Ireland and Spain lose Euro 2020 games over coronavirus restrictions.

Plans to play some European soccer championship matches this summer in Dublin and in Bilbao, Spain, have been abandoned after the local authorities were unable to guarantee that a sufficient number of fans could attend because of coronavirus restrictions.

Munich’s role in the tournament, Euro 2020, was also in doubt, but its place was confirmed during an emergency meeting of members of the executive committee for UEFA, soccer’s governing body in Europe. The tournament, which was postponed last year because of the pandemic, is soccer’s No. 2 most-watched competition, after the World Cup. This summer it is being played on a continentwide basis, in 11 cities, for the first time.

Dublin and Bilbao were set to stage three group games and one round-of-16 match. Dublin’s group-stage schedule will move to St. Petersburg, Russia, which had already been selected to host four games. London’s Wembley Stadium, where the tournament’s semifinals and final will be played, will pick up Dublin’s knockout-round game.

Seville will take on the games slated to be played in Bilbao, despite opposition from the authorities in Bilbao, who said they would seek compensation from UEFA after working on hosting the tournament for six years.

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How Europe’s Soccer Super League Fell Apart

This was precisely what some of those involved with the project had feared. There had been doubts that the plan was ready to go live; insiders worried that it might not survive a fierce initial backlash. “This is not the time to do it,” an executive involved in the project warned. The executive suggested holding off until summer.

By then, it was hoped, the clubs might have found a frontman for the breakaway. Florentino Pérez, the president of Real Madrid, had been the driving force behind much of it; it was, to some extent, his brainchild. But his peers were aware that he would struggle to convince an English audience, in particular.

The Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer, whose family also owns the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Chelsea’s Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich; and Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke, who controls nearly a dozen professional teams, almost never speak publicly. Manchester City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, doesn’t speak to reporters at all. And others considered for the role — like Liverpool’s majority owner, John W. Henry — were unwilling to accept it.

There were also concerns that the rebels’ communications strategy — marshaled by Katie Perrior, a political operative close to Boris Johnson, the British prime minister — was too focused on winning governmental, rather than popular, support. There had been no effort to consult, involve or win over fans, players or coaches. An outcry might destroy everything before the lobbying effort could begin in earnest.

Those concerns were not heeded. Agnelli, theoretically a voice for all of Europe’s clubs in his governance roles and a close friend of Ceferin, was feeling the strain of being, in effect, a double agent. He had protected the rebels’ secret for weeks, shading the truth — or worse — in talks with friends and allies. On Monday morning, though, he would have to sit on the dais with the rest of the UEFA board as it voted to approve changes to a Champions League that would be under mortal threat from the Super League.

He knew the league was happening. With the signatures of Chelsea, Manchester City and Atlético Madrid in hand, the founding members were set. The financing, delivered by the Spanish advisory firm Key Capital Partners and backed by the American bank JPMorgan Chase, would mean billions in new riches. Agnelli simply needed the news out.

Glazer, one of Manchester United’s co-chairmen, agreed. He was adamant it was time to press the button.

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D.C. Gives Tech Giants an Earful

Just about every day now in D.C., lawmakers seem eager to show their might against Big Tech. Yesterday gave them the opportunity to flex their muscles in two high-profile events at the Senate: the confirmation hearing for Lina Khan, a “progressive trustbuster” who was nominated for a seat at the F.T.C., and a judiciary committee hearing about Apple and Google’s control over their app stores. For good measure, a group of seven House Republicans yesterday announced a pledge to no longer take donations from major tech companies.

Here’s what you may have missed on a busy, and bruising, day for Big Tech — and what it means.

Lina Khan said she’d bring her tough-on-tech stance to the F.T.C. Ms. Khan referenced a “whole range of potential risks” she sees in the tech giants, including how they could parlay their dominance in one market into adjacent spaces. She said that when it comes to online advertising, which is fueled by consumer data, “companies may think it’s worth the cost of doing business to risk violating privacy laws.” The Democratic nominee received little pushback on her views during questioning.

