In October 2017, Constellation Brands ventured outside its realm of wine, beer and spirits to acquire a nearly 10% stake in Canopy Growth — a medical-marijuana company. Constellation’s investment led to a spike in Canopy’s stock price, but that initial spike was nothing compared to what would come. In August 2018, Constellation acquired an even larger share in Canopy, boosting its overall stake to 38%. Upon the announcement, Canopy’s stock price soared. An analyst using JetTrack could have followed the travel of Constellation executives leading up to the August 2018 announcement — and seen a strong indication that Constellation was interested in making an additional investment in Canopy.
Sky is Europe’s largest satellite broadcaster, and it has been an attractive acquisition target due to its subscriber base, its on-demand services and its ownership of rights to Premier League soccer. Comcast, Fox and Disney have all been rumored as possible buyers at various times and for various reasons. Using JetTrack, an analyst could have tracked the movement of executives from these three companies, starting when Fox first expressed serious interest in buying all of Sky in late 2016, and then culminating with the convergence of Comcast and Disney executives in London just hours before the $39 billion deal closed.
In late September, handbag-maker Michael Kors acquired Versace in a $2.1 billion deal. The investment world had been expecting a Versace acquisition, but there were several different companies that fit the profile of a logical buyer. An analyst using JetTrack would have been able to see a recent history of regular visits by Michael Kors executives to Milan, Italy, where Versace is located. JetTrack also allows users to search by sector, which provides the opportunity to compare the regularity of visits by Michael Kors executives to the regularity of visits by executives from other publicly traded companies in the industry.
Conagra Brands tried and failed to acquire Pinnacle Foods in 2017, but rumors of an acquisition never truly died down. In fact, when activist investment firm JANA Partners acquired a stake in Pinnacle, rumors of an acquisition intensified. The possibility of Conagra acquiring Pinnacle appeared in the headlines throughout Spring and Summer of 2018, and the deal was ultimately announced in late June. An investor using JetTrack would have seen interesting flight activity on June 12 that would have indicated a deal might be imminent —allowing the investor to make a play before disclosure of the acquisition.
06/11/2018: News broke of a rumored acquisition of BSX (Boston Scientific) by SYK (Stryker). Both companies have said they will not comment on market rumors or speculation. Other potential acquirers could include JNJ (Johnson & Johnson) and MDT (Medtronic).
When Nikhil Varty took over as ServiceMaster’s new CEO in summer 2017, he promised to tour the country, to meet company personnel and franchise owners, and to generally learn as much as possible about the business — which was far different than his previous experience at WABCO, a manufacturer of parts for commercial vehicles. With JetTrack, an investor is able to see whether or not a CEO follows through on promises of this nature — as well as to compare the travel patterns of old and new CEOs.
For nearly 2 years, Qualcomm has been trying to close its $44 billion acquisition of NXP, a Dutch semiconductor company. One of the major hurdles for Qualcomm has been getting approval from 9 separate regulatory jurisdictions around the world. To date, Qualcomm has earned signoff from 8 regulatory bodies — with China the only remaining holdout. But President Trump’s trade war and China’s desire to protect its own semiconductor companies have slowed progress toward approval. JetTrack provides a unique glimpse into the frequency and length of visits by Qualcomm executives to Beijing as they push toward a deal.
In early March 2018, stock in Patterson Companies Inc. (PDCO) dropped nearly 30% after a missed-earnings announcement. Rumors of a Patterson takeover had lingered for years, and this announcement further stoked that speculation. Patterson’s dental supplies business enjoys margins twice the size of pharmaceutical distributors, and its animal health business is part of a growing market. But what company will ultimately make the move? With help from JetTrack, analysts and investors can follow the movements of the most likely buyers, looking for signals that a deal is near.
When news emerged in early 2018 that Wyndham was acquiring La Quinta, it was easy to look back over the past year’s signals and see that the $1.8 billion deal made sense for both companies. Wyndham had clearly entered growth mode, splitting into two companies and making a minor acquisition with its $170 million purchase of AmericInn. And La Quinta had clearly placed itself on the open market, spinning off its real estate assets to boost a possible sale price. But, using JetTrack, an analyst would have seen Wyndham executives make a rare trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where La Quinta is headquartered, just weeks after the AmericInn deal closed — and then make a return trip just 2 days before the acquisition of La Quinta was announced.
In summer 2017, news broke of Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods. In the months leading up to the announcement, Amazon showed increasing interest in brick-and-mortar grocery operations. At the same time, activist investor Jana Partners took a nearly 9% stake in Whole Foods — bringing with it demands for performance improvement. While analysts could have speculated Whole Foods would be a good acquisition target for Amazon, JetTrack would have validated those signals by showing unusual visits by Amazon executives to Whole Foods’ home city of Austin — as well as a rare trip by Whole Foods executives to Amazon’s home city of Seattle.