Italian Soccer’s Old Stadiums, Empty Seats Seek Bailout

Italian soccer has fallen a long way from its heyday. Now, the chance to refurbish one of Europe’s top leagues to its former glory has attracted interest from a clutch of private equity firms who are betting on getting a bargain.

Private equity firms including Advent International and Bain Capital are considering bids for a stake in a league division that manages TV rights, Bloomberg News has reported. The Serie A league has hired Lazard as an adviser and bids are expected by July 25, people familiar with the talks said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. No final decisions have been made and a deal may not go ahead, they said.

Representatives for Serie A and Lazard declined to comment.

The winner has its work cut out. When Diego Maradona played for Napoli more than 30 years ago, the inspiration for Asif Kapadia’s 2019 film on the Argentinian player, San Paolo’s stadium was a centerpiece of Italian soccer. It was one of the venues for the FIFA World Cup in 1990. But in a 2018 radio interview, the president of Napoli called the team’s colossal stadium “a toilet.” It’s been partially refurbished since, but illustrates the league’s need for investment.

Shutdowns from the Covid-19 pandemic have strained the league further, potentially making it a bargain for a bidder. After a three-month lockdown and with the threat of stadiums sitting empty for the rest of this season and the start of next — depriving the sport of ticket sales, TV revenue and hospitality — some teams are financially stretched. And accumulated debt is rising. The figure for the league is about 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for the 2018-2019 season, according to analysis of 18 out of 20 clubs by KPMG.

Serie A ranked fourth out of the five biggest European leagues by revenue in Deloitte’s annual review of soccer finance. Its revenues for the 2018-2019 season were less than half of the wealthier British Premier League at just under 2.5 billion euros.

The key to turning the league around may be television rights, the fuel behind the Premier League’s financial performance. Payouts from the rights to broadcast matches remain relatively low and suffer from a lack of competition in Italy. Sky and streaming service DAZN carve out domestic rights to the live matches between themselves. England’s league made about 3.5 billion euros from broadcasting rights in the 2018-2019 season compared to 1.46 billion euros in Italy, according to Deloitte.

The chairman of AC Milan, Paolo Scaroni, said on Bloomberg TV that there were lots of markets where Italian soccer could do better, naming India and China as examples.

“Serie A is not receiving the amount of money we should be,” Scaroni said, and added that the offers from three private equity firms value the rights higher than what they’ve been getting for the last couple of years. “We are reviewing as a league all of our strategy because we need to improve the revenues coming from the Italian TV rights and international TV rights.”

Utilization of stadiums — which, with the exception of a few modernized ones such as Juventus and Udinese, remain unappealing to many fans — was also the lowest of the top five European teams, with just 61% of seats filled, according to the Deloitte report.

The stadiums, mostly owned by local councils, have had trouble finding funds and overcoming bureaucracy to modernize.

Genoa Cricket and Football Club, known as Genoa, is Serie A’s oldest soccer team, founded in 1893. After Italy’s lockdown, Genoa applied for a 7 million euro state-backed credit facility, according to people familiar with the matter. Like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s 6.3 billion euro credit-facility, Italy’s trade-credit insurer Sace SpA will guarantee most of the loan, the people said, asking not to be identified because the application isn’t public. Representatives for Genoa and Sace declined to comment.

There are plans to replace Milan’s San Siro stadium, one of the country’s most iconic, in about three years. AC Milan and Inter Milan soccer teams are in advanced talks with local municipality on the project that will require investments and a project financing of about 1.2 billion euros shared between two teams, according to a statement. The architectural projects are under review include the “Cathedral” by design firm Populous and “The Rings of Milan” by Sportium.

But Serie A still has potential. Juventus’s Cristiano Ronaldo is a celebrity. The Turin team’s player is the most followed person on Facebook, with more than 122 million followers, and has about 228 million Instagram fans, according to the social media platforms. Clubs like AC Milan, Inter Milan and Napoli are still powerful names in European soccer, and in recent years they have been joined by Bergamo-based Atalanta, which is in the European Champions League quarter-final this season.