At the other hearing, companies complained about Apple and Google. Spotify, which is suing Apple in Europe, said the company blocked it from telling customers that they could find cheaper subscription prices outside its iPhone app. Match Group testified that it now paid nearly $500 million a year to Apple and Google in app store fees, its single largest expense. Tile said Apple boxed out its products and then copied them, referencing the AirTag product Apple unveiled Tuesday.

Google made a questionable call. Match Group’s chief legal officer, Jared Sine, said Google had called the company the night before, after its planned testimony became public, wondering why the comments appeared to be tougher than what Match had said on a recent earnings call. “It looks like a threat, it talks like a threat, it’s a threat,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said. Wilson White, a government affairs official at Google, told senators that Match was an important partner and that Google would never aim to intimidate the company.

sweeping antitrust bill, but a more targeted piece of legislation focusing on app store conduct could go through more easily.

  • In a trial next month, Apple is set to face off against Epic Games, which is suing Apple over the payment terms for its iPhone app, potentially providing more fodder for the critics of Big Tech who are looking to rein it in.

The E.U. plans to clamp down on A.I. Draft rules would set tight limits on the use of the technology, including in self-driving cars, hiring decisions, bank lending, school enrollment and more. It’s one of the most ambitious efforts to regulate A.I. before it becomes mainstream.

India suffers a surge in Covid-19 cases. The country recorded 312,731 new infections in a 24-hour period, the highest one-day level since the onset of the pandemic, raising concerns about its ability to control the coronavirus. Separately, Pfizer said it had identified counterfeit versions of its vaccine in Mexico and Poland.

Credit Suisse is raising nearly $2 billion after two trading scandals. The Swiss bank has been forced to rebuild its balance sheet following the collapse of Greensill Capital and the meltdown of Archegos. Meanwhile, it faces a new inquiry by Switzerland’s financial regulator over potential risk-management faults in its handling of Archegos.

Janet Yellen calls on corporate America to help the U.S. reach its climate goals. The Treasury secretary said the private sector would bear much of the burden of greening the American economy, and said the Biden administration was devising a financial reporting framework to make it easier to invest in assets like green bonds.

barred from the OTCQB over-the-counter market for failing to comply with listing rules. The investor David Einhorn had flagged the penny stock’s puzzling market cap as a sign of a “fractured” market.

Around 100 blank-check funds went public each month in the first quarter of the year. So far in April, you could count the number of those I.P.O.s on two hands. The sudden drop in debuts of special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, has market watchers asking whether this is a pause for breath — or a more permanent plunge in popularity.

a statement at the end of last month highlighting “the key considerations related to the unique risks and challenges of a private company entering the public markets through a merger with a SPAC.” Not long after, another note offered “guidance” on some of the trickier accounting issues related to blank-check funds. Neither statement suggested any rule changes, but with Gary Gensler, the S.E.C.’s new enforcement-minded chairman, taking over this week, SPAC sponsors have slowed their roll.

SPACs’ recent performance has also been lousy. Analysts at Goldman Sachs note that a stock price index of 200 SPACs (pre- and post-merger) has badly underperformed the market this year, down 17 percent versus a 10 percent gain in the S&P 500. SPACs have also lagged an index of unprofitable tech stocks, suggesting that investors have particular concerns about SPACs, since plenty of them have acquired other unprofitable tech companies.

But we haven’t heard the last of SPACs. The amount of money these shell companies have raised to date could drive $900 billion in M.&A. activity over the next two years, according to the Goldman analysts. And more than 25 SPACs filed I.P.O. registration documents this month, per SPAC Research, adding to a pipeline of more than 200 others that have disclosed plans to go public but haven’t yet sealed the deal, for whatever reason.

reassessing his approach to life and work has been shared more than 200,000 times.


players, coaches, fans and politicians — as an effort to import American-style competition and economics. Frank McCourt, the American owner of the storied French soccer team Olympique de Marseille, told DealBook that the league — which he publicly denounced — never made sense.

