A CFO’s Midsummers Night Dream

Tom Paine

I had an odd and [in retrospect] rather amusing dream the other night.

I dreamt I was with an old software & systems firm I used to be CFO for. It was at the end of the quarter and it had been a slow one.

Suddenly, in one department I noticed some fresh produce ready to ship to customers (notwithstanding that we were in the software biz). I asked people where it had come from, but nobody could say.

I began counted items for the end-of-quarter close, though I didn’t think this stuff would make a difference. But then I walked downstairs to a different work area and there was much more produce ready to ship out. Some of this was corn, which makes sense because the building the business was housed in was next to a cornfield. Overall this produce was a big surprise, and it looked like the quarter might end well.

Counting produce is something I did in a summer job working in a grocery store, so maybe that’s where that came from

GoPuff announces another deal: UK-based Dija

Tom Paine

As anticipated by many regular Gopuff watchers, the Philly-based home delivery-based company announced the acquisition of Europe-based Dija this evening.

Founded last year, Dija currently operates in three European countries: The UK, France and Spain. Along with previously acquired UK-based Fancy, the acquisition of Dija adds to Gopuff goals for pan-European expansion.

Through the acquisitions of Dija and Fancy, “Gopuff plans to operate in three European countries with about 40 micro-fulfillment centers and 200 employees in the region, with additional plans for continued, rapid expansion.”

Gopuff has also added management talent to Europe, including executives having backgrounds with Amazon and Revolut.

Dija, which has a vertically integrated operating model similar to Gopuff’s, “will continue to operate under the Dija name in the near-term as the two companies create an integration plan.”

The transaction is anticipated to close within 30 days. Terms were not disclosed.

Gopuff’s discussions with Dija had been generally reported.

It would make sense for Gopuff to look next at a possible acquisition in Germany or elsewhere to the East in Europe.

Gopuff recently confirmed an additional $1 billion funding.

Philly EnterpriseTech Notable Quotes 8/7/2021

“We were failing to attract data center developers to Pennsylvania because our tax policy was driving development to other states,” said state Sen. John Yudichak, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “The implementation of new tax policies that leverage private investment and encourage private sector job growth demonstrates Pennsylvania is stepping up its economic game and competing for high-wage technology jobs.”


“When I was at Comcast, I remember meeting with a [white] woman and being really intrigued with her business,” Crowder said. “But I had to tell her ‘I love what you are doing but I can’t invest because this is a diversity fund.’ It was the most ridiculous thing for a Black man to have to say that because of your race, we cannot invest.”

William Crowder, a lead investor for Comcast Ventures’ Catalyst Fund for five years, on setting out on his own [co-founded] $75 million fund.


When asked whether the renovations were in any way intended as a carrot for the Sixers, Camillo said: “We’re not thinking about our transformation in terms of enticing the Sixers to stay. We’re thinking about it in terms of every guest who comes into the building, and the Sixers are certainly part of that. But we also host Flyers games, concerts, family events, shows. This is an investment in the city, in the community, in the stadium district. We want to provide the city of Philadelphia a world-class arena.


Total [Paypal] payment volume grew 40% to $311 billion, while the Venmo app, which began supporting cryptocurrency services in April, saw payment volume grow 58% to $58 billion.


Some industry observers warn that Big Tech’s extended geographic reach could stifle innovation. Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University said sectors like artificial intelligence are already heavily concentrated among a small number of companies.

“If you imagine Google and Facebook and Apple and Amazon and Microsoft, they start hiring AI talent from Philadelphia, Houston and so on and so forth, those tiny startups, which also are a critical part of the AI ecosystem, they are not going to be able to get that talent,” he said.


A critical component to making the shorter week work is that employees need to relearn how to work in a more focused way, said Justine Jordan, head of marketing at a Philadelphia software company that first allowed employees to work 32-hour weeks starting in 2017. That means fewer meetings and avoiding day-to day distractions, she said. Most at the 30-person firm, Wildbit, take Friday off; some take Monday; and a smaller group, mostly parents, spread their time off across five days, she said.


