“He refused to take the meeting,” Mr. Musk tweeted of Mr. Cook. Though the timing of the offer isn’t clear, it may have been in mid-2017, when Tesla was struggling to produce its Model 3 cars and came within a month of bankruptcy.
An acquisition then would have been a steal, according to Mr. Musk: Tesla was then at “1/10 of our current value.” Tesla’s market cap is currently just shy of $607 billion.
Our question: Whom else did Tesla approach for help during that time? Have any ideas? Send them our way.
The revelation followed news reports about Apple’s own self-driving car plans, including word that the iPhone maker hopes to introduce an electric vehicle as soon as 2024. Investors don’t seem to mind its overlooking of Tesla, though: Apple’s shares closed up nearly 3 percent yesterday, even after Mr. Musk’s tweet.
Widening the blame for the opioid crisis
The Justice Department sued Walmart yesterday over its role in the opioid epidemic, accusing the company’s network of pharmacies of ignoring “glaringly obvious red flags” in dispensing the drugs. The retail giant is the latest company to be blamed for a health crisis that has killed 750,000 people over the past two decades.
The feds said Walmart knew its system for flagging questionable prescriptions was faulty. They said the retailer had ignored indicators like dosage amounts so large that, if taken as dispensed, would probably have been lethal. The company’s pharmacists warned its compliance unit of a “shady” doctor who wrote opioid prescriptions, the Justice Department said, yet the retailer continued to fill thousands of that doctor’s opioid prescriptions.
Walmart says it was simply filling prescriptions written by authorized doctors, and that ignoring them would have put “pharmacists and pharmacies between a rock and a hard place.” (In October, Walmart preemptively sued the federal government, accusing regulators of trying to minimize their own failings in preventing the epidemic.)
The lawsuit is the latest effort to assign blame to corporate America for the crisis:
Drug manufacturers including Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt and Insys Therapeutics have been accused of playing down the drugs’ risks. All three filed for bankruptcy protection amid a wave of litigation, and Purdue, which makes OxyContin, pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges last month. (Members of Purdue’s founding Sackler family denied responsibility in a congressional hearing this month.)
Drug distributors like McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen have agreed to pay billions to settle accusations that they helped retailers circumvent limits on opioid purchases. All have denied wrongdoing.
Retailers including CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid are facing a lawsuit that accuses them of rewarding pharmacists with the highest sales volumes and promoting opioids as safe and effective. The chains themselves blame doctors who ordered the subscriptions.
Trump loses his top banker
Rosemary Vrablic, the Deutsche Bank executive who was President Trump’s key contact at the German lender, which arranged hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to his family’s business, is stepping down.
Lawmakers agreed to a plan to issue stimulus payments of $600 and distribute a federal unemployment benefit of $300 for 11 weeks. You can find more about the bill and what’s in it for you here.
- Will I receive another stimulus payment? Individual adults with adjusted gross income on their 2019 tax returns of up to $75,000 a year would receive a $600 payment, and heads of households making up to $112,500 and a couple (or someone whose spouse died in 2020) earning up to $150,000 a year would get twice that amount. If they have dependent children, they would also get $600 for each child. People with incomes just above these levels would receive a partial payment that declines by $5 for every $100 in income.
- When might my payment arrive? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that he expected the first payments to go out before the end of the year. But it will be a while before all eligible people receive their money.
- Does the agreement affect unemployment insurance? Lawmakers agreed to extend the amount of time that people can collect unemployment benefits and restart an extra federal benefit that is provided on top of the usual state benefit. But instead of $600 a week, it would be $300. That would last through March 14.
- I am behind on my rent or expect to be soon. Will I receive any relief? The agreement would provide $25 billion to be distributed through state and local governments to help renters who have fallen behind. To receive assistance, households would have to meet several conditions: Household income (for 2020) cannot exceed more than 80 percent of the area median income; at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or housing instability; and individuals must qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced financial hardship — directly or indirectly — because of the pandemic. The agreement said assistance would be prioritized for families with lower incomes and that have been unemployed for three months or more.
Why Ms. Vrablic is leaving isn’t clear. But her departure and that of a colleague, Dominic Scalzi, came as Deutsche Bank has scrutinized a $1.5 million Park Avenue apartment purchase by the two and another employee. The seller was a company linked at the time to Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law.
The timing is tough for Mr. Trump:
His ties to the lender — which was willing to work with him even while most others would not — are the subject of congressional, civil and criminal investigations that could intensify once he leaves the White House.
Why the Cubs’ owners are running a SPAC
Special purpose acquisition vehicles are the hottest thing in M.&A. right now, drawing in a host of unusual players. (Paul Ryan, anyone?) One of the newest is Marquee Raine Acquisition Corp., a partnership between the merchant bank Raine and Marquee Sports, a holding company run by the Chicago Cubs’ owners. Its top executives tell DealBook why their $373 million SPAC is different — and why they believe it will succeed.