announced a deal last week to go public by merging with a blank-check firm that valued it at roughly $8 billion.) A new documentary, “WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn,” tries to find lessons among the ups and downs. It streams on Hulu, starting tomorrow.

Jed Rothstein, the director, told DealBook that he believes what’s most compelling about WeWork isn’t what went wrong, but how it initially succeeded by turning strangers into a kind of tribe. “We still need that,” he said.

“The core idea of WeWork met a real need for community,” Mr. Rothstein said. “The voids people were trying to fill have only become more real.” After a year of social distancing, he likes the notion of curated communal spaces, which is what WeWork offered. Talking to early WeWorkers who bought the vision and later felt betrayed, he was surprised to find how much the company gave its devotees, notably a feeling that they were part of something bigger. That is worth acknowledging in a world where people will increasingly work remotely and for many different companies in their careers, Mr. Rothstein said.

WeWork’s co-founders, Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, both had communal childhood experiences. Mr. Rothstein said he thought they sincerely wanted to replicate the good in group life and inspired people who hadn’t seen that before. But Mr. Neumann also focused on what he didn’t like — sharing equally — and emphasized an “eat what you kill” mentality. Ultimately, his hunger turned the community dream into a nightmare for many.

  • After the director talked to people who followed the initial vision, his perspective changed. “People in the film experienced real growth and fulfillment mixed with their anger,” he said. “I realized the story is much more nuanced.”

Deals

  • The media conglomerate Endeavor filed to go public for a second time, while raising $1.8 billion to buy full control of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It also added Elon Musk to its board. (WSJ, CNBC)

  • Vice Media is reportedly in talks to go public by merging with a SPAC. And the S.E.C. issued two notices for companies looking to go public via SPAC. (The Information, S.E.C.)

  • Junior bankers aren’t the only ones feeling burned out. Young lawyers are, too. (Business Insider)

Politics and policy

  • New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana. (NYT)

  • Efforts by aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to hide New York State’s Covid-19 death toll coincided with his efforts to win a multimillion-dollar book deal. (NYT)

  • An accidental disclosure by the I.R.S. revealed a $1 billion tax dispute with Bristol Myers Squibb. (NYT)

Tech

Best of the rest

  • The ad agency Deutsch is doubling referral bonuses for Black job candidates. (Insider)

  • Amazon wants its employees mostly back in its offices, while the Carlyle Group and IBM favor hybrid working models. (Insider, Bloomberg)

  • Paul Simon is the latest musician to sell his entire back catalog: Sony Music Publishing will buy the collection, including classics like “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” for an undisclosed amount. (NYT)

Feeling burned-out? As more workers consider a return to the office, our colleague Sarah Lyall is writing about late-pandemic anxiety and exhaustion. Tell her about how you’re coping.

April Fools’ Day quiz answer: B. If you were fooled by Volkswagen’s prank, you’re in good company. Volkswagen reportedly told journalists that a draft of the announcement was not a stunt. It later called the stunt just “a bit of fun.”

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The Gambling Company That Had the Best Pandemic Ever

The world that her father credits Ms. Coates with creating is reflected in a television ad for bet365 that ran before the Stoke-Watford game. It featured the actor turned pitchman Ray Winstone, who sat in the back of a luxury sedan, dressed in a dark suit, idling in traffic and exuding ease and control.

“At bet365 we’re always innovating and creating,” he said in a Cockney accent, staring at the camera. Cellphone in hand, apparently ready to place some wagers, he ticked through a list of those innovations, including something called “in-play betting.”

In-play betting allows customers to wager throughout a sporting event, on minutiae that has little bearing on the outcome. How many corner kicks will there be in the first half of a soccer game? How many players will be ejected? What will happen first during a 10-minute increment — a throw-in, a free kick, a goal kick, something else? When those minutes expire, the site takes wagers on the next 10.

“It’s very much like being in a casino,” said Jake Thomas, a former gambling industry executive who chaperoned a reporter, over the phone, through the website during the Stoke-Watford game. “Why wait 90 minutes to find out if your team is going to win? Why not get a little buzz betting on the next corner kick?”