Andrea Sartori, KPMG’s global head of sports, said the Italian league has the most upside potential of all the big leagues in Europe. “As far as the clubs are concerned a few clubs have liquidity issues, so it is easy to see why selling a stake in the league might make sense for them,” he said.

For the first time, no Italian teams made it to the top 10 in KPMG’s ranking of European soccer clubs by valuation. Ronaldo’s Juventus came in at 11, followed by Inter Milan at 14, but both were overshadowed by six of England’s Premier League teams.

“As an investor you need to look to the future, not the past, and the future for Serie A looks positive,” said Joe Dagrosa, a U.S. investor who used to own French soccer team Girondins de Bordeaux and is looking for an investment in a Premier League club. “Italy has major players ready to buy into the leagues’ broadcasting rights revenues, and we think that bodes very well for the long-term potential for Italy.”

Private equity is no stranger to sports investments. CVC had a controlling stake in the Formula One auto racing competition for a decade until 2016, and it’s also bought into English rugby. Elliott Management Corp., the American activist investment firm, owns AC Milan.

Others are skeptical a deal with private equity is the panacea that Italian soccer really needs.

“I’m just wondering whether leagues will regret selling minority stakes now,” says Yannick Ramcke, a sports commentator at the blog. “If the situation gets worse, minority holding PEs could have a path to gaining a majority – which would make sense since I don’t see much upside for PEs at the moment.”

— With assistance by Jan-Henrik Foerster

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I left my heart in the Luton airport branch of Bella Italia …

The Covid-19 era has been a sensitive time for the high street. To a roll of honour that includes TM Lewin, Monsoon Accessorize, Le Pain Quotidien, Warehouse, Victoria’s Secret, Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley, we must now add Café Rouge and Bella Italia, which went into administration last week. These brands won’t all vanish entirely. Some have been bought out of administration with the hope of saving the profitable parts, but many will be slips of their former selves – an alarming thought in the case of Victoria’s Secret.

Some of these businesses were already at risk, thanks to a combination of rates and rents, Brexit, Deliveroo and Amazon. There’s no shame in going out to coronavirus, and you might argue it’s better for some of them in the long run.

At this point it’s easier to try to work out which will be the last high street businesses standing. My money is on Greggs, Timpson, and Games Workshop, which is now worth more than British Gas. Unless you’re selling key items such as sausage rolls, keys or plastic elves, the retail reaper is on his way.

My daughter was born just before lockdown, and while I wouldn’t say I was necessarily looking forward to taking her to Café Rouge, I had hoped we might be able to walk past and peer in, in the same way I plan to point out interesting graves.

“When I was your age this was the height of sophistication,” I would say, gazing in at the peeling rattan furniture. “Café is French for ‘cafe’, and rouge is French for ‘red’, so this meant ‘red cafe’. You could get a baguette with warm lettuce and chargrilled chicken slivers for just £12.45. Frites were extra. Frites is French for chips.”

Now I wonder whether the high street will seem like a relic of a past era, a mysterious place where fathers could still pop out on Christmas Eve to buy a foot spa.

“Dada, what’s a TM Lewin?” my daughter will ask, looking up wide-eyed from her history book. “Well,” I’ll say, “it was a shop where you’d go to get four superficially presentable office shirts for £100.”

“What’s an office?”

“It’s where you’d go to do your job. It was also the name of a shoe shop.”

“What’s a job?”

“Well, before King Mike Ashley granted Mummy and Daddy this strip of land to toil, we would go to a little room and sit at a computer while we waited for the pub to open.”

“What’s a pub?”

“Oh yes, sorry. Pub is the old word for Wetherspoons.”

It’s easy to mock the high street brands, but they became chains for a reason. Once upon a time, they offered something exciting. I loved Byron when it opened. Notting Hill types can be snooty about Monsoon, but in market towns around Britain it’s a byword for exotic chic. These chains also set a base level of quality. Bella Italia is no Padella, but the point is that with a Bella Italia around, every new pasta restaurant must be at least as good.

