Financial Daily Dose 1.20.2021 | Top Story: Netflix Hits 200M Subscribers, Halts Massive Borrowing

January 20, 2021

During its Q4 earnings report yesterday, Netflix announced a significant departure from past practice: it’s done borrowing money (for now, at least). After borrowing “over $16 billion to feed its titanic appetite for content” over the past decade, the ‘Flix is reporting that it’s not only making enough money to pay off its loans while “maintaining its immense content budget,” but it’s even considering some stock buy backs to help “lift the value of its shares.” Amazing what 200 million subscribers can do for you, no?  - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and TechCrunch

After a conspicuous three-month absence from the public eye following comments in which he criticized government regulation of his business empire, Alibaba chief Jack Ma  resurfaced this morning in a live-streamed video event that buoyed Alibaba stock (even as it left a spate of unanswered questions about Ma’s lost quarter) - Bloomberg and NYTimes and WSJ and MarketWatch

Senate deficit hawks found their voice after a 4-year bout of laryngitis during confirmation hearings for Treasury Secretary nominee Dr. Janet Yellen on Tuesday, “foreshadow[ing] the opposition” to the incoming administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion economic relief proposal. That and other confirmation highlights here - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Marketplace and Law360

And why, exactly, is that package necessary? Well, here are 10 challenges for President Biden and the country at the moment - NYTimes

Office Depot parent company ODP Corp. has smacked down an “unsolicited takeover offer from Staples,” though it has “indicated it is open to an alternative deal”—the latest development in a “yearslong dance between the office-supply retailers” - WSJ

Tyson Foods is the latest Big Chicken player to settle out of a massive antitrust MDL, paying $221.5 million to resolve all claims of its anti-competitive behavior in the broiler chicken industry - MarketWatch and Law360

The prospect of Tesla-like success has helped e-truck-maker Rivian add another $2.65 billion to its coffers thanks to a recent funding round, bringing “the total investment in the company to $8 billion since the beginning of 2019” - NYTimes and WSJ and TechCrunch

Meanwhile, some of the old guard has struggled to keep up with Tesla’s success. Take Volkswagen, for example, which has relatively little to show for its 5-year, $50 billion investment into its ID.3 electric vehicle effort - WSJ

While others (see, e.g., GM) are recruiting big names (Microsoft, anyone?) and their money to fund “renewed interest in the autonomous-technology space after a relatively quiet period” - WSJ and MarketWatch and TechCrunch

Change comes to us all eventually—even the trading ring of the London Metal Exchange - WSJ and Bloomberg

The Times fills us in on the “bitter archaeological feud” over the true age of the Nebra sky disk, the object many have called the “oldest known representation of the heavens” and a “beloved emblem of heritage that connects [Germans] with ancient sky watchers.” The controversy? Special as it is, is the disk 3,600 years old or merely 2,600 years old. Much is at stake - NYTimes

Stay safe,
MDR