Airbnb has finalized a fundraising round of over $450M that values the company at $10B, the WSJ reports. The deal makes Aribnb, which enables people to rent their homes, sofas, rooms, castles and/or yachts to travelers, worth more than publicly traded hotel chains Wyndham Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels.
Private-equity firm TPG, mutual fund T. Rowe Price Group (TROW), venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group participated in the round.
The investment adds to the more than $300M that Airbnb has previously raised.
Toyota (TM) aims to more than double it sales in China to 2M a year from 917,000 in 2013 and introduce 15 models in the country by the end of 2017. From 2015, the Japanese company intends to produce and sell hybrid versions of its Corolla and Levin cars in China. Toyota unveiled its plans at the Auto China show in Beijing, which has officially kicked off this weekend.
Ford (F) is unveiling a prototype of the Ford Everest, a seven-seater off-road SUV that will be made by the company's JMC joint venture with Jiangling Motors. At the moment, Ford makes its SUVs with Chongqing Changan Automobile.
Fiat Chrysler (FIATY) plans to start producing three new Jeeps in China with partner Guangzhou Automobile Group from late 2015 via the companies' GAC Fiat JV, which intends to invest 4.7B yuan ($755.8M) in a project in Guangzhou. The plans have received government approval. GAC Fiat could even make a vehicle customized for the Chinese market.
GM is on course for "a good month" in the U.S., the head of its North American operations, Alan Batey, has said. GM increased sales in March despite the bad publicity the company suffered because of the ignition-switch defect. GM is launching a new Chevrolet Trax and a redesigned Chevrolet Cruze compact car at Auto China. Batey reckons GM isn't "too far away" from selling 1M Chevrolet vehicles in China after selling 650,000 in 2013.
An uptick in the housing market, market-share gains at the expense of struggling Sears, and substantial supply-chain improvements could be the catalysts for a near-25% rise in Home Depot (HD) over the next year, writes Avi Salzman in a Barron's cover story.
The stock price is up just 6% Y/Y, sharply lagging both the S&P 500 and Lowe's (LOW). Its 17.4x P/E ratio slightly trails that of Lowe's despite more impressive earnings. As Lowe's has relied on promotions and new stores in the years following the housing bust, Home Depot - under the leadership of Frank Blake who came to the CEO spot just ahead of crash - has moved to cut costs, close underperforming units, and improve customer service, and since mid-2009 has consistently posted same-store sales gains higher than Lowe's. In 2013, comp-store sales grew 6.8% at HD, the best print since 1999.
Home Depot has the best management team in the business, says Credit Suisse's Gary Balter, and ROE has shot up to 35.5% - roughly twice that of competitors - from 22.2% when Blake took over and began reorganizing the supply chain.
GM (GM) hasn't tested cars with faulty ignition switches to see if knee bumps from drivers can accidentally turn the engine off, Reuters reports. The issue is significant because company engineers complained as early as 2004 that such a knock could turn the engine off.
GM didn't assess its cars for the problem despite carrying out over 80 tests in order to persuade a judge that the vehicles are safe to drive as long the key ring doesn't have more than one key on it.
The judge seems to have concurred, as he ruled that GM doesn't have to instruct owners of cars falling under the ignition-switch recall to park their vehicles until they are fixed.
Procter & Gamble's (PG) Gillette is set to launch a new high-end razor called the ProGlide FlexBall, which incorporates a swiveling ball-hinge that enables the blade to pivot, the WSJ reports. The FlexBall is Gillette's first major upgrade since 2010.
P&G intends to start shipping the product in June and hopes to generate $188M in sales in the first year.
The company will set suggested prices of up to $12.59 for the razor and one cartridge, which could be a bit of risk given the emergence of low-cost competitors such as Dollar Shave Club.
P&G's grooming business is one of its most important, bringing in $8B in revenue in the last fiscal year, although that was down 3.7%.
The chain will use its expanded warranty coverage to offer more perks to consumers and will unveil 24/7 tech support.
What to watch: The electronics market has become more fragmented with larger chains such as Best Buy, hhgregg, and Conn's diversifying their product lines. If Sam's has an edge, it's with its dual value-service proposition.