Restaurant closures tend to sting more because they are the setting for meaningful events. I’ve never been dumped in Oak Furnitureland, and now I never will be. It’s telling that the moment Prince Andrew lost the British public was when he brought up Pizza Express. You can abuse your position as a prince of the realm, conduct nefarious relationships and be a laughably ineffectual trade negotiator, but woe betide the minor royal who drags La Reine through the mud. As an alibi, Woking was compelling because it was relatable. We could all imagine Pizza Express in Woking, even if we’d never been. It was also oddly plausible. No self-respecting royal would be seen in a KFC or Nando’s, but Pizza Express? Perhaps he was one of us after all. (He was not.)

Like everything else in this rainy, class-obsessed isle, high-street shops and restaurants are as much about belonging as commerce, which is why we take them so seriously. The most memorable fact in the Salisbury poisonings was the fateful trip to Zizzi; a sign that this crime had truly penetrated to the heart of middle England.

Few things provoke national terror like the suggestion that John Lewis or M&S might be in trouble. Woolworths was practically given a state funeral. We feel the loss of these places, even if we hadn’t been for years. Cut us and we all bleed Rouge.

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Iconic 747 jumbo jet nears the end as Boeing placed final part orders

  • Boeing Co and suppliers set the final number of parts it would need for the 747 jumbo jet program at least a year ago.
  • This signals the end for a plane that democratized global air travel in the 1970s but fell behind modern twin-engine aircraft.
  • Boeing declined to confirm that it was pulling the plug on the 747 program, first reported by Bloomberg News on Thursday.

Boeing and suppliers set the final number of parts it would need for the 747 jumbo jet program at least a year ago, signaling the end for a plane that democratized global air travel in the 1970s but fell behind modern twin-engine aircraft, industry sources told Reuters on Friday.

Boeing's "Queen of the Skies", the world's most easily recognized jetliner with its humped fuselage and four engines, marked its 50-year flying anniversary in February 2019, clinging to life thanks to a cargo market boom fueled by online shopping.

But the end for the program has been hanging in the air for years amid falling orders and pricing pressure. The coronavirus pandemic has also crushed passenger travel and demand for new jets.

The last order for a passenger version came in 2017, when the U.S. government asked Boeing to repurpose two 747-8 jetliners for use as Air Force One by the U.S. president.

Boeing declined to confirm that it was pulling the plug on the 747 program, first reported by Bloomberg News on Thursday.

"At a build rate of 0.5 airplanes per month, the 747-8 program has more than two years of production ahead of it in order to fulfill our current customer commitments," a Boeing spokesman said.

"We will continue to make the right decisions to keep the production line healthy and meet customer needs," he added.

The end of the 747 would follow Airbus SE's phasing out of its A380 jumbo jet. In June, the last convoy of outsize parts for the world's largest airliner crawled towards an assembly plant in southwest France.

The death of the 747 program could also mean charges and layoffs for halting production at the mammoth wide-body plant outside Seattle. It could also have financial implications on newer programs such as the 787 Dreamliner and the latest model of 777, which would have to bear a larger share of the plant's huge overhead if the 747 line went dark.

One supplier source said he was not sure when Boeing made a formal decision to end the program but said the final number of ship sets – as complete sets of parts are known – was agreed to with the supply base at least a year ago.

Boeing has also removed language from financial filings that said it would continue to "evaluate the viability" of the 747 program, which one industry source said was a tell-tale sign of its plans.

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Florida reports more than 11,000 new coronavirus cases, breaking another daily record as Miami imposes curfew

  • Florida on Saturday reported at least 11,445 new coronavirus cases, the state's largest number of daily cases so far, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health.
  • The U.S. reported more than 52,000 new cases as the coronavirus spikes across the American South and West. 
  • Even as Florida reports record case numbers, Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he won't close businesses again and has repeatedly refused to order a statewide mask mandate to curb the spread of the virus.

