The Florida-based Grilled Cheese Food Truck quietly went public last week, and its value far exceeded expectations
The Grilled Cheese Food Truck seems to melt away the competition, but is it worth investing in?
There’s nothing more comforting than creamy, melty cheese between two slices of crispy, toasted bread. The Florida-based Grilled Cheese Truck went public last week with an astounding estimated worth of $108 million. It’s a surprisingly high number, especially considering that the mobile grilled cheese dispensary reported total assets at just over $1 million last year and liabilities of almost $2.6 million.
The Grilled Cheese Truck IPO has left investors dumbfounded, and, according to Bloomberg, it’s something that probably won’t last, despite everyone’s love of melted cheese. “This means its shares trade for more than 25 times sales, a very rich valuation,” writes Bloomberg financial columnist Barry Ritholtz. “That sort of thing doesn't happen unless there is significant excess in the markets.”
The Grilled Cheese Truck isn’t the only fast casual eatery to catch investors’ attention: Shake Shack went public last month, but, given their wide reach and hand-over-fist profits, Shake Shack’s $1.6 billion estimated value is more plausible.
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Eli Broad, billionaire entrepreneur who reshaped LA, dies
1 of 8 In this Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011, file photo, Billionaire Eli Broad attends the unveiling of the Broad Art Foundation contemporary art museum designs in Los Angeles. Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday, April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. He was 87. Jae C. Hong/AP Show More Show Less
2 of 8 FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2008, file photo, Los Angeles Philanthropist Eli Broad, left, shakes hands with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, right, at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., after Broad announced that he and his wife Edythe Broad were donating an additional $400 million to the biomedical institute. Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday, April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. He was 87. Josh Reynolds/AP Show More Show Less
3 of 8 FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2015 file photo Eli Broad poses for a photo at his museum, "The Broad" in downtown Los Angeles. Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday, April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. He was 87. Richard Vogel/AP Show More Show Less
4 of 8 FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2015 file photo, Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, stand for a photo amid Jeff Koons sculptures at his new museum called "The Broad" in downtown Los Angeles. Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday, April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. He was 87. Richard Vogel/AP Show More Show Less
5 of 8 FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2015, file photo, Eli Broad, right, founder of The Broad museum, arrives with his wife Edythe at the museum's opening in Los Angeles. Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday, April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. He was 87. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File) Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Show More Show Less
6 of 8 FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011, file photo, billionaire Eli Broad speaks during the unveiling of the Broad Art Foundation contemporary art museum designs in Los Angeles. Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday, April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. He was 87. Jae C. Hong/AP Show More Show Less
7 of 8 FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2008 file photo, billionaire Eli Broad poses for a picture outside the MOCA museum downtown Los Angeles. Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday, April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. He was 87. Damian Dovarganes/AP Show More Show Less
8 of 8 FILE - In this July 26, 2012, file photo, Philantrophist Eli Broad smiles as puts his shoes back on, after an official barefoot walk in the opening of the fountain at Grand Park in Los Angeles. Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday, April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles. He was 87. Damian Dovarganes/AP Show More Show Less
LOS ANGELES (AP) &mdash Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 87.
Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, confirmed his death to The Associated Press. Emmerling said Broad died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness. No services have been announced.
The New York Times first reported his death.
&ldquoAs a businessman Eli saw around corners, as a philanthropist he saw the problems in the world and tried to fix them, as a citizen he saw the possibility in our shared community, and as a husband, father and friend he saw the potential in each of us,&rdquo Gerun Riley, president of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, said in a statement Friday.
It was Broad (pronounced brohd) who provided much of the money and willpower used to reshape Los Angeles&rsquo once moribund downtown into a burgeoning area of expensive lofts, fancy dining establishments and civic structures like the landmark Walt Disney Concert Hall. He opened his own eponymous contemporary art museum and art lending library, the Broad, in 2015 in the city's downtown next to Disney Hall.
