. >> it did not quite work for the cover but we ran it on the ends tied. carol: the parts of nebraska going blue in november. -- had another very full idea that the white work. david: why africa's most populated country is facing the first recession since 1991. crisis in nigeria that. ♪
carol: welcome back to bloomberg businessweek. david: am 960 in the bay area. in the politics and policy section, how hillary clinton aims to take advantage of the fact donald trump is not made much of a footprint in nebraska. carol: you write about the blue dot in nebraska. >> second congressional district, it is the most reliably democratic part. david: president obama did decently there. >> nebraska can split electoral votes.
so he actually won the electorl vote. 2008 is when people started to pay attention to it being a democratic stronghold. as far as how far back it's gone, it has. explain that david: after the election is over with, explain what you mean by splitting electoral votes. >> rather than a winner take all system, a portion by congressional district. whoever wins the statewide electoral vote gets electoral votes. and beyond that, whoever wins each congressional district gets the vote. it can apportion three votes. it is strategic.
hillary clinton suspending the. -- time in that state. obama spends a lot of time in the state compared to previous democratic candidates. carol: and it paid off. >> yes. mitt romney was there. david: i was in nebraska in 2012 and the conversations i was having were with farmers about the keystone xl pipeline. it was a huge political issue for them. what are the big issues that folks care about? >> it seems like trade is a big deal. these were conversation i was having with the republicans, the campaign of who is running for
the second congressional district, they are talking to more republican sympathetic voters. the air force base is really close by. they got redistricted. it is harmful for the democrats because a lot of people, you have a lot of hispanic families. they are a little bit more sympathetic to democrats so that has been challenging for hillary clinton. carol: we take a look at the crisis brewing in africa's economic engine. david: we spoke with matt phillips. carol: oil prices have hurt nigeria but they have a bigger problem. >> cheap oil is an issue for every exporter. nigeria's problem is double in that production is down's the year. they have targeted pipelines.
they had deals where the government would pay them not to attack this infrastructure but the government doesn't have the ability to do that anymore. they've gotten back into the game of attacking pipelines and export terminals and that has impacted nigeria's revenue. david: put this in the broader context of the oil market. they say nigeria is the x factor. what kind of effect is this having? >> they've gone from 2 million barrels a day to 1.4 million barrels a day. nigeria as a member of opec, they were producing 2 million barrels. this is a 30 year low for them. it has to do with the decline.
it makes up more than a third of their economy. this is the first recession they have had since 1991. carol: they sell oil and it brings dollars into the country to pay for food. >> corruption and mismanagement has always been a problem. with cheap oil as it is. it makes things a whole lot worse. they can pay for things like rice and manufactured goods. it is fallen since june. inflation skyrocketed 17%. it is fallen since june. inflation skyrocketed 17%.
david: for long-term investors, a lot of optimism. are they beginning to pull out of nigeria? >> this is a country that grew 8% on the back of high oil and high commodities. billions of dollars in foreign money. big construction companies doing deals with the government. they are now concerned about taking government contracts because they don't think they are going to get paid. pensioners aren't getting paid, civil servants are being told that the work week was cut from five days to three days. the government is telling civil servants to go out and farm. carol: the links that retailers are going to determine that your cotton sheets are egyptian cotton sheets. david: and the search for the family jewels. ♪
is completely unsuspecting. 90 minutes from new york. inside, they are doing dna testing on cotton with the same sort of rigor and precision that you would find at an fbi crime lab looking for dna of a criminal at a crime scene. the dna they are looking for is to determine if a retailer is getting the premium egyptian cotton that they are telling customers they are getting. or if they are getting the more common mainstream cotton. this company's mission is cotton detective. do try and throughout it the egyptian cotton you are paying a premium for his words as it is. david: reminds me of the olive oil scandal from a few years back. >> the sort of open secret in the cotton industry is that as egyptian cotton production has been decreasing because of poor management after the egyptian uprising, there was a few rough years in the u.s. but there was still demand. there is a pressure to lower prices.
