Fitbit IPO prices at $20; trading starts today
Fitness-tracking device maker Fitbit priced its initial public offering of stock at $20 per share, slightly more than anticipated. The pricing marks the final step before Fitbit’s stock begins trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “FIT.” The San Francisco company will debut with a market value of about $4 billion. Fitbit sold 22.4 million shares, raising $448 million. Fitbit’s stockholders sold another 14.2 million shares, worth about $284 million. Fitbit makes devices that can be worn on the wrist or clipped to clothing to monitor daily steps, calories burned, and grab other data. The company said it sold 10.9 million devices last year to nearly triple its annual revenue to $745 million. It posed a profit of $38.5 million.
A shake-up in Microsoft’s executive suite
Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella is shuffling his top management team, announcing the departure of former Nokia boss Stephen Elop and three other top executives. Elop had left Microsoft once before to run Nokia, then returned when Microsoft bought the Finnish company’s smartphone business for $7.5 billion last year. Analysts said his departure now is a sign that Microsoft is rethinking its approach to the phone business. Also leaving the company is Mark Penn, a former Democratic political strategist who oversaw some of Microsoft’s marketing efforts including the hard-hitting “Scroogled” advertising campaign that criticized products made by tech rival Google.
TripAdvisor has booking deal with Marriott
TripAdvisor Inc. shares jumped the most in four months after the company announced a partnership with Marriott International Inc. that will let users of the travel-planning website book rooms at the chain’s hotels. The arrangement will allow travelers to book at any of Marriott’s 4,200 hotels in 80 countries through the site beginning this summer, the companies said. TripAdvisor released its Instant Booking platform to U.S. consumers a year ago and is expanding to other markets. The feature allows travelers to click a “Book on TripAdvisor” button to make a reservation and provides links to the hotel chain’s customer-service representatives.
Aramark to take over Yosemite concessions
Officials at Yosemite National Park said they have selected a new company to take over hotels, restaurants and outdoor activities under the national park system’s most lucrative single contract for services. Aramark has been offered the 15-year contract valued at $2 billion, park spokesman Scott Gediman said. If the deal is approved, the company would replace Delaware North on March 1, the day after the old contract expires. Delaware North has run Yosemite’s concessions since 1993. Spokeswoman Lisa Cesaro said in a statement that the company is disappointed it didn’t win a renewed contract but expects a smooth transition.
Nest Labs updates some key home products
Google’s Nest Labs is releasing new versions of its surveillance-video camera and talking smoke detector as part of its attempt to turn homes into yet another thing that can be controlled and tracked over the Internet. The gadgets unveiled Wednesday are Nest’s most significant product updates since Google bought the Palo Alto, Calif., company last year for about $2.75 billion. A few months later, Google bought surveillance-camera maker Dropcam for $517 million to help Nest realize its ambition of creating “thoughtful” homes. Like several other technology companies, Google is implanting its own products and services into homes as more appliances and other gadgets feed into an Internet-connected matrix.
Goldman Sachs to interns: No all-nighters
Goldman Sachs is telling its summer interns to take the night off. Banking interns were instructed to leave the office by midnight and not return before 7 a.m., while also taking Saturdays off, Michael DuVally, a spokesman for the New York- based bank, said. Wall Street firms are attempting to reduce stress and improve conditions for their youngest workers. Goldman Sachs has increased salaries for junior employees and discouraged entry-level analysts from working weekends as many of the brightest college students seek careers in private equity or technology rather than investment banking.
U.S. maple syrup production stays strong
Colder-than-normal temperatures shortened the Northeast’s maple sugaring season this year, but overall syrup production in the U.S. managed to stay strong, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Maple syrup production was up 6.3 percent this season from a year ago, the agency said, and an increase in the number of taps collecting sap from the trees likely contributed to the boost. The country produced 3.4 million gallons of maple syrup in 2015, with Vermont — the country’s largest maple producer — yielding about 40 percent of the total.