&ldquoEli Broad, simply put, was L.A.&rsquos most influential private citizen of his generation,&rdquo Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter. &ldquoHe loved this city as deeply as anyone I have ever known.&rdquo
As a young accountant in the 1950s, Broad saw opportunity in the booming real estate market. He quit his job and partnered with developer Donald Kaufman and began building starter homes for first-time buyers eager to claim their slice of the American Dream. The company eventually became KB Home, one of the most successful home developers in the nation.
Nearly 30 years later, Broad spotted opportunity once more and transformed the company&rsquos insurance arm into a retirement savings conglomerate that catered to the financial needs of aging baby boomers.
In the process, Broad became one of the nation&rsquos wealthiest men, with a financial net worth estimated by Forbes magazine Friday at $6.9 billion.
He also gained a reputation for being a driven, tenacious dealmaker.
&ldquoIf you play it safe all of the time, you don&rsquot get very far,&rdquo Broad told Investor&rsquos Business Daily in 2005.
Outside work, Broad used his wealth and status to bring about civic, educational, scientific and cultural improvement projects, particularly in Los Angeles. The New York native had moved to the city&rsquos tony Brentwood section in 1963. His charitable foundations donated millions to such projects, particularly those aimed at improving public education, and established endowments at several universities across the nation.
In the 1990s, Broad led the campaign to help raise money to build the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and was a major underwriter of Los Angeles&rsquo Museum of Contemporary Art, among other institutions. An avid art hound since the 1960s, Broad had a collection estimated to be worth $500 million in 2003.
In 1984, he established the Broad Art Foundation to lend works from his collection for public viewing.
A decade later, he famously purchased Roy Lichtenstein&rsquos &ldquoI . I&rsquom Sorry&rdquo for $2.5 million at an auction with a credit card and donated the more than 2 million frequent flier points he racked up to students at the California Institute for the Arts. In 2008, with his money, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art opened its new Broad Contemporary Art Museum featuring works from Broad&rsquos collection.
Broad also exercised considerable political muscle. A Democrat, he led the push to lure the party&rsquos national convention in 2000 to Los Angeles. He sometimes split with his party, however, most notably in 1972 when, disillusioned with Sen. George McGovern&rsquos campaign, he served as co-chair of Democrats for Nixon.
Years after Nixon resigned the presidency in disgrace, Broad told Los Angeles Magazine that his efforts on Nixon&rsquos behalf were something &ldquoI hate to admit to.&rdquo But it wasn&rsquot the last time he would support a Republican. He also backed his close friend, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, with whom he shared a mutual vision of public school reform.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) lauded Broad and his wife, Edythe, for their philanthropic efforts.
"Their leadership to support our schools, advance scientific and medical research and ensure that all have access to the arts leaves a lasting and remarkable legacy," Pelosi said in a statement. &ldquoOur entire nation is particularly indebted to the Broads for their commitment to supporting the arts, which they knew to be an essential, unifying force in the world.&rdquo
The son of Lithuanian immigrants, Broad was born June 6, 1933, in New York City but raised in Detroit. His father was a house painter and small business owner.
Broad earned his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 1954. In 1991, he endowed the university&rsquos Eli Broad College of Business and Eli Broad Graduate School of Management.
At 20, he passed Michigan&rsquos certified public accountant exam, becoming the youngest person at the time to do so. The following year, he married his hometown sweetheart, Edythe. The couple had two sons, Jeffrey and Gary. His wife and sons survive him, according to The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.
Eager to leave school and start his career, Broad began working for several clients, including Kaufman. Soon Broad took note of the real estate market and began studying the field, reading industry journals and using his accounting know-how to analyze the business. He gradually became convinced there was money to be made.
In 1957, at the age of 23, he went into business with Kaufman, selling homes in the suburbs of Detroit. The first homes sold for about $12,000, about 10 percent less than competitors because they were built without customary basements and in about half the time.
Kaufman and Broad took their approach West, first to Arizona then California. They relocated the company&rsquos corporate headquarters to Los Angeles in 1963, two years after it became the first homebuilder to go public.
