Check out our lineup
As you know if you read this newsletter regularly, the first DealBook Online Summit is coming up on Nov. 17 and 18. The speakers have just been announced for the two-day event, which is free to watch from anywhere in the world if you register here.
Some of the highlights:
The race for a vaccine: Pfizer’s Albert Bourla, Bill Gates and Heidi Larson of the Vaccine Confidence Project on the development and distribution of Covid-19 treatments.
What’s next for Washington: Senator Elizabeth Warren on the postelection outlook for politics and policy.
Race and corporate America: Former Xerox chief Ursula Burns, rapper and activist Killer Mike and Vista Equity Partners founder Robert Smith on what businesses can do to create lasting benefits for Black communities.
The long view: SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son on his company’s biggest bets and his 300-year outlook for innovation.
The path forward: JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon on how to address the biggest economic challenges facing the U.S.
Other sessions feature Dr. Anthony Fauci, Alphabet’s Ruth Porat, Tim Sweeney of Epic Games and more. Register here and browse the full agenda.
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING
New York imposes more pandemic restrictions. As Covid-19 hospitalizations surge across the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered that private gatherings — even outdoors — be limited to 10 people and that gyms, bars and restaurants close by 10 p.m. According to a new nationwide study, workers in New York City have been the most reluctant to return to the office.
Pfizer’s C.E.O. sells millions worth of stock on the day of Covid-19 vaccine news. Albert Bourla sold $5.56 million in shares on Monday, the day that the drugmaker disclosed promising early data for its coronavirus vaccine. The company said Mr. Bourla’s sale was part of a preauthorized plan set in August.
Dan Loeb wins big on election-related bets. His Third Point hedge fund gained nearly $400 million by betting correctly on the result of the U.S. election, The Financial Times reports. While many investors sold stocks amid the market turbulence in the weeks before the election, Third Point maintained its exposure — and benefited from the huge rebound after the vote.
Kodak says former executives sold stock options they didn’t own. The company disclosed that accounting deficiencies allowed five people to exercise 300,000 in forfeited options. Kodak will try to reclaim $3.9 million, the fair value of the shares sold, and $3 million for withheld taxes on behalf of the former employees.
Jeffrey Toobin is fired by The New Yorker. The star journalist was dismissed after an internal investigation into reports that he exposed himself on a Zoom call with other magazine staff members. There’s no word on his status at CNN, where he is chief legal analyst but had asked for time off after the incident.
Exclusive: Twitter’s $100 million investment in racial equality
Twitter will announce today that is investing $100 million in community development financial institutions, or C.D.F.I.s, in a new initiative aimed at combating “racial injustice and persistent poverty.”
The commitment is worth around 1 percent of Twitter’s cash pile, and will be used for loans provided by the Opportunity Finance Network’s network of C.D.F.I.s across the United States. These institutions take government money, donations and other funds to seed businesses that banks won’t deal with in underserved communities. More than 80 percent of customers in the group’s network have low incomes, and around 60 percent are people of color.
The announcement follows similar corporate initiatives, including from Netflix (deposits in Black-owned banks), PayPal (investments in Black- and Latino-led venture firms) and Square (C.D.F.I.s), with the latter company also run by Twitter’s C.E.O., Jack Dorsey. Twitter’s finance chief, Ned Segal, said it was inspired by those companies, and held conversations with nonprofit groups and financial institutions about how “to bring our balance sheet to benefit these communities,” he said. Twitter wants to establish a model that can be replicated by other companies, so that the Opportunity Finance Network can scale up if other corporate investors come on board.
Twitter will reinvest the interest it earns from loans, which it says will be offered at below-market rates, into Operation Hope, a nonprofit organization aimed at improving financial literacy and economic inclusion.
It’s part of Twitter’s role as a public citizen. The social media company has been criticized for the spread of disinformation on its platform, which it has been trying to contain. Twitter’s announcement today fits with its broader mission of “serving the public conversation,” Mr. Segal said. “We hope that each thing stands on its own.”
