This is the web version of Term Sheet, a daily newsletter on the biggest deals and dealmakers. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox. 

Of course it did.

Just about every single late-stage company in private markets at the moment has been contacted by a blank-check company looking for a deal.

Kicking off the day, office-sharing startup WeWork has reportedly engaged in talks to combine with a special-purpose acquisition company, per the Wall Street Journal, in a deal that could take the business public and value it around $10 billion. The SPAC in question is Bow Capital Management, run by the owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadivé.

If a deal were to be struck, it would be a surprisingly fast return to the public markets for WeWork, whose disastrous attempt at going public in 2019 left its valuation slashed to a fraction of … Read the rest

According to the research data analysed and published by Sijoitusrahastot, the global personal luxury goods market had a 23% decline in 2020.

Europe had the highest regional fall during the period, tumbling by 36% to €57 billion.

Based on data from Statista, the European luxury market will grow by 12.8% in 2021, reaching $100.19 billion. In the period between 2021 and 2025, it will grow at a 4.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Asia had the second largest yearly decline at 35%, while the United States fell by 27%. For the global market, it was the first decline since 2009 and the largest on record. China was the only country to record growth, rising by 45%.

Consultancy firm Bain cited the drop in global tourism as the main cause of the decline. The worldwide market is expected to grow by 15% in 2021. However, Europe is expected to lag due … Read the rest

This is the web version of Term Sheet, a daily newsletter on the biggest deals and dealmakers. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox. 

Only in 2021.

In recent days, Reddit users have driven up shares of much-shorted stocks, especially those of GameStop, a video game retailer. They squeezed hedge funds and enabled massive losses for the likes of Steve Cohen and Dan Sundheim.

Now, stock-trading apps such as Robinhood have paused purchases on such shares.

“We continuously monitor the markets and make changes where necessary. In light of recent volatility, we are restricting transactions for certain securities to position closing only, including $AMC, $BB, $BBBY, $EXPR, $GME, $KOSS, $NAKD and $NOK. We also raised margin requirements for certain securities,” Robinhood revealed in a blog post on Thursday, referencing shares of AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry, Bed Bath & Beyond, Express, GameStop, Koss Corp., Naked … Read the rest

The limit on a single payment using contactless card technology could rise to £100 – more than double the current limit.

The coronavirus pandemic led to larger amounts spent via contactless payments on debit cards, credit cards, and cards connected to smartphones.

It has been less than a year since the limit was raised from £30 to £45.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it will consult “shortly” on a change in the rules.

“It is important that payments regulation keeps pace with consumer and merchant expectations,” the regulator said.

“Recognising changing behaviour in how people pay, as part of a wider consultation, we will shortly be seeking views on amending our rules to allow for a possible increase in the contactless limit to £100.”

The FCA can set the boundaries for payments, under its rules, but the card issuers would have the power to set the actual limits.

The … Read the rest

Ant Financial was set to be the biggest IPO in history last year, before founder Jack Ma’s criticism of the Chinese government in October angered the administration and derailed the offering altogether.

Since then, Ma has been scrabbling together his olive branches in the hopes of getting back into regulators’ good graces.

And on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ant Financial is preparing for further nationalization, planning to turn itself “into a financial holding company overseen by China’s central bank.” The details have yet to be cemented. While it’s no surprise that the Chinese government would come out on top in all of this, there’s much irony in the situation.

In that fateful October speech, Ma spoke out against regulations that he believed were stifling innovation, comparing the incumbent banking system to pawnshops. Now, Ant Financial is facing greater regulation that could hit its bottom line.

What … Read the rest

Some travellers coming to England will have to quarantine in hotels, over concerns about new Covid variants, the government is expected to announce.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make a decision after discussing the proposals with senior ministers later.

The measures are likely to apply to UK citizens and those with permanent residency rights arriving from high-risk countries such as South Africa.

Most foreign nationals from high-risk countries already face UK travel bans.

The requirement to isolate in a hotel for 10 days will apply to arrivals from most of Southern Africa and South America, as well as Portugal, because many flights from Brazil come via Lisbon.

Whitehall sources said those quarantining in hotels would have to pay for the costs of their own accommodation.

It comes after the UK on Monday recorded another 592 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total by that measure to … Read the rest

It was the big closer on Monday: After facing scrutiny for his business dealings with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Apollo Global Management’s Leon Black will step down as CEO in July.

An investigation started by Apollo’s Conflicts Committee found that the CEO paid some $158 million to the now deceased Epstein for financial advice and to his philanthropies between 2012 and 2017, the company announced late Monday. Black believed Epstein’s advice to be “creative” and “disruptive,” creating value of over $1 billion to $2 billion for himself, per the report. 

The payment number comes as a shock: The $158 million is significantly more than anyone thought. In October, the New York Times reported that the payments were at least $50 million in that same period, when Epstein had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution with a minor in 2008.

More notably, though, Black will remain Chairman of the … Read the rest

Who’d have thought putting the health and safety of your people and the public first would create such a fuss!

During an interview with City AM, I discussed my intention to spend an estimated £800,000 on having my 400-strong workforce vaccinated against Covid – once the vaccinations become available to buy privately.

Some responded with claims that such an initiative is coercive and discriminatory.

The mention of a ‘no job, no jab policy’ meant my words were quickly picked up by the likes of The Sun, Evening Standard, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Scotsman and even Construction News – as well as prompting a debate on talkRadio, among others.

I want to stress that while I am in talks with my lawyers about making the vaccine mandatory for all new hires, I would not force anyone to have a jab who is already on the books and no-one would lose their … Read the rest

It’s hard to understate the buzz around Clubhouse, the social media startup that reached a reported $100 million valuation when it had just 1,500 users.

Now some nine months after its launch, the company revealed over the weekend that it had raised another round of funding led again by Andreessen Horowitz’s Andrew Chen. While the company did not disclose a valuation, a source familiar with the matter says the company is now valued at $1 billion even though it has yet to post a revenue. The Information previously reported that the company had received interest to raise at the unicorn status.

Free to all users and currently operating without ads, Clubhouse currently boasts an estimated 200 million weekly active users on the back of its voice-based chatrooms. With the additional funding, the company says it plans to create an Android app, start a program that allows creators to get … Read the rest

UK retailers could abandon goods EU customers want to return, with some even thinking of burning them because it is cheaper than bringing them home.

They say the new EU trade deal has put costly duties on returns at a time when firms are already struggling.

UK High Street and luxury brands have a mounting volume of goods stuck with courier services on the continent.

None of the retailers would comment on the problem.

Adam Mansell, boss of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), said it’s “cheaper for retailers to write off the cost of the goods than dealing with it all, either abandoning or potentially burning them.”

Since 1 January, lots of European customers have been presented with an unexpected customs invoice when signing for goods they’ve ordered from the UK. These new customs charges are a result of the new EU trade deal with the UK.

Added

Read the rest