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A wild Mark Cuban pharmacy stat...
June 22, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Battleface

Good morning. It's worth remembering that, in a normal World Cup year, the soccer tournament would be in full swing right now and the US would have already thrashed Wales, England, and Iran on its way to the knockout stages.

But since the World Cup is being hosted in Qatar, where, well, it's rather hot in the summer (yesterday's high: 115 degrees), the tournament was pushed back to November. Probably smart to be outside as much as possible now before the football^2 hurricane leaves us all on the couch in the fall.

—Max Knoblauch, Neal Freyman, Jamie Wilde

MARKETS

Nasdaq

11,069.30

S&P

3,764.79

Dow

30,530.25

10-Year

3.284%

Bitcoin

$20,889.30

Alphabet

$2,230.88

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 11:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Nice seeing some green up there for a change. Stocks bounced yesterday after their worst week in two years, led by energy stocks and Big Tech companies. Heck, even crypto got in on the fun. Today, investors will be glued to Fed Chair Jerome Powell's testimony on Capitol Hill. They want to know whether Powell expects to hike interest rates by another 75 basis points next month.

FOOD

Little snacks, big business

A money bag filled with chips Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: airborne77/Adobe Stock

Inflation may slow your summer travel and tighten your wardrobe budget, but seismic moves from two food industry giants show that execs predict we'll all keep faithfully spending in one area: snacks.

Kellogg announced Tuesday that it will split into three publicly traded companies, focused on snacks, cereal, and plant-based foods. Although it may appear like a Succession-esque scheme to strip Tony the Tiger of his board seat, the split is actually an acknowledgment by the company best known for cereal that its snack business—which includes Cheez-It, Pop-Tarts, and Pringles—is the real breadwinner and deserves more direct focus and resources.

Kellogg had net sales of $14.2 billion in 2021, and 80% of that ($11.4 billion) came from the snack division. $2.4 billion came from cereal sales, which have stagnated as consumers decided that 20 extra minutes of sleep and a car banana > Froot Loops. Kellogg's plant-based foods business brought in $340 million.

Dining is out, grazing is in

It's the highest profile split in Big Food since 2012, when Kraft broke up to create Mondelez International—another snack giant that made a big move early this week.

On Monday, Mondelez (the owner of brands like Oreo, Ritz, and Toblerone) agreed to acquire Clif Bar for $2.9 billion, just a few months after announcing it would buy the confectionary business of Grupo Bimbo for $1.3 billion. Clif Bar is the company's ninth acquisition deal since 2018.

Why all the focus on snacks? Well, we keep going to the grocery store hungry. The global snack market is projected to reach $732.6 billion by 2026, up from 2020's estimated $493.4 billion. And, as prices increase, snack purchases have stayed strong, according to Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put.—MK

        

TOGETHER WITH BATTLEFACE

You deserve some (zero-stress, everything's-gonna-be-perfect) time off

Battleface

Your PTO is approved, you're finalizing your itinerary, and you're rea-dyyyy for that long-overdue vacation.

You've planned so well that it's only logical to account for alllll the things you didn't plan for, too. You might be thinking, "That terrible mishap would never happen to me." Well, for many of us at the Brew, we learned the hard way that travel doesn't always go according to plan.

To help you learn from our mistakes, we teamed up with battleface to break down what can go wrong—and how travel insurance can protect your precious vacay.

battleface offers customized travel insurance plans to safeguard your getaways from any what-ifs. Trip cancellations? Check. Luggage with all those cute 'fits goes MIA? Check. Medical emergency? Major check.

Now check out our article so you can plan for the unexpected and fully enjoy that (zero-stress, everything's-gonna-be-perfect) time off.

WORLD

Tour de headlines

A sign surrounded in gifts is seen at a memorial in front of Robb Elementary School on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas police officers panned for inaction during shooting. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, called law enforcement's response to the Uvalde school shooting an "abject failure" in a state Senate hearing yesterday. McCraw said that police could have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the school, instead of waiting more than an hour to storm the classroom where he was shooting. The on-site commander put officers' lives before those of the children, McCraw said.

SCOTUS decides that church and state are too separate. In Maine, where half of school districts don't have public high schools, a state program pays tuition for students without public schools to attend private schools…but not religious private schools. Yesterday, the Supreme Court said Maine couldn't exclude religious schools from its tuition program, effectively nixing rules in 37 state constitutions that ban taxpayer money from being used in religious schools, according to NPR.

The best performing currency this year is…the Russian ruble? Strange but true. The ruble is up about 35% in 2022, and is at its strongest level vs. the US dollar since 2015. The currency was expected to collapse after the West applied sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and initially it did. But it's since mounted a comeback thanks to a) continued demand for Russian energy exports, particularly in Asia, and b) capital controls intended to prop up demand for the ruble.

HEALTH

Medicare should've gone on 'Shark Tank'

Mark cuban clapping Shark Tank/ABC via Giphy

Medicare could have saved $3.6 billion in a single year if it bought its drugs from Mark Cuban's newly launched pharmacy, a new study from Harvard Medical School researchers concluded.

