Financial Daily Dose 1.26.2021 | Top Story: Apollo Global Ousts Leon Black as CEO Over Epstein Ties

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Private equity behemoth Apollo Global Management’s CEO, Leon Black, is stepping down after an outside inquiry by Dechert—“ordered by the firm’s board at Mr. Black’s behest in October”—revealed that Black “had paid more than $150 million to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.” Black “intends to remain chairman of the New York firm, which manages $455 billion for institutional investors, including pension plans and sovereign wealth funds” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg

Wall Street watchers have plenty of explanations for booming markets in the face of the pandemic and continued economic uncertainty, including vaccine rollout, low interest rates, and optimism about continued stimulus. But as whispers of “frothiness” abound, some are looking to the options markets and noting that “[s]peculation has reached a frenzied level not seen since the tail end of the dot-com boom two decades ago,” with that “enthusiasm” bleeding over to the “regular stock market itself.” Consider yourself warned - NYTimes and MarketWatch

And then, adding to that “short-dated call options . . . feedback loop,” there’s the small-trader effect, which has helped power unexpected companies—this week, it’s “struggling video game retailer GameStop”—to unprecedented heights, with shares of such companies “becoming detached from the kinds of factors that traditionally help benchmark a company’s valuation—like growth or potential profits” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

As widely expected, Dr. Yellen is adding Treasury Secretary to her resume. Her work—the unenviable task of helping President Biden “prepare the $1.9 trillion stimulus package he has proposed, steer it through Congress and—if it is approved—oversee the deployment of trillions of dollars of relief money” begins immediately - NYTimes and WSJ and MarketWatch and Law360

Today, RI Governor Gina Raimondo will be in the hot seat, as the Senate Commerce Committee holds hearings for her nomination as Commerce Secretary - NYTimes

After briefly flirting with the $1 trillion mark, shares of Chinese internet giant Tencent faded earlier today, just 24 hours after an 11% jump on Monday pushed Tencent’s market cap past $950 billion - Bloomberg

UPS has agreed to part with its freight business for $800 million, selling the unit to rival TFI International as new CEO Carol Tomé shifts Big Brown’s focus away from the “domestic trucking market” and to the “soaring small-package delivery business” - WSJ

Even as antitrust probes against the company heat up, Google is moving forward with plans “to remove a widely used tracking technology from its Chrome web browser” in favor of its own allegedly “privacy-friendly alternatives that could replace third-party cookies”—apparently betting that in the war between privacy and antitrust concerns, the former will win the day - WSJ and TechCrunch

Why a dearth of European bankruptcies may actually be a bad thing (aka, the zombie economy’s knocking) - NYTimes

Amazon has revealed plans to hire as many as 3,000 corporate employees in the Boston area, “one of a number of expansions of technology jobs in major American cities for the company.” After doubling its workforce last year, Amazon is the nation’s second-largest employer, clocking in at around 800k employees - WSJ and Bloomberg

Video-streaming service Vimeo has raised $300M in its latest funding round, valuing the company at $5 billion---“an 82% boost from [just] three months ago” - WSJ and MarketWatch

Roaring ‘20s version 2.0? America’s likely to give it a go - Bloomberg

Did Bloomberg Intelligence have to throw many of its 2020 hot-company predictions out the window entirely? It did. Did that humbling keep BI from giving it another shot for 2021? It did not - Bloomberg

Stay safe.

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