As Mr. Thomas spoke, and the minutes ticked by, the odds of dozens of wagers were constantly repriced. A bet that Stoke would score in the first 30 minutes paid 9 to 1 at just over 25 minutes into the game. A moment later, as that outcome appeared fractionally less likely, the same bet paid 19 to 2.

The company has said it takes action on 100,000 events throughout the year, on sports and races around the world — greyhounds in New Zealand, women’s table tennis in Ukraine, golf in Dubai. There’s even a section on politics. (George Clooney is currently 100 to 1 to win the American presidency in 2024.)

If no live events appeal, virtual events beckon. These are video-generated simulations of tennis matches; games of football, soccer, basketball and cricket; and on and on. One afternoon, bicycle races in a virtual velodrome were running every three minutes, each lasting about a minute.

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Athletes Pitch Wall Street’s Hot New Toy, but Not Just to Their Fans

He and his partner in Slam Corp, the hedge fund manager Himanshu Gulati, are looking to acquire a business in the sports, media, or health and wellness industry — but not a sports team, he said. (Mr. Rodriguez was also an investor in the telehealth company Hims and Hers, which went public in a SPAC transaction valuing the firm at $1.6 billion last year.)

Rich Kleiman, manager and business adviser to Kevin Durant, the All-Star forward for the Brooklyn Nets, said having an athlete on an advisory board of a SPAC might help get a meeting with a company. Mr. Durant, he said, had been approached about such an arrangement but decided against it because he would have little control over the company’s direction.

While Mr. Durant, who with Mr. Kleiman runs a growing media and investment company, Thirty Five Ventures, has fielded suitors, other athletes are reaching out on their own.

Forest Road, an investment firm, was the entry point for Mr. O’Neal, who was already an investor there when he contacted its chief executive, Zachary Tarica, about getting involved in its growing SPAC business. Mr. O’Neal was an adviser on its first SPAC, which last month announced plans to buy Beachbody, a digital fitness company, at a $2.9 billion valuation. He’s now an adviser on a second Forest SPAC.

Kevin Mayer, a former Walt Disney and TikTok executive who advised the first SPAC and is helping lead the second, described Mr. O’Neal as “a real businessman,” although he cautioned against investing in a particular venture just because a famous person was involved.

“If anyone were to ask me, I say you should definitely not invest in this SPAC because there’s a sports star or any single person,” he said. “They should look at the totality of the investment.”

Securities regulators have taken notice of the celebrity-endorsement trend, which has also attracted nonathletes ranging from Sammy Hagar to Jay-Z. The Securities and Exchange Commission put out an investor alert on March 10 cautioning retail investors not to buy shares of a SPAC simply because some boldface names are attached to it.

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A Way to Close a Big Tax Loophole

Bruin is investing in TGI Sport, an ad tech company that’s currently owned by the Australian firm Quadrant Private Equity. (A person briefed on the matter said that Bruin was investing about $100 million.) Currently a part of QMS Media, which provides outdoor advertising like digital billboards, TGI focuses on sports advertising — with a twist. Its “parallel ads” technology allows teams to display different ads on and around the field of play for audiences in different geographies. It has been used by Major League Soccer, New Zealand Rugby and others.

“Why should a fan in New York look at Boston advertising?” asked George Pyne, the founder and C.E.O. of Bruin. As broadcast audiences are getting smaller and more fragmented, sports franchises want to build more of a direct relationship with viewers, and then persuade advertisers to pay to reach those fans.


— Mike Winkelmann, the artist known as Beeple, speaking on the “Sway” podcast about the frenzy for digital art via nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. He auctioned an NFT-linked image this month that sold for $69 million.


The Chinese social media company Renren went public in the U.S. in 2011 with great fanfare, fizzled, and soon spun off its investment platform. The spinoff included shares in the SoftBank-backed fintech company Social Finance, or SoFi, in a deal criticized by some Renren shareholders. They sued Renren, its executives and others in New York State Court for $500 million in 2018, in a case that last week survived attempts at dismissal just as they were filing an amended complaint detailing allegations against additional defendants, SoFi and SoftBank.

