business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Reuters reports that "U.S. grocery delivery app Instacart is considering going public through a direct listing, concerned that it could leave money on the table through a traditional initial public offering (IPO), according to people familiar with the matter.

"The move would make Instacart the latest company to snub an IPO, for decades the primary path to a stock market debut, because it risks pricing its offering too low compared to where its shares end up trading. In a direct listing, companies go public without raising money through a stock sale.

"Shares of newly listed U.S. companies that went public through an IPO ended trading up 36.2% on average on their first day last year, compared to 17.2% in 2019, according to data firm Dealogic."

The Reuters story says that "investment bankers working on Instacart’s listing have estimated that it could be valued by the stock market at more than $50 billion."

•  The Washington Post has a story about how Amazon's aggressive efforts to persuade workers at one of its Alabama distribution centers not to unionize reflects the degree to which "seeds of unionization efforts … could blossom into organizing drives at its other facilities and force Amazon to adopt workplace rules it finds restrictive. Among other problems, unions could dent the company’s flexibility, limiting its ability to rapidly hire and cut workers to meet shopping demands that spike and recede throughout the year, said former company executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about internal policy.

The story notes that "Amazon sees unionization as a threat to its ability to bring technical innovations to its warehouses that reduce reliance on workers, such as robots, one of the former executives who discussed management thinking about unions said. Another former executive said Amazon leadership worries that organized labor could scuttle expansion plans, forcing the company to negotiate the terms of hiring, laying off staff, as well as the number of temporary workers it could take on, the executive said."

What really amazes me is that the voting period at the Alabama distribution center is taking seven weeks.  Seven weeks?  Really?  Next thing you know, whoever loses after that period of time will be blaming Dominion Voting Systems.