In 1971, Broad bought an insurance company as a hedge against the boom and bust cycles of the housing market. As he had done prior to venturing into real estate, Broad began doing research on the insurance market and saw financial planning for retirees as a better business. He began shifting the subsidiary&rsquos focus toward selling annuities and other retirement savings products.
The company was renamed SunAmerica in 1989, with Broad as its chairman and chief executive. In 1998, New York-based American International Group acquired SunAmerica for $16.5 billion.
Two years later, Broad stepped down as chief, but retained the title of chairman.
&ldquoI will do the things that I enjoy doing and things that I could have the most value with rather than doing the day-to-day things,&rdquo Broad told The Associated Press at the time. &ldquoI like to work. Right now I probably work 80 hours a week. . I still see myself working close to 40 hours at SunAmerica/AIG and maybe 40 hours at other things.&rdquo
In recent years, Broad spent much of his time engaged in philanthropic work through his foundations, advocating for public education reform, promoting the rebirth of Los Angeles&rsquo downtown as a commercial and residential center and other causes.
In 1999, the Broads founded the Broad Foundation, which committed more than $500 million toward improving urban public education in its first five years.
Broad took a CEO&rsquos approach, believing that troubled schools often could be vastly improved if they were better managed by their principals.
&ldquoThese are huge enterprises,&rdquo Broad said of urban school districts in an interview with Forbes magazine in 2003. &ldquoYou don&rsquot start at the bottom. You start at the top.&rdquo
Plus’s SPAC Merger Marks Autonomous Trucking Shift to Public Markets
A heavy-duty tractor-trailer with technology from autonomous truck startup Plus.
Autonomous truck companies are looking to public markets for financial backing as they try to take their technology into full production at a commercial scale.
PlusAI Corp.’s agreement to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company could make the startup the second autonomous driving provider to list on a U.S. exchange, after rival TuSimple Holdings Inc. made its debut last month in a $1.35 billion initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock market.
Plus plans to merge with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V in a transaction that would bring the company, which is based in California and China, about $500 million in gross proceeds and a market capitalization of roughly $3.3 billion.
The agreement is expected to close in the third quarter, the companies said Monday.
The deal would provide “a significant cash infusion for us to expand our commercialization efforts,” Plus Chief Executive and co-founder David Liu said, as the company steps up production and aims to fill thousands of contracted orders and vehicle reservations from Chinese and U.S. fleets.
The transaction would include a $150 million private placement of shares with BlackRock Inc., D.E. Shaw Group and other institutional investors.
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The planned listing and TuSimple’s recent IPO follow a shakeout period in the autonomous trucking sector, where companies need large amounts of capital to develop technology that is several years out from mass commercial deployment. Some startups sold to other companies last year, and analysts say investors are increasingly concentrating money behind a few prominent ventures.
Plus has received around $600 million in total funding, Mr. Liu said. The company raised $420 million this year, accounting for more than 70% of the $584.9 million that research firm PitchBook Data Inc. said venture-capital investors have poured into self-driving trucking companies so far in 2021. Plus declined to comment on its most recent valuation.
Plus, like TuSimple, has strong ties to China and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in financing from Chinese and U.S. investors.
Founded in 2016 in Silicon Valley, the company also has research and development offices in China, where Plus plans to start mass production of its self-driving systems this year through a partnership with Chinese truck manufacturer FAW Jiefang, part of state-owned FAW Group Corp. The company also has an agreement to develop autonomous trucks with Iveco, equipment-maker CNH Industrial NV’s Italy-based commercial vehicle brand, for use in China, Europe and elsewhere.
Plus said it has signed a deal to provide 1,000 trucks retrofitted with its technology to a large U.S. private trucking fleet, and delivered the first batch in February. Mr. Liu declined to name that customer, citing a nondisclosure agreement, but said Plus is working with several U.S. shipping companies and trucking fleets and that many are running pilots of its technology.
