Finimize - 👩‍💻 Look busy, Salesforce is coming

Salesforce is on SAP's tail | US buys Japan's smarts |
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Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for August 27th in 3:02 minutes.

🤓 If you want to know work out what a company’s really worth, there’s no better person to ask than valuation legend and NYU Stern professor Aswath Damodaran – and you’ll be able to do just that at our How To Value Any Company event on August 31st. Our analysts are like giddy schoolkids. Get your free ticket

Today's big stories

  1. Salesforce reported strong results on Wednesday, as companies get back to full strength
  2. There are three things you can do to guarantee your ESG investments are actually making a difference – Read Now
  3. Chipmakers continue to be hot stuff, with storage giant Western Digital looking to link up with Japan’s Kioxia

Working From Phone

Working From Phone

What’s Going On Here?

Salesforce reported better-than-expected earnings on Wednesday, as global firms turned to the cloud giant to get their projects – and distracted homebound teams – back on track.

What Does This Mean?

Kiss goodbye to those two-hour Candy Crush marathons you’ve been enjoying: more and more companies around the world are relaunching ventures that the pandemic brought grinding to a halt. That led to an uptick in demand for Salesforce’s products last quarter, with the company posting a 23% jump in revenue compared to the same time in 2020. Salesforce upped its earnings forecast for the rest of the year too, and it might be right to feel good about the future: whether everyone keeps working from home or piles back into the office, Salesforce’s bottom line stands to benefit.

Why Should I Care?

The bigger picture: Picking up the Slack.
Salesforce hasn’t been taking anything for granted, mind you: the company has just completed its $28 billion acquisition of collaboration platform Slack, which it expects to grow sales by more than 25% a year going forward. That’s not beyond the realms of possibility, especially since two of its latest acquisitions – software firms Mulesoft and Tableau – notched up revenue growth of 24% last quarter alone. But if it’s going to have any hope of staving off rival collaboration players like Microsoft and Zoom, it’ll certainly need to make good on that promise…

For markets: This means cloud war.
Salesforce is actually the second-biggest business software company in the world right now, trailing behind Europe’s SAP. But it might not stay that way at this rate: SAP’s revenue only climbed 3% last quarter, which might partly be why its stock is only up 14% so far this year versus Salesforce’s 24%.

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2. Analyst Take

The World Of ESG Isn’t All Sunshine And Rainbows

What’s Going On Here?

More and more of you are switching on to the idea of making meaningful change with your investments.

And you’re putting your money where your heart is, buying billions of dollars’ worth of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) products that claim to help do just that.

But here’s the thing: what you’re buying into might actually be a sham.

For one thing, ESG isn’t clearly defined, nor strongly regulated. That means it only takes a touch of creativity for a fund to include or exclude any company it likes.

And for another, ESG is just as often now used as a marketing tool by trend-hopping asset managers. They need earnings growth where they can get it, after all.

So that’s today’s Insight: the telltale signs of a dud ESG fund, and how you can make sure your money’s actually making a difference.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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True Friendchip

True Friendchip

What’s Going On Here?

US data storage giant Western Digital is in talks to merge with Japanese chipmaker Kioxa in a $20 billion deal, so it’s a good thing they’re already so used to each other’s foibles.

What Does This Mean?

Western Digital and Kioxa have actually been working together on manufacturing-based research and development projects for a while. That might’ve helped give Western the edge in negotiations over other interested chipmakers – like, say, Micron Technology, which ended up walking away from talks earlier this year.

There’s at least one reason Kioxa appeals to Western: both chipmakers produce the memory chips used in your smartphones and computers, meaning the merger has potential for synergies (tweet this). In other words, they should be able to slash costs or boost revenues by combining various overlapping departments. Western Digital’s shareholders certainly seem optimistic: they sent its stock up 8% following Wednesday’s announcement.

Why Should I Care?

For markets: A long road lies ahead.
There’s an elephant in the room here: Japanese regulators are bound to raise concerns that some of the country’s tech is winding up in the hands of an American company. No such qualms for the US, which would likely be in a hurry for them to get the deal over the line: the country is keen to boost its chipmaking capabilities to put up more of a fight against China. But it might not want to hold its breath: US chipmaker Nvidia is still waiting to get approval for its proposed acquisition of Britain’s ARM, almost a year after the deal was first announced.

The bigger picture: Patience is a virtue.
Between a flood of new smartphone launches, growing demand for PCs, and the increase in 5G adoption, demand for memory chips has never been higher. Kioxia, then, might be glad it bailed out on plans to list on the stock market last year, when the chipmaker was valued at $16 billion – around 25% less than Western Digital is reportedly offering.

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💬 Quote of the day

“I’m tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.”

– Madonna (an American singer, songwriter, and actress)
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🌍 Finimize Live

📺 The revolution will not be televised

But it will play out every time you tap your card, phone, or vaccine chip across a reader to pay for things. Yep, we’re talking about the digital payments revolution, and Village Capital’s Dustin Shay will be too at How To Profit From Open Banking.

🙌 How To Create A Diversified Portfolio: 1pm UK time, August 26th
🚀 How To Profit From Open Banking: 5pm UK time, August 27th
💰 How To Value Any Company: 6pm UK time, August 31st
💉 How To Get Your Dose Of Healthcare 2.0: 5pm UK time, September 1st
🤔 The Pros And Cons Of Alternative Investments: 5pm UK time, September 6th
📚 How To Navigate Investing In A Meme Stonk World: 2pm UK time, September 8th
💥 How To Master The Crypto Ecosystem: 5pm UK time, September 14th
🔒 Navigating The World Of Bitcoin Security: 6pm UK time, September 21st
♻️ How To Turn Your Portfolio Green : 6pm UK time, September 23rd
🤠 How To Win Big With Fractional Shares: 5pm UK time, September 28th

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