Big Business This Week is a guided tour through the biggest market stories of the week, from winning stocks to brutal dips to the facts and forecasts generating buzz on Wall Street.
ESPN'S BIG BET
ESPN is going all in on sports betting with a naming deal that will rebrand an existing app as ESPN Bet. Penn Entertainment will pay $1.5 billion to use one of the most recognizable sports brands in the U.S. It's a surprising move for ESPN, which is co-owned by Disney, a brand whose family-friendly image seems to be in contrast to the vice of gambling. Penn also announced it sold Barstool Sports back to founder Dave Portnoy, who was itching to get control back.
DISNEY STREAMING CRACKDOWNS
Speaking of the House of Mouse, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced plans to make its streaming services profitable by this fall, and that means customers will have to pay up. The price of ad-free Disney+ and Hulu are going up $3 per month to about $14 and $18, respectively. The company is also planning to crack down on password sharing. Making the service less appealing to customers comes at an interesting time: Disney+ reported the second straight quarter of subscriber losses. Still, with everything going on this week, Disney ended the week up almost 3 percent.
WEWORK STILL DOESN'T WORK
Let's time travel back to 2019: nobody had heard of Covid-19, SPACs were all the rage, and co-working giant WeWork had taken the real estate work by storm…until it all came crashing down. Just as the company was going to IPO with a $47 billion valuation, questions about its finances and founder Adam Neumann's governance sank it. SoftBank took over, Naumann was ousted, and the company went public in 2021. Now, it warns it could go be in trouble again if it can't renegotiate its leases, control spending and find additional sources of cash in the next year.
CAMPBELL SOUP BUYS RAO'S
Campbell Soup announced it will be snapping up the company behind Rao's pasta sauces for about $2.7 billion. Fans of the popular tomato sauces were quick to register worries that Campbell will mess with the beloved recipes, but CEO Mark Clouse told CNBC, “We’re not touching it! Anyone who thinks we’re going to touch the sauce, no." Campbell Soup ended the week down less than 1 percent.
LUXURY FASHION MERGER
Coach's parent company Tapestry announced it will buy Capri Holdings, the company that runs some of fashion's biggest names, like Versace, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo. When the $8.5 billion deal closes next year, Tapestry hopes it will put it in a better position to compete with LVMH and Kering – two luxury fashion powerhouses. Capri Holdings' stock jumped 50 percent on the news this week while Tapestry dropped 17 percent.