A SPAC backed by an LA Dodgers co-owner will take online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats public at a $2 billion valuation

GettyImages 576940202 (1)
LA Dodgers owners of Guggenheim Baseball Management, LLC – (from left) Stan Kasten, Mark Walter, Earvin Magic Johnson, Peter Guber, and Todd Boehly during the press conference to introduce the new owners of the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA on May 2, 2012.

  • A SPAC backed by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly is taking online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats public.
  • The deal will put the combined valuation of both companies at $1.95 billion.
  • The SPAC, Horizon Acquisition, will provide around $769 million of gross proceeds to Vivid Seats, including a $225 million PIPE.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

A blank check company backed by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly announced Thursday that it is taking online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats public, putting the combined valuation of both companies at $1.95 billion.

Boehly’s Horizon Acquisition SPAC will provide around $769 million of gross proceeds to Vivid Seats, including a $225 million private investment in public equity, or PIPE, at $10 per share from investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company and Eldridge Industries, which Boehly is CEO of.

The new company will be led by Vivid Seats CEO Stan Chia. Boehly, chairman and CEO of the SPAC, will join the Vivid Seats’ board of directors.

“Vivid Seats has built an impressive technology platform, as well as a substantial customer base,” Boehly, who is also the founder of Eldridge Industries, said in a statement. “Vivid Seats is a scaled, growing and highly profitable marketplace that will be well-positioned to drive continual long-term growth.”

Vivid Seats is a live portal that connects fans with ticket sellers across. The Chicago-based company is poised to take advantage of consumers’ pent-up demand – after being locked in their homes due to the pandemic – to attend sports, concert, and theater events as Covid-19 restrictions worldwide ease.

The online ticket marketplace currently supports over 12 million customers and 3,400 sellers across more than 200,000 listed events. Founded in 2001, the company counts ESPN and The Rolling Stones as its partner, among others.

Evercore is acting as financial and capital adviser to Vivid Seats, while Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank Securities and RBC Capital Markets are advising Horizon on the deal.

SPACs, shell companies seeking to merge with private companies with the intention of taking them public, have boomed.

In 2020, a total of 248 SPACs raised $83.3 billion according to SPAC Analytics. But by April of this year, 308 SPACs have raised $99.7 billion, comprising 65% of all IPOs.

While the boom in SPACs has slowed recently, Goldman Sachs said these could still drive $900 billion of dealmaking over the next two years.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A SPAC backed by an LA Dodgers co-owner will take online ticket reseller Vivid Seats public at a $2 billion valuation

GettyImages 576940202 (1)
LA Dodgers owners of Guggenheim Baseball Management, LLC – (from left) Stan Kasten, Mark Walter, Earvin Magic Johnson, Peter Guber, and Todd Boehly during the press conference to introduce the new owners of the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA on May 2, 2012.

  • A SPAC backed by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly is taking online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats public.
  • The deal will put the combined valuation of both companies at $1.95 billion.
  • The SPAC, Horizon Acquisition, will provide around $769 million of gross proceeds to Vivid Seats, including a $225 million PIPE.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

A blank check company backed by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly announced Thursday that it is taking online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats public, putting the combined valuation of both companies at $1.95 billion.

Boehly’s Horizon Acquisition SPAC will provide around $769 million of gross proceeds to Vivid Seats, including a $225 million private investment in public equity, or PIPE, at $10 per share from investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company and Eldridge Industries, which Boehly is CEO of.

The new company will be led by Vivid Seats CEO Stan Chia. Boehly, chairman and CEO of the SPAC, will join the Vivid Seats’ board of directors.

“Vivid Seats has built an impressive technology platform, as well as a substantial customer base,” Boehly, who is also the founder of Eldridge Industries, said in a statement. “Vivid Seats is a scaled, growing and highly profitable marketplace that will be well-positioned to drive continual long-term growth.”

