In a return of reader-suggested stories – keep them coming! – we explore an specific example of how “some moats are harder to cross” using a Financial Times story on Elsevier, RELX Group’s scientific journal publishing unit. According to the FT, it is “the business the Internet couldn’t kill”.
CNBC has a very interesting series of articles and videos on what they call the CNBC Disruptor 50, a list of 50 “disruptors” in several industries, including Healthcare, Travel, Transport, Retail, IT, Financial Services and others. Any disruptors creeping up on your portfolio companies yet?
Very interesting Wired interview with Google’s CEO, Larry Page. I love the “moon shot” reference in the title, and he apparently means it and tries to structure his company to allow for this sort of disruptive innovation. Does that translate into a bright future for GOOG shareholders? I have no clue, but companies like this are always in the radar, always teaching us something one way or the other.
Brazil has way too many holidays, that is certain. At least we can catch up with the reading, and this story is pretty interesting: Leucadia has decided to acquire Jefferies, the midsize US investment bank. Now the name Leucadia may not instantly ring a bell, but it is one of a few companies that have been called “mini-Berkshires” over the years – perhaps the most successful of them. They do interesting things there too, and this latest move takes them in a new direction.
Very interesting article in Fortune Magazine about See’s Candies, the candy company owned by Berkshire Hathaway. There’s also a nice companion piece about the reporter’s experience interviewing both Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. Buffett discussed See’s Candies in detail in the 2007 annual report, and we except from that inside.
Richard Branson’s Virgin is used to disrupting business models everywhere – telecom, airlines, you name it. Now they’re turning their attention to banks, as per this long Bloomberg Markets magazine article. Always very interesting to challenge our notions of “stable business models”, but Virgin’s very history shows that sometimes it’s harder than they initially thought it would be (Wal-mart’s experience in the US comes to mind).
The Crowdfunding Act has passed a vote in the US Senate. It allows people funding companies directly to finally become owners, as compared to models such as KickStarter that are “donation”-based – you can get rewards, but not ownership. While we’re definitely seeing more of a start-up culture in Brazil, it is still way too hard to do anything new here
Wells Fargo is now the US’ largest bank by market value and Apple will pay a huge dividend and repurchase shares. Microsoft and perhaps even Google can now be called “boring”, stable companies. Just a reminder of how limited our forecasting and modelling “mindsets” usually are. Also a reminder for keeping our minds open for positive surprises.
We highlight three articles about old truths and new business models. First the truth about economic models, according to the Scientific American magazine; second an old and huge sector disrupted by tiny start-ups; and third an entirely new business model that is becoming very relevant.