If anyone is really calling the shots so far in this season of Succession, it’s the mythical hand of the “shareholders.” For the CEO of a major corporation in the wings of a hotly contested shareholders’ meeting, the hand can, for example, lure you to a seaside compound on Long Island and make you hike dunes in the sun to reach a lunch you don’t end up eating—among other things.
Turns out, shareholders can have some strange requests in real life, too. Last week, activist investor and Macy’s shareholder NuOrion Advisors sent a letter to Macy’s CEO Jeffrey Gennette, leveraging its position in the company to suggest a number of fixes, including these: that the retailer go all in on electric vehicles and become “one of the first major retailers to accept Crypto, joining companies like Starbucks and Whole Foods.” More specifically, NuOrion wants Macy’s to partner with EV producers such as Tesla, Lucid, or Rivian and showcase cars on the ground floor of its top landmark stores, including Herald Square in New York, Marshall Field in Chicago, and Union Square in San Francisco, and add charging stations throughout the Macy’s store footprint, including parking lots. By adopting these strategies, “Macy’s would be worth more than $75 per share.”
…Tesla and crypto? Is this Reddit? Sort of! Considering the real-actual-dollars successes of meme-driven initiatives behind GameStop and Dogecoin, spurred by executive-suite antics from the likes of Elon Musk and supercharged by the trading platform Robinhood, perhaps there’s something to the notion. Over at Bloomberg, columnist Matt Levine considers the stunt economy of it all. “The basic issue is that right now everything is dumb,” he begins, later surmising, “If you are the CEO of a public company, I want you to consider very seriously going to an investment conference with no pants on. Your stock will go up, your shareholders will be happy and your cost of financing will go down.” In short: maybe the thing that seems goofy is fine, even good. To paraphrase Kendall Roy, “Memeify our brand, and we can go supersonic.”
In totally unrelated news, Macy’s stock hit a new 52-week high last week. Maybe a little meme-stonking is just what the struggling retailer needs.
As the NuOrion letter reads, “We believe that Macy’s has the digital footprint and landmark stores needed to be a World-Class New Age retailer.” What’s that about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius again?