TikTok Sale to Oracle, Walmart Is Shelved as Biden Reviews Security [WSJ]
No imminent decision on how to resolve the issues surrounding TikTok is expected as the Biden administration determines its own response to the potential security risk posed by Chinese tech companies’ collection of data…. Any deal would likely be different from the one discussed last September, the people said, in part because TikTok no longer faces the threat of an imminent shutdown.
GameStop breaks below $50 a share as short squeeze comes to an end [CNBC]
The brick-and-mortar video game retailer fell more than 20% to a session low of $46.52 a share on Tuesday, following an 80% drop last week for its worst weekly performance ever. GameStop closed Tuesday’s session 16.2% lower at $50.31….
Short interest in GameStop as a percentage of shares available for trading dropped to about 50% Friday from more than 130% two weeks ago, according to data from S3 Partners. So most of the short bets have been covered and there isn’t any significant force from short sellers to keep fueling the squeeze.
The Issues With SPACs [NYT]
“I know more people who have a SPAC than have Covid,” financiers keep telling Andrew [Ross Sorkin]…. “Every friend is launching a SPAC,” the billionaire fund manager Bill Ackman told Andrew. “It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, I got one, too.’” Mr. Ackman’s SPAC is the largest, raising $4 billion last year. (He has yet to name an acquisition target.) Other financiers getting in on the SPAC-tion include the tech investor Chamath Palihapitiya, the veteran banker Michael Klein and the buyout specialist Alec Gores, all of whom have multiple SPACs. Yesterday, the former N.F.L. quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed for his own SPAC.
Suspicious Activity Reports Related to Cash Transactions Surge [WSJ]
The number of suspicious activity reports filed last year to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network on cash transactions below a $10,000 threshold was the highest in the seven full years the category has existed…. “Transactions Below CTR Threshold” was the leading suspicious activity category in 2020, according to Dynamic Securities Analytics. There were 318,867 SARs filed under that category, up about 44% from 2019.
The NYSE Isn’t Moving—Yet [WSJ]
While New York has remained a center of gravity for the financial industry, many employees of “Wall Street” firms are migrating to Florida, Texas and other states with hospitable tax policies. New York’s leaders did the right thing in 1981 when they made the state’s stock-transfer tax dormant through a 100% rebate. If lawmakers opt to reinstate that tax, the NYSE may need to follow the lead of those relocating firms. Some of our customers are already asking about our willingness to relocate.
KPMG boss Bill Michael apologises after telling staff to ‘stop moaning’ during Covid-19 call [FN]
KPMG UK chair Bill Michael… told staff to “stop moaning” and stop "playing the victim card” during a virtual town hall meeting on 8 February with staff in KPMG’s financial consulting business….”
In a statement, Michael said: “I am sorry for the words I used, which did not reflect what I believe in, and I have apologised to my colleagues. Looking after the wellbeing of our people and creating a culture where everyone can thrive is of critical importance to me and is at the heart of everything we do as a firm.”