Plus plans to deploy about 160 trucks this year in the U.S., scaling up to around 1,300 in 2022, according to an investor presentation.
“Our backlog already basically extends ourselves into 2023,” Mr. Liu said. “We’re just trying to make sure that we can actually increase our production and make sure our technology and products are robust and reliable enough to meet the demand.”
Other autonomous-vehicle startups that also focus on passenger vehicles are stepping up efforts to develop autonomous technology for freight transportation.
“The market is validating the view that self-driving trucks will arrive well before robotaxis,” said Asad Hussain, senior mobility analyst at PitchBook. He said widespread deployments of autonomous trucks will likely occur in the early-to-mid 2020s compared with the mid-to-late 2020s for self-driving cars.
Plus said it plans to reach full autonomy with its trucks by the end of 2024. The company expects to generate an estimated $16 million in revenue this year, and $250 million in 2022.
“We expect to be cash-flow positive by 2023,” Mr. Liu said. Plus expects to have $78 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2023, compared with a projected $47 million loss in 2022.
TuSimple projects its first revenue from fully autonomous freight runs in 2024.
Plus’s reverse-merger agreement comes as Wall Street’s SPAC fever appears to be cooling under new regulatory scrutiny, missed targets by newly public electric-vehicle companies and a broader retreat from splashy technology stocks.
Autonomous trucking technology will have to navigate regulatory and other hurdles to reach broad acceptance, including concerns about the safety of driverless trucks hauling thousands of pounds of freight on public highways.
Rachel Binder, managing analyst for transportation and mobility at market-intelligence firm CB Insights, said investors are interested in the sector because of the savings that driverless technology could provide through reduced labor costs and increased efficiency.
“But I think the sentiment is, ‘Let’s put our money behind the strongest players,’” Ms. Binder said.
Write to Jennifer Smith at [email protected]
Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appeared in the May 11, 2021, print edition as 'Makers of Self-Driving Trucks Go Public.'
Winning Powerball jackpot ticket worth $731.1 million sold in small Maryland town
In a Western Maryland town of just over 1,000 people, the Coney Market shop, otherwise known for hamburgers and hand-dipped ice cream, sold around 1,200 Powerball tickets last week, according to owner Richard “Dick” Ravenscroft.
Still, the chances were slim that he would sell the winning ticket for the largest jackpot in Maryland history. Individual odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 292 million, according to the Maryland Lottery.
Yet it happened. The Maryland Lottery announced Thursday that someone purchased the winning ticket at Coney Market in Lonaconing, worth an estimated $731.1 million before taxes. It’s the fifth-largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever, and it comes one day after nobody won the even-larger Mega Millions prize, which now stands at $970 million.
“Everybody’s very excited,” said Ravenscroft, who doesn’t know the identity of the person who purchased the ticket, the multimillionaire now perhaps walking in his midst.
“It wasn’t me,” Ravenscroft said. “I’m still here.”
The first thing he would do if he had won? “Sit down.”
Some believe that the market’s tucked-away location, miles from the interstate, suggest someone local must be the lucky winner.
“We do get people passing through, but most of the time it’s someone in the area,” Lonaconing Town Administrator Tyler Rayner said.
Wilbur Miller, 76, a grandfather of seven who lives in the town, wanted to dispel a rumor going around town Thursday: that he had bought the winning ticket.
Miller sounded exasperated during a phone interview Thursday afternoon with The Sun. The Boynton, Pennsylvania, native spent all morning overwhelmed by hundreds of calls, congratulating him and asking if it was true.
”I did not win this money,” Miller said.
He said he is a regular lottery player and won $10,000 on a Scratch-Off two months ago.
”But I done spent that working on my pickup truck,” he said, with a laugh.
No one has yet come forward to claim the prize, said a spokesperson for the Maryland Lottery.
“Could take days … or weeks. We never know,” Carole Bober Gentry, managing director of communications, wrote in an email. “Even then, they could choose to remain anonymous.”
