Kroger And Target Allegedly Consider Merger; Spotify Deals With Fraud

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A Ton Of Bricks

Target and Kroger are considering a merger, sources tell Fast Company. The combination of the Kroger, the second-biggest grocery retailer in the US (behind Walmart), and Target’s general merchandise sales would create another power retailer as the space consolidates to counter Amazon’s growth. Kroger, for instance, needs delivery infrastructure, which it’s tried to acquire with companies like Boxed and Shipt (which recently sold to Target for $550 million) but couldn’t meet the price. CNBC, however, reports that the blockbuster merger is not being considered, with something more like a delivery partnership actually on the table. And merger rumors often appear when companies know it will boost the stock. More.

Digital Fraudio

Streaming audio isn’t immune from digital metrics headaches. Spotify revealed Friday in an amended F-1 filing that since last December, 2 million users – or 1.3% of its total user base – accessed its ad-supported content for free through unauthorized apps. As a result, Spotify reduced its monthly active user count for 2017 from 159 million to 157 million and its monthly active listener hours from 40.3 billion to 39.8 billion, reports Variety. “We currently do not have, and may never have, the requisite data available to adjust such key performance indicators and other metrics prior to January 1, 2017, and as a result, such key performance indicators and other metrics for such periods may be overstated,” Spotify says in its filing. It’s an unfortunate fact for the streaming platform, which plans to go public on April 3. More.   

Brand Reax

Facebook knew the Cambridge Analytica scandal would cause a major backlash, and it had a plan to deal with its biggest advertisers. The day before the news broke, Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, notified the Client Council, a formal group of agency and brand executives who work closely with Facebook. By Monday, Facebook had looped in its top advertisers globally to say the company is “outraged and beyond disturbed,” Everson says in an interview with Garett Sloane at AdAge. The feedback has been positive, she says, though some brands are still concerned over data leakage through the Facebook pixel and Custom Audiences. “I can't sit here today and tell you there's not going to be another bad actor.” More. She also says the company will counter #DeleteFacebook momentum with a “broad consumer marketing campaign” – which began Sunday with print ads in top UK and US newspapers.

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