“Amazon Web Services, grew its revenue 37% in the second quarter, faster than 32% growth in the previous quarter. AWS revenue came in at $14.81 billion in the quarter, surpassing analysts’ estimated $14.20 billion.”


“German-speaking users’ experiences with old on-premise SAP systems have been really good,” he said. “They got a lot of things done. They have good processes, but they also experienced some problems with integrating with cloud technology, and I think that’s one of the reasons why our membership is a little bit cautious about RISE with SAP, right now, because they just want to see if that’s really going to work. The experiences they’ve had were not so good all time. It’s up to SAP to prove they are a cloud company and can deliver on their promises.


[KOP-based] CMI and Compas both have seen double-digit growth year over year for the past several years and added lots of staff to serve their pharma and health clients. CMI added 215 people last year and already added another 154 in the first half of 2021, while Compas added 26 last year and another 21 so far this year.


“Strategically we think this deal makes a lot of sense, driving deeper integration and in-house capabilities, but we suspect the market will  have a different opinion on the [nearly 87%] premium being paid,” analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets said.

Analysts commenting on Penn National’s announced $2 billion acquisition of Canadian tech gaming firm Score Media.


Gopuff is an Oracle ERP Shop

Source: Oracle

Tom Paine

Oracle’s Larry Ellison likes to brag on ERP customers he’s either stolen (proof pending) from SAP or kept out of its main competitor’s arms.

One such firm in the latter category is Gopuff, which transitioned from QuickBooks to Oracle Fusion ERP.

 From Oracle site: “After evaluating several vendors, the company implemented Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP‘s accounting module in 2019, then its forecasting and financial planning modules the following year, as the first steps toward implementing a cloud strategy that now also includes Oracle Fusion Cloud EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) and Oracle Cloud SCM (supply chain management and manufacturing).”

On February 9, 2021 Gopuff participated in “Oracle ERP Virtual Summit: Insights from Oracle’s Larry Ellison and execs from PwC, Square, and goPuff“.

Gopuff CFO Josh Burke present the business case for Oracle Fusion ERP at Gopuff:

Philadelphia-based Gopuff recently raised another $1 billion, giving it a market cap of $15 billion.

In addition to the need to manage the transactional load efficiently, Oracle ERP helps provides the information to support a truly data-driven strategy.

Penn National Gaming in $2 billion Canadian acquisition

Berks County-based Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN) has reached an agreement to acquire Toronto-based Score Media and Gaming, Inc. (TSX: SCR; Nasdaq: SCR) for $2 billion, it was announced this morning

Penn National’s press release emphazises the value of Score Media’s technology. “Brings theScore’s cutting-edge technology in-house, providing Penn with full ownership of product roadmap“, it reads in part.

Penn National Gaming to Acquire Score Media and Gaming, Creating North America’s Leading Digital Sports Content, Gaming and Technology Company

Transaction fortifies Penn National’s bespoke digital media and gaming strategy, creating a complete one-stop destination

Addition of theScore’s fully integrated betting and media platform into existing ecosystem will lead to best-in-class engagement and retention

Brings theScore’s cutting-edge technology in-house, providing Penn with full ownership of product roadmap

Establishes strong commitment to Canada; Levy Family will continue to oversee theScore, including workforce expansion and Ontario operations

Provides adjusted EBITDA accretion by Year 2, an incremental $200mm+ medium term adjusted EBITDA, and $500mm+ of incremental long term adjusted EBITDA upsideAugust 05, 2021 07:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time

WYOMISSING, Penn. & TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN) (“Penn National” or the “Company”) and Score Media and Gaming, Inc. (TSX: SCR; Nasdaq: SCR) (“theScore”) announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Penn National will acquire theScore, a leading digital media and sports betting and technology company, for approximately US$2.0 billion in cash and stock.

“The transaction also provides theScore shareholders immediate liquidity at a substantial premium and an opportunity to participate in any future upside of the combined company.”Tweet this

Under the terms of the agreement, theScore shareholders will receive US$17.00 in cash and 0.2398 shares of Penn National common stock for each theScore share, which implies a total purchase consideration of US$34.00 per theScore share based on Penn National’s 5-day volume weighted average trading price as of July 30, 2021. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is currently expected to close in the first quarter of 2022. Upon completion of the transaction, current Penn National and theScore shareholders will hold approximately 93% and 7% respectively, of the Company’s outstanding shares. Penn National expects to fund the approximately US$1 billion cash portion of the consideration using existing cash on its balance sheet.

