Powell Says Washington Will Need to Spend More to Battle Downturn [WSJ]
He warned that the recovery could take more time to gather speed than what appeared possible a few weeks ago…. “Additional fiscal support could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery,” Mr. Powell said….
A Fed survey to be released Thursday shows that among people who were working in February, nearly 40% of those households making less than $40,000 a year had lost a job in March. “This reversal of economic fortune has caused a level of pain that is hard to capture in words,” he said.
CFTC warns on return to negative oil prices [FT]
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission advised exchanges to monitor their markets and remind them to “maintain rules to provide for the exercise of emergency authority”, including the power to “suspend or curtail trading in any contract” if markets become disorderly, according to an advisory notice released on Wednesday…. A senior CFTC official said its notice applied to all contracts, not just oil, and did not represent a forecast that negative oil prices would return. “We are not predicting the market. We’re just suggesting planning,” the official said.
Uber Said to Be in Talks to Acquire Grubhub [NYT]
Uber recently approached Grubhub with a potential all-stock takeover bid, said two of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were confidential. In response, Grubhub asked for two Uber shares for each of its shares, two of the people said. That would value Grubhub’s stock at more than $60 a share, pegging a deal at around $6.1 billion, or roughly a 25 percent premium to Grubhub’s closing price on Monday…. Uber approached Grubhub after the pandemic hit, said one person with knowledge of the deal talks. By then, Uber’s ride-hailing business had been severely hurt as most travel was halted. Last week, the company posted a $2.9 billion loss for the first three months of the year and said that even though its revenue was up from a year earlier, its ride-hailing business had all but collapsed in March.
Evergy to Prepare Sale Process After Push From Elliott [Bloomberg]
The company and its advisers plan to reach out to several potential buyers to gauge their interest, including NextEra Energy Inc., WEC Energy Group Inc., CMS Energy Corp., Ameren Corp. and American Electric Power Co., the people said…. As part of its settlement with Elliott, Evergy agreed to appoint two new directors to the board. Elliott, the New York-based hedge fund run by billionaire Paul Singer, disclosed a $760 million stake in Evergy in January and urged to company to either replace its leadership and come up with a new operating plan, or merge with another company.
Luckin Coffee fires CEO, COO after sales fraud investigation [CNBC]
The coffee chain disclosed on April 2 that an internal probe found that Liu had fabricated 2019 sales by about 2.2 billion yuan ($310 million). The chain previously said net sales for the first nine months of 2019 were 2.9 billion yuan ($413 million). The company placed six other employees, who were either involved in or had knowledge of the fraud, on suspension or leave…. U.S. hedge fund Muddy Waters raised allegations of fraud in January and bet against the stock. Luckin denied the allegations at the time but still hasn’t said why it started its internal probe.
Neiman Marcus creditor calls for deal with Saks Fifth Avenue – letter [Reuters]
Hedge fund Mudrick Capital Management LP asked Neiman Marcus Group’s independent directors on Tuesday to explore a combination with rival department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue, challenging the company’s plan to reorganize under bankruptcy protection…. Saks owner Hudson’s Bay Co in 2017 explored a Neiman Marcus takeover but did not ultimately pursue it.
Alameda County agrees to let Tesla reopen if certain conditions are met [S.F. Chronicle]
The decision came after the county told Tesla earlier in the day to stop manufacturing at its Fremont plant, the strongest step local government has taken to check the electric car maker’s defiance of health orders…. Some Tesla production lines had begun running over the weekend. Workers began returning to the plant as early as last week. Alameda County’s shelter-in-place orders, in place since mid-March, do not allow for manufacturing, though Tesla initially defied them before shutting down its lines and furloughing employees in late March.
Strip clubs, other 'disfavored' businesses entitled to emergency loans in pandemic: U.S. judge [Reuters]
U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman in Flint, Michigan, issued a preliminary injunction barring the U.S. Small Business Administration from enforcing a rule to exclude businesses that present live performances or sell products of a “prurient sexual nature” from loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.
The judge also said the SBA cannot exclude other businesses such as banks, political lobbying firms and restricted private clubs from the roughly $660 billion program, saying Congress intended to support all qualified small businesses, including those it might have been “disfavored” before the pandemic struck.
“Simply put, Congress did not pick winners and losers in the PPP,” Leitman wrote.
“It would ordinarily be absurd to conclude that Congress meant to provide financial assistance to, among others, certain sexually oriented businesses and private clubs that discriminate,” he added. “But these are no ordinary times, and the PPP is no ordinary legislation.”