A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Beyond Meat (STAR)
Business quiz! Shares of Beyond Meat surged after the maker of plant-based protein: a) patented the first genetically engineered “hamburger and hot dog tree," which produces pre-formed patties and wieners; b) merged with retailer Bed Bath & Beyond to create Bed Bath & Beyond Meat; c) announced plans to open Beyond Meat’s first two manufacturing facilities in China, which “is one of the world’s largest markets for animal-based meat products, and potentially for plant-based meat,” CEO Ethan Brown said. Answer: c.
Lululemon Athletica (DOG)
Lululemon investors have been contorting themselves into some painful positions lately. Days after Citi downgraded the yoga and athletic apparel maker on valuation concerns, Lululemon’s second-quarter earnings report added to investors' growing discomfort. Even as results topped expectations, the company projected that earnings per share will decline by 15 to 20 per cent in the third quarter as it ramps up spending on its Mirror home-fitness unit. With Lululemon’s stock dropping for six consecutive sessions, you might call it a downward dog.
Tiffany & Co. (DOG)
The pandemic has been hard on everyone. Rich people, for example, haven’t been able to buy as many superfluous branded luxury goods. Things are so dire that France’s LVMH – whose ritzy brands include Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer – this week backed away from its US$16-billion takeover of U.S. jeweller Tiffany. LVMH said the French government asked it to delay the acquisition because of trade frictions with the U.S., but Tiffany argued in a lawsuit that LVMH is trying to renegotiate the price or to “run out the clock." With Tiffany’s stock quickly losing its sparkle, investors are heading for the exits.
Louis Audet on Sept. 7: “As the designated representative of the Audet family, who holds controlling shares of Cogeco Inc. and, indirectly, Cogeco Communications Inc., I want to provide absolute clarity for stakeholders regarding our intentions in response to the recent unsolicited proposal to acquire Cogeco. Our shares are not for sale. And let me be clear, our refusal is not a negotiating position, it is definitive.”
Other Cogeco shareholders on Sept. 8: “Sell!”
Empire Co. (STAR)
The good news for restaurants is that coronavirus restrictions are easing. The bad news? People have started to prefer cooking at home. Shares of Empire Co. – whose banners include Sobeys, Safeway and FreshCo – jumped after the grocery retailer announced a 47-per-cent surge in earnings for the quarter ended Aug. 1 as same-store sales leaped 11 per cent, excluding fuel. Investors are filling their shopping carts with Empire stock.
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