In 2012, three friends and public school educators who called themselves “The Three Amigos” came forward to anonymously claim their $218.6 million portion of the then-record-breaking $656 million Mega Millions jackpot.
That year, a previous lottery winner, Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett, who won $32.6 million in 2007, encouraged other winners to stay private.
Lottery winners whose identities are made public can become targets for scammers, charities and others seeking handouts.
The winning numbers for the drawing, which took place Wednesday night, were as follows: 40-53-60-68-69 and a Powerball of 22. The jackpot winner matched all six numbers. (Another ticket sold at an AC&T in Hagerstown matched the first five but not the Powerball number. That ticket is now worth $2 million.)
The unknown winner is the first person to snag the top Powerball prize since September. The long stretch between wins is the reason why the prize total grew so huge. Following the win, the new jackpot drops to an estimated $20 million for the next drawing Saturday.
Wednesday’s drawing marks Maryland’s first Powerball win since 2011 and just its third overall. The previous two jackpot wins in the state both happened in 2011, one in Cecil County ($128.8 million) and another in Harford County ($108.8 million).
The prizes listed are for winners who choose an annuity option, paid over 30 years. Most winners opt for cash prizes, which for Mega Millions would be $716.3 million and $546.8 million for Wednesday’s Powerball. According to the Maryland Lottery, the jackpot win generates nearly $50 million in taxes for the state if the winner takes the lump sum cash option. Prizes are also subject to federal taxes.
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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As a new fair season approaches, organizers of the Montgomery County Fair have announced they will move forward with planning a traditional fair this year.
The possible return of starships, ferris wheels, and deep-fried treats has many people in the Miami Valley feeling hopeful.
“It’s very exciting. Governor DeWine’s new mandates I believe will work out for us quite well. It is kind of a moving target. We don’t know exactly what we’re going to have to do as far as social distancing,” said John Friedline, a Montgomery County Fair board member.
The Ohio Department of Health has not released updated guidelines for the 2021 fair season, but Friedline said some things will be different.
“We might have to do a little bit of like…when you’re in line to get your fair food or in line to get on a ride that might change a little bit,” he said. “We are planning on doing everything as normal in terms of two tractor pulls, two demolition derbies. We’re still going to have the rodeo.”
The fair was canceled last year due to the pandemic, but the junior fair went on as scheduled. The 2021 fair would help fund that program.
The fair will take place July 11-17, 2021.
Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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DAYTON, OHIO (WDTN) – To double mask or not to double mask, that is the question.
“We went from a situation to where cases were extremely high, to now they’re very high. Still, there’s a large degree of spread of COVID throughout the community, so that’s why wearing that mask is still very important,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information officer for Public Health — Dayton and Montgomery County.
Suffoletto says double masking can help stop the spread of the virus, but it must be done in the right way.
“No matter what number of masks you’re wearing, if you’re not doing it correctly, it’s not gonna make a difference,” said Suffoletto.
According to an article from NBC, Dr. Anthony Fauci has publicly stated it doesn’t hurt wearing two masks, but wearing at least one is key in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Fauci has admitted to wearing two masks himself sometimes, to add an extra layer of protection.
“The level of protection you’re getting from your mask depends on the type you’re wearing. For example an N-95, that mask fits well it has good filtering, so you wouldn’t necessarily need two masks in that situation,” said Suffoletto.
However, other mask types might benefit from a little extra help.
“Wearing something like a bandana, which really is no mask at all and is not recommended. Or, some mask that is very porous or loose fitting, then that’s where maybe you could use two masks to make sure you’re getting as much fitting as possible,” said Suffoletto.
Currently, wearing more than one mask isn’t required or recommended by the CDC.
Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Real Life Examples
The IRS has developed a list of standard useful lifespans for nearly every tangible asset that a company may acquire for use in its business.
