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SPACs Are Warning They May Go Bust [WSJ]
At least 25 companies that merged with special-purpose acquisition companies between 2020 and 2021 have issued so-called going-concern warnings in recent months, according to research firm Audit Analytics…. The companies with warnings amount to more than 10% of the 232 companies that listed through SPACs in that period, Audit Analytics said. That percentage is roughly double that for companies that listed through more-traditional initial public offerings, Audit Analytics said….
“We’re going to see more of this,” Michael Dambra, a professor at University of Buffalo who studies SPACs, said of the going-concern notices. “The cash flows aren’t coming in,” he added.

McDonald's defeats billionaire Carl Icahn in vote over pigs [BBC]
Only 1% of shareholders voted in favour of the nominees put forward by Mr Icahn, an investor in the firm…. The billionaire has said he was stirred to take on McDonald's by his daughter, an animal lover who has worked for the Humane Society.

The Activist Investor Behind SeaWorld’s Sea Change [WSJ]
Shares of the Orlando, Fla., company surged to an all-time high in March of this year, far outperforming rivals Six Flags Entertainment Corp. and Cedar Fair LP, before a broad market selloff in May. SeaWorld’s sales and profits also notched records last year, as visitors bought pricier tickets to try out new rides and spent more on food, drinks and souvenirs than ever before.
[Hill Path Capital’s Scott] Ross, who became SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.’s chairman and controlling shareholder in 2019 after his investment firm spent a total of nearly $600 million on the company’s stock, is now sitting on a 37% stake valued at close to $1.5 billion.

The Fed's favorite inflation measure fell in April, but prices are still uncomfortably high [CNN]
The price index measuring Personal Consumption Expenditures rose by 6.3% year over year in April, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was a decrease from March, when prices rose by 6.6%, and the first slowing of price hikes since November 2020…. While inflation is still the boogeyman of the moment, survey respondents were less pessimistic about the future.
"Less than one quarter of consumers expected to be worse off financially a year from now," said Joanne Hsu, director of the Michigan surveys of consumers.

Bets Against U.S. Treasurys Rake In Gains as Fed Raises Rates [WSJ]
ProShares and others offer ETFs that let rookies and professionals alike wager against U.S. debt in exchange for a management fee. Through Thursday, a ProShares ETF whose value tracks the opposite of daily price moves in long-dated Treasury debt has gained 22% in 2022…. That performance compares with a 14% loss, after dividends, in the S&P 500, and a slimmer loss for the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate bond index.
The ProShares ETF that [Christopher] Backes chose—a riskier one, because it uses leverage—has gained 47% in the year to date.

Digital Dollar Could Coexist With Stablecoins, Fed Vice Chairwoman Says [WSJ]
“The recent turmoil in crypto financial markets makes clear that the actions we take now—whether on the regulatory framework or a digital dollar—should be robust to the future evolution of the financial system,” Ms. Brainard said…. Benefits include consumer access to safe, central-bank issued currency in a period of rapidly declining use of physical cash, Ms. Brainard said. She said a digital dollar could also address fragmentation of the payment system if stablecoins one day become the dominant form of digital payments.

JPMorgan says bitcoin has ‘significant upside from here’ and could rise to $38,000. Real estate not so much [Fortune]
"The past month's crypto market correction looks more like capitulation relative to last January/February, and going forward, we see upside for Bitcoin and crypto markets more generally," the strategists wrote.
JPMorgan now sees digital assets and hedge funds as its “preferred” alternative asset classes, with real estate being moved to the sidelines as mortgage rates soar.


rockefeller center tree

Holiday Bell: 12.23.22

M&A to rally into new year; inflation, too; judge hurts Hertz creditors; Dan Loeb’s feelings are hurt; and more!

It's morning again in America. CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 6.22.21

Bill Ackman, record mogul, can’t lose; meet your new landlord; SPACs for fun and profit; no unions, no inflation; and more!

Getty Images

Holiday Bell: 6.20.22

Freedom; firsts; foreboding; and more!

By AntanaCoins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Opening Bell: 10.13.20

Fodder for China virus conspiracy theories; not-so-Perfect Home for sale; SPACs SPACs SPACs SPACs; and more!

vaccine shot

Holiday Bell: 12.28.21

Biden’s regulatory bench Blooms; Omicron makes things easier (unless you work at Goldman Sachs); Credit Suisse is litigiously pissed; Kap SPAC kicks the bucket; and more!


Opening Bell: 4.22.21

The last SPAC; Blackstone booms; shorts aren’t dead; and more!

