tv Bloomberg Technology Bloomberg September 17, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
more on the case that started tuesday. and who is laughing now? netflix cofounder mark randolph says blockbuster left at the company's original movie by mail service. we will hear his latest thoughts on streaming wars and tech culture. first, it finally happened. wework is pushing back its ipo. what was once one of the most anticipated debuts of 2019 is now postponed to october. they are looking to calm doubts. at this was the post to be a $47 -- supposed to be a $47 billion company. now that number is about $15 billion and perhaps smaller. joining me to discuss, phil haslett. and, in new york, crystal tse, who has been covering this troubled ipo. what was the problem today? is it valuations, financials, or
governance problems? >> all of the above. the simple answer is they have a lot of things to address before they can go to the investors again and ask them for their money. they were looking for a $47 billion valuation, and now we are hearing it could be as low as $12 billion to $15 billion. there have been a lot of changes to governance, but investors are looking at valuations, whether they will improve financials, and whether more is needed for them to be convinced about the valuation? taylor: this morning on the open, there were comments as it related to the valuation part. take a listen. >> the valuation is really a wake-up call to private investors that the public markets are holding them accountable. the specific reason i think this
report reflected that is the amount of cash burn, a consistent theme and your setup addressed this. companies losing a lot of money are being held to lower valuations. a half,a billion and which is more than what tesla lost to put that in perspective. phil: i would say wework is kind of in a space of its own. in 2018.st $2 billion i think a mix of lyft, uber, and wework planning to come public in 2019, i think we are seeing the largest losing companies. we are seeing companies that are burning only $100 million, $200 million in cash. wework is an exception to the norm, but writing off $37 billion of value over a period of 3-4 weeks will catch the attention of capital investors.
taylor: we can joke about how you value company using a discounted cash flow to evaluate company that does not have cash flows. on a serious note, how do you value this company? we started by, looking at a multiple of revenue. the first thing we found, they were trading at one or 1.5 times revenue. wework earned $2 billion revenue in 2018, so to come out at a valuation seemed ludicrous. i think the biggest thing for wework is trying to explain itself as a technology company when it is really a real estate company that has some technology bells and whistles. this really is a wake-up call to recalibrate expectations in q4 or later in 2020. taylor: bondholders also had a recalibration. the price of those wework
bonds are falling a record amount this morning, as low as 95, no hovering $.97 on the dollar or so. how nervous do bondholders continue to be? >> some of this is contingent on how the ipo performed or whether it will happen at all. wework put out a statement saying they were committed to finishing this ipo within the end of this year. that should give bondholders a little bit of confidence. the valuation continues to be the biggest concern. some of that is tied to how well they perform. if it becomes a $15 billion company, bondholders are going to get nervous. taylor: talk to me more about that valuation. what does the private market see that the public markets are missing? phil: one thing we saw is that there actually wasn't that much interest for wework,
particularly at the valuations it had obtained. we saw much healthier markets for companies that went public recently, companies like docusign, slack, that were little bit more popular with investors. we would have expected to see something similar with a company like wework because the brand is so ubiquitous. there was hesitation from investors at that rocky valuation. if you get north of $20 billion in valuation, you are not talking about hundreds of unicorns anymore. the number drops precipitously. particularly when you have that valuation coupled with losses, $2 billion, it was kind of a recipe for disaster. we have been in very much a bull market in private stocks, and that has led to terms on how they raise capital. at some point, you are going to have the pendulum swing. when you have this kind of
headline, a cut in valuation , it will really start to shift those numbers over to investors that will ask for more corporate governance and other aspects within the cap structure that they feel more comfortable with. taylor: you mentioned that $6 billion financing was contingent upon raising $3 billion with that ipo. assuming that doesn't happen, when does wework get more cash and where? crystal: i think the simple answer is they always need to get more cash as soon as possible. if the ipo does not happen by the end of the year, they may look into tapping into softbank to get more funding. there were some talks about softbank being willing to put another couple hundred million dollars into the country. -- into the company. that would not move the needle. they want an ipo to
recapitalize. taylor: quickly, any ideas on when is the drop dead deadline for raising more cash? phil: i have to think they want to push this over to 2020 but only about $3 billion, $3.5 billion of cash available to them, this could get messy. particularly if a lot of lenders have promised capital if they raise their ipo before 2019. they will put them in this tight bind. if i were them, i would spend the next quarter really tightening the belt, trying to overhaul spending, negotiate with some of the banks. taylor: phil haslett and crystal tse, thank you. coming up, apple says it is the world's biggest taxpayer and is playing by the rules. the latest and the eu's battle with the u.s. tech giant, next. this is bloomberg. ♪ taylor: apple told a european