Florida on Saturday reported at least 11,445 new coronavirus cases, the state's largest number of daily cases so far, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health. 

The virus has infected more than 190,000 people in the state and at least 3,700 people have died. New cases in Florida have increased by 67% based on a seven-day average.

Florida reported Saturday that 14.1% of those tested for the virus were positive, well above the 5% threshold that the World Health Organization advises as a safe level for governments to reopen business. Those testing positive in Florida tend to be younger, with a median age of 35 as of Saturday. 

Though deaths from the virus in Florida have remained on a downward trajectory, Surgeon General  Dr. Jerome Adams has warned that fatalities lag new cases and a clearer picture might not emerge for two weeks or more. 

Even as Florida reports record case numbers, Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he won't close businesses again and has repeatedly refused to order a statewide mask mandate to curb the spread of the virus, though the governor has indicated that Florida won't move forward with its reopening plan for now. 

Florida comprises roughly 20% of new cases in the U.S, which are spiking across the American South and West. The nation has reported more than 52,000 new cases as of Friday, the third day in a row the number has exceeded 50,000. White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned this week that new cases could top more than 100,000 a day. 

Local governments in Florida are taking more aggressive measures. Miami-Dade and Broward Counties announced they were closing beaches for the July 4th holiday weekend. Miami-Dade, Florida's most populous county, has also imposed an overnight curfew from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. until further notice and will close some businesses that reopened in June. 

"This curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly," Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement. 

Miami-Dade and Broward have also have announced orders requiring people to wear face masks in public.

Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Tampa on Thursday, praised Florida's governor for his "innovative" response to the pandemic and said that Florida is in a "much better place" to fight the current outbreak. Pence postponed campaign events in Florida due to the increase in positive cases there. The Trump administration has dismissed calls for the federal government to mandate the wearing of masks nationwide.  

The Republican National Convention is still scheduled in Jacksonville, Florida at the end of August, though Jacksonville fundraisers have found that donor money is on hold due to worries about the surge in coronavirus cases.

 Infectious disease specialist Aileen Marty warned Friday that Florida was "heading a million miles an hour in the wrong direction" in dealing with the pandemic and said residents are not following public health guidelines to slow the spread. 

"It's absolutely the saddest thing, the most unnecessary situation that we're finding ourselves in," Marty said in an interview with "CBS This Morning." "And it's behaviorally driven."

The U.S. has reported more than 2.7 million infections since the pandemic hit the nation and at least 129,509 deaths. 

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THE 2020 PAYMENTS ECOSYSTEM: The trends driving growth and shaping the future of the payments processing industry explained

  • This is a preview of the Business Insider Intelligence Payments Ecosystem premium research report. Purchase this report here.
  • Business Insider Intelligence offers even more e-commerce and payments coverage with our Payments & Commerce Briefing. Subscribe today to receive industry-changing retail news and analysis to your inbox.

The Payment Processing Industry Overview

The power dynamics in the payments industry are changing as businesses and consumers shift dollars from cash and checks to digital payment methods. Cards dominate the in-store retail channel, but mobile wallets like Apple Pay are seeing a rapid uptick in usage.

At the same time, e-commerce will chip away at brick-and-mortar retail as smartphones attract a rising share of digital shopping. Digital peer-to-peer (P2P) apps are supplanting cash in the day-to-day lives of users across generations as they become more appealing and useful than ever.

And change is trickling down into bigger industries long-dominated by cash and check, like remittances and business-to-business payments.

In response, providers are scrambling for market share. Skyrocketing consolidation that creates mega-giants is forcing providers to diversify in search of new volume.

Future of Payments

New entrants, especially from big tech, are threatening the leads of giants. And as payments become increasingly effortless, new types of fraud are threatening data security and privacy.