upland cotton, the mainstream cotton was getting mixed in. people were buying cotton and it was not egyptian at all or it was only part egyptian cotton. this company applied dna sciences. they developed a way to test the dna of cotton species to give retailers and assurance that what they are getting is what they are telling. carol: there was a study done by applied dna scientist and a lot of cotton product is mislabeled. >> 83% of cotton labeled is not 100%. >> the good stuff. >> yes. 83% of that is not 100% pima cotton. it is either upland or a mixture. david: what i notice this if i went out and bought them?
would i be able to tell the difference pretty quickly? >> what does it matter? right? well, it depends on if you are a cotton enthusiast. they believe that egyptian pima cotton has longer fiber. so when you worst inning the cotton into a thread, you can get a really tiny, thin thread. you can get that with a egyptian puma cotton that you cannot get with upland cotton. it would be softer because it would be more threads, fewer threads. which would give at this softer field. carol: can you tell the difference? >> i can't. carol: you pay a premium. >> a lot of this came about because target found out that its egyptian cotton sheets were not as they were claiming.
they had to pull a lot of these products from the shelves. target egyptian cotton sheets sell for three times the amount. customers were paying a really hefty premium because they believed these would be softer and customers say they last longer. a stronger fiber, so they will last longer. so, you know, retailers were paying more for it. consumers were paying more for it. the middleman, someone along the process was shaving cost and making profit. david: a new type of underwear that gives men the support they need down under. you often look at how accessories for a certain brand take off. this week, it is a particular brand of men's underwear. right? tell us a bit about it. >> saxx, they have an innovation in underwear. very interesting story.
carol: i'm going to let these guys go on. they are doing so well. >> there is not a ton of innovation in men's underwear for the working on compression underwear, is huge. what they've done is try to insert mesh panels into men's underwear to try to make them more comfortable. the founder was fishing for salmon and saying i need to reinvent men's underwear. $20,000 into this company and it has been selling pretty well. the revenue was up 250% in the past few years. carol: it is pretty big business. $2.9 billion as you point out in the etc. section. and others are coming in as well. >> others try to innovate as it happens so glacially that the consumer must be ready to buy something new. you saw this 30 years ago when calvin klein sort of said we could make a cool-looking brief.
so a lot of small makers are sort of seeing the opportunity. what they are trying to do is make it more comfortable. the vibe out there is that men's underwear is uncomfortable. but it might be time for an informal survey. david: more salmon fishing. what are the plants? they are catching on? >> yes. they are catching on. nordstrom started to ship globally in the past spring. so they are growing and at the same time there are other competitors, some that worked for the company. somebody who were for the company -- who worked for the company saxx has spun off and has a company called "my package" is the name of the company. they are trying to innovate around the look and feel of these underwear. carol: then as well as government is still in power despite the massive chaos. david: and one tragic consequence of the budget standoff.
david: welcome to "bloomberg businessweek," i'm david gora. carol: and i'm carol messer. david: the scandal involving hampton creek is bigger than expected. welcome back. carol: all of that ahead on "bloomberg businessweek." david: welcome back. we are here with ellen pollock from bloomberg businessweek.
the ceo of wells fargo was called to washington. he has not had a good couple weeks. he was called to testify before the senate hearing committee. ellen: he was grilled by senator elizabeth warren and he's in trouble because the bank created all kinds of fake customer accounts to make them look better in a certain quarter. and they fired a lot of employees but what did they do with the executives? david: elizabeth warren stressed the point that there should be clawbacks. these executives who were's well-compensated should have some of that taken away because it happened wells fargo. ellen: the callbacks became a big thing after the financial crisis. in the united states and europe around that time, we do a story that in the context of what's going on at wells fargo, talk about how difficult it is to actually do clawbacks and the various ways it can be done. but it's not as simple as it seems and if there is litigation, is not necessarily worth it. david: venezuela is going
through hard times. people there are hungry. ellen: everyone is expecting there to be some kind of blow up or change in leadership but maduro is in there firmly. we go there and ask the question, why is he still there and the answer is, he's not likely to go anyplace anytime soon. that's in part because he has a lot of control over the judiciary and military. david: this country has been suffering because of the price of oil? partly. ellen: the price of oil is down they rely on that. they import food and a lot of people are suffering as a result. david: one of your staff writers go down to washington, d.c. and looks at military helicopters that are in pretty bad shape. this has to do with sequestration from a few years ago. the budget caps. ellen: yeah, there were some pretty tragic accidents involving these massive helicopters which can pick up a humvee.
