Business briefing

The daily business briefing: January 31, 2022

Spotify and Joe Rogan respond to Neil Young on COVID misinformation, Canadian truckers protest vaccine mandates for 2nd day, and more

1

Spotify, Joe Rogan respond to Neil Young's allegation of COVID misinformation

Spotify responded for the first time Sunday to protests accusing podcaster Joe Rogan of spreading COVID-19 misinformation, as Joni Mitchell and other artists joined folk-rock singer Neil Young by pulling their music off the streaming service. "We know we have a critical role to play in supporting creator expression while balancing it with the safety of our users," CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a blog post Sunday. Rogan also responded to the controversy, saying in a video posted on Instagram that his show had gotten "out of control" and promising to be more balanced and better informed. Spotify last week removed Young's music after he wrote in a letter posted on his website that Spotify could "have Rogan or Young. Not both."

2

Canadian truckers block Ottawa streets for 2nd day to protest vaccine mandates

Truckers and other protesters blocked much of downtown Ottawa for a second day on Sunday to protest Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Trucks parked on streets near parliament in the Canadian capital ahead of lawmakers' scheduled Monday return from a holiday break. Some of the truckers vowed to stay until the mandates are lifted. Former U.S. President Donald Trump praised the Canadian protesters during a Saturday rally in Texas, saying they were "resisting bravely these lawless mandates." Ottawa police tweeted that several alleged incidents during the protests were under investigation, including "desecration of the National War Memorial" and "threatening/illegal/intimidating behavior to police/city workers and other individuals."

3

Stocks mixed as painful January ends

U.S. stock futures were mixed early Monday, the final trading day of what could be the worst month for the S&P 500 since the coronavirus pandemic slammed U.S. markets in March 2020. Futures tied to the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, at 7 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up by 0.3 percent. The S&P 500 is down by 7 percent in January and approaching correction territory, defined as a 10-percent drop from its recent high. The 500-stock index is heading into a big week in earnings season, with more than 100 of its companies set to report fourth-quarter results by the end of Friday. Amazon, Facebook-parent Meta Platforms, and Google-parent Alphabet, which together account for roughly a quarter of the average's market capitalization, are among the companies reporting this week.

4

Elliott, Vista near $13 billion to buy cloud-computing firm Citrix Systems 

Cloud-computing company Citrix Systems is near a $13 billion deal to go private. Elliott Management Corp.'s private-equity arm, Evergreen Coast Capital, and Vista Equity Partners could announce as soon as Monday that they will pay $104 a share for the software company, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. If the two sides reach an agreement, the sale will be the biggest in a series of major leveraged buyouts driven by record private equity activity. Last year, private equity firms announced deals worth more than $900 billion, according to Dealogic.

5

Teen who turned down $5,000 to stop tracking Musk's jet wants $50,000

Jack Sweeney, the 19-year-old who maintains a Twitter account that tracks billionaire Elon Musk's jet, says he turned down the Tesla CEO's offer of $5,000 to take the account down but would accept $50,000. Sweeney, a college student, said $5,000 wasn't enough to justify giving up "the fun I have in this, working on it." Sweeney said he told Musk that the larger figure would provide him with money for college and something to put toward buying a new car, possibly a Tesla Model 3. Protocol first reported that Musk contacted Sweeney, telling him last fall that the Twitter tracking was a "security risk," and he offered to pay the teen for the account and "generally helping make it harder for crazy people to track me."

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