union court that it was unfairly painted as a tax dodger. in luxembourg, an apple lawyer said in fact the company is the world's top taxpayer. apple is urging the eu court to overturn a ruling that they have to pay $14 billion in back taxes to ireland. >> apple is coming face-to-face with european regulators and the biggest tax case in the world. the company has appealed a 13 billion euros fine imposed in 2016. the idea behind it according to the europeans is that apple received special tax treatment from the irish government which allowed the company to pay artificially low taxes. apple says this is not the case and has appealed. if you are hoping to get a sorry moment from the company, that was not the case. apple said they pay the most tax in the world and claimed the
decision from the europeans lacked any logic or sense, and they believe the numbers were tweaked in a way that presented apple in a bad light. essentially, pretraining the company is paying no taxes. if you look at the european side, they tell you that they still believe they are right, that it is pretty obvious that apple has set out a tech -- tax structure in europe to pay the least amount possible. they do believe, if the arguments are validated or vindicated by the courts, they can continue to get tough on american tech companies to make them pay more in europe. of course, this tax cases are happening as tensions continue to play out between the united states and europe over big american tech. the president of the united states donald trump has said many times that this is only happening because the europeans cannot compete on the
innovation, so they must compete on the taxation. when it comes to the eu, they deny this is the case, and they say they just want everyone to pay their full share. apples tax more on issues in the eu, i am joined by tim, president of creative strategies. he has covered the field of computers and technologies since 1981, and served as a consultant to companies like apple my ibm, and microsoft. what do you make of the fact that apple has said, we are the biggest taxpayer in the world? tim: from an actual numbers standpoint, they probably are. apple is also one of the richest in the sense of their overall market value and the amount of money they bring in every year. to understand this, you have to go back a little bit to the beginning where apple did this deal as part of a partnership with the irish government in
1988-1989 when the irish government was very concerned about what they call the brain drain. they were literally graduating hundreds of engineering and business students, but there were not enough jobs in ireland to fill the needs or fill the jobs for these kids. they went to europe, the u.k., france, the u.s. the government was concerned that the only way they would allow these kids to stay yen was to lower other companies, especially tech companies, into ireland. over this time, apple has built up over 6000 jobs and contributed greatly to the irish economy. so that original tax structure was based on bringing apple in and that is what they continued to do until about 2015.
taylor: like you said, negotiated in good faith and now having some of that reversed on them. what does that mean for apple in future dealings with ireland and the eu? tim: that is part of the problem and that is why i believe apple and tech companies that could be in the crosshairs will fight this. what the eu did is they changed the laws and the rules in 2010 and they are now fine-tuning them. think of yourself as an american company. if you went in with a series of agreements and all the agreements got changed, that puts you off. if i was an american company, i would be concerned about investing in europe. that is why these american
companies really are looking at expanding into europe because it is great for distribution, customer service, at this point it sets a bad precedent. taylor: any thoughts on companies that start to feel the ripple effects if that goes through? tim: i'm sorry, repeat that. taylor: what companies would be next in terms of feeling the ripple effects if this fight does continue between apple and the eu? tim: at this stage, it is a little unclear. there are other companies including hp, microsoft, others, who might want to do more expansion. that is not exactly clear. a lot ofom talking to companies here, they are watching this particular case very closely because it will be factored into whether they actually do expand into europe in the future? taylor: perhaps the eu not concerned about that from this
lawsuit's perspective. that was tim bajarin, president of creative strategies. thank you. coming up, more from the interview with ibm ceo ginni rometty. she discusses the huge role diversity plays in the company. bloomberg technology is live streaming on twitter. check us out @technology. this is bloomberg. ♪ taylor: sony is rejecting a
suggestion by activist investor dan loeb to selloff some of its businesses. they are planning to hold onto both units. sony says that computer chips are key to growth and that retaining financial services will enable the company's value. loeb disclosed a stake in sony three months ago. ginni rometty started at ibm in 1981, became ceo in 2012, and has overseen a dramatic repositioning of the company as the tech space continues to evolve and transform. important, as technology takes over our day-to-day lives. caroline hyde spoke to her about how diversity is key to the relationships with employees and customers. ginni: i deeply believe in responsible stewardship of technology. people have got to trust these systems. the second is that you have to prepare society for them.
