Axios Closer

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December 06, 2021

😎 Today's newsletter is 659 words, a 2½-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 1%.

  • Biggest S&P gainer? Norwegian Cruise Line (+9%), getting a boost alongside cruise lines, airlines and other "reopening" stocks.
  • Biggest decliner? Moderna (-13%). Fellow vaccine maker Pfizer also took a hit (-5%).

1 big thing: Trump's investment mystery

Illustration of an angry facebook emoji that resembles Donald Trump
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Donald Trump isn't saying who agreed to invest $1 billion into his nascent social media platform, which plans to go public via a SPAC, thus inviting skeptical scrutiny, Axios' Dan Primack writes.

  • What's new: The planned merger between Digital World Acquisition Corp. and Trump Media & Technology Group is already is under investigation by regulators, per a new filing today.
  • They're looking into communications and documents between the two parties and the SPAC's trading activity.

Why it matters: The deal — which may rein in some SPAC excesses —doesn't need yet another regulatory headache.

  • There is no legal requirement that investors like the ones who just committed $1 billion to Digital World and TMTG be made public.
  • But such disclosures are industry standard, particularly when large dollars are involved.

Between the lines: One possibility for the silence is that some of the money comes from politically unpopular geographies, like China. Another is that the investors don't want to be publicly affiliated with the controversial former president.

  • The company has been quiet on its executive team — until now. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) will resign from Congress and become CEO of the media company.

The bottom line: Trump's silence on key issues speaks volumes about how this merger deal is unusual — and that its ultimate success or failure isn't a reflection on the broader SPAC market.

2. Charted: BuzzFeed's choppy debut

Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

BuzzFeed soared as much as 40% (at its highs) before sinking back down to Earth today — its first day as a public company after merging with a SPAC.

  • Behind the wild swing: There was only a small chunk of shares available for trading, which can drive big moves.

Why it matters: The listing was widely viewed as a test for other splashy media upstarts setting their sight on the public market.

  • Kicker ... The best part about BuzzFeed's debut might be this BuzzFeed quiz that determines whether or not the stock is for you based (in part) on which frazzled stock trader photo you most identify with.

3. What's happening

🚨 Regulators take aim: The SEC is probing Tesla over whistleblower claims about defects on its solar panels. (Reuters)

  • Electric-vehicle maker Lucid Motors says it's being investigated by the SEC over its SPAC merger and "certain projections and statements." (CNN)

💉 Pandemic-era first: New York City will require its private-sector workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (Axios)

4. DoorDash enters super-fast delivery mania

A food delivery guy with bicycle is seen as snowfall blankets the Times Square
Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

DoorDash will launch an ultra-fast grocery delivery service pilot — at your door in 10–15 minutes — in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.

  • Customers within a narrow radius of a warehouse can get delivery by a courier on an e-bike for a $1.49 fee.

For this to work, couriers and warehouse staffers always have to be available, without the choice to turn down delivery requests.

  • That's why DoorDash will hire employees (not contractors) for the service, giving them more control over the staffing. They can require workers to do training, assign them shifts and uniforms, and more.

The bottom line: This is the latest trend in grocery delivery. It's no surprise that established companies like DoorDash are trying to keep up.

  • The big question: Can companies do it profitably?

5. Auction knockout: Rocky notebook fetches $437,500

Credit: Julien's Auctions

A spiralbound notebook where Sylvester Stallone sketched out notes for the iconic "Rocky" film was auctioned for over eight times what it was estimated to go for.

  • Inside the notebook: handwritten plot details, character concepts and dialogue. No word on the winner.

It was the highest-ticket item of the nearly 500 props, costumes and other memorabilia from Stallone's blockbuster films (including "Rambo") offered by Julien's Auctions this weekend.

  • The silk boxing trunks worn by Stallone in "Rocky III" sold for $200,000 (original estimate: $10,000).

6. What they're saying

"To me, the stakes are life and death. I take him as seriously as I take my own life."
— Jeremy Strong on playing Kendall Roy on "Succession." If your question is whether the show is a comedy, Strong has an answer for you: no. Read The New Yorker profile.

Editor's note: Item 4 has been corrected to show DoorDash's delivery fee is $1.49 (not $0.99–$1.99 as Axios was originally told).