The Super League would have created a closed competition with guaranteed places for 15 clubs, and would have introduced revenue sharing and spending caps. That more closely resembles U.S. leagues like the N.F.L. than the more freewheeling system of European soccer.

“It felt like imposing an American flavor on a different culture,” said Mr. McCourt, who previously owned the L.A. Dodgers before buying control of Marseille (l’OM to its fans) in 2016. JPMorgan Chase’s role in financing the Super League bolstered this notion, though its architect was Florentino Pérez, the Spanish president of Real Madrid.

to drop out. “There is no football without fans,” Mr. McCourt said. “What is their perspective?” (Fan demands are something that he knows well: He met with several earlier this year after supporters stormed Marseille’s training grounds to protest the club’s performance.)

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Canadian Rivals in Bidding War for U.S. Railroad: Live Updates

put forward last month by a rival railroad operator, Canadian Pacific.

The competing offers underline the riches expected to come from trade flows after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was passed into law last year. A merger with either suitor would create a railroad line that stretches from Canada to Mexico. In the already consolidated railroad industry, few lines are left to bid on — let alone deals that will be approved by regulators.

Canadian National said in a letter to Kansas City board that the company had spent “considerable time and resources analyzing a potential combination of our two companies.” It argues its offer represents “an unparalleled opportunity to create a premier railway for the 21st century.”

The offer gives Kansas City Southern a valuation 21 percent higher than Canadian Pacific’s bid, which had been agreed on by the companies’ boards.

For Canadian National, the proposal would be a chance to stop its smaller domestic competitor from gaining significant scale. Unlike Canadian Pacific, Canadian National already has track agreements extending to the Gulf of Mexico.

The rival bid is one further challenge to Canadian Pacific’s offer, which was already facing regulatory scrutiny. The U.S. Department of Justice has urged the Surface Transportation Board — which must approve the offer — to examine the deal under tough industry guidelines put in place in 2001 and expressed concern over its use of a voting trust that would it allow it close the deal even before getting regulatory approval.

Canadian Pacific has argued that there should be no regulatory trouble, given the two railroads have no overlap and in some cases create new markets. It said its smaller size compared with other major North American railroads should exempt it from the guidelines.

A Louis Vuitton store in Paris. The retailer’s parent company helped set up a digital ledger that provides a history of luxury goods bought by consumers.
Credit…Charles Platiau/Reuters

Three rival names in the European luxury sector have established a new blockchain consortium that will allow shoppers to track the provenance of their purchases and authenticate goods.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which first unveiled plans for a global blockchain-based system in 2019, will be joined by Prada Group and Compagnie Financière Richemont in the Aura Blockchain Consortium, a nonprofit group that will promote the use of a single blockchain solution open to all luxury brands worldwide.

Many sectors are looking at the possibility of using blockchain, the distributed ledger system that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Because blockchains are unchangeable and decentralized, the data stored on them is trustworthy and secure.

In this case, each product will be given a unique digital code during the manufacturing process that will be recorded on the Aura ledger. When customers make a purchase, they will be given login details to a platform that will provide the history of the product, including its origin, components, environmental and ethical information, proof of ownership, a warranty and care instructions.

Bulgari, Cartier, Hublot, Louis Vuitton and Prada are already using the system, with “advanced conversations” being held with a number of other luxury brands, according to a statement released Tuesday. Participating luxury brands pay an annual licensing fee and a volume fee. Aura, based in Geneva, was developed in partnership with Microsoft and ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company in New York.

“The Aura Consortium represents an unprecedented cooperation in the luxury industry,” said Cartier’s chief executive, Cyrille Vigneron, adding that he invited “the entire profession” to join the consortium.

“The luxury industry creates timeless pieces and must ensure that these rigorous standards will endure and remain in trustworthy hands,” he said.