the third is around diversity and inclusion. for as long as i can remember, for ibm, it is what the firm has been built on. even longer, from the very beginning. i have really grown in that environment. the first woman senior vice president was 1943 and she was 27 years old. then i fast-forward, in the time in america, for the civil rights amendment, 11 years before that amendment, 11 years before that had declared all of the same points. it has always been about that you have got to get the best workforce, and the set of values so people can come to work and give their best. that is really what it is, give your best out there. then you jump to, if you build those technologies, you have to build them with a diverse workforce. especially with artificial intelligence. you have to represent one of the biggest things around bias. ofhave built a lot
technology to identify if there is bias. there is good bias and bad bias. we built something which treats cancer patients. i was told, you have only trained it with three institutions. we are like, they are the three best in the world, is that a bad idea? we are talking about serious decisions. this idea of who trains things, otherwise you will get -- there have been many examples of this out in the world. it has been completely oblivious to whether it is gender or whatever it is. it has made the wrong decisions, so you do need a diverse workforce. caroline: i think that is fascinating that you are talking about trust, ethics, bias. things plaguing technology in the u.s. and worldwide at the moment.
do you feel that corporate leadership in the u.s. is taking this on board? some of the jarring that technology brings. ginni: i think this is a very key point. business needs to. if society cannot trust these technologies are us, you can't operate. i have always felt the reason ibm is 108 years old is that society has given us the license to operate. you can only do that by your actions. your actions, what you say you hold to your values. we manage 90% of the world's financial transactions, credit card transactions come 80% of airline reservations, mobile phones. you have got to trust. you have to trust that we don't handle that data wrong. first, you have to have a set of principles. we wrote them down because i said, this time, we had better
write them down and make sure everybody understands that we feel we have always lived by them. you have to articulate them, live by them, be willing to be audited, and everyone has to generally agree. to me, they are very simple. the first one is, the purpose of technology is to augment what man does. man as in mankind. i have something to say, my people, what they do. the second is -- and this is really key -- data, its ownership, insights, and especially true with ai, the models, they belong to the owners of data, the creators. the third, for these models to be trusted, they must be explainable, free of bias. i have learned this as we bring out the technology to doctors, actuaries. their first question is why. you have to explain it to them, or they will not trust it.
you have to have a set of principles and live by them. they are deeply rooted in your own values. i think this is trust, one of the determining factors of this era. you have to be clear what they are. you have got to live by them. in history, a government would say, can i get into your software? no, we never put a backdoor in our software. in the united states, when we were asked, would we support legislation that said, if we knowingly had child sex trafficking on our cloud, would we be liable? that only took me five seconds to answer. yes, knowingly. these are based on a set of values. society has to know you will do that. i think in this day and age, being clear. there should be regulation, but i call it precision regulation. i am very afraid that if it is overreactive, you will derail the whole digital economy.
go after the bad actors. consumers have the right to know what data you have, delete it, correct it. if someone misuses it, there should be regulation, particularly for things against the wall. -- against the law. taylor: that was our exclusive interview with ibm chairman, president, and ceo ginni rometty. a reminder to tune in tomorrow on "bloomberg technology." we will bring you more of our conversation with ginni rometty and you can go online to catch the full 30 minute conversation. oracle has unveiled an operating system that runs without the need for human oversight. it is part of a line of new software tools that will make it easier for the company to transition to cloud computing. oracle is the world's second largest software maker and is trying to revive sales growth after years of stagnant revenue. coming up, wework won't work in public markets as they delay the
taylor: this is "bloomberg technology." i am taylor riggs in san francisco. back to our top story of the day. wework has announced it is putting off its troubled ipo, planning to list by the end of the year. , it was expected to be valued at $47 billion. now it is expected it will be valued at less than a third of its original valuation. is this an issue of timing or valuation? nicole quinn joins me now to discuss.