and drag them through water. they are massive pieces of equipment and they have been used for a long time. the result is they are getting old and not functioning as well as they should be. there have been some really tragic crashes. the question is why, in and a lot of it comes down to maintenance. david: the budget for maintenance was curtailed because of the budget cuts. you talk to generals in the pentagon who says there is no good news story. there is not any easy solution for this. ellen: there is no question it's a maintenance issue. they say they will come up with the money and have increased the budget but this has been going on a long time and it does not look like it will be replaced anytime soon. david: we talked to reporter paul barrett. there are two helicopters in your piece.
>> the sea dragon is the largest, most powerful helicopter in the military fleet and drags minesweeping equipment at it has been an used since the 1980's. it's a cold war era aircraft. that has done a lot of duty and is now korell in some cases, in a field. carol: then there is the super stallion? >> that is for the marine corps and is used to transport marines and heavy equipment. through an external lift, it can move an armored vehicle that is 26,000 pounds. it is a hugely strong aircraft. carol: my understanding of helicopters are the small ones that hold a handful of people but this is a different scale. >> these helicopters are 100 feet long, 30 feet high, and -- carol: and can hold how many people? >> the super stallion can hold 55 marines. at a maximum.
david: you detail a number of instances involving these aircraft. what have we seen happening? >> there has been a very dismaying and worrying number of fatal crashes. a number of them were because the aircraft are very old. so, things are happening such as wires are rubbing up against fuel lines and causing the escape of fuel and leading to internal fires that lead to a crash. in january of this year, 2 of the marine super stallions ran into each other a couple of miles off the coast of hawaii and went down and killed 12 marines in one incident and that episode is being investigated and we don't know exactly what went wrong there. three days before that accident, the commanding officer of the squadron was let go because the
squadron was not prepared enough for its general missions. carol: the equipment is old. that is a long time. why hasn't the government replaced it? >> different reasons in different instances. the navy sea dragon has this very particular mission of dragging minesweeping equipment. and the navy basically has not come up with a better technology to do that. smaller helicopters are not strong enough to drag this equipment and robotic devices that have been designed to operate off of new warships have not been proven effective. so, the helicopter stays in use but what they call the community, the people around it, the pilots and maintainers and so forth, that community has not been adequately invested in as the navy admitted during my reporting. they admit there has been degradation of the community. carol: there is also a deeper look at the controversy surrounding hampton creek. david: that is the begin food company found fudging its
figures. -- the bacon food company -- the vegan food company that has the mission of replacing animal proteins with plant proteins. on a global scale, that's an incredible concept. as the world's population grows and developing economies continue to grow, the appetite for animal protein is so large it might be unsustainable. hampton creek is jumped on that mission to try to solve that problem. many people are thinking about this problem like bill gates and peter thiel. they are in the right place but how they are getting there is very interesting. this is a silicon valley darling that was well on its way to becoming a unicorn, very revered and respected. >> absolutely, the ceo told his staff he was moments away from raising $1 billion valuation but that has been put on hold with the criminal investigations.
we are trying to figure out if there is any movement but our senses there has not been. david: you mentioned the criminal investigation. just with some broad strokes coming in a sense. >> so there is a criminal investigation as well as an sec inquiry. that is not an investigation, but it is an inquiry. our understanding is they are looking into whether or not the company purchased its own product and did not disclose that to investors which is something bloomberg first reported in august. carol: you are talking about buybacks but they were actually buying back products in their was a group of people that josh tetrick, the founder called them creekers? or something like that? who are they and what did they do? >> the program is over 100 people. these are people who were hired to do in-store demos to help with the company's outreach.