“Businesses are reimagining the office to foster collaboration, culture and focused work, while supporting a growing remote employee base,” Andi Owen, chief executive of Herman Miller.
Credit…Emily Rose Bennett for The New York Times

Just as workers across the country begin to return to the office, two of the largest furniture design companies will merge.

Herman Miller agreed to acquire its rival Knoll in a cash and stock deal valued at $1.8 billion.

The merger combines two furniture giants that share a modern design element. Herman Miller, best known for its Eames chair and ottoman, and Knoll for its Barcelona chair, together hope to capture an even bigger share of the renovations occurring at home and in offices as many companies and employees look to a future of splitting their time between the two in the post-pandemic world.

“As distributed working models become the new normal for companies, businesses are reimagining the office to foster collaboration, culture and focused work, while supporting a growing remote employee base,” Andi Owen, president and chief executive of Herman Miller, said in a statement Monday. “At the same time, consumers are making significant investments in their homes.”

Based in Zeeland, Mich., Herman Miller traces its roots to 1905 when it began selling bedroom suites. During the depression, when the company was struggling to survive, its then-chief executive, Dirk Jan De Pree, met the designer Gilbert Rohde, who persuaded him to move away from traditional design and toward more modern design and the office furniture market. In 1942, Herman Miller introduced the Executive Office Group, designed by Mr. Rohde, that featured modular pieces that could be configured in different ways.

After Mr. Rohde died in 1944, Mr. De Pree worked with a range of designers, including Charles Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames and Isamu Noguchi. The Eames Executive Chair, a plush, padded, leather chair that was released in 1961 and commissioned for the ultramodern lobby of the Time Life building in New York, can be purchased today for $4,895.

Likewise, Knoll’s history in furniture dates back more than 80 years when the husband-and-wife founders, Hans and Florence Knoll, embraced the creativity of the Bauhaus School in Weimar, Germany, and later, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., teaming up with a variety of architects, sculptors and designers.

After the expected close of the transaction later this year, Ms. Owen will become the president and chief executive of the combined company. Andrew Cogan, Knoll’s chairman and chief executive, will depart after 30 years with the company.

Journalists watch a screen showing China's president, Xi Jinping, delivering a speech during the opening of the Boao Forum on Tuesday.
Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, called for cooperation and openness to an audience of business and financial leaders on Tuesday. He also had some warnings, presumably for the United States.

Speaking electronically to a largely virtual audience at China’s annual Boao Forum, Mr. Xi warned that the world should not allow “unilateralism pursued by certain countries to set the pace for the whole world.”

The audience included American business leaders including Tim Cook of Apple and Elon Musk of Tesla, as well as two Wall Street financiers, Ray Dalio and Stephen Schwarzman. Long a platform for China to show off its economic prowess and leadership, the Boao Forum is held annually on the southern Chinese island of Hainan. (Last year’s was canceled amid the pandemic.)

In recent years, Mr. Xi has used the forum to portray himself as an advocate of free trade and globalization, calling for openness even as many in the global business community have become increasingly vocal about growing restrictions in China’s own domestic market.

On Tuesday, he also reiterated his earlier message opposing efforts by countries to weaken their economic interdependence with China.

“Attempts to ‘erect walls’ or ‘decouple’” would “hurt others’ interests without benefiting oneself,” Mr. Xi said, in what appeared to be a reference to the United States and the Biden administration’s plans to support domestic high-tech manufacturing in the United States.

The White House held a meeting with business executives last week to discuss a global chip shortage and plan for semiconductor “supply chain resilience.” Speaking to executives from Google, Intel and Samsung, Mr. Biden said “China and the rest of the world is not waiting, and there’s no reason why Americans should wait.”

China is pursuing its own program for self-sufficiency in chip manufacturing.

Mr. Xi also pledged to continue to open the Chinese economy for foreign businesses, a promise that big Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have clung to even as foreign executives complain that the broader business landscape has become more challenging.

