The market clearly has a sunny outlook for M&A in the solar space - Vivint Solar ($VSLR) shares were catapulted to multi-year highs after agreeing to a deal to be bought by Sunrun ($RUN), another major player in the solar energy space. The merger, weighing in at nearly $1.5 billion, matches together two US industry leaders in solar panel installation and creates a competitor that Tesla's SolarCity may need to fear. 

So far in 2020 Vivint stock is up 67%, counting the bump it got Tuesday, July 7 once the deal was revealed. And Sunrun shares are up almost as much, as investors bid the stock up in support of the M&A deal's announcement. 

Alternative data reflects that both businesses were bouncing back from Coronavirus before they agreed to a deal. In April, however, reports emerged showing Sunrun had cut and furloughed some staffers - and some of the job postings may be to replace team members it quickly decided it needed to return. Sunrun cut job postings to just one single post during the worst of the pandemic, but has brought back 200 postings. As for Vivint, it saw postings plummet to as little as 13, before rising back to our most recent count, on July 4, of 107. 

Clearly, both companies have further progress to go to reclaim past trajectory - but optimistic investors have already bid up shares in anticipation of synergies from the expected all-stock deal. 

And, in terms of social media engagement, Vivint Solar has not matched Sunrun's pace over the years. On Facebook, depicted in the Talking About Count above, Sunrun has for years enjoyed greater engagement than its competitor.

Still, even with the combination of two major brands to combat his SolarCity subsidiary, Tesla CEO Elon Musk may not have much to fear. In terms of both Twitter followers or Facebook engagement, where it has competition easily beat (not shown). 

Below, we capture a comparison of the Twitter following for just Sunrun and Vivint, and again, Sunrun had the advantage on social media here. The next question for the merged companies will be: can their united clout challenge SolarCity?  

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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