The Daily Ten – Jeff Bezos Sells $3 billion worth of Amazon shares amid election chaos, UK heads into a recession, $700 million for parking lots…
The Daily Ten
1. Amid Election Chaos, Jeff Bezos Sells $3 Billion Worth Of Amazon Shares | Forbes
Jeff Bezos, billionaire founder of e-commerce and cloud computing colossus Amazon, sold $3 billion worth of Amazon shares on Monday and Election Tuesday, according to new filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. After taxes, Forbes estimates he will take home $2.3 billion. He remains the richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $189.6 billion.
Seven new documents filed with the SEC on Wednesday just as markets were about to close showed Bezos sold exactly 1 million shares of Amazon this week, or 1.8% of his stake. He sold when Amazon stock was trading between $2,950 and $3,075 per share. According to the filings, the sales are part of a predetermined plan to sell Amazon in accordance with insider trading laws.
This is the third time this year that Bezos has sold billions of dollars of Amazon shares. He now owns a 10.6% stake in the company. In August, he sold $3.1 billion worth of Amazon shares. In the first week of February, he sold over $4 billion worth of Amazon shares. In total, the Amazon founder has sold over $10 billion worth of Amazon shares in 2020 alone.
2. The UK economy is heading back into recession | CNN Business
London (CNN Business)The Bank of England is pumping another £150 billion ($195 billion) into the UK economy after warning of a double-dip recession because of the coronavirus pandemic and an uncertain outlook because of Brexit.
The UK central bank said on Thursday that it would keep interest rates unchanged at a record low of 0.1% but would increase its purchases of UK government bonds to £875 billion ($1.1 trillion).
Restrictions introduced to tackle a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases would weigh on consumer spending to a greater extent than the bank projected in August, “leading to a decline in GDP” in the fourth quarter of this year, it added.
England re-entered a national lockdown on Thursday, with restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses closed until December 2. The United Kingdom reported its second-largest daily increase in Covid-19 cases on Wednesday with 25,177 new infections recorded in 24 hours.
3. This is what cities in the UK may look like in 2100 | New York Post
As the world goes green in its bid to tackle climate change, cities will change beyond recognition, according to one expert.
In a series of images published Tuesday, University of Lancaster scientist Serena Pollastri outlined predictions for the future of Britain’s big towns, including the removal of all cars from our roads by 2100.
Rain-drinking skyscrapers and “living” green buildings will also sprout across the nation, according to the artist impressions.
The images show a futuristic London, Manchester and Birmingham skyline and were put together with the help of ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s.
4.Travelers Seeking Lockdown-Free Vacations Head to the Beach | WSJ
Mexico, Hawaii and island resorts are drawing U.S. visitors, even as Covid-19 fears have many people staying put for the holidays; ‘There’s definitely a fearless cohort that’s going.’
Sun, sand, margaritas—and no quarantine.
That, plus a $300 round-trip airfare, convinced Jon Heinz to book a four-day getaway to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in November. He is monitoring the level of Covid-19 cases there, reading studies on the rate of virus transmission aboard planes and checking online reports from other travelers.
5. Million-Dollar Condo Contracts Jump 300% in Palm Beach County | Bloomberg
Million-dollar condo deals in Florida’s Palm Beach County surged last month, a sign that the area’s pandemic-fueled real estate boom is spreading beyond single-family homes.
Signed contracts for condos worth at least $1 million jumped 300% from a year earlier to 36, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Across all price ranges, pending condo purchases in the county were up 155% to 612.
6. Jumbo and FHA mortgage rates set record lows, juicing refinance demand | CNBC
Record low rates for both larger loans and low down-payment loans drove an increase in mortgage demand last week. Total mortgage application volume rose 3.8% compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.
The demand was fueled by refinances, which rose 6% for the week and were 88% higher annually. The rates for jumbo loans, FHA loans and 15-year fixed loans set record lows, while the rate on the most popular loan, the 30-year fixed, saw really no change.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 3.01% from 3.00%, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment.
7. From Facebook to Reddit, how Silicon Valley salary adjustments could redefine remote worker earnings | CNBC
To adjust pay, or not to adjust pay? That is the question employers are asking as they rethink their compensation strategies in response to the new era of remote work.
Social media site, Reddit last week became the latest in a slew of tech companies to take a decisive stance on the issue, announcing that it would not cut the pay of its 600 U.S. employees regardless of where in the country they choose to live.
The call contrasts with those from Facebook and Twitter, which have said they will cut the pay of employees who choose to relocate away from their head offices in the pricey San Francisco Bay Area. Payments platform Stripe said it will offer employees $20,000 to help with moving costs but will then cut pay by 10%. Meanwhile, Software maker VMWare said it could reduce relocating staff salaries by up to 18%.
8. Seattle startup vets raise $1M and reveal more details about home valuation platform Plunk | GeekWire
Will that bathroom remodel increase your home’s value by more than $20,000? What about replacing the floors or adding a garage? How about the bad traffic that’s getting worse around your neighborhood?
A stealthy Seattle-area startup wants to help answer these questions and more.
Plunk is revealing more details about its app that helps homeowners play “what if” scenarios to figure out what might drive the value of their home up or down. The app uses image processing, AI, and machine learning to assess the condition of a home and recommend specific remodeling projects that can increase its value.
The idea is to give consumers the same tech-driven investment advice they can get with personal finances or stocks, but for their home.
“Home ownership for most Americans is the best way to grow wealth, yet there is no trusted source of advice and help when it comes to the most important financial commitment we make,” said Plunk co-founder David Bluhm.
9. REEF Technology raises $700M from SoftBank and others to remake parking lots | TechCrunch
It seems like SoftBank and the Mubadala Corp. aren’t finished taking big swings at the commercial real estate business in the U.S. Even after the collapse of WeWork, the investors are doubling down on a similar business model as part of a syndicate investing $700 million into REEF Technology.
REEF began its life as Miami-based ParkJockey, providing hardware, software and management services for parking lots. It has since expanded its vision while remaining true to its basic business model. While it still manages parking lots, it now adds infrastructure for cloud kitchens, healthcare clinics, logistics and last-mile delivery, and even old-school brick and mortar retail and experiential consumer spaces on top of those now-empty parking structures and spaces.
Like WeWork, REEF leases most of the real estate it operates and upgrades it before leasing it to other occupants (or using the spaces itself). Unlike WeWork, the business actually has a fair shot at working out — especially given business trends that have accelerated in response to the health and safety measures implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
10. Tencent leads $25 million round for Avakin Life maker Lockwood Publishing | Venture Beat
Tencent has led a $25 million investment in Lockwood Publishing, the maker of the 3D virtual world Avakin Life.
It’s a bet that makers of mobile games may have just as much chance of building a metaverse as PC or console platforms. The metaverse is a group of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. (VentureBeat’s next GamesBeat event on January 26-January 27 will focus in part on the metaverse).
Avakin Life has more than 200 million registered users on iOS and Android and more than a million who come back at least once a day. Previous investors Novator Partners, David Helgason, and Hilmar Pétursson also participated in the funding round. All told, it took about a year to close the deal, said Lockwood Publishing CEO Halli Bjornsson in an interview with GamesBeat.