Assets the IRS estimates to have a useful lifespan of three years includes horses that are two years or older, tractors, and tractor units. Assets with an estimated useful lifespan of five years include cars, taxis, buses, trucks, computers, office machines (including fax machines, copiers, and calculators), equipment used for research, and cattle.
Assets with an estimated useful lifespan of seven years include office furniture and other fixtures. Assets with an estimated useful lifespan of 10 years include single-purpose agricultural or horticultural structures, fruit or nut-bearing plants and trees, and equipment used for water transportation.
Assets that have an estimated useful lifespan of 15 years include improvements to land or business property, such as shrubbery, roads, bridges, and fences. Assets that have an estimated useful lifespan of 20 years include farm buildings that are neither horticultural nor agricultural structures.
Assets with an estimated useful lifespan of 27 to 28 years include properties used for residential rental. Assets with an estimated useful lifespan of 39 years include non-residential real estate, such as a home office minus the value of the land.
The estimated lifespans determined by the IRS do not necessarily reflect the length of time any specific asset will last. These time periods merely reflect the general length of time that the assets are likely to be of some benefit or use to the company. They are subject to adjustment in relation to any of the factors mentioned above that may affect an asset's useful lifespan.
Yum! Brands: A hybrid approach with the best of both worlds
Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) is the parent company of restaurant chains KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. In the company's fourth quarter of 2017, it announced a major partnership with GrubHub, which went far deeper than subscribing to the delivery service's platform. As part of the deal, Yum! Brands purchased $200 million of Grubhub's primary common stock, giving it a significant vested interest in the global leader of online and mobile food delivery. The investment gives GrubHub the liquidity it needs to expand its delivery network faster and drive more orders to Yum! Brands' KFC and Taco Bell restaurants. Meanwhile, Yum also gained a seat on GrubHub's board of directors, ensuring that it will have a voice in all of the delivery company's strategic growth initiatives.
Another unique aspect of the partnership is that all of KFC's and Taco Bell's points-of-sale (POS) systems will be fully integrated with GrubHub's, making for faster delivery and more accurate orders. While this integration is still being rolled out across KFC and Taco Bell locations, the markets where it has been piloted have shown encouraging results.
What might be the best part about this deal is Yum's access to GrubHub's data, which Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed called "critical." With access to the data and the full-scale integration of GrubHub's ordering system with Yum's, this partnership has many of the advantages of McDonald's partnership with Uber Eats -- such as no great expense for a vast delivery infrastructure build out -- with fewer disadvantages, because it has access to the customer data GrubHub generates.
In the company's first quarter, same store sales grew a meager 1%, worldwide sales grew a bit more at 4%, and adjusted earnings per share jumped 38%. Yum! Brands currently trades at a P/E ratio of about 19.
Texas billionaire invests in Blue Bell
1 of 2 Blue Bell delivery trucks are parked at the creamery in Kansas City, Kansas. The company announced that an investment by prominent Texas businessman Sid Bass will "ensure" the return of its ice cream products to the market. Orlin Wagner /Associated Press Show More Show Less
2 of 2 Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse would not discuss the scope of Bass’ (pictured) investment. Associated Press file photo Show More Show Less
In Texas storybook fashion, one of the men who saved Cowtown has come to the rescue of the &ldquolittle&rdquo creamery in Brenham.
Blue Bell Creameries issued a one-page press release Tuesday morning declaring that billionaire oil man Sid Richardson Bass of Fort Worth had made a &ldquosignificant&rdquo investment, becoming a partner in the company and ensuring its return to the market.
Michael Sherrod, entrepreneur in residence at Texas Christian University&rsquos Neeley School of Business in Fort Worth, estimated it would take $50 million to $100 million to save Blue Bell.
&ldquoThey were either going to be a target for private equity or they were going to need some kind of white knight,&rdquo he said. &ldquoI think they found the white knight.&rdquo
The brief announcement reflected how Bass and Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse value the privacy of their family businesses. Blue Bell, closely held by the Kruses and other private investors, would not discuss the scope of the investment or what percentage of the business Bass now owns.