The paper, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday, said that Medicare's drug program (Part D) is overpaying for generic drugs by being forced to navigate a complex web of pharmacies and private health insurers instead of buying them straight from the source, like Cuban's firm does. The government isn't allowed to do that, though.

So what does Cuban's company do? Named Cost Plus Drug Company, the billionaire's online pharmacy buys generic drugs directly from manufacturers and sells them after adding a 15% markup, $3 fee for labor, and $5 fee for shipping. It has more than 400,000 account holders and offers more than 300 generics, according to the WSJ.

That model, when compared to the Medicare maze, resulted in some stunning price discrepancies, the researchers found. While Medicare paid $160 for a 90-day supply of acid-reflux treatment esomeprazole, it could have gotten it for $17 from Cuban's pharmacy.

Bottom line: "There are some serious inefficiencies in the pharmaceutical supply chain," said the study's lead author, Dr. Hussain Lalani.—NF

        

INTERNATIONAL

That's one precious medal

That's one precious medal Muratov with his medal at the auction. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov auctioned off his Nobel Peace Prize medal on Monday for a stunning $103.5 million, and the funds went straight to UNICEF to provide aid for Ukrainian child refugees.

It's the first time the Norwegian Nobel Institute has endorsed a sale of one of its medals, which it awarded to Muratov last year for defending free speech in Russia as the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta. The independent publication announced it was shutting down in March after nearly 30 years of pushing media boundaries in a country that's hostile to independent journalism—particularly during the current war in Ukraine.

  • Outlets calling the invasion a "war" instead of the Kremlin's preferred term, "special military operation," can be fined or shut down.
  • Spreading "fake" info about the war is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Those are just the official, state-sanctioned ways dissenting voices are being hushed in Russia. In April, an unknown attacker threw red paint mixed with acetone at Muratov while yelling, "This is for our boys"—referencing Russian troops in Ukraine.

Optional homework: You can learn more about Muratov and Novaya Gazeta in this New Yorker profile.—JW

        

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

Rolled up dollar bills Getty Images

Stat: In a historic move, President Biden appointed Marilynn Malerba to become treasurer of the US. The lifetime chief of the Mohegan Indian Tribe, Malerba will become the first Native American to hold the position, which oversees the US Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It's also a big deal for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, because her signature couldn't appear on the US dollar until a treasurer was appointed. Soon, both Yellen's and Malerba's names will be added to new bills.

Quote: "The removal of that very, very strong tailwind effectively felt like a headwind."

On an earnings call earlier this month, DocuSign CEO Dan Springer admitted that he underestimated just how painful the drop-off in demand for the software would be in a post-Covid world. It may have cost him his job: With shares down more than 62% this year, DocuSign announced yesterday that Springer is stepping down from his position.

Read: The open secret of Google Search. (The Atlantic)

TOGETHER WITH ATTENTIVE

Attentive

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WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

FROM THE CREW

Manifest your financial freedom

the Money with Katie show

Finance bros are out, rich girls are in. Katie Gatti knows about money, and she's here to help you manifest your financial freedom. Join Katie and her guests as they talk spending habits, smart investing, and tax strategies—without putting you to sleep. Check out some recent popular episodes:

This editorial content is supported by Betterment.

BREW'S BETS

Ridiculous piano skills: Watch Yunchan Lim's recital at the Cliburn piano competition, where the 18-year-old South Korean became the youngest person ever to win the gold medal.

Tech Tip Wednesday: Learn how to identify plants and flowers from an iPhone photo.

Financial crystal ball: The Brew's Business Analytics Accelerator is open for enrollment. Learn how to forecast, model, and build buy-in for your ideas from real business leaders. We're even offering special early bird pricing for a limited time. Learn more.

GAMES

The puzzle section

Word search: Take a mental vacation to the beach with today's word search (sand in your shoes not included). Play it here.

Cereal trivia

Given the news of Kellogg's planned breakup, let's test your cereal knowledge. We'll give you a breakfast cereal brand, and you have to name the parent company. For example, if we gave you Frosted Flakes, then you'd say Kellogg.

  1. Lucky Charms
  2. Apple Jacks
  3. Honey Bunches of Oats
  4. Fruity Pebbles
  5. Cap'n Crunch
  6. Life

How Jarrid Tingle went from living on welfare to running a $170 million Black-owned VC firm

Check out the latest episode of Imposters to hear how the managing partner at Harlem Capital beat all financial odds to run a multimillion-dollar firm. Listen or watch here.

Don't miss out on more from the Brew:

Why the BTS hiatus is sinking hearts and stocks

Hear about the biz behind live music and festivals from a concert promoter

ANSWER

  1. General Mills
  2. Kellogg
  3. Post
  4. Post
  5. It's made by Quaker Oats, which itself is a subsidiary of PepsiCo.
  6. Also Quaker Oats
         

Written by Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, and Jamie Wilde

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