Jay Snowden, President and Chief Executive Officer of Penn National, commented, “We are thrilled to be acquiring theScore, which is the number one sports app in Canada and the third most popular sports app in all of North America. theScore’s unique media platform and modern, state-of-the art technology is a powerful complement to the reach of Barstool Sports and its popular personalities and content.”

Mr. Snowden continued, “We are now uniquely positioned to seamlessly serve our customers with the most powerful ecosystem of sports, gaming and media in North America, ultimately creating a community that doesn’t currently exist. Users will enjoy a unique mobile sports betting and iCasino platform with highly customized bets and enhanced in-gaming wagering opportunities, along with highly engaging, personalized sports and entertainment content, and real time scores and stats. We believe this powerful new flywheel will result in best-in-class engagement and retention.

“Importantly, the transaction provides us with a path to full control of our own tech stack. theScore has developed a state-of-the-art player account management system and is finalizing the development of an in-house managed risk and trading service platform. This should lead to significant savings in third party platform costs and allow us to broaden our product offerings – providing the missing piece for operating at what we expect to be industry leading margins. In addition to the synergies, we’ll be gaining access to theScore’s deep pool of product and engineering talent and data-driven user analytics which will help drive our customer acquisition, engagement, retention strategies and cash flows,” said Mr. Snowden.

“Operators that have achieved early online market share have done so primarily through first mover advantage, leveraging existing customer databases and significant marketing spend. We believe the long-term winners will be defined by best-in-class products, bespoke content, efficient customer acquisition, multi-platform reach and broad market access,” concluded Mr. Snowden.

John Levy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of theScore, commented, “This deal brings together two companies that share a vision for how media and gaming intersect, and we could not be more excited to join the Penn National family. I’m proud of theScore team and all of our accomplishments, and believe the time is right to take the next step and align with a company in Penn National with the resources and scale to accelerate our business. We are excited to join forces with Penn to form the most powerful media and gaming company in North America.

“We’ve built an innovative, technology-led integrated media and gaming business that has us poised for success across North America, including the highly anticipated upcoming rollout of commercial sports betting in Canada,” continued Mr. Levy. “With Penn’s support, we will continue to invest in building our Canadian operations, growing our footprint and expanding our workforce. On a personal note, Benjie and I are very much looking forward to continuing to head up theScore as part of the new combined company.

“We have been strategic partners with Penn National since 2019 and have come to realize that they have the same strong culture and appreciation for how to grow a business. Jay and his team have done a tremendous job building an exceptional retail business and online gaming platform in partnership with Barstool Sports and we are confident that by combining our leading sports media brand and proprietary technology, we will solidify Penn National as a market leader,” concluded Mr. Levy.

Jon Kaplowitz, Head of Penn Interactive, commented, “This is a significant milestone for Penn Interactive and Penn National. With the acquisition of theScore, we will have greater ability to innovate and offer a best-in-class product to our customers. Personally, I am excited to join forces with John, Benjie, and the rest of theScore team who have proven to be great partners and amazing thought leaders in our industry.”

Benjie Levy, President and Chief Operating Officer of theScore, commented, “The combination of theScore and Penn National creates a first-of-its-kind vertically integrated media and omni-channel gaming business, which brings together world-class technology, highly engaging sports content and unparalleled reach. With our accomplished team in place, this deal bolsters our ability to grow our already strong North American presence from our base in Canada and primes us even further to capitalize on the huge upcoming betting opportunity in our home country. Over time, we’ve built our loyal user base and relationship with fans by authentically delivering deeply personalized products. That is an approach that seamlessly fits with Penn’s current strategy and digital offerings and will provide for material long-term benefits as we collaborate to even more deeply integrate across our platforms.

