Financial Daily Dose 5.14.2021 | Top Story: Colonial Pipeline Paid $5M Ransom to Hackers, Set Dangerous Precedent

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After a series of denials, it has emerged that Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid 75 Bitcoin (roughly $5 million) to recover its stolen data from last weekend’s ransomware attack. The move likely put a quicker end to the growing panic over gas shortages in the southeast, but it likely “embolden[ed] other criminal groups or rogue states to take American companies hostage by seizing control of their computers” - NYTimes and WSJ and MarketWatch and Bloomberg

U.S. jobless claims fell again last week, with Thursday’s report showing first-time unemployment applications dipping below 500k for the first time since mid-March 2020, “when the pandemic shut down the economy and triggered widespread joblessness” - WSJ

Those figures may have been part of the cause for markets to bounce back after a three-day losing streak - WSJ

Disney reported strong quarterly results this week, though  slower-than-anticipated Disney+ was the headline story. Though Big Mouse’s streaming services now includes nearly 104 million subscribers worldwide, analysts had “been hoping for closer to 110 million, in part because Disney+ introduced two Marvel series, “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” during the period” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Let’s set aside those hand-washing stations and Plexiglas. It’s all about air quality in the post-pandemic workplace, folks - NYTimes

A look at the apparent Bank of America empire of Tom Montag, the “bank’s No. 2 executive” behind Brian Moynihan, who “likes grand displays of dedication and plays favorites, polarizing employees”—an approach that’s made him a polarizing figure at BofA - NYTimes

The microchip shortage plaguing large swaths of U.S. manufacturing is hitting automakers and dealers especially hard, leaving the latter “with the fewest offerings in decades” - WSJ

Speaking of shortages, in an effort to attract much-needed workers in their restaurants and warehouses, McDonald’s and Amazon, respectively, announced plans to boost average starting salaries. The hikes “come amid an intensifying debate about why companies are struggling to hire workers despite the fact that millions of Americans remain out of work” - Bloomberg and WSJ

We’re keeping an eye on Ireland’s High Court, which is expected to rule today “on Facebook’s bid to derail a preliminary decision on data flows that it received in August from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, the lead EU privacy regulator for Facebook.” If it sides with the DPC, the ruling could force the ‘Book to “suspend sending personal information about EU users to Facebook’s U.S. servers” and have ripple effects across the entire Big Tech industry - WSJ

If it’s anything like its source material—Colson Whitehead’s incredible “The Underground Railroad”—the new Barry Jenkins adaptation of the same name debuting on Amazon Prime tonight won’t be an easy watch. But it will be must-see programming, so make time for it (and read the book, too) - NYTimes and Mashable

Stay safe, have a great weekend, and get vaxxed.

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