Wal-Mart Pursues Birchbox; Blockchain Inches Forward

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

E-Tail Wars

Wal-Mart is in talks to acquire beauty subscription startup Birchbox, Recode reports. The retail giant has been on something of an M&A tear under US ecommerce chief Mark Lore, most recently with its July purchase of men’s ecommerce retailer Bonobos for $310 million. As digital rival Amazon continues to dominate the ecommerce landscape while pushing into brick-and-mortar with its acquisition of Whole Foods, Wal-Mart is moving in the other direction. More.

On The Block

Blockchain technology currently exists in a kind of ad world purgatory, where half expect it to wither on the vine and half expect very big things. The problem is that the benefits of blockchain – transparent distribution of data across millions of stakeholders – make it too slow to apply in digital advertising. Scaled ad platforms process millions of ad calls per second, whereas Ethereum, the most-used open-source blockchain, handles fewer than 100 [read AdExchanger’s guide to Blockchain]. Microsoft on Thursday tossed its hat into the blockchain ring with a product meant to address those latency concerns.

Feeling Blue

Blue Apron’s Q2 earnings are a cautionary tale for brands considering cutting marketing spend in the hopes of pleasing shareholders. The meal-kit service, notorious for spending heavily on customer acquisition, reduced marketing by 43% last quarter after it missed analyst expectations in its first earnings report as a public company. That led its customer base to shrink by 9% to 943,000. Marketing helped Blue Apron differentiate its meal delivery service from competitors like HelloFresh and Amazon that offer similar services, Bloomberg reports. More. Zero-based budgeters, be warned!

All About The Charter Bus

A new suitor is weighing a bid for Charter Communications, according to CNBC. Previously, SoftBank and Verizon flirted with the company [AdExchanger coverage]. Now French telco giant Altice is considering a bid, according to CNBC. “There’s no guarantee that Altice will engage, though the prospects seem likely,” writes David Faber. Still, money could be an issue, as both SoftBank and Altice might not be able to conjure the $200 billion or so that Charter wants. More. Related in AdExchanger: Altice spent $17.7 billion to acquire US-based Cablevision in 2015 and snapped up Teads for $307 million earlier this year.

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