Vivid Seats is a live portal that connects fans with ticket sellers across. The Chicago-based company is poised to take advantage of consumers’ pent-up demand – after being locked in their homes due to the pandemic – to attend sports, concert, and theater events as Covid-19 restrictions worldwide ease.

The online ticket marketplace currently supports over 12 million customers and 3,400 sellers across more than 200,000 listed events. Founded in 2001, the company counts ESPN and The Rolling Stones as its partner, among others.

Evercore is acting as financial and capital adviser to Vivid Seats, while Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank Securities and RBC Capital Markets are advising Horizon on the deal.

SPACs, shell companies seeking to merge with private companies with the intention of taking them public, have boomed.

In 2020, a total of 248 SPACs raised $83.3 billion according to SPAC Analytics. But by April of this year, 308 SPACs have raised $99.7 billion, comprising 65% of all IPOs.

While the boom in SPACs has slowed recently, Goldman Sachs said these could still drive $900 billion of dealmaking over the next two years.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Senate shatters record with longest vote in history as Democrats negotiated the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

  • A Friday vote on Capitol Hill became the longest vote in the Senate’s modern history.
  • The vote on a Sanders-backed minimum wage amendment was held open for 11 hours and 50 minutes.
  • The extended open vote was attributed to a Democratic scramble to get votes for future amendments.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

While Senators were anticipating a frenzied day on Friday as Democrats sought to push through their $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, a vote on a minimum wage amendment actually became the longest recorded Senate vote in modern history, according to The Hill.

The Senate commenced voting at 11:03 a.m. on Friday on a amendment offered by Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to raise the minimum wage from the current $7.25 federal rate to $15.

The vote was officially closed at 10:53 p.m., meaning it was held open by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York for a record 11 hours and 50 minutes.

Previously, the record was held by a June 2019 vote on an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill by then-Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico that was held open for 10 hours and eight minutes.

The push for a $15 minimum wage previously caused a rift among the Democratic caucus, with moderate Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia opposed to the increase being included in the bill even before the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provision couldn’t be added due to its noncompliance with budget reconciliation rules.

Under the reconciliation process, Democrats can pass the COVID-19 relief bill on a party-line vote with the aid of Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote.

However, the extended open vote was attributed to the Democratic majority’s scramble to get votes for future amendments to the relief bill during the free-for-all “vote-a-rama” that consumed the Senate.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio offered an amendment that would have extended enhanced unemployment benefits until July 18, several weeks short of the August 29 extension that was passed in the House version of the bill.

When Manchin expressed interest in the amendment, it threatened the Democrats’ fragile 50-vote coalition.

As the day went on, GOP Senate Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota met with Portman, with Manchin on the phone. Manchin also spoke with Schumer and President Joe Biden, himself of a 36-year veteran of Senate negotiations, to break the impasse.

Ultimately, Manchin forged a compromise with his Democratic colleagues, which extended the current $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits through September 6, while providing tax relief for the first $10,200 in jobless aid for households making less than $150,000.

“We have reached a compromise that enables the economy to rebound quickly while also protecting those receiving unemployment benefits from being hit with [an] unexpected tax bill next year,” Manchin said in a statement.

The Senate eventually rejected the Sanders motion to re-add the minimum wage increase to the COVID-19 bill; it failed in a 42-58 vote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Bernie Sanders is ‘confident’ that the $15 minimum wage will remain in COVID-19 relief package

bernie sanders stimulus checks
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

  • Sanders expressed confidence that the minimum wage hike will remain in the COVID-19 relief package.
  • The Senate parliamentarian will determine if the wage increase can be passed through reconciliation.
  • Sanders still faces resistance from Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Saturday expressed confidence that the proposed minimum wage hike to $15 per hour will remain in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that congressional Democrats are aiming to pass through the budget reconciliation process.

President Joe Biden supports the minimum wage hike but has expressed doubt that it would be permissible under reconciliation rules. But, Sanders, the independent chairman of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, thinks the measure will pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian.

“Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is not ‘incidental’ to the federal budget and is permissible under the rules of reconciliation,” Sanders said in a statement to CNN. “The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] has found that the $15 minimum wage has a much greater impact on the federal budget than opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and repealing the individual mandate penalties – two provisions that the parliamentarian advised did not violate the Byrd Rule when Republicans controlled the Senate.”

He added: “I’m confident that the parliamentarian will advise next week that we can raise the minimum wage through the reconciliation process.”

The CBO has ruled that the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 would have a substantial impact on the budget, which might meet the threshold of the Byrd Rule and be passed through the reconciliation process.

Sanders has insisted that reconciliation – which would rely on all 50 Democratic senators supporting the legislation – is the way to make the minimum wage increase happen.

“It’s gonna be in reconciliation if I have anything to say about it – it’s the only way we’re gonna get it passed,” he told Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig earlier this month.

But even if the parliamentarian rules in Sanders’ favor, he’ll still face resistance from moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Manchin told The Hill earlier this month that he could support raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour, which he said was “responsible and reasonable.”

“The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process,” Sinema told Politico last week. “It is not a budget item. And it shouldn’t be in there.”

The federal minimum wage, at $7.25 per hour, has been unchanged since July 2009.

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Publix offers $125 gift cards to workers who receive the COVID-19 vaccine

Publix grocery store night
  • Employees have to show proof of vaccination and fill out an internal form to receive the gift cards.
  • Publix was among the first to partner with Florida to distribute the Moderna vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.
  • Workers don’t have to receive the vaccine from Publix Pharmacy.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Publix Supermarkets will offer $125 gift cards to employees who get the manufacturer-recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the company said.

Employees must show proof of vaccination and fill out an internal form to receive the gift cards, but they don’t have to receive the vaccine at a Publix Pharmacy, according to a press release.

“We care about our associates and customers and believe getting vaccinated can help us take one step closer to getting back to normal,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones in the press release. “We’re encouraging our associates to get vaccinated when they become eligible and doses are available.”

The popular Southern grocery chain has more than 1,200 locations, with the bulk of them in Florida. The company has grown into the largest employee-owned company in the US.

Publix was among the first to partner with the state of Florida after the initial request to distribute the Moderna vaccine, a company spokesperson told Insider.

The supermarket joins a growing list of employers who have offered incentives to workers who receive the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine. 

Target said earlier this month that it will offer four hours of paid time off and pay for Lyft rides for workers to get vaccinated, while Kroger said that it will pay $100 to workers who receive the full manufacturer-recommended vaccine doses.

Other companies have made similar incentives available to employees who get vaccinated.

The two-dose vaccines, including one from Pfizer-BioNtech and another from Moderna, received FDA approval in December. Around 34 million people have received one or more doses since the vaccine approval.

People who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19, like older people, those with other medical conditions, and “essential” workers, including doctors, nurses and grocery workers, have been prioritized, depending on the state.

The vaccine’s initial rollout in the US was laden with delays. The timeline for when COVID-19 vaccines will be available to everyone in the US has slipped into May or possibly June, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medial advisor, told CNN this week.

Appointments for the vaccine have moved mostly online, but those without internet access or internet savvy are struggling to sign up for their shots, Insider reported Saturday. The people who lack access and time to sign up for the vaccine are the same as those most at risk for contracting and dying from the disease: minorities, homeless, and elderly Americans. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Restaurants are buying less food than before the pandemic as they struggle to stay afloat

indoor  dining nyc
A waiter delivers food to a table at Bottino Restaurant in Chelsea as New York City restaurants open for limited capacity indoor dining on October 1, 2020 in New York.

  • Spending levels at 40,000 restaurants nationwide dropped significantly last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Restaurants in some states, including Wyoming and Wisconsin, had spending levels similar to those before the pandemic.
  • Restaurant operators were spending more on carryout boxes and bags as the demand for takeout and delivery increased during COVID-19.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Restaurants nationwide spent significantly less on food and other supplies last year as the coronavirus pandemic forced many eateries to temporarily shut down and host fewer in-store customers, new data shows. 