it's the guerrilla marketing of the company to be in stores across the company talking to customers to get them to try the product. it was a robust program that had success. getting people to sample the product. we have a lot of e-mails and receipts that shows that these people were paid to purchase the product. and usually, the entire shelf of the product in order to boost sales. so they had two jobs at one job they were the hampton creek uniform and the other they did not and were told to lie about what they were doing. carol: up next, a company making it possible to build a self driving car. david: it and the most influential men and women moving market today. ♪
david: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." carol: you can also catch us on the radio and a.m. 11 30 in new york. a.m. 960 in the bay area. david: in the technology section, if apple and uber start building a car, they might start at magna international. >> it's basically a car parts supplier. that is the majority of their business. they've got a bunch of different units. they are sort of a six-year-old canadian company but the interesting part of that business for this new generation
of cars is that contract assembly business. and they help ease production bottlenecks for the likes of bmw, mercedes, jaguar, others. that means it is pretty interesting to anyone trying to get into the automotive industry have no experience in building cars. david: there's a new interest in san francisco in building cars, what's the niche this company has found? working with, you know, companies that are starting to build cars for the first time? >> the value proposition is not only the do they build the cars but they are really good at helping you develop them if you want to create a new vehicle. so they will have engineers sit there with you to develop them through the process and source the components you need and work
out how to do it cost-effectively and they specialize in high-end vehicles. that's why they work with the likes of bmw and mercedes and jaguar. so, given the kind of players we are possibly going to see come to market like apple, these are premium brands and therefore that's why magna might have a particularly good sales proposition for those people. carol: they are the fourth largest among automotive suppliers or i'm wondering about the first three. do they have to worry about competition? other companies kind of wanting to work whether it is apple or google or others? >> for now, magna is the fourth biggest but it's the biggest contract assembler. the bigger companies in the space can supply automotive components. whether it be widget x in your bmw but they do not have the expertise of holding a whole car. at least, not yet. it might be something they want to get into.
they might think this is attracted to get into. the other players in the contract assembly business, they are quite small and do not have big engineering teams. the business as a whole, contract assembly, has been in decline for much of the past decade until this prospect of new technology and trends. david: how did they decide to get into this? are they approaching it with any trepidation? >> this contract assembly business is something they have been doing a while and it's based around a factory in austria going back 16 years or so which was building cars already under contracts for other people. it is arnold schwarzenegger's hometown. for a while it was part of dime chrysler and they decided to get rid of it, the factory and mangino bought it and kept building mercedes g class automobiles. they are telling shareholders this could be a big opportunity and they could be the foxconn of the automotive industry. maybe these new tech companies don't end up building a new car, but for now hopefully they will. carol: what does it mean for the large car manufacturers out there? gm, ford, mercedes-benz?
i mean, these guys work with magna. >> one of the big product lines is automotive cameras which are used in self driving vehicles and they supply those two ford and gm and a number of others. but, i think there is a slight shift of economics in the car industry. the traditional car business, the value, the creation of the car, with the carmakers basically brought to the table was the drivetrain. you know, the engine. now the value is slightly different, more in the software. it used to be the core competency at bmw or ford or gm to build the engine and now that will be increasingly commoditized moving to electric vehicles and they will add their value with the software. that of course makes it tough to
compete with new entrants because software is their expertise and has been for decades. if you think about google and apple. that of course makes it tough to compete with new entrants so there is a huge talent race to ensure that carmakers have the best software program and to programmers to create the most compelling future experience. carol: up next, the brains behind spotify to compile the weekly playlist. ♪
men and women can make stock market greater area. david: we sat down with the editor. let's start at the top of the list. we have been talking about exit -- brexit for going on two months now. theresa may is number one? >> yes. this is a woman who almost by accident and now the fate of europe's biggest financial center rest largely in our -- on her hands. i mean, when she triggers article 50, of the key things will be whether all the financial firms that made their headquarters in london will be able to continue doing business in europe freely and that will be one big sticking point in the negotiations. carol: a prominent woman at number one and 2 -- hillary clinton is number two. >> it is a tie want to say. donald trump. >> did you think about that when you are putting this list together? >> initially, we were looking at the polls and wondering who
should be number two. initially i think it's a tie and people are looking at hillary clinton to see which camp has more influence over her whether it's her wall street benefactors that she has accumulated through years of the senate and previous jobs or whether it is the bernie sanders cohort she has been courting in the run-up to the election. david: we know of hillary clinton and donald trump and theresa may but what was your criteria for picking the folks who made this list? broadly speaking, how would one get on this list? >> well, we start by going around bloomberg, you know in new york and our bureaus and asking for nominations, you know? we end up with a list of 100-150 people and then we pick a smaller panel of people and we asked them to vote in the names and then we went out it down to 50. the ranking is more art than science.
