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Adam Neumann wants to own WeWork again...
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February 07, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Roots

Good morning. Nebraska's tourism slogan wasn't for everyone; now it's history. The state's tourism director announced that its brutally honest tagline, "Nebraska, honestly it's not for everyone," would be retired after five years.

Is it the worst state tourism slogan ever? You decide. Here are some other contenders.

  • "Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer." The state's chief marketing officer was forced to resign over this in 2016.
  • Idaho's license plates have the slogan "Famous Potatoes." If they're that famous, you probably don't need to remind everyone.
  • Washington introduced "Say WA?" in 2006. Residents said, "No."

The best state slogan? "Virginia Is for Lovers."

—Matty Merritt, Sam Klebanov, Cassandra Cassidy, Abby Rubenstein, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

15,609.00

S&P

4,954.23

Dow

38,521.36

10-Year

4.090%

Bitcoin

$43,112.61

Palantir

$21.87

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 4:00am ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks rose yesterday as investors mulled earnings reports that beat expectations from companies like Palantir and Spotify. But not every company had good news to share: Snap plunged after hours when it reported less revenue than expected and said the Middle East conflict was a headwind to growth. Meanwhile, New York Community Bancorp fell to its lowest since 1997, and Moody's downgraded it to junk.
 

REAL ESTATE

Adam Neumann wants to buy back WeWork

Jerry trying to push Newman out of his apartment, but Newman rolls back in. Seinfeld/Sony Pictures Entertainment via Giphy

He's baaaaaack. Adam Neumann, the barefoot floptessa, wants to buy the now-bankrupt WeWork, the company he founded and then was booted from five years ago. There's just one thing in his way: WeWork.

A law firm representing Neumann and his new real estate company, Flow Global, sent a letter to WeWork Monday accusing its execs of refusing to take meetings to discuss a potential sale. Neumann has reportedly expressed interest in buying the company since December and has been trying to invest in it for even longer (including offering $1 billion in financing in October 2022, per the letter).

The letter also claimed Dan Loeb's Third Point was interested in going in on the deal. But the hedge fund told CNBC it had made no commitments, and it's only in preliminary talks with Flow.

WeWork responded that it gets a lot of offers from a lot of different groups, and it looks through all of them.

Neumann wants to be Steve Jobs so bad

Like Jobs returning to run Apple after his firing, Neumann thinks he's ready to get back on the horse. But there's a lot of history:

  • The former WeWork CEO threw lavish parties and led the company to big investments from SoftBank and a $47 billion valuation. At its height, WeWork was NYC's largest corporate tenant.
  • But Neumann saw everything rapidly crumble as soon as people started poking around the company's financials and governance before its planned IPO—the company ousted him in 2019 and filed for bankruptcy last year.

There was a book, a Hulu series, and countless jokes in this very newsletter about the disaster.

Neumann still wants to own where you work and live. He has always wanted to "elevate the world's consciousness" by jazzing up and renting out short-term rentals. He says the WeWork purchase would complement Flow's residential real estate business, which got a $350 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz in 2022.

Looking ahead…WeWork might be saying no for now, but office landlords are knocking down its door for rent money. The company is currently trying to renegotiate and cancel roughly $3 billion worth of leases in bankruptcy court.—MM

     

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WORLD

Tour de headlines

Donald Trump Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Appeals court rules Trump doesn't have immunity. A panel of judges from a federal appeals court in Washington, DC, held that former President Donald Trump isn't immune from being prosecuted on charges that he tried to subvert the 2020 presidential election—a defeat Trump is expected to appeal swiftly to the full appellate court or the Supreme Court. The ruling said that the former president is now "citizen Trump" and that any claim he had to immunity as president is no longer there. The judge overseeing the DC criminal case, originally scheduled for trial in March, has put it on hold while the immunity issue gets hashed out.

There's a new sports streamer coming. Fox, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Disney's ESPN plan to join forces to create a new sports streaming service, and each will own a third. They're hoping you'll pay for yet another subscription to see live pro and college games that had traditionally only been on television, including Monday Night Football. It'll be a stand-alone app, but subscribers will also be able to bundle it with Hulu, Max, and Disney+. The service, which is scheduled to launch by fall, doesn't have a price or a name yet, so we'd like to suggest "Cable" or "ESPN Again."

Singer Toby Keith dead at 62. The country singer who wrote karaoke bangers like "Should've Been a Cowboy" died Monday from stomach cancer, which he announced he had in 2022. Keith is most famous for his ultra-patriotic lyrics and quarrels with other celebrities like The Chicks' Natalie Maines and…maybe Kris Kristofferson. The star, originally from Oklahoma, spent his early years working in the oil fields and briefly played semiprofessional football before beginning a singing career that produced 60+ singles on the Hot Country chart. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.

BUSINESS

Eli Lilly is the new Tesla

Eli Lilly Cristina Arias/Getty Images

Wall Street might want to put on some protective glasses as it watches Eli Lilly eclipse Tesla. After surpassing Elon Musk's EV company in market cap last month, America's biggest drugmaker reported rockstar revenue yesterday courtesy of its obesity and diabetes medications.

Blockbuster demand for Zepbound and Mounjaro helped the company post better-than-expected quarterly numbers:

  • The pharma giant took in $9.35 billion in Q4 revenue, with quarterly profit up 13% from the previous year.
  • That was thanks in part to Eli Lilly being able to charge more than before for Mounjaro and selling $175.8 million worth of Zepbound, which hit the market after gaining FDA approval in November.