“The transaction will provide theScore with immediate scale and resources, the benefits of which will enable employees to better execute on the combined companies’ business plan and deliver enhanced integrated product offerings to our customers,” continued Mr. Levy. “The transaction also provides theScore shareholders immediate liquidity at a substantial premium and an opportunity to participate in any future upside of the combined company.”

Compelling Strategic and Financial Benefits:

Penn National anticipates that the acquisition of theScore will provide adjusted EBITDA accretion by Year 2, an incremental $200mm+ medium term adjusted EBITDA, and $500mm+ of incremental long term adjusted EBITDA upside.

Bringing Technology In-House:

The acquisition of theScore will allow Penn National to better manage all critical aspects of its technology stack, leading to greater control over its product development roadmap, reduced costs, and an enhanced customer experience. It will also allow Penn National to drive margin expansion by eliminating fees and expenses currently being paid to third party technology and service providers.

Strong Commitment to Canada:

Penn National believes the Canadian gaming market represents a compelling opportunity for growth. Penn National intends to operate theScore as a stand-alone business, headquartered in an expanded Toronto office, that will continue to be led by the Levy family with the same operating philosophy that has driven the company’s success to date. The business will continue to utilize ‘theScore’ app and brand that consumers have come to trust.

Penn National was attracted to theScore, in part, for its ready access to a deep pool of Canadian engineering and technology expertise. Penn National expects to leverage Canada’s world class technology talent pool to expand theScore’s engineering and production workforce based in Ontario as the business scales.

Volumetric Cost Savings:

The transaction will create a further scaled North American sports, online gaming and media business. This broader reach will provide volumetric savings for content fees, payment expenses, and other services, including the elimination of public company costs.

Enhanced Customer Acquisition and Retention:

theScore is the third largest sports app in North America and number one in Canada, with highly engaged users spending 113 minutes per month in-app*. Early results show the power of theScore’s integrated media and betting ecosystem to better engage and retain users; theScore Bet users with theScore media app compared to theScore Bet users who do not have theScore media app produce 88% higher handle/user, place 3x the number of bets/user, and generate a 91% increase in day 30 retention**. This increased cross-promotion ecosystem between theScore and Barstool is expected to lead to higher revenue.

Expansion Into New Verticals:

This acquisition underscores Penn National’s focused, disciplined investment strategy which positions us at the epicenter of sports, media, gaming and technology and provides us with multiple channels for future growth. In addition, this transaction accelerates Penn National’s strategy to enter into other adjacencies that leverage the Barstool and theScore brands and consumer appeal, such as the highly coveted esports media vertical.


Penn National will fund the acquisition through a mix of cash on hand and common stock. We expect the transaction, at the time of close, to be leverage neutral to our lease-adjusted net leverage of 4.0x as of June 30, 2021.

theScore Shareholder Support

Penn National has entered into voting support agreement with the directors of theScore, John Levy and Benjamin Levy, and Relay Ventures, a significant shareholder of theScore, under which they have agreed, subject to certain termination rights, to vote all of the theScore shares held by them in favor of the transaction, which represents in total approximately 30 percent of the existing voting shares of theScore.


Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC and Code Advisors LLC are acting as financial advisors and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP are acting as legal advisors to Penn National in connection with the transaction. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Canaccord Genuity Group are acting as financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and McCarthy Tétrault LLP are acting as legal advisors to theScore in connection with the transaction. Greenhill & Co. Canada, Ltd. is acting as independent financial advisor to theScore’s board of directors.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP is acting as legal advisor to the Levy Family in connection with this transaction.

Additional Transaction Details

theScore’s board of directors unanimously concluded that the transaction is in the best interests of theScore and recommend that theScore shareholders vote in favor of the transaction.

Greenhill & Co. Canada, Ltd. (“Greenhill”), independent financial advisor to theScore’s board of directors, has delivered a fairness opinion to theScore’s board of directors stating that, as of the date thereof and, based upon and subject to the assumptions, qualifications, and limitations stated in such opinion and such other matters Greenhill considered relevant, the consideration to be received by shareholders of theScore pursuant to the transaction is fair, from a financial point of view, to shareholders of theScore (other than the Levy family shareholders signing voting support agreements, Penn National and its affiliates). Pursuant to its engagement letter with theScore’s board of directors, Greenhill will receive a fixed fee for the delivery of the fairness opinion. No fees payable to Greenhill are contingent on the conclusions reached in the fairness opinion or on the outcome of the arrangement.