“Almost any objective analysis for getting to zero emissions includes hydrogen.”
— Jack Brouwer, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine, on the prospects for hydrogen as a mainstream fuel source.
Getting to know Ron Klain
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped longtime confidant Ron Klain to be his White House chief of staff. The veteran Democratic operative first worked with Mr. Biden in 1989, when Mr. Biden was a senator from Delaware and Mr. Klain had recently graduated from Harvard Law School. Mr. Klain later served as Mr. Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president, helping oversee the 2009 economic rescue package, and later acting as President Barack Obama’s “Ebola czar.”
Mr. Klain was an early hire at Steve Case’s investment fund, Revolution. “Ron joined Revolution in 2005 when it was just an idea, and helped build it into a significant venture capital firm,” Mr. Case told DealBook in an email. Mr. Case, the former C.E.O. of AOL, described Mr. Klain as “a great thinker, a great manager and a great communicator.” He recalled a party held by Mr. Biden in 2010, when Mr. Klain left the White House to return to Revolution:
Vice President Biden and his family and close advisers were there — and frankly they were a little unhappy to lose him, and made sure I knew it. I had to remind them that they had “stolen” him from us in the first place! Obviously, they now have him back!
Progressives lauded the move as well. Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted that Mr. Klain is a “superb” choice who “has earned trust across the entire Democratic Party.”
The consequences of China’s tech crackdown
Shares in Chinese titans like Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan recovered today after Beijing unveiled sweeping new proposals to rein in their power earlier this week. But their market values remain well below where they were before the announcement, suggesting the longer-term effects of the rules will be harder to shake.
The proposals could erode the control of power players. They are meant to limit exclusivity requirements, selling products below cost and different treatment of partners based on algorithms. They follow new regulations on fintech companies like Ant Group, whose blockbuster I.P.O. was abruptly derailed by Chinese regulators last week.
Chinese regulators may continue tightening control. “We should learn from international experience, strengthen our antimonopoly examinations and ensure that a fair market order is maintained,” Liang Tao, the vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said at a conference yesterday. (Officials also rejected a software developer’s I.P.O. filing yesterday.)
Silicon Valley is assessing the potential repercussions. For now, Beijing’s moves are unlikely to have much impact on U.S. efforts to rein in tech giants, according to antitrust experts and company executives. But in the longer term, they believe it’s another sign that regulators worldwide are ready to limit their powers. “If one of the most undemocratic countries in the world is afraid of how powerful technology monopolies can become, then it might be a good idea for democratic countries to continue pursuing meaningful action as well,” one tech executive said.
THE SPEED READ
SoftBank disclosed more information about its internal hedge fund that was hit with a $3.7 billion loss in the third quarter. (FT)
Louis Dreyfus, the commodities trading giant, sold a 45 percent stake to an Abu Dhabi investment fund, bringing in an outside investor for the first time in the firm’s 169-year history. (Reuters)
The short-seller Carson Block is betting against Multiplan, a health care company taken public by merging with a SPAC, decrying blank-check companies as “the great 2020 money grab.” (FT)
Politics and policy
California officials are eager to play a leading role in shaping U.S. environmental policy in a Biden presidency. (Politico)
Matt Drudge has very publicly broken up with President Trump. (NYT)
Facebook and Google have extended their bans on political advertising until December. (Variety)
Britain is reportedly weighing whether to demand that tech companies reduce “algorithmic bias” as part of a coming law. (FT)
Pope Francis asked Catholics to pray that A.I. and robots “always serve mankind.” (The Verge)
Best of the rest
Regulators no longer think JPMorgan Chase is the world’s most “systemically important” bank — it has to share the title with Citigroup and HSBC. (Bloomberg)
A recap of Elon Musk’s “totally awful” and “most excellent” year. (Vanity Fair)
As anxiety mounted in the U.S. in the run-up to the election, so too did the country’s consumption of marijuana edibles. (NYT)
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