The display at a crytocurrency ATM in Zurich, Switzerland. Prices of cryptocurrencies and related stocks slipped lower on Tuesday.
Credit…Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency started as a joke, now has a market value that can’t be laughed at: more than $50 billion. On Tuesday, traders of Dogecoin were trying to push up the price to coincide with 4/20, or April 20, a date associated with smoking cannabis.

On Twitter, the hashtags #DogeDay and #Doge420 were trending. Dogecoin’s price, which has surged lately, fluctuated between gains and losses on Tuesday, trading at about 40 cents, according to Coindesk. A month ago, it was about 5 cents.

The ripple effects of the boom in crypto markets are being felt far and wide. Coinbase, the cryptocurrencies exchange that went public last week and is helping the industry move into the mainstream, has a market value of $66 billion. Central banks have ramped up plans to explore digital currencies to offer people a secure alternative to cryptocurrencies, which are out of their control. On Monday, the Bank of England was the latest to announce it was looking into a central bank digital currency.

On Tuesday morning, prices of cryptocurrencies and related stocks slipped. Bitcoin fell 1 percent, trading just above $55,000. Shares in Coinbase and Riot Blockchain were slightly lower in premarket trading.

Exxon wants to capture carbon from industrial plants along the Houston Ship Channel and pipe it offshore.
Credit…Bronte Wittpenn for The New York Times

HOUSTON — Under growing pressure from investors to address climate change, Exxon Mobil on Monday proposed a $100 billion project to capture the carbon emissions of big industrial plants in the Houston area and bury them deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico.

Exxon, the largest U.S. oil company, wants to create a profit-making business out of the capture of carbon emitted by petrochemical plants and other industries. But its plan would require significant government support and intervention, including the introduction of a price or tax on carbon dioxide emissions, an idea that has failed to attract enough support in Congress in the past.

The company already captures carbon, which it injects into older fields to produce more oil. Exxon now wants to use its expertise to store the carbon dioxide generated by other industries. But without a price on emitting carbon, many businesses would have little financial incentive to pay Exxon to capture and store their carbon.

The Obama administration failed to enact a cap-and-trade system, which raises costs for polluting companies by forcing them to buy tradable permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. California, the European Union and 11 states in the Northeast use versions of cap-and-trade. Other governments, including British Columbia and Britain, have imposed a per-ton tax on emissions.

Exxon wants to capture carbon from industrial plants along the Houston Ship Channel and pipe it offshore where it would stored up to 6,000 feet below the Gulf of Mexico. The effort would be paid for by industry and the government, and would eventually store 100 million tons of carbon annually — equivalent to the emissions of 20 million cars, according to Exxon.

The company has discussed its idea with national and Texas policymakers and Republicans and Democrats in Congress, Exxon’s chief executive, Darren Woods, said in an interview. “They see the opportunity and appeal of this idea,” he said. “The question is, how do you translate the concept into practice?”

Exxon said its proposal complements President Biden’s climate efforts, but it would require the administration to embrace a price on carbon, something it has not done.

“The concept of a price on carbon is critical,” Mr. Woods said. “There has to be a way to incentivize the investment.”

Offshore storage has already gained traction in Europe, where governments have put carbon prices in place and lawmakers are more willing to spend taxpayer money to address climate change.

Mr. Woods said that, given the right policies, carbon capture projects could be a major business for Exxon around the world. “The potential for these markets is very, very large to the extent that demand continues to increase to decarbonize society,” he said.

A used-car dealership in Naperville, Ill. The average price paid for a used car is well above $20,000.
Credit…Nick Carey/Reuters

Last year’s pandemic-induced production delays, combined with a continued shortage of computer chips and other automotive components, have tightened the supply of new models — especially popular sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

That means it may be challenging to find a new ride with the colors and features you want at a price you can afford, Ann Carrns reports for The New York Times. “It’s harder to get exactly what you want,” said Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at Edmunds. “Don’t expect heavy discounts.”

So if new cars are too expensive, you can just buy a used car, right?

