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An "Open House" sign outside a home in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 24. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Better.com, a New York-based home mortgage startup backed by SoftBank, is delaying the close of its $7.7 billion reverse merger with Aurora Acquisition Corp.

Why it matters: The move comes after the company fired around 900 employees, or 9% of its workforce, via Zoom. Yes, via Zoom. And, just to add insult to injury, that video conference from hell came 24 hours after Better received an accelerated $750 million infusion from investors in the SPAC merger.

Cap table: Prior to the SPAC deal, Better had raised around $950 million from firms like SoftBank, Ping An, L Catterton, Activant Capital, Fenway Summer Ventures, IA Ventures, 1/10 Capital and Goldman Sachs.

The bottom line: Officially, the merger delay is to allow Better and Aurora to get regulatory approvals for their amended SPAC investment terms. Unofficially, it's to give the company time to extinguish its raging dumpster fire.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed CapitalG among Better.com's investors.

Go deeper

Dec 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

"Scale matters": Vox, Group Nine CEOs tout new deal

Combination images of Group 9 Media CEO Ben Lerer (L) and Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff. Photo: Rita Quinn/Getty Images for SXSW; Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

The newly announced merger between Vox Media and Group Nine Media will create "the fastest-growing company of scale in media," Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff told Axios.

Why it matters: The deal "officially takes us out of startup mode," said Group Nine founder and CEO Ben Lerer, who will join the new company's board.

40 mins ago - Health

Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific COVID vaccine

A health worker in Palestine preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 24. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have started clinical trials for a reformulated vaccine to protect against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: The rise of the Omicron variant has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines.

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.

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