Financial Daily Dose 2.17.2021 | Top Story: NY AG Sues Amazon Over “Deficient” Covid-19 Response

Robins Kaplan LLP

Robins Kaplan LLP

NY AG Letitia James is suing Amazon, accusing the online retail giant “of not doing enough to protect workers in the state from the coronavirus” and calling its response to the pandemic “deficient.” The AG’s office also called out Amazon’s retaliation against worker protest leaders - WSJ and Mashable

The SEC has sued bond-ratings company Morningstar for allegedly allowing its analysts “to adjust financial models that resulted in better terms for bond issuers and in some cases less interest income for investors”  to “30 commercial mortgage-backed securities valued at $30 billion.” Morningstar bought rival rating company DBRS in 2019 in an bid to breaking into the realm of the Big Three ratings companies - WSJ and Bloomberg and Law360

Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund notorious for “drastically” cutting costs at the newspapers it has acquired over the years, has finally secured full ownership of Tribune Publishing (home of the Chicago Tribune and the Daily News) after years of pursuing total control. The deal won’t include the Baltimore Sun, which “go to a nonprofit formed by Stewart Bainum Jr., a Maryland hotel executive” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Fascinating stuff from the Journal on China’s decision last year to block Ant Group’s IPO that goes beyond the stated reasons of concern that Jack Ma “was adding risk to the financial system” and retribution for Ma’s criticism of Beijing’s “campaign to strengthen financial oversight.” You see, there was also the small matter of “growing unease” over “Ant’s complex ownership structure—and the people who stood to gain most from what would have been the world’s largest IPO.” More specifically, a “coterie of well-connected Chinese power players, including some with links to political families that represent a potential challenger to President Xi and his inner circle” - WSJ

The deep freeze that’s hit a huge chunk of the country has meant more than power outages in Texas—it’s also “severely disrupted businesses including large car factories, retail chains and delivery services that people are deeply reliant on for basic necessities.” That means, for example, hundreds of shuttered Walmart, Publix, and CVS locations - NYTimes and WSJ

Well, so much for NoDak’s role as David to Big Tech’s Goliath - NYTimes

A Tuesday ruling from SDNY Judge Jesse Furman means that Citi’s $900 million accidental wire nightmare is far from over. Though recipients “of cash wired in error are typically required to return it,” Furman found that the creditors here—who “had sued Revlon and Citi seeking repayment” of their initial loan—had “reasonable grounds to believe the payment was intentional” and can therefore hang on to the $500 million they’ve refused to disgorge - NYTimes and Bloomberg and Law360

Trouble at Scrooge McDuck’s vault? Perhaps, if former Disney financial analyst Sandra Kuba is to be believed. Kuba has sued Big Mouse’s financial arm “on claims she was fired after reporting accounting irregularities and filing a whistleblower complaint” with the SEC – Law360

Bitcoin continued its 2021 surge, hitting $50k for the first time as the cryptocurrency pushes further into mainstream financial acceptance - WSJ

USAA and Wells Fargo have settled the patent dispute stemming from Wells Fargo’s alleged infringement of USAA’s mobile check-depositing technology. Wells will pay $300 million to resolve the matter – Law360

Amazon has acquired Aussie e-commerce company Selz for an undisclosed sum in a deal that “underscores an increased focus on fast-growing rival Shopify Inc.” - WSJ

Can Daniil Medvedev’s slice-happy, drop-shotting ways cut through the big-serving, monster forehand homogeneity that is men’s pro tennis these days and deliver him a Slam title? Keep an eye on the goings on down under. It may just be the Russian’s time - NYTimes

Stay safe.

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