Tech Startup Values Reach the Sky (WSJ)
Xiaomi is just the latest example. On Monday it raised more than $1 billion from investors, giving it the $46 billion overall valuation. Only Facebook Inc. raised capital at a higher value from private investors, at $50 billion in 2011. This year, venture capitalists, mutual funds and big banks bestowed valuations of $1 billion or more on about 40 startups world-wide, doubling the number of such companies at the start of the year, according to research firm Dow Jones VentureSource. Adjusted for inflation, the current roster of 70 “billion dollar” startups globally is nearly twice as large as the number during the boom years 1999 and 2000.
‘Cartel’ Chat Room Tied to BP Gave FX Tips From Banks to Client (Bloomberg)
Copies of messages sent to BP traders over the course of a year were provided to Bloomberg News by a person with access to the online conversations. The person, who redacted the names of banks sending the messages and dates of conversations, said they came from firms whose senior foreign-exchange traders belonged to a chat room called “The Cartel” that was set up by Usher and included dealers at JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc., Barclays Plc and UBS Group AG. The information offered an insight into currency moves minutes, sometimes hours before they happened. The messages could drag the U.K.’s biggest energy company into a scandal that has enveloped 11 banks and led to more than 30 traders from London to Singapore losing or being suspended from their jobs. Last month six banks were fined $4.3 billion for passing along information about their clients and working together to rig foreign-exchange markets.
Shake Shack Files for IPO That Could Value It at $1 Billion (Bloomberg)
Shake Shack Inc. is going public and may be worth as much as $1 billion -- not bad considering New York restaurateur Danny Meyer started the joint as a public service. Founded more than a decade ago to help support the restoration of Manhattan’s Madison Square Park, Shake Shack was an instant success, drawing long lines of urbanites attracted by Meyer’s modern spin on a roadside burger stand. Today, Shake Shack has more than 63 outlets in 30-plus cities from London to Dubai. Shake Shack started as a hot-dog cart that later became a permanent kiosk and neighborhood fixture. Hungry urbanites have been known to hop on the subway to get their fix of $4.95 burgers and $5.15 shakes.
Eight Revealing Facts From Shake Shack's IPO Filing (BusinessWeek)
The burgers aren't the only things that come with cheese. Here are some other semicreative uses of the word "shack" from the filing: Shack-o-nomics. Same Shack Sales. Shack-level operating profit. The company's stock will trade under the ticker SHAK, natch.
Petition launched in support of ‘manspreading’ on TTC (Globe And Mail)
While a new campaign by New York’s transportation authority aimed at tackling the phenomenon of “manspreading” has drawn interest from transit users in Toronto, some say a similar concept north of the border would unfairly target men. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is set to unveil public service ads that encourage men spreading their legs in crowded subways cars to be more courteous to their fellow travelers. The term “manspreading” has been coined as a reference to men spreading their legs wide, into a V-shaped formation while slouching, ultimately taking up extra space on public transportation. But a new online petition challenges TTC riders who have applauded the MTA’s upcoming advertisements, stating that those who seek a similar campaign on Toronto buses and subways should simply mind the gap. “This sets a very bad precedent as men opening their legs is something we have to do due to our biology. It's physically painful for men to close their legs and we cannot be expected to do so, and it's also a biological necessity for us to do so,” reads the petition, which calls “manspreading” a “sexist term.” “We can't force woman to stop breast feeding on busses or trains and we can't force them to stop bringing strollers on, why should we force men to close their legs?” it continues...According to the petition, a ban on spreading one’s legs would “be a big blow to men's rights.”
FBI Takes Aim at High-Roller Junkets (WSJ)
The FBI is concerned that some poker players get financial backing from junkets that authorities suspect possess criminal ties. The agency has been tracking the links between the two gambling communities [of Las Vegas and Macau], according to a person familiar with the matter.
ECB's Weidmann says German 2015 growth may be better than expected (Reuters)
"As things are at the moment and if oil prices remain this low, inflation will be lower than expected, but growth will be better," Weidmann was quoted as saying. The Bundesbank this month halved its growth forecast for Germany to 1.0 percent for next year. It also cut its prediction for 2014 growth to 1.4 percent from 1.9 percent in June. "The situation in Europe isn't as bad as some people believe," added Weidmann.
Greek Patience With Austerity Nears Its Limit (NYT)
Nowhere have austerity policies been more aggressively tried — and generally failed to live up to results promised by advocates — than in Greece. After more than four years of belt tightening, patience is wearing thin, and tentative signs of improvement have not yet trickled down into the lives of average Greeks. Now, after its Parliament failed to pick a president on Monday, forcing early elections, Greece faces a turning point in how to heal its devastated economy. In the Jan. 25 general election, a majority center-right coalition government that has reluctantly stuck with austerity policies will face a charismatic left-wing challenger who says it is time for Greece to take its future into its own hands and do what it can to stimulate growth. Whichever path the country chooses, the outcome is likely to have broad implications for Greece and its place in the European Union.
Cash-strapped American Apparel plans ‘slowdown’ at LA factory (NYP)
American Apparel, its cash situation worsened by a holiday discounting strategy that fizzled, is planning a slowdown at its Los Angeles factory to conserve funds, The Post has learned. The slowdown could result in “sharply reduced hours and weeks off” for thousands of the company’s garment workers in the coming weeks — and threatens a diminished supply of go-to fashions for the spring season, according to a source briefed on the situation.
5 dramatic ways to open Champagne this New Year’s Eve (With Video Tutorials) (NYP)
1. A glass 2. A sword 3. A spoon 4. An ax 5. A .50-caliber gun.
Pot Pie, Redefined? Chefs Start to Experiment With Cannabis (NYT)
In Colorado, which has issued more than 160 edible marijuana licenses, skilled line cooks are leaving respected restaurants to take more lucrative jobs infusing cannabis into food and drinks. In Washington, one of four states that allow recreational marijuana sales, a large cannabis bakery dedicated to affluent customers with good palates will soon open in Seattle. Major New York publishing houses and noted cookbook authors are pondering marijuana projects, and chefs on both coasts and in food-forward countries like Denmark have been staging underground meals with modern twists like compressed watermelon, smoked cheese and marijuana-oil vinaigrette. “It really won’t be long until it becomes part of haute cuisine and part of respectable culinary culture, instead of just an illegal doobie in the backyard,” said Ken Albala, director of the food studies program at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco...Although culinary skill might coax deliciousness from cannabis, dosing remains a vexing issue. Karin Lazarus runs Sweet Mary Jane, a commercial bakery in Boulder. Her recipes will be featured in “Sweet Mary Jane: 75 Delicious Cannabis-Infused High-End Desserts,” due out in June from the Avery imprint of Penguin Random House. Ms. Lazarus, who New York magazine called “the Martha Stewart of weed baking,” makes confections like the Scout’s Honor, which is a play on the Thin Mint cookie, and tart key lime and white chocolate truffles. Because law prohibits tasting dosed products at work, she first works out recipes without using marijuana, and then adds cannabis-infused sugar, oil or butter. She tests the products in a laboratory. They get taste tested as well, but not at work.
Programming Note: We’re on an abbreviated, vacation-esque schedule this week, which is how Jesus and The New Year Elf would've wanted it. Opening and closing wraps, with some light posting/moral support throughout the day for those at unfortunately at work.