While demand for richer payments offerings is creating opportunities across the space, it's also leaving the industry in search of ways to adapt to change that is putting trillions in volume and billions in revenue up for grabs.

The Payments Industry Explained

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines the payments ecosystem today, its growth drivers, and where the industry is headed. It begins by tracing the path of an in-store card payment from processing to settlement across the key stakeholders. That process is central to understanding payments, and has changed slowly in the face of disruption.

The report also forecasts growth and defines drivers for key digital payment types through 2024. Finally, it highlights three trends that are changing payments, looking at how disparate factors, such as new market entrants and surging fraud, are sparking change across the ecosystem.

The companies mentioned in this report are: ACI Worldwide, Adyen, Amazon, American Express, Apple, Bank of America, Braintree, Bento for Business, Capital One, Citi, Diebold Nixdorf, Discover, Earthport, Elavon, EVO, Facebook, First Data, Fiserv, FIS, Global Payments, Goldman Sachs, Google, Green Dot, Honda, Ingenico, Intuit, JPMorgan Chase, Kabbage, Macy's, Mastercard, MICROS, MoneyGram, NatWest, NICE, NCR, Oracle, Paymentus, PayPal, Rambus, Remitly, Ria, Samsung, SiriusXM, SF Systems, Square, Stripe, Synchrony Financial, The Clearing House, Target, Tipalti, Toast, Transfast, TSYS, Venmo, Verifone, Vocalink, Visa, Walmart, Wells Fargo, WePay, Western Union, Xoom, Zelle

Payment Industry Trends

Here are some of the key takeaways from this report:

  • In-store payment methods are still on the rise in the US, comprising 89% of retail volume this year. Credit and debit cards continue to lead the segment, as cash and check usage slowly ticks downward. But surging contactless penetration is set to bring mobile in-store payments to prominence for the first time in the years ahead.
  • Surging e-commerce will eat away at in-store payments' share of overall retail. PCs will continue to lead the way, but smartphones will inch closer to being the top channel for purchasing, in turn driving growth. At the same time, new payment tools, like voice assistants, wearables, and even cars will begin to give consumers even easier ways to pay.
  • The digitization of payments isn't just contained to retail, though, with mobile P2P payments, digital remittances, and digital business payments continuing to blossom as change spreads through the ecosystem.


In full, the report:

  • Traces the path of an in-store card payment from processing to settlement across key stakeholders.
  • Discusses emerging alternatives to card payments.
  • Examines the shifting role of key categories of providers as the ecosystem digitizes and matures.
  • Forecasts growth in key categories, including in-store payments, e-commerce, mobile P2P payments, remittances, and B2B payments.
  • Identifies three trends set to shape payments in 2020 and evaluates what changes the ecosystem is set to undergo.

Interested in getting the full report? Here's how to get access:

  1. Business Insider Intelligence analyzes the payments and commerce industry and provides in-depth analyst reports, proprietary forecasts, customizable charts, and more. >> Check if your company has BII Enterprise membership access to the full report
  2. Sign up for the Payments & Commerce Briefing, Business Insider Intelligence's expert email newsletter keeping you up-to-date on the people, technologies, trends, and companies shaping the future of consumerism, delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started
  3. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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Alan Dershowitz wrote a Spectator column about Ghislaine Maxwell in which he says 'everyone should keep an open mind'

  • In a column for The Spectator US edition, Alan Dershowitz poured scorn on the evidence of two women featured in the hit Netflix documentary about disgraced financier, Jeffrey Epstein, "Filthy Rich."
  • Maxwell, a British heiress and longtime girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested by the FBI.
  • The grand jury indictment accuses Maxwell of grooming young girls, engaging in sexual acts with them, and lying about her involvement with Epstein in sworn statements.
  • Epstein, a registered sex offender, died by suicide in jail last August while facing charges related to the exploitation of dozens of young girls.
  • Dershowitz argued that there are several defense strategies available to Maxwell.  "Stay tuned. The case against Ghislaine Maxwell is far from over," he wrote.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The celebrity attorney and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of aiding his sex crimes, has the right to be presumed innocent.