are you surprised at all around the volatility of wework? >> with regards to wework, it has been an interesting one if you think about it. in the first half of the year, they had $1.5 billion in revenue. they also had $1.4 billion in losses. there was probably a day when the market was ok with that, but the market right now is not comfortable with that. you have seen that with uber, with lyft. the market is not comfortable with those losses. i am an early stage investor. my prior career had been at morgan stanley taking a lot of these companies public. we would say we really need to see a line of sight in the next 12 to 24 months profitability , and that is what i think is lacking here. taylor: within your decades of experience bringing a lot of these companies to the public market, is the public market more than ever being more discerning? the companies where, frankly,
like you said, the bottom line does not match. >> i think that is exactly the right question to be asking because markets right now are still very much open for business. we have had a lot of companies do very well straight after ipo. those include solid, consistent businesses, but you are right -- the market is very much thinking about if these companies will be profitable, and that is where you are seeing a real distinct difference in the market. taylor: do you think that markets feel overvalued? are they too lofty? >> no, i don't think that is what we are seeing. if you add up all the technology unicorns in total, they only add up to 5% of the s&p, so there's still a huge amount of growth to be seen, but also valuations.
i think people like to often say that private market valuations are too choppy, but when there is a good, solid, consistent business focused on the bottom line as well as consistently growing the top line and having a true line of sight, the market is willing to pay a good valuation for that and will often trade up pretty significantly. you saw the balance in companies like zoom. i think we will continue to see more of that. taylor: i had an interesting conversation with john chambers, formerly of cisco, last week, and he said these private companies need to be coming to public markets much sooner, that they are staying private too long. how do you feel? >> i think you are not going to see a big change with that for a while. in fact, there's more and more later stage companies being built. we have 9 billion assets under management. we have early-stage funds but
also growth stage funds, and the reason for that is we see companies waiting longer and longer to go public and preferring to stay private, so it makes sense for us to also adapt our business model to have a growth vehicle to be there to support those companies while they want to stay private, and when they get to a point in their business model where they are stable, than it is a great time for them to go public, but there's no point in them going public when the market is going to see it as too volatile, so good for them to have that option. taylor: you are an investor in some pretty strong female-run, female-founded businesses. what does your research tell you about female-run businesses and why they are successful? >> you are right. tarif over 1/3 of our
consumer portfolios have female founders. it's actually 70% of my portfolio. it is a big focus for us. the reason being if you're starting a consumer company, the end consumer is usually a woman, given the fact that women make upwards of 80% of household decisions. we are seeing more and more women finding problems they have experience themselves and bringing a truly unique solution to the table. goop is one. yesterday we launched lady gaga's house beauty. beauty is something she has been focused on for many years. it is great because they are experiencing the pain personally and going on to build significant businesses around that. taylor: this is a crowded space. you have people like kylie jenner partnering with ulta beauty. lady gaga, as you mentioned, in exclusive partnership with amazon. how do you stand out in a crowded field? >> we spent a year serving the
whole beauty market. it is an interesting category, it is high-margin's, high repeat rate, high customer love, but we found that most of the companies were about fitting in. lady gaga's for example, was really about standing out. to answer your question, one of the ways we think about this is true innovation, true experimentation and finding unique products. with some of the products being launched yesterday, you will see there's one product called glamour tax that has never been done before. it is super interesting, and we are already seeing the influencers absolutely go crazy today for these products, so i think that is it, innovation and unique products. taylor: wonderful. thank you for joining me. big tech has seen a variety of antitrust investigations lobbied against it recently. the man who founded microsoft has plenty of thoughts when it comes to the topic. gates says that breaking up some
of the biggest u.s. tech companies is not the right solution to making the market more competitive. gates made his case to bloomberg in seattle. >> i don't know the last time. it was a long time ago, and you have to think is that the best thing? if there is a way a company is ,ehaving, you should just say but having two people doing the bad thing does not seem like a solution. it is a pretty narrow set of things that i think breakup is the right answer to. you know, these companies are very big, very important companies. the fact that governments are thinking about these things, that's not a surprise.