there is no hard metrics. we put an emphasis on performance in the last year. this is not a lifetime achievement award. carol: even if they screwed up in the last six months? i am just saying. >> yes, and some people were on last year who are not this year. if you go through the list, you will notice that there are not that many hedge fund managers. because the industry is not having a great year. david: there is a profile of making spotify a success. and a career making for artists. >> the issue with streaming music as you can listen to almost any song that has been recorded immediately on your phone but it's too much music and you are overwhelmed. so, most people kind of, you know, just listen to the same old stuff and how do you wind up listening to new music? that's what spotify is coming up with in interesting solution. they recommend new music every week that you would actually like. i think the recommendation
services, you might've heard of before but it's like the old amazon. if you bought this, you might like this. david: they are recommending things via algorithms. not just some guy with great taste telling you what to listen to. >> amazon uses algorithms as well but they recommend music you have not heard by artists you are not familiar with but they have a system where they pay attention to what you are listening to and they have a database full of music and sort of i guess and analysis of people possibly list. if you like song a, how many people put song b next to it? they have 2 billion playlists. they have a good database to draw from. carol: they really thought about their discover play list. they do it once a week on monday
and it's curated. >> i mentioned this at a meeting at bloomberg businessweek and a couple of people came up to me and said i love that service and that's why i stayed a subscriber to spotify. i had not looked at spotify in about a year. i joined apple music. it is kind of amazing. they add a couple of songs like covers or artists you are familiar with. it's kind of contagious. 40 million users have tried it during the time that discover weekly has been around. i guess they have gained something like 25 million new users. they are not saying that's why that happened but it must've had something to do with that. david: who is running this for
them? what is his background? >> well, it is kind of funny when you think about it. it is a 36-year-old whose career has been a music discovery. he worked at the echo nest of that developed lots of algorithms. he does not claim that he invented this thing that he is the guy who is a product to guy. i guess that is the term. [laughter] >> but he helped to figure out a way to help people want to use this thing. there were people at spotify saying, let's give everyone a personal playlist every day. do you really want to hear 30 or 40 new songs every day? so they came up with monday and just 30 songs. some people wanted to recommend 100 songs.
it makes it digestible and that is sort of the problem with services, you are sort of overwhelmed. too often, you don't want to do it. but this is different. carol: in your story you talk about an automobile worker in sweden who becomes a dj. thanks to spotify, he is now touring europe. they find new, new music. >> that is also the idea, they say it's not the people spending more time on spotify now that the discover weekly is popular but they are spending time with artists and listening to newer artists. and that is obviously good if you are in automobile worker in sweden. and you put tropical house song on spotify in all of a sudden you are playing at festivals a handwaving banners. that is what happened to this guy. but it also has ramifications for the broader music industry and who will be the gatekeeper of the future.
carol: i'm going to talk about magna international. not the family jewels story. this company supplies automobile manufacturers with everything. , powertrain. -- they are looking at driverless cars and how they might be ultimately working with apple or uber or google perhaps. david: big business opportunity there. learn about don't talk about. we were just hearing from devon leonard. i thought the spotify story was great. it's finding a way to make sense of music and it's a great piece. i am one of those people looking for music in those torrents of stuff. the tropical house career is still nascent. carol: a lot of great stories in this issue of "bloomberg businessweek," on stands now. david: and a lot more stuff on bloomberg television coming up next. ♪
♪ angie: coming up on "bloomberg best," the stories that shaped the week in business around the world. central banks in tokyo and washington are in the spotlight and on the spot. >> i do not think anything is a pledge from janet yellen anymore. >> people with capital are really enjoying this environment. >> is this sustainable over the long term? >> no. angie: heads of state speak boldly about their national challenges. heads of companies speak frankly about international opportunities. >> i say it's all terrible. >> we are more cautiously optimistic. >> i believe the potential for us is 10 times what it is no