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Robinhood’s Crypto Push Goes International. The U.K. Is the First Stop. [Barron’s]
Robinhood has signed a deal to acquire Ziglu, a British electronic-money institution and crypto asset firm, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the groups said in a statement…. Wall Street isn’t sure whether a move into the growing digital asset space can move the needle at Robinhood. The company faces headwinds from a slowdown in trading, especially among the retail investors that are core to its business, both in stocks and cryptocurrencies. Shares in Robinhood are down 40% so far in 2022.

Fed’s Bullard Says 75 Basis-Point Hike Could Be Option If Needed [Bloomberg]
“More than 50 basis points is not my base case at this point,” [St. Louis Fed President James] Bullard said in a virtual presentation to the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday, adding the Fed under Alan Greenspan did such a hike in 1994 leading to a decade-long expansion. “I wouldn’t rule it out, but it is not my base case here….”
Bullard repeated he favors an interest rate of about 3.5%, citing a version of the Taylor rule, a guideline developed by Stanford University’s John Taylor that uses inflation, the unemployment rate and an estimate of the neutral interest rate -- a rate neither contractionary nor expansionary -- to come up with his estimate.

Spotify Rival Deezer Strikes SPAC Deal Valuing It at About $1.1 Billion [WSJ]
The Paris-based competitor to Spotify Technology SA and other music streamers has 9.6 million subscribers and generated revenue of €400 million in 2021…. Founded in 2007, Deezer is merging with Paris-listed I2PO SA. The firm is a so-called blank-check company backed by France’s Pinault family, the controlling shareholder of Gucci-owner Kering, as well as Centerview Partners banker Matthieu Pigasse. The vehicle is headed by former WarnerMedia executive Iris Knobloch.

Credit-Card Spending Belies Consumers’ Glum View of the Economy [WSJ]
Pessimism about the economy has been on the rise due to surging inflation and falling household income since pandemic-related stimulus programs expired. But… [f]irst-quarter spending was up 23% on Citigroup Inc. credit cards, compared with a year ago. Spending rose 29% on JPMorgan Chase & Co. cards and 33% on Wells Fargo & Co. cards….
“People like getting dressed up to go to dinner again in a restaurant,” Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser said Thursday.

Washington Commanders strongly deny financial misconduct in letter to Federal Trade Commission [ESPN]
Paul Szczenski, the team's former director of finance for more than eight years, said in a signed affidavit that, "I can state unequivocally that I never helped maintain, or saw anyone else maintain, a 'second set' of books.'" He was one of three former high-ranking team officials who submitted signed affidavits…. [Former Washington COO Mitch] Gershman and others said Friedman was out of the loop because he did not work in the accounting department and was therefore not privy to all financial discussions. [Former ticket sales vice president Jason] Friedman worked at the team's stadium in Landover, Maryland, which is approximately one hour from the practice facilities in Ashburn, Virginia, where according to the letter the finance and accounting departments worked.

Better.com announces more layoffs, citing mortgage market turbulence. [NYT]
The company spurred an outcry for firing 900 workers on Zoom in December, and again in March, when roughly 3,000 employees were laid off. It erroneously deposited severance payments into some workers’ accounts before notifying them that they were being fired.
During its latest round of layoffs, Better.com pointed to turbulence in the housing market as a reason for the contraction. The company has not said how many employees were included in the cuts, or disclosed the total number of people it will employ after this downsizing.

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