The plaintiffs accuse insiders of stripping Renren of its value, their lead attorney, Bill Reid, told DealBook. Executives took the company’s billion-dollar investment portfolio in a complex arrangement that “split up the spoils,” he argued. He alleged that SoFi and SoftBank helped unfairly get the best of Renren.

SoFi is going public via a SPAC, in a deal that values it at more than $8.5 billion. Renren’s founder and a defendant in the case, Joe Chen, is on the board of SoFi, which is in the process of merging with Social Capital Hedosophia, a blank-check firm run by Chamath Palihapitiya. In a statement to DealBook, SoFi’s general counsel, Rob Lavet, said, “While as a matter of policy we do not comment on ongoing litigation, we do believe the charges against us are meritless and we look forward to vigorously defending ourselves in court.”

SoftBank and Social Capital did not respond to requests for comment.


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Inter Milan Is Threatened by Challenges at Suning, Its Chinese Owner

HONG KONG — The new, high-rolling Chinese owner was supposed to return Inter Milan to its glory days. It spent heavily on prolific scorers like Romelu Lukaku and Christian Eriksen. After five years of investment, the storied Milan soccer club is within striking distance of its first Italian league title in a decade.

Now the bill has come due — and Inter Milan’s future is suddenly in doubt.

Suning, an electronics retailer that is the club’s majority owner, is strapped for cash and trying to sell its stake. The club is bleeding money. Some of its players have agreed to defer payment, according to one person close to the club who requested anonymity because the information isn’t public.

Inter Milan has held talks with at least one potential investor, but the parties couldn’t agree on a price, according to others with knowledge of the negotiations.

Suning’s soccer aspirations are crumbling at home, too. The company abruptly shut down its domestic team four months after the club won China’s national championship. Some stars, many of whom chose to play there instead of in Chelsea or Liverpool, have said they have gone unpaid.

the ambitions of Xi Jinping, China’s top leader and an ardent soccer fan, a new breed of Chinese tycoons plowed billions of dollars into marquee clubs and star players, transforming the economics of the game. Chinese investors spent $1.8 billion acquiring stakes in more than a dozen European teams between 2015 and 2017, and China’s cash-soaked domestic league paid the largest salaries ever bestowed on overseas recruits.

But the splurge exposed international soccer to the peculiarities of the Chinese business world. Deep involvement by the Communist Party make companies vulnerable to sharp shifts in the political winds. The free-spending tycoons often lacked international experience or sophistication.

Now, talks of defaults, fire sales and hasty exits dominate discussions around boardroom tables. A mining magnate lost control of A.C. Milan amid questions about his business empire. The owner of a soap maker and food additive company gave up his stake in Aston Villa. An energy conglomerate shed its stake in Slavia Prague after its founder disappeared.

Suning’s plight reflects “the whole rise and fall of this era of Chinese football,” said Zhe Ji, the director of Red Lantern, a sports marketing company that works in China for top European soccer teams. “When people were talking about Chinese football and all the attention it got in 2016, it came very fast, but it’s gone very fast, too.”

Suning paid $306 million in 2016 for a major stake in Inter Milan. Suning is a household name in China, with stores stocked with computers, iPads and rice cookers for the country’s growing middle class. While it has been hurt by China’s e-commerce revolution, it counts Alibaba, the online shopping titan, as a major investor.

contribute to China’s sports industry.

Boasting about Suning’s “abundant resources,” Mr. Zhang promised the club would “return to its glory days and become a stronger property able to attract top stars from across the globe.”

Mr. Teixeira urged viewers to buy a Chinese brand of appliances. “I am Teixeira,” he says in Mandarin, adding, “come to Suning to buy Haier.”

in an interview last year, citing the league in Spain where he once played. “I’m not telling lies.”

Suning’s soccer bets were badly timed. The Chinese government began to worry that big conglomerates were borrowing too heavily, threatening the country’s financial system. One year after the Inter Milan deal, Chinese state media criticized Suning for its “irrational” acquisition.