you know, i was naive about this, but i was a long time ago and i did not realize as microsoft gets successful, we would come under scrutiny, and we went through our thing back in the 1990's, and that made us more thoughtful about this kind of activity. >> do you share the government's concerns that any of these companies or all of them, perhaps, are doing things, abusing their power and influence in such a way that it undermines either the political system -- and we have heard about that -- or perhaps the consumer economy, and we have heard about that, too? >> i think these companies are behaving totally legally. they are doing a lot of innovative things. the fact the tax rules in cent you to minimize taxes. people should look if they want to change that moving forward. social media nobody had a
, crystal ball that in some ways, that would be a way of radicalizing people or splitting them into different groups. what exactly the solution to that should be, to not being pulled to extremes, i don't think you can rely completely on the tech industry to worry about that. i do think government really needs to talk about what those rules should be. you could say i'm biased, but i cvs as well-meaning, highly innovative companies that it is up to society to make sure that their innovation does not have negative side effects. taylor: that was bill gates speaking to bloomberg's erik schatzker. coming up, facebook shedding more light on what content stays up
taylor: on wednesday, facebook will testify before a congressional committee on its content, but before that happens, we are learning new details about a so-called supreme court. the social network has revealed the final charter for independent oversight. it is a board that will be able to make irreversible decisions about what posts stay up and come down, even if facebook disagrees. this comes amidst ever-increasing scrutiny over content that includes misinformation heading into the u.s. presidential election. to tell me more about this, bloomberg's sarah frier who covers all things facebook for us. and in washington, the executive director of global digital policy incubator.
tuesday, she spoke with the federal election symposium on election interference. what have we learned today about the supreme court? >> we learned facebook will have this very high standard for what it should be. whether it is actually possible is much harder. they say all these people will have no conflict of interest, real or perceived. they will collaborate very well and articulate their thoughts well, and they will make binding decisions that even facebook cannot reverse, and that will all happen in a way that is financially protected from facebook's money, even though they will be indirectly funding it. no one can be fired for making a conscious decision. it all seems good. the question is -- who is going to be on this board that fits these qualifications for have this diverse, varied opinion set, and how will they make it work with 2.7 billion users and only 11 supporting people on this committee?
taylor: as we talk about facebook, big tech pushing forward to the 2020 election, i want to bring you in here because you were part of this today, and of course, the federal election commission. you were on the panel. what was your key take away as we push forward to the election? is big tech ready to handle the misinformation that may be coming? >> we got into the global nature of the threat into election integrity around the world, and where the united states fits into that picture. i have to say the facebook supreme court external oversight board is dealing with facebook's own community guidelines with respect to the kind of content they want to see. the disinformation threat is different. that is much more of a society-wide cross-platform threat. we talk about the different
vulnerabilities we have to our election integrity ranging from the infrastructure that deals with voting, voter registration, tabulation -- that is the hard infrastructure. there is the data security for candidates, party, et cetera. we saw john podesta's emails doxxed. the shows you disinformation security. the disinformation threat is a different piece, and i want to say -- i want to point everybody if you care about the spectrum of bills, stanford university put out a very important report on all of those types of vulnerabilities to our elections and a whole series of recommendations. today's event was focused on the disinformation threat. here is the important thing to remember, most disinformation does not violate facebook's terms of service, community guidelines, or the guidelines of
the other platforms. most of it is not illegal. most of it is not even technically false. it is manipulative, and the real challenge is how do we protect against that manipulation of voters without undermining free expression? the bottom line of today's program was that it is going to take a society-wide cross sector initiative, and bringing the public into this and doing media literacy and getting people to feel a sense of outrage about manipulation is going to be a big part of the solution. taylor: when you talk about finding a solution, we should note there was big tech there, representatives from google. he also had a lot of senators and national security experts all participating. what was the collective decision, if there was one, about how to tackle this? is it more regulation?
what is the solution? >> regulatory solution in the united states is really tough, given our first amendment and supreme court doctrine on it. also, the state of the congress. i would not look to a regulatory solution as it relates to disinformation. there can be regulatory issues related to other aspects. there are many bills out there. on the disinformation front, the tech platforms are trying to focus on manipulative behavior, inauthentic coordinated disinformation. that is where they should be focused, rather than the content basis of disinformation, but a big thing we took away today was the role of the regular mainstream traditional media. they play a much bigger role in the disinformation front than has currently been recognized and we need to turn our attention to that other part of the media landscape.
