• Market Crumbs

Kanye Wants A Board Seat

Image via Axel Antas-Bergkvist on Unsplash

At the end of last month Gap announced a surprising partnership with Kanye West, announcing the YEEZY Gap line, in which Gap will sell his YEEZY brand at Gap's stores and through its website beginning in 2021.

The partnership is reportedly for ten years and can see YEEZY receive royalties and equity in Gap depending on sales. Gap issued YEEZY Supply warrants for up to 8.5 million shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Given the sales targets laid out by Gap, YEEZY Supply could end up owning a 2% stake in Gap if they're hit.

"We are excited to welcome Kanye back to the Gap family as a creative visionary, building on the aesthetic and success of his YEEZY brand and together defining a next-level retail partnership," Global Head of Gap Brand Mark Breitbard said.

Investors were thrilled with the announcement by Gapwhich saw first quarter sales drop by 50%, as the stock soared by as much as 40%. The company added more than $700 million to its market capitalization following the announcement as shares ended up closing nearly 20% higher.

With not even a month having gone by since the announcement, it seems West may be inclined to walk away from the partnership altogether. Speaking at his first 2020 presidential campaign rally in South Carolina this past weekend, West threatened to pull out of the partnership with Gap if he isn't given a seat on the company's board of directors.

West also issued the same threat to Adidas, which produces the popular YEEZY brand sneakers.

"In risk or no risk of losing whatever deal possible, I am not on the board at Adidas," West said. "I am not on the board at GAP and that has to change today or I walk away."

Gap shares instantly took a hit on Monday following West's comments over the weekend, as shares fell more than 7%. Shares of Gap now sit nearly 12% below the high from the day the partnership was announced.

The timing of West's remarks are questionable, given he shared a sneak peak of the YEEZY Gap line for the first time just a few days earlier.

Where the partnership between Gap and YEEZY goes from here is anyone's guess. With the sneaker business of YEEZY valued at about $3 billion with $1.3 billion in sales last year, Kanye may be thinking Gap needs him more than he needs them.

If the partnership falls through, perhaps YEEZY could end up a publicly traded company through the increasingly popular method of going public via a deal with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

Leftover Crumbs

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  • Amazon expands autonomous delivery testing. Amazon is expanding its testing of the Amazon Scout, which is the company's autonomous delivery robot it unveiled in 2019, to Atlanta, Georgia and Franklin, Tennessee. Amazon has been testing Scout in Snohomish County, Washington and Irvine, California. The Scout is the size of a small cooler and moves at a walking pace while an "Amazon Scout Ambassador" accompanies the robot as it undergoes testing. "Adding Atlanta and Franklin to our existing operations gives Scout devices the opportunity to operate in varied neighborhoods with different climates than they operate in today," Amazon said.

  • Walmart will continue rewarding employees. Walmart will give its employees a third round of bonuses and close its stores on Thanksgiving Day this year. Walmart will give $428 million in bonuses to employees, with full-time hourly employees receiving $300 while part-time and temporary employees will receive $150. "We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones," president and CEO of Walmart U.S. John Furner said. "We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts."

  • Adobe teams up with IBM. Adobe is partnering with IBM to make marketing software for banks easier to use. The two will work together to make banking functions that require forms with sensitive client data totally digital. Adobe's software will run on IBM's cloud, which has already received regulatory approval for use by banks. "Even now, for mortgage applications, for example, some of it is on paper, some of it is online," general manager of digital experience for Adobe Anil Chakravarthy said. "The possibility of being able to handle all of that sensitive data 100% digitally, that’s the possibility that this opens up."

  • LinkedIn hit with layoffs. LinkedIn is laying off nearly 1,000 employees, or about 6% of its global workforce, as the coronavirus has caused a slowdown in hiring. "LinkedIn is not immune to the effects of the global pandemic," LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky said. "Our Talent Solutions business continues to be impacted as fewer companies, including ours, need to hire at the same volume they did previously." Roslansky said the company is not planning additional layoffs.