The transaction is structured as an arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of the shareholders of theScore, the approval of applicable gaming authorities, the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, approval under the Investment Canada Act and other customary closing conditions as set forth in the arrangement agreement. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition. theScore is subject to customary non-solicitation provisions under the arrangement agreement. The agreement also includes a termination fee payable in certain circumstances.

Eligible Canadian shareholders of theScore will be able to elect to receive exchangeable shares in a Canadian subsidiary of Penn National, which will be exchangeable into Penn National shares, instead of the Penn National shares to which they would otherwise be entitled.

What is PegaSystems? More than you might think

Soon-to-be PegaSystems offices in Waltham MA. Company will maintain small headquarters in Cambridge (Gensler)

Tom Paine

PegaSystems , a Cambridge MA-based primarily cloud software firm (though its moving most ops out to Route 128) is an unusual outfit that few understand well, though people who do value it highly.

PegaSystems is a hybrid serving multiple market segments. One is CRM, where it is a legitimate if much smaller competitor to Salesforce. The other is Business Process Management (BPM), where its rules management logic helps businesses get their processes under control. PegaSystems’s CRM grew out of its BPM.

Founded in 1983, PegaSystems (Nasdaq: PEGA) has a market value of over $10 billion. Its under the control of its founder, Alan Trefler, 65, who owns more than 50% of its shares. That is probably the sole reason it hasn’t been swallowed up and spit out by a larger acquirer who would likely incorporate a few main product features and leave the rest to rot.

Pega’s growth and margins haven’t been too strong, but in the just reported Q2 2021 revenue growth was 43% to $326 million (30% for the first six months), much due to a COVID snap back, but still exceeding almost everyone’s expectations. If Pega going forward can grow in the high teens or low twenties rather than 10% or less, that obviously would have a significant impact on its valuation. Today it only trades at around 9X revenue, and that could expand considerably if the underlying metrics improve.

Penn announces Roberts Family Professorship in Vaccine Research and the Katalin Karikó Fellowship Fund in Vaccine Development

Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, and Katalin Karikó, PhD / Penn Medicine

On Thursday, The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania announced the establishment of the Roberts Family Professorship in Vaccine Research and the Katalin Karikó Fellowship Fund in Vaccine Development.

The endowed chair and fellowship funds were created through a gift from the Aileen and Brian Roberts Foundation.

Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, has been named the inaugural Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research.

The Katalin Karikó Fellowship Fund in Vaccine Development will provide financial support to a fellowship in vaccine research in the Penn Institute for Immunology, to be awarded to an inaugural recipient later this year.  The Karikó Fellowship Fund “is designed to champion young scientists in the early years of their career.”

Not sure where that leaves Dr. Karikó, who’s still probably the World’s most famous adjunct professor.

SAS Institute shares plans to IPO – in a few years time

Tom Paine

SAS Institute’s co-founder & CEO James Goodnight announced today that SAS was planning on a IPO. But no need to rush – the plan is to go public in 2024.

In early July, stories, rather concrete, circulated that SAS Institute was in talks to sell to chip giant Broadcom, for a price range of $15 to $20 billion. But it was reported that SAS had turned down Broadcom.

Cary, NC-based SAS trumpeted a possible return to growth, after years of being virtually flat, by posting 8.4% growth over the fist six months of 2021.

The announcement in part read:”To become IPO-ready, SAS will begin to take steps such as refining its financial reporting structure, streamlining certain operational processes, and enhancing its focus on the segments of its platform where the company can continue to succeed and grow to the benefit of its stakeholders. With this announcement, SAS will continue to invest significant sums in – and further develop – its AI capabilities and advanced analytics software and solutions, to continue to meet customer needs and extend its leadership in a growing, highly competitive and increasingly dynamic market.”

As for anything that looks ahead to 2024, don’t hold your breath.

SAS is fairly popular in the Philly area, mainly in life sciences, healthcare and other data intensive industries.