Around 40,000 restaurants nationwide spent 24.5% less on food and other items per quarter in 2020 than than they did prior to the pandemic, according to a report by Buyers Edge Platform, a digital procurement network for foodservice that tracked and analyzed restaurant purchases. 

Restaurants spent $2,700 each week purchasing food and products from their suppliers during the start of the pandemic last spring, down from $5,220 per week in the months prior.

Spending on food and supplies was at its lowest level during the week ending March 22, falling 67.5%, as stay-home orders were enacted and restaurants temporarily closed to in-person dining, leading to mass layoffs. By the end of 2020, there had been a rebound, with restaurants spending $4,531 per week on food orders and other items.

Spending levels had dropped to around 30% by the start of 2021, as COVID-19 cases surged across the country. 

“The real challenge for operators was the uncertainty of managing labor and operating expenses,” said John Davie, CEO of Buyers Edge Platform in the report. 

Read More: 85% of independent restaurants may go out of business by the end of 2020, according to the Independent Restaurant Coalition

The report also analyzed the purchasing habits of 5,000 restaurants in ten states experiencing the highest drops in spending levels, including independent restaurants and large chains.

Buyers Edge Platform said the steepest declines were in Nevada and Hawaii, two states whose economies heavily rely on hospitality. Average weekly food orders during the pandemic dropped 65.1% in Nevada and around 59% in Hawaii.

Order levels also fell in Washington by around 41%, Vermont by 40.1%, Connecticut by 35.8%, and Colorado by 33.8%, Arizona by 32.5%, Illinois by 31.8%, New Hampshire by around 31%, and Alaska by 30.3%. 

Read More: New Trump rule could cost waiters more than $700 million in lost wages by allowing employers to take more of their tips to pay other workers

Restaurants’ spending levels dropped due to the in-door dining restrictions and job losses across the foodservice industry during the pandemic, according to the digital procurement network. Chain restaurants combined have permanently closed more than 1,500 locations since the pandemic began.

Buyers Edge Platform said that the numbers slowly improved and orders were slightly exceeding pre-pandemic levels as dining restrictions loosened last year, but those levels dropped again as restrictions went back into place.

Read More: These 38 retailers and restaurant companies have filed for bankruptcy or liquidation in 2020

Restaurants in Wisconsin, Wyoming, and South Carolina ordered more food, however. The average weekly restaurant orders during the pandemic were 1.8% higher in Wisconsin, 4.2% in Wyoming, and 7% higher in South Carolina compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Restaurants were stranded with a stock of food in their refrigerators in March that they were unable to profit from as bills piled up, according to Davie. Some restaurants kept their staff on payroll for longer than they needed because owners found it difficult to navigate the Payroll Protection Program, part of a federal relief package for business owners.

Restaurant operators also changed their buying habits as they focused on obtaining certain products during the pandemic. Orders for frozen dessert products increased 145%, but orders for hotel products fell 69% and slumped 57% for fresh fish and frozen crab meat orders. Pen orders also declined by 67% as in-person dining that involved in-person check-signing decreased.

Read More: 12 restaurant chains have filed for bankruptcy in 2020 in the wake of the pandemic

The demand for carryout boxes and bags increased during the pandemic, according to the analysis, as consumers were heavily relying on takeout and food delivery. 

During the period between February and December of 2020, Restaurants’ orders of disposable bags soared 115%, while orders for disposable boxes increased 114% and disposable lid orders spiked 96%.

Additionally, orders for health and food safety products increased by 81% during the same period.

In December, a new rule was rolled out that allows restaurants to pull tips from their waitstaff to pay cooks and other employees. The 148-page regulation published by the Department of Labor is expanding on employers’ ability to pool tips and share them among employees who usually receive them.

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