taylor: the biggest name in streaming is still netflix, but when you are king, you have them all coming after you. you have apple, disney, amazon competing for your online dollars, and as of tuesday, you can add nbc2 the list. their entrance will be called peacock and future beloved sitcoms like "the office" and "parks and rec" in its lineup, which is also slated to include some original programming. who better to talk about the streaming or stan the man who cofounded netflix, mark randolph?
he was also the first ceo. thank you for joining me on "bloomberg technology." give me a recap sort of of your book and your thoughts on how netflix has changed since you left the company. "that will never work" is really the untold story of netflix, about how a couple of guys with no experience in the video industry took a crazy idea that no one thought would work, that my wife did not think would work, and somehow turned it into a company which is changing the face of television. taylor: it is changing the face of television. i wanted to show a chart to our bloomberg audience. when we talk about netflix, you cannot talk about netflix without also talking about the ways in which it is changing television. though rate -- the rate it is burning
through cash to stay ahead of all those competitors. as you look at netflix now and how it has progressed over these years, does it concern you at all about the competition that is heating up and the capital netflix is spending to stay ahead? >> i have not worked at netflix years, so i cannot talk specifically about the tactics and strategy they will use to compete in these streaming wars. the only thing i know something about is the culture because the culture, of course, springs from how the founders treat each other. it springs from how the founders treat their employees, so i do know a few things about netflix's capacity to compete. for one, netflix has always been about the customer. it was never about streaming or shipping dvd's. it was about helping people find movies they love. the second special thing about netflix is the fact they push decision-making so deeply down in the organization. it is about
freedom and responsibility culture. what that does is give them the capacity to respond so quickly to any threats or opportunities. i actually feel quite confident in netflix's ability to respond to the fact there will be so many new entrants. taylor: how does that culture set netflix apart and set them up for success as everyone tries to come after them? >> i talk about this in the book. we could not have time to tell everyone "here is exactly how to do your job." instead, all you can really say is, "here is where we are going. i will meet you there." it was easy to do that when we had seven employees. a little bit harder when you have 70. really hard when you have 700, but netflix now has 7000, and they still work that way. even though netflix to some is a big behemoth, to netflix, they are still a start up. they are still willing to do whatever that takes.
taylor: you do have a lot of competition coming after netflix, even though they probably think they are pretty small. what would be your biggest advice to a company in the streaming service or your advice to netflix on how to differentiate yourself as they have? >> my advice is the same to netflix or any company in the streaming wars, to any big company or any startup. number one, you do have to always put the customer at the center of your decision-making. once you begin thinking about what is best for shareholders rather than for customers, once you begin thinking about what is better for your infrastructure, that is when you get into trouble, both in business and in ethics. i also say you have to focus. you have to say, what is the most important thing we are doing? and stick to that. even though there's other things that seem. taylor: you are an entrepreneur
investing in constantly and looking at new opportunities. where do you see the next opportunity? >> that's the big question. if i knew exactly what was coming next, boy, i would be in that business right now. one thing i have learned is whenever you have a new idea, everyone says the same thing. they say that will never work, but my motto is nobody knows anything. no one really knows a good idea from a bad idea until after you try it. whether the future is artificial intelligence, avatars, beaming movies telepathically into your head, who knows? that is why it is so exciting to be a consumer and see what is happening with the way tv is being made and delivered. taylor: as a consumer, one thing we talk about when we talk about competition in the streaming wars is pricing. you have a slew of people coming out with five dollars a month, seven dollars a month.
as a consumer, do you feel like it is a race to the bottom in terms of what you will have to pay, and everyone may have to lower prices to keep up? >> i think what is happening with prices is you are allowing people to have multiple services, to pick from a menu, so to speak. compared to a handful of years ago when your only choice was cable and you had to pay $120 to $140 a month. you really could only have one. with apple coming out, five dollars, disney and netflix being in the 10-ish dollar range there's no reason you cannot have more than one. there will probably be a shakeout at some point, but i do not see this being one company survives. i think multiple people will specialize and offer a range of choices. ultimately, i think that is a fantastic thing for the consumer. taylor: and a way for multiple companies to succeed. thank you for joining me.
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