Financial Daily Dose 3.16.2021 | Top Story: Purdue Pharma Unveils Post-Bankruptcy Plans, Including $4.7B Payment by Sacklers

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Purdue Pharma has outlined its own plan to remove Sackler family control and restructure the pharmaceutical giant on the other side of bankruptcy—a 300-page effort that amounts to the company’s “formal bid to end thousands of lawsuits and includes a pledge from the Sacklers to pay $4.725 billion from their personal fortune . . . to reimburse states, municipalities, tribes and other plaintiffs for costs associated with the [opioid] epidemic” - NYTimes and WSJ

A year later and $1.9 trillion relief package now signed into law, an appraisal of the U.S.’s uncharacteristically forceful and speedy response to the economic crisis kicked off by the pandemic, with the result “an economy far stronger than most forecasters predicted last spring, even as the pandemic proved much worse than feared” - NYTimes

And since we’re reminiscing, a reminder of just how bold Chair Powell and the Fed were in responding to the Covid-induced crisis - NYTimes

The pandemic also kicked off a housing boom in the U.S., though one that looked very different from the 2006 bubble that led to the Great Recession. Different, you say? The Journal calls it “the inverse of the previous boom,” as lending standards are tighter, down-payment requirements are higher, and a smaller supply is justifying the jump in prices - WSJ

Danone SA CEO Emmanuel Faber is out after a “clash with investors” over the yogurt giant’s “lackluster share price and underperforming dairy and water brands”—a “rare win for activist funds in France’s rigid corporate landscape” - WSJ

In the wake of the departure of two high-profile artificial intelligence experts who specialized in the ethical employment of AI, Google’s struggling to assure tech watchers and Googlers alike that it can effectively produce non-racist AI - NYTimes

Blackstone and Starwood Capital have joined forces to acquire “hotel owner and operator Extended Stay America Inc. for $6 billion, a bet that a rare bright spot for the lodging industry during Covid-19 can shine brighter as the U.S. emerges from the pandemic.” Extended Stay’s focus on mid-priced lodging for guests “staying for weeks or longer” helped it achieve a 74% occupancy rate in 2020—some 30% above the industry average - WSJ and Bloomberg

Beijing is pushing Alibaba to “dispose of its media assets” in a move to rein in the company out of fears of its “sway over public opinion in the country,” the latest effort at clamping down Jack Ma’s empire by the Chinese government - WSJ

IHeart Media investor Global Media & Entertainment Investments Ltd., a British-led investment firm, is looking to “boost its stake to nearly 50%, increasing its bet on the biggest owner of radio stations in the U.S.” - Bloomberg

More on undercounting issues with the official unemployment figures, including some particularly Covid-applicable health-care-related gray areas that complicate the numbers - NYTimes

Still looking to reinvent itself and its reputation after its diesel-emissions scandals, Volkswagen is hoping that its size and commitment to building battery factories across Europe can help it defeat Tesla (and its more-established rivals) in the quest to imagine an all-electric vehicle future - NYTimes and WSJ

Fascinating stuff from the Times here exploring [and photographing] efforts currently underway to create a “European Yellowstone” in Romania’s Southern Carpathian Mountain range - NYTimes

Stay safe.

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