Financial Daily Dose 2.23.2021 | Top Story: SoftBank Nears Deal With WeWork’s Neumann for $500M Share Purchase

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Ousted eccentric WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann is reportedly closing in on a deal with SoftBank that would shave about $500 million (roughly half) off the total Masa Son would pay to buy Neumann’s shares. The settlement—which could cost SoftBank roughly $1.5 billion overall—is seen as an important move to “clear the way for WeWork’s second attempt at a public listing” - WSJ and Bloomberg

Facebook is backing off of its hard “no news for you” position in Australia after the government agreed to “take into account commercial deals Google and Facebook reach with news companies before deciding whether they are subject to the law, and would also give them one month’s notice.” The concession grants Zuck more time to negotiate with news outlets and strike Google-style accords - Bloomberg and NYTimes and WSJ and Mashable and TechCrunch

“Storied Connecticut aerospace manufacturer” Pratt & Whitney is facing a series of uncomfortable questions after “two episodes over the weekend in which engines failed in flight, shedding debris over populated areas in Colorado and the Netherlands.” The weekend’s drama followed a December failure of a P&W engine that “forced a Japan Airlines jetliner to turn around shortly after taking off from Okinawa.” All in all, a rough patch, to say the least, for a nearly 100-year-old company that’s “occupied an important spot at the center of the U.S. aircraft industry” - NYTimes and WSJ

According to the official numbers, America’s unemployment rate is sitting somewhere around 6.3%--down substantially from a double-digit rate during the depths of the pandemic year. But listen carefully, and you may hear economic officials—from Fed Chair Powell to Treasury Secretary Yellen—setting aside that “headline” unemployment rate in favor of a “new, bespoke metric” that adds “those who have been misclassified as ‘employed but not at work’ in the Labor Department’s report, but who are actually on temporarily layoff” and those who have lost work “and are not applying to jobs right now.” All told, those extra groups push the unemployment rate closer to 10%, and that more accurate figure is playing a significant role in how the veterans of the 2008 recession plan on tackling this crisis - NYTimes

We’ll see if that special rate surfaces at all during the first of Chair Powell’s two days on the Hill, where he’s expected to address inflation concerns, among other issues - Bloomberg and NYTimes

The rebound economy isn’t exactly making things easier. See, in the face of the Covid lockdown, most U.S. manufacturers pulled out their old crisis playbook of “cutting costs and preserving cash.” But that left them “unprepared for the sharp rebound in consumer demand that began just weeks later and never let up,” and they’re struggling to deal with the “bullwhip effect” caused by suppliers responding to improved demand with an “outsize increase in production” that messes with already stressed supply chains - WSJ

A “brand extension” for candy, with the merch to go with it? You can thank the “core Gen Z consumers” for this booming new market - NYTimes

Jay-Z and LMVH, the owner of luxury brands like Dom Perignon, are new collaborators now that LVMH has acquired “half of Armand de Brignac, Jay-Z’s bubbly brand” - NYTimes and WSJ

We’ve got a tire tie-up, people! Goodyear is set to buy rival Cooper Tire in a cash and stock deal with $2.8 billion that gives Goodyear annual revenue “of roughly $17.5 billion, more than 50 factories and around 72,000 employees” - WSJ

EV company Lucid Motors is merging with a Michael Klein-run SPAC in a deal valuing the entity at $24 billion that’s an important step in taking the company public - Bloomberg and MarketWatch and WSJ

A few of us on Twitter got suckered in by a fake Mars video purporting to provide a scan of the Martian landscape from Perseverance  the other day. Well, here’s the real thing, courtesy of Nasa, and it’s pretty spectacular - NYTimes and Bloomberg

Stay safe.

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