Senate passes key procedural step to allow Democrats to pass Covid-19 relief without threat of GOP filibuster [CNN]
The budget resolution that passed is not the Covid relief bill. It simply sets the stage for Democrats to be able to use a process known as "budget reconciliation" to pass the relief bill on a party-line vote, possibly in late February or March, after the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is complete in the Senate.

The Bank of England Tells Banks to Prepare for Negative Interest Rates [NYT]
Policymakers cautioned on Thursday that they were not trying to send the signal that rates would be cut to zero or lower imminently…. After consulting with banks about whether it would be feasible to cut rates further, the central bank found that most firms would need to make some changes to their systems and processes. On Thursday, it asked the banks to begin making these changes.

Kuaishou Surges 161% In Biggest Technology IPO Since Uber [Bloomberg Quint]
The shares closed at HK$300 after rising to as high as HK$345, compared with the IPO price of HK$115, valuing the Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed firm at $159 billion…. That spectacular rise confers on Kuaishou a price tag nearing TikTok’s parent ByteDance -- which last sought funds at a $180 billion valuation -- and ushers the nine-year-old video app into the ranks of China’s largest tech corporations….
“A successful listing by Kuaishou will pave the way for its larger rival,” said Bloomberg Intelligence senior analyst Vey-Sern Ling. “Douyin will be more motivated to come to the market and investors can get better insight into China’s short-video industry with Kuaishou’s regular disclosures going forward.”

Lev Parnas, partner hit with SEC suit for ‘Fraud Guarantee’ scheme [N.Y. Post]
The Rudy Giuliani associates accused of illegally funneling campaign contributions to super PACs and politicians were slapped with an SEC complaint Thursday for allegedly ripping off investors…. The pair allegedly raised millions of dollars from investors for “Fraud Guarantee,” which was billed as a company that would “identify investment fraud or recoup investment or consumer losses resulting from fraud.”
Instead of using the investments for the business, the pair allegedly blew huge amounts of the cash on gambling at casinos, luxury clothes, and at clubs and restaurants.

Palihapitiya-backed Clover Health discloses SEC probe, rebuts short-seller allegations [Reuters]
On Thursday, [short seller] Hindenburg [Research] published a scathing report, the title of which called Clover a “broken business,” and accused the company of not disclosing a DOJ investigation into its business model and its software offering, Clover Assistant…. Clover said on Friday some of the claims were “completely untrue” and executives Vivek Garipalli and Andrew Toy said in a separate blog post that the report was “rife with ad-hominem attacks, sweeping inaccuracies and gross mischaracterizations”.

Alex Rodriguez-backed SPAC looks to raise about $500 million in IPO [Reuters]
Slam Corp, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), said it would sell 50 million units, comprising shares and warrants, priced at $10 apiece in the IPO…. Slam Corp is backed by Rodriguez’s A-Rod Corp, which invests in startups and other companies.

Branson-backed SPAC to take DNA-testing firm 23andMe public in $3.5 billion deal [Reuters]
As part of the deal with VG Acquisition Corp, 23andMe will receive proceeds of $759 million, which includes $250 million from a range of investors including Branson, 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki, funds managed by Fidelity Management & Research Co LLC, Altimeter Capital, Casdin Capital and Foresite Capital…. The merged entity will trade under the symbol “ME” on the New York Stock Exchange.

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