Market analysts put Blue Bell&rsquos 2014 ice cream sales at about $700 million, making it one of the top four players in the U.S. despite selling in only 23 states. It shut down production in April amid a listeria outbreak.
&ldquoThe Kruse family and all of our investors, including Mr. Bass, are committed to preserving the family values and traditions that have guided us over the past 108 years,&rdquo spokeswoman Jenny Van Dorf said in an email.
Bass couldn&rsquot be reached for comment but said in the company&rsquos statement that he valued the quality of the ice cream.
The Bass-Blue Bell partnership joins two threads of Texas lore. One originates, according to legend, in the $40 borrowed by wildcatter Sid Richardson from his sister in the 1930s, a loan that led to discovery of the Keystone oil fields of West Texas and to the Bass family fortune. The other is rooted in a small-town butter outfit that, owing in part to an ingenious marketing strategy that steeped the ice cream in country nostalgia, grew into an industrial-scale operation with fiercely loyal customers.
It&rsquos exactly the kind of deal the Bass family likes, said Sherrod, speculating that Bass already had a relationship with the Kruse family.
&ldquoI think he would hate to see a really great company like this fall into the hands of a private equity firm that&rsquos just going to try to cut it down to its super core competency, let a lot of people go, ring out the cash and try to flip it in a few years,&rdquo Sherrod said. &ldquoI don&rsquot think they could have found any investor more tuned into that brand.&rdquo
Sherrod&rsquos sister, Katie Sherrod, a former longtime Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist and editor, said that despite shying from the limelight and routinely refusing to grant interviews, the Basses have not been afraid to make bold statements with their actions. When Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced it would cut breast screening funding for Planned Parenthood, viewed as a response to backlash from anti-abortion groups, Sid Bass donated $100,000 to the reproductive health group.
&ldquoMy experience with all of the Bass family is they really live at ground level,&rdquo Katie Sherrod said. &ldquoThey live in Fort Worth. They all have homes here. They have always invested where their roots are. And Blue Bell is so Texan that I can absolutely see Sid Bass with his nieces and nephews and grandkids and thinking, &lsquoI can do something about that.&rsquo&rdquo
To be sure, the investment is a business move, but it also will be seen by some ice cream-craving Texans as another act of philanthropy on the part of Sid Bass.
Bass invested in the Walt Disney Co. right after it survived a corporate takeover attempt in 1984. In a rare public comment then, Bass said he expected Disney to be in his portfolio when he died.
&ldquoThat&rsquos pretty extraordinary and that&rsquos the kind of investor he is,&rdquo Michael Sherrod said. &ldquoI think it&rsquos monetary and think it matters to him personally.&rdquo
The Basses saved downtown Fort Worth from its 1980s decline when the Main Street economy fled for the suburbs. In the 1990s, they pumped in tons of cash, hired their own security force and developed a thriving shopping, entertainment and restaurant scene, with a new performance hall as its crown jewel.
Whether Blue Bell could have survived as the same family-run enterprise without a bailout has been a matter of rampant speculation in Texas business circles. Sherrod said the company&rsquos outlays &mdash- first keeping its entire payroll intact for two months despite halting production, then upgrading and redesigning three plants and hiring teams of microbiologists &mdash- simply weren&rsquot sustainable. Blue Bell has now laid off or furloughed about 75 percent of its workforce.
Bass&rsquo contribution also is an investment in Brenham, a town reeling from a series of industrial closures and downsizing. Even the city budget was affected because Blue Bell is the largest utility customer.
Trial production runs are expected to begin this month at the Sylacauga, Alabama, plant. There is no word on when sales could resume. Plants in Brenham and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, remain closed during upgrades.
Blue Bell has undertaken a massive redesign to eliminate listeria . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention connected 10 illnesses in four states to the outbreak, including three deaths of hospital patients who were already ill before they ate the ice cream. FDA records showed the company knew it had listeria in its plants years ago but never tested food contact surfaces or the ice cream.