Yes, but deals may be elusive there as well. Fewer people bought new cars last year, so fewer used cars were traded in. And the short supply of new cars is pushing more buyers to consider used cars, raising those prices, analysts say. The average price paid for a used car is well above $20,000, Edmunds says.

On the plus side, if you have a car to trade in, its value is probably higher, especially if it’s a popular model. The average value for trade-ins, including leased cars turned in early, was about $17,000 in March, up from about $14,000 a year earlier, according to Edmunds. The average age of trade-ins was five and a half years.

Various online services, like Kelly Blue Book, TrueCar and Carvana, will supply a trade-in estimate based on your location and your car’s age, mileage and general condition, and offer more tailored appraisals if you provide details like the vehicle identification number. Some even offer to buy your car outright.

Noting the power of digital platforms, Margrethe Vestager, a European Commission official, said in a recent speech that “we need something more to keep that power in check.”
Credit…Pool photo by Olivier Hoslet

Around the world, governments are moving simultaneously to limit the power of tech companies with an urgency and breadth that no single industry had experienced before.

Their motivation varies. In the United States and Europe, it is concern that tech companies are stifling competition, spreading misinformation and eroding privacy; in Russia and elsewhere, it is to silence protest movements and tighten political control; in China, it is some of both.

Nations and tech firms have jockeyed for primacy for years, but the latest actions have pushed the industry to a tipping point that could reshape how the global internet works and change the flows of digital data, Paul Mozur, Cecilia Kang, Adam Satariano and David McCabe report for The New York Times.

“It is unprecedented to see this kind of parallel struggle globally,” said Daniel Crane, a law professor at the University of Michigan and an antitrust expert. Now, Mr. Crane said, “the same fundamental question is being asked globally: Are we comfortable with companies like Google having this much power?”

Underlying all of the disputes is a common thread: power. The 10 largest tech firms, which have become gatekeepers in commerce, finance, entertainment and communications, now have a combined market capitalization of more than $10 trillion. In gross domestic product terms, that would rank them as the world’s third-largest economy.

Governments agree that tech clout has grown too expansive, but there has been little coordination on solutions. Competing policies have led to geopolitical friction. Last month, the Biden administration said it could put tariffs on countries that imposed new taxes on American tech companies.

Tech companies are fighting back. Amazon and Facebook have created their own entities to adjudicate conflicts over speech and to police their sites. In the United States and in the European Union, the companies have spent heavily on lobbying.

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In today’s On Tech newsletter, Shira Ovide looks at a health technology nonprofit organization that is turning the approach to vaccination credentials on its head.

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Jamie Dimon, LeBron James and the Super League Debate

The biggest business and policy story in the world at the moment isn’t about taxes or infrastructure. It’s about the fate of European soccer, as the fight over the Super League draws in everyone from Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase to President Emmanuel Macron of France to the N.B.A. star LeBron James.

Critics have denounced the proposed league, which would guarantee 15 of Europe’s top teams a spot, as a cash grab by the richest clubs. We’ve also heard from sports executives who argue that the plan could hurt the economies of cities whose teams are excluded.

JPMorgan, which is backing the plan, faces a backlash. Irate soccer fans denounced the bank for providing over $4 billion to finance the creation of the league. (“#JPMorgan” was a trending topic on Twitter yesterday, and not in a good way.) The bank was brought into the deal through its relationship with the Super League’s chief architect, Florentino Pérez, the billionaire president of Real Madrid. Its bet is that supporting a star-studded competition, in a sport with a gigantic worldwide fandom will pay off in the long run, not least through broadcast rights.

  • JPMorgan’s involvement was vetted by its internal reputation committee, which assesses high-profile and potentially controversial assignments, according to people briefed on the decision. But that committee didn’t fully expect the emotional reaction from sports fans that has flooded the airwaves around the world, these people added.