Holiday Bell: 12.27.12

Debt Ceiling Nears As Talks Stymied (WSJ) The Treasury Department said Wednesday the government would hit its legal borrowing limit by Monday, setting in motion emergency measures to keep the government operating for several more weeks and serving as a reminder that the nation's budget wrangling could continue well into 2013. The Treasury's financial maneuvering is designed to put off until February or March the prospect of a full-blown debt crisis. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's two-paragraph letter to Congress didn't specify when the emergency measures might be exhausted, blaming the "significant uncertainty that now exists with regard to unresolved tax and spending policies for 2013." The White House and congressional leaders have shown no signs of progress toward crafting an agreement to avoid the year-end tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. Rajaratnam Pays $1.45 Million Over Gupta Insider Tips (WSJ) As part of a consent agreement signed by Mr. Rajaratnam earlier this month and approved by a federal judge on Monday, he agreed to disgorge more than $1.29 million, representing his profits or losses avoided as a result of his alleged trading on Mr. Gupta's tips, and to pay prejudgment interest of $147,738. SeaWorld Files For IPO (WSJ) Though the number of shares and the price range for offering haven't been determined, the filing pegged it at up to $100 million. IBM Insider Net Expands (Reuters) Federal prosecutors charged Trent Martin, a research analyst at a Connecticut brokerage firm, with trading and tipping others before computer giant IBM’s $1.2 billion acquisition of SPSS in 2009, expanding a related insider-trading case filed last month. Martin was also charged with passing the information to others, including two stockbrokers and his roommate. The group allegedly netted more than $1 million. Shark Tank Explodes In Shanghai Mall (NYDN) Security video inside a Shanghai shopping mall captured the terrifying moment an aquarium with live sharks burst open, injuring at least 15 people and leading to the death of dozens of animals. The chaotic scene on Dec. 18 inside the Shanghai Oriental Shopping Center left many of the victims with cuts from the broken glass, while one of them suffered a broken ankle, according to the China Daily. Many of those hurt were mall employees. In addition, three lemon sharks and dozens of smaller fish and turtles were killed when the 33-ton tank exploded, sending water and glass cascading through part of the shopping center, the BBC reported. At least four people were standing right in front of the display at the time. “It was horrible, like a bomb explosion,” one mall vendor told the China Daily. “Some pedestrians were pushed (6-1/2 feet) away by the force of the water.” Officials were investigating whether low temperatures in Shanghai combined with shoddy building materials to make the shark tank — built just two years ago — suddenly rupture. This isn't the first time the display has been damaged: A broken water pipe in June led to the death of three sharks, according to reports. Mall officials have apparently had enough and told local media they don't plan to rebuild. Jobless Claims Drop as U.S. States Tally Data After Break (Bloomberg) Applications for jobless benefits decreased 12,000 to 350,000 in the week ended Dec. 22, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 360,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Claims in 19 states and territories were estimated because government office closures on Dec. 24 prevented a complete count, a Labor Department spokesman said as the figures were released. France, Italy See Economic Bright Spots (WSJ) So that's nice. Gross Doubles New York Bet as California Loses Lead (Bloomberg) The $285 billion Total Return Fund, which Gross runs at Pacific Investment Management Co., boosted its New York state allocation to about a $3 billion market value in the quarter ending Sept. 30, from $1.4 billion as of June 30, according to a semiannual filing the firm released this month. It was the largest increase by amount among U.S. states. Zuckerberg's Sister Can't Keep Privacy Rules Straight (NYP) Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s older sister, Randi, complained yesterday when one of her Twitter followers publicly posted a photo of the family, including her famous brother, standing in the kitchen reacting to the company’s new Poke app. “Not sure where you got this photo,” Randi tweeted in response @cschweitz. “I posted it only to friends on FB. You reposting it on Twitter is way uncool.” It turns out that not even Randi — Facebook’s former marketing director — is up to speed on the site’s often-confusing privacy settings. Her gaffe provided fodder for critics of the site, which in the past has changed its policies with little warning and to the dismay of users. “We’ve all been dealing with loss of privacy in Facebook, now she feels what we all do everyday,” one Twitter user responded. Apple CEO Cook Gets $4.17 Million Compensation, No Stock (Bloomberg) The total includes $1.36 million salary and $2.8 million in incentive plan compensation, Cupertino, California-based Apple said today in a regulatory filing. Cook’s 2011 compensation of $378 million, one of the biggest pay packages on record, was boosted by $376.2 million in stock awards that he’ll get over a decade. McDonald’s trips cost high school secretary $9,000 in fines (NYDN) Kappry Vera of the Urban Assembly School for Construction and Design in Hell’s Kitchen made more than $3,000 in personal purchases on the school credit card from August 2009 through May 2011, investigators charge. The administrator, who lives in Williamsburg, spent most of the money on fast food — including $765 on dozens of visits to McDonald’s between October 2009 and May 2011, charging the city for purchases there up to four times each day. Vera, 33, also dropped $342 at Subway and spent another $190 on Burger King in illegal uses of her city-funded credit card that was only meant for official school purchases, investigators said. Vera only halted her runaway junk-food spending after her principal noticed “questionable purchases” in the school budget and confronted her about it, investigators said. Under questioning, Vera admitted that she bought food for herself on the school card on five occasions, but she wouldn’t give investigators receipts to explain the bulk of her purchases. Programming Note: We’re on an abbreviated, vacation-esque schedule this week (opening news roundups and limited updates whenever the urge to reach out and touch you moves us). We still want to hear from you, though, so if anything happens that you think might tickle our fancy, do not hesitate to let us know.


Opening Bell: 6.10.21

The summer of going public; inflation inflates; GameStop plays a bum card; James Biden got a call; and more!