Then the pandemic hit. Even as Inter Milan won on the field, it lost gate receipts from its San Siro stadium, one of the largest in Europe. Some sponsors walked away because their own financial pressures. The club lost about $120 million last year, one of the biggest losses reported by a European soccer club.

Back in China, Suning was slammed by e-commerce as well as the coronavirus. Its troubles accelerated in the autumn when it chose not to demand repayment of a $3 billion investment in Evergrande, a property developer and China’s most indebted company.

Suning’s burden is set to get heavier. This year, it must make $1.2 billion in bond payments. The company declined to comment.

Suning began to take drastic steps. Last year it abandoned its broadcasting deal with the Premier League.

On Twitter, Eder said the comments had been taken from a private, online chat without his permission. His agent did not respond to requests for comment.

To save itself, Suning took a step that could complicate Inter Milan’s fortunes. On March 1, it sold $2.3 billion worth of its shares to affiliates of the government of the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The deal gave Chinese authorities a say in Inter Milan’s fate.

Greater financial pressure looms for Inter Milan. It must pay out a $360 million bond next year. A minority investor in Hong Kong, Lion Rock Capital, which acquired a 31 percent stake in Inter in 2019, could exercise an option that would require Suning to buy its stake for as much as $215 million, according to one of the people close to the club.

Inter Milan officials are looking for financing, a new partner or a sale of the team at a valuation of about $1.1 billion, the person said.

The club until recently was in exclusive talks with BC Partners, the British private equity firm, but they were unable to agree on price, said people with knowledge of the talks.

Without fresh capital, Inter Milan could lose players. If it can’t pay salaries or transfer fees for departing players, European soccer rules say it could be banished from top competitions.

“We are concerned but we are not frightened yet about this situation — we are just waiting for the news,” said Manuel Corti, a member of an Inter Milan supporters club based in London.

“Being Inter fans,” he said, “we are never sure of anything until the last minute.”

Alexandra Stevenson reported from Hong Kong, and Tariq Panja from London. Cao Li contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

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Volleyball Player Lost Her Job Over Pregnancy. Now She’s Fighting Back.

ROME — When the Italian volleyball player Lara Lugli got pregnant, she knew she would lose her job.

But when her club refused a request for some pay she claimed was owed to her, she brought a lawsuit. The club responded by accusing her of causing financial damage and ruining her team’s season, and she decided to speak out.

She denounced her treatment on Facebook on Sunday, triggering outrage across Italy and a national conversation that was a long time coming. Her case was a call to action in a country where many paid female athletes have lacked legal protections against discrimination for decades, and where all too often women must still choose between motherhood or jobs.

“Comparing a pregnancy to bad behavior is simply so low,” said Ms. Lugli, now 41. “This is not something just about me.”

Credit…via Lara Lugli

Her case reflects a broader gender inequality in Italian sports, entrenched in deeply rooted stereotypes in a country that ranks 76th in the world in terms of gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum.

Facebook Wednesday that the fact women must choose between motherhood and work “forces them into inequality,” and is a situation that Italian women can no longer tolerate.

the United States and Norway — maternity clauses would most likely be impossible to impose, Ms. Tortorella said.

promised to not financially penalize its sponsored athletes who become pregnant, after its handling of the issue had been criticized. A few months ago, FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, made it mandatory to guarantee maternity leave for at least 14 weeks for professional women soccer players.

But because of the lack of public attention, political interest and funding for women’s volleyball, offering professional contracts would be a fatal blow to the clubs’ finances, the president of the Women Volleyball League has said.

a recent study. Overall, 72 percent of athletes in Italy are men, while only 28 percent are women, according to the Italian National Olympic committee.

“It is a partly a cultural problem, and that is clear,” said Luisa Rizzitelli, the president of Assist, the national association of women athletes. But it also reflects a lack of political will to invert the trend.

“Women in sports need to be allowed to have protections if they become mothers,” she added. “In 2021, this simply is no longer acceptable.”

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