Winners and Losers: Pandora Picked Well, The Dow and Men's Wearhouse Didn't
Companies can make brilliant moves, but there are also times when things don't work out quite as planned. From an underwhelming iPhone event to Pandora's new CEO, here's a rundown of the week's best and worst moves in the business world.
Apple (AAPL) -- Loser
Shares of the consumer tech giant had rallied heading into Tuesday's iPhone event, but the love didn't last. The stock began to sell off while Apple was still presenting its updated smartphones.
There were no smartwatches, no high-def smart TVs, and no magical unicorns offered up at the presentation. The market was also unimpressed to find that the cheaper iPhone that everyone was hoping would make inroads into Android's 80 percent global market share wound up being just $100 cheaper than the new iPhone 5s.
Apple only updates its iPhones annually, so it was also a letdown to see the company once again fail to produce phones with screens larger than four inches. Yes, Apple is spicing up the shell colors across both new iPhone lines, but the actual screens are too small compared to the larger Android devices that many consumers are choosing these days.
Pandora (P) -- Winner
The leading music streaming service had been searching for a new CEO for months, and it finally found one.
Brian McAndrews -- who at one time ran digital marketing powerhouse aQuantive before selling it to Microsoft (MSFT) in a $6 billion deal -- will take control of the leading media platform that serves up 1.35 billion hours a month to its more than 72 million active listeners.
It's a smart hire. Pandora didn't need a big terrestrial radio guru. Pandora isn't about content programming. It already has the technology in place that serves up timely music recommendations and adapts to a listeners preferences. Pandora's major challenge remains to monetize its growing airplay, and that's where McAndrews is the perfect fit for a fast-growing company that's just starting to impress marketers.
The Dow -- Loser
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rolled out its first component adjustment in a decade, replacing three of the 30 names in the widely tracked market gauge.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with the addition of Visa (V), Nike (NKE), and Goldman Sachs (GS). They are great companies, and respectable bellwethers. However, how can Apple or Google (GOOG) still not make the cut? Apple commands the country's largest market cap.
The one thing holding these companies back is their large share price. The Dow 30 is a share price weighted index, unlike the S&P 500, which adjusts returns based on market cap. In other words, a 1 percent move for Google at $800 would be similar to a 10 percent move for a stock with an $80 price tag. That's a shortcoming of the Dow, and it's why it's unlikely to add the right components unless Apple or Google went through a stock split.
Dell (DELL) -- Winner
It took a lot longer than Michael Dell and his private equity partners were expecting, but the struggling PC giant will finally go private.
Shareholders approved the $24.8 billion buyout deal, shortly after billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn threw in the towel on plans to disrupt the privatization efforts.
Icahn felt that Dell was worth more, but no one was willing pay more.
This is the best move for Dell. Turning the company around won't be easy, but it would have been practically impossible as a public company where it had to perpetually live up to the quarterly expectations of retail investors. Some companies are better off as private entities, and Dell at this stage is certainly one of them.
Men's Wearhouse (MW) -- Blunder
There's no point in dressing up the financials at Men's Wearhouse.
Shares of the fine suits retailer stumbled after the chain lowered its guidance. It now sees same-store sales moving lower, and it has an interesting reason for eyeing softer sales of its high margin tuxedo rentals.
"We are aware of widespread negative results impacting the wedding industry this year," the company said during Thursday morning's conference call. "We believe this is mostly a timing shift. Historically, we've seen numeric anomalies in the calendar effect when brides choose their wedding date, and we believe that the number 13 in 2013 is causing a small but meaningful number of brides to avoid getting married this year."
That may make sense, but did Men's Wearhouse not realize that 2013 ends in the number 13 until now? It was forecasting tux rental comps to grow by 5 percent to 6 percent for the year back in March. Now it's only predicting growth in the low single-digits.
You're not going to like the way Men's Wearhouse's forecasting skills look. I guarantee it.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Goldman Sachs, Google, Nike, Pandora Media, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nike, and Visa. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.