Big media and tech companies could get entangled. Many are expected to bid on the broadcast rights for the Super League, with speculation surrounding Amazon, Apple and Facebook. But they may have to worry about more than ratings. Political leaders like Mr. Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain (and even Prince William) have spoken out against the league; is that a fight they want? And do they want to run afoul of FIFA, the sport’s global governing body, or UEFA, its European counterpart, and risk losing out on rights to the World Cup or other high-profile competitions?

courting corporate America to support its infrastructure initiative, taking advantage of a rift with Republicans over political and social issues like restrictions on voting rights. But opposition to higher taxes and more regulation may yet reunite the estranged allies.

Exxon Mobil unveils a $100 billion plan to profit from carbon capture. The oil giant said it would make a business based on trapping the carbon emissions of industrial plants around Houston. But the strategy would require government support, including a new carbon tax — which has little political backing.

Amazon is accused of corrupting the recent warehouse unionization election. The union, which lost the vote 2-to-1, said the e-commerce giant had intimidated and surveilled workers. If the National Labor Relations Board agrees with the claims, it could order a new election.

Xi Jinping warns against economic decoupling. In a speech today, the Chinese president called for greater global economic integration and made thinly veiled critiques of America’s efforts to reduce its dependence on Chinese exports like computer chips. “Bossing others around or meddling in others’ internal affairs will not get one any support,” Mr. Xi said.

disclosed in its prospectus that sales more than doubled last year, to $421 million, though it lost about $60 million. It’s reportedly aiming for a $10 billion valuation, betting on the plant-based food trend.

published an open letter in The Financial Times urging asset managers to match their pledges on social and political issues with their votes at coming shareholder meetings. Of top importance: votes on board diversity, racial equity and political spending disclosures.

The top three asset managers have significant power to influence corporate decisions. BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street control about 80 percent of all indexed money, making them a dominant force in the governance of public companies. The activists behind today’s letter — including Rashad Robinson, the president of Color Of Change; Alicia Garza, the principal of Black to the Future; and Derrick Johnson, the president of the N.A.A.C.P. — argue that the money managers are not sufficiently exercising their power:

The “big three” asset managers made commitments to racial justice after the killing of George Floyd last year. They’ve incorporated that focus into their voting guidelines: BlackRock has said it may vote against directors when it considers a board to be “insufficiently diverse.” State Street said it would vote against certain directors at firms that do not disclose diversity data this year and firms that do not have at least one director from an underrepresented community next year. When it comes to voting rights, BlackRock and Vanguard signed a recent letter opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make voting more difficult.

The activists are asking funds to do more, including:

The letter sets the stage for a potentially contentious proxy season, targeting specific shareholder resolutions at a host of S&P 500 companies in its “voting guide” for investors. Neuberger Berman, which manages $429 billion in assets, said yesterday it plans to vote against management at Berkshire Hathaway on topics including diversity reporting, which also features in the activists’ guide. “We’re trying to behave like owners and shareholders and help make the company better,” Neuberger’s C.E.O., George Walker, told CNBC.


in a USA Today op-ed. (He did not address the increase in corporate taxes that would pay for it.)


a private Discord chat with Casey Newton, a reporter who writes a Substack subscription newsletter.

Facebook sent a message that the traditional gatekeepers are gone. The private channel chat was just one sign; another was Mr. Zuckerberg saying so explicitly. “If you look at the grand arc here, what’s really happening is individuals are getting more power and more opportunity to create the lives and the jobs that they want,” he said of the new media age.

What about fair disclosure? Mr. Zuckerberg was speaking on social media but using a restricted channel. Companies can’t selectively disclose material information but the S.E.C. has said that “most social media are perfectly suitable methods for communicating with investors.” Still, the rules were designed to ensure that no one can get a jump on other investors, so channels don’t qualify “if the access is restricted or if investors don’t know that’s where they need to turn to get the latest news.”

“Issuers must take steps” to let investors know the news channels they’ll use, the S.E.C. wrote in a 2013 investigation of Netflix after its C.E.O., Reed Hastings, posted data about the company on his private Facebook page. The S.E.C. didn’t take action, noting “market uncertainty” about how fair-disclosure rules applied to social media at the time, and said it would consider each case individually.

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