Weight loss = market gains

Eli Lilly's stock has already risen 19% this year, with the WSJ noting that its shares are priced like a glitzy fast-growing tech company's. Lilly hopes to meet the growing Mounjaro and Zepbound demand by launching a new production facility in North Carolina later this year. Factset says analysts anticipate Zepbound sales will reach $1.9 billion in 2024, with the number growing to $12 billion in a few years.

And yet, Eli Lilly execs are worried…the company's capacity to make the two drugs might be impacted by the parent of Ozempic-maker Novo Nordisk planning to buy pharma supplier Catalent, which counts Eli Lilly as a customer.—SK

     

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ENTERTAINMENT

Look what flight tracking made her do

Taylor Swift at the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards Axelle / Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Attorneys for Taylor Swift have threatened legal action against a college student who's made a hobby out of tracking the anti-hero and other notables' private jet flights.

Jack Sweeney, the brain behind various flight-tracking social media accounts, received a cease-and-desist letter from her lawyers in December, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The letter claimed his accounts caused "direct and irreparable harm" to Swift, who has dealt with stalkers throughout her career.

Scrutiny of Swift's movements has hit all-time highs in the past few weeks.

  • Fans, and even the Japanese Embassy, have speculated whether she can make it to Las Vegas from Tokyo, where she's performing this weekend, to see her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, play in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
  • With all her jet-setting, Swift has also faced criticism for the carbon emissions caused by her private jet—data that gained attention because of Sweeney's flight tracking.

What does Sweeney say? He told the Washington Post that all the flight data is publicly available and only points to cities she might be in…just like her concert schedules.

It's all a little deja vu. The 21-year-old aroused Elon Musk's ire for running the tracking account @ElonJet. Musk suspended it from X in 2022 for what he called a "direct personal safety risk," but the account was soon back online with a 24-hour delay. The X account that tracks Swift's jet is also on a 24-hour delay.—CC

     

GRAB BAG

Key performance indicators

Lionel Messi Kenta Harada/Getty Images

Quote: "The truth is that I feel very good compared to a few days ago."

After leaving behind thousands of disappointed soccer fans in Hong Kong when he sat out a friendly there due to an injury, Lionel Messi is hopeful that he won't have a repeat problem in Tokyo today and will be able to play during a match that starts right about as this newsletter hits your inbox. Hong Kongers weren't just mad that ~40,000 people had shelled out cash (some as much as $620 per ticket) to see Messi play when he…didn't: The city is still smarting from snubs by other celebs like Taylor Swift, who's not stopping there on her tour, as it tries to reestablish itself as a destination in the wake of Covid and political unrest.

Stat: Applying to college is stressful enough without the government making it harder, but this year's high-school seniors have to get through a restructured financial aid form before they can start slacking off, and it's taking a toll. According to the WSJ, about 57% fewer students than last year had completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal grants and loans as of January (~700k compared to 1.5 million). Ironically, this happened because the government revamped the form to make it easier, but the rollout has been slow and glitchy.

Read: Inside the underground site where AI churns out fake IDs. (404 Media)

NEWS

What else is brewing

  • School shooter Ethan Crumbley's mother, Jennifer Crumbley, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. It's the first time a parent has been held directly responsible for their child committing a school shooting.
  • Bolts were missing from an Alaska Airlines-operated Boeing plane before a door plug blew off mid-flight in January, government regulators said in a preliminary report.
  • A House vote to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the handling of the Mexican border fell short after some Republicans broke ranks to support the Biden administration official.
  • Meta said it would start putting "AI generated" labels on images created with outside tools like Midjourney (it already flags ones made with its own AI) as it tries to combat misinformation in the lead-up to the presidential election.
  • Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host who now posts a show on X, will interview Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Gina Carano sued Lucasfilm and Disney over her firing from The Mandalorian, and X is helping to foot the bill because she was allegedly axed for her posts on the platform.

RECS

Wednesday to-do list

Find a quiet place: A map of the most hushed spots in the world's loudest cities.

Think different: Advice from experts on how to banish negative thoughts.

Life's a beach: Here are 20 of the loveliest seasides to add to your travel bucket list.

Prepare for Valentine's Day: A guide to gifts besides chocolates and the best places to order flowers online.

The next gold rush: EnergyX can extract 3x more lithium than traditional methods. Today's the final day to invest in EnergyX for $8/share.*

*A message from our sponsor.

GAMES

The puzzle section

Word Search: O say, can you identify the singers who performed the national anthem at previous Super Bowls? Play it o'er here.

The Beatles trivia

Morning Brew Trivia rule #343: On the 60th anniversary of The Beatles arriving in New York, you must do Fab 4 trivia.

Below are some of the famous people featured on the iconic cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Can you identify them?

People on the cover of Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band cover

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ANSWER

  1. Marilyn Monroe
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Marlon Brando
  5. Ringo Starr
  6. Shirley Temple

Word of the Day

Today's Word of the Day is: subvert, meaning "overturn from the foundation." Thanks to Michelle from Liverpool, New York, for the edgy suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✢ A Note From Roots

Information contained herein, although believed accurate and compiled from credible sources, is not guaranteed. There can be no assurance the business objectives of the Company will be achieved. Investors may lose all or part of their investment and distributions with respect to such investment are not guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future returns.

✤ A Note From EnergyX

This is a paid advertisement for EnergyX's Regulation A+ offering. Please read the offering circular at https://invest.energyx.com/.

         
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