Writing in a column for The Spectator US edition, the renowned lawyer, who has previously represented Epstein, said: "Many in the public however, will presume her guilty because of the portrayal of her in the Netflix series about Jeffrey Epstein."

But no one should believe anything they saw in that series, because it was based largely on the accounts of two women with histories of making dubious accusations," he said.

The other woman he lists is Sarah Ransome, who said she tried to escape from Epstein's private island and that Epstein "was literally sexually abusing us all day long."

Dershowitz said that Ransome claimed to the New York Post in 2016 that she had sex tapes of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump while calling them "pedophiles" and that Hillary Clinton ordered the CIA to kill her and to destroy her tape. He claimed that she later admitted to making up the story.

 New Yorker reporter Connie Bruck claimed in a July 2019 article that Ransome told her she had "invented the tapes to draw attention to Epstein's behavior, and to make him believe that she had 'evidence that would come out if he harmed me.'"

Dershowitz wrote: "So everyone should keep an open mind about Maxwell as they should about others who have been accused by Epstein's alleged victims."

Dershowitz was part of Epststein's legal team in 2008, when Epstein pled guilty after he was accused of sexually abusing underage girls.

The plea deal struck resulted in Epstein spending just 13 months in a county jail. But he was again arrested in July 2019 on the sex trafficking charges.

The Netflix documentary referenced by Dershowitz was released in May 2020, long after the charges were brought against Epstein, and after Epstein's death.

Epstein killed himself in jail in August 2019.

Business Insider reached out to Netflix for comment but did not immediately receive a response on Saturday.

Maxwell was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday, who had been tracking her as part of Epstein's case. She was arrested on charges, including enticing minors to travel to engage in sexual acts and the transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual acts.

After Epstein's death, Maxwell's arrest could mean that new details about the case emerge, and that high-profile figures, like Prince Andrew, who have been accused as part of it, come under a new spotlight.

Dershowitz said that Maxwell's lawyers could defend her using factual arguments, could be covered by Epstein's 2008 plea deal, and could argue that "the Statute of Limitations have expired on these 20-plus year allegations."

They may also argue that Maxwell is protected by Epstein's original plea deal that expressly included Maxwell as someone who received immunity," he said.

"So stay tuned. The case against Ghislaine Maxwell is far from over."

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NYC diner's drive-in becomes hot ticket during coronavirus

New York (CNN Business)The pandemic has boosted demand for several products. Sales of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and canned goods all grew dramatically in the early days of the crisis.

Another pandemic best-seller? Ketchup packets. And salt packets. And even single-serve pizza seasoning.
When restaurants shut their dining room doors this spring in accordance with stay-at-home orders designed to help curb the spread of Covid-19, they quickly pivoted to delivery and pickup orders that often come with single-serve condiments. Now, as they start to reopen their doors, many are being instructed to limit the use of shared condiments and spices. The two shifts mean that demand for individually-sized packages are way up, according to industry experts and sellers of those items.

    Both packets and portion cups used to dole out condiments to individual customers “are seeing rapid gains so far in 2020,” said Jennifer Mapes-Christ, consumer and commercial group leader for the Freedonia Group, a market research firm.

    Demand for single-use condiments is up.
    It’s a trend that could have negative implications for the environment, warned Kate O’Neill, a professor in the department of environmental science, policy and management at UC Berkeley.

    Paper salt and pepper packets aren’t that bad, she told CNN Business. If they’re only made of paper, consumers could empty them out and recycle them.
    But the messier condiment packets, like single-serve ketchup and mustard, are basically impossible to recycle, she explained, because they are contaminated by food. If contaminated products are recycled along with clean ones, they can ruin the whole batch. And because these packets are flimsy and often made with mixed materials, like foil and plastic, recycling facilities won’t find them valuable even when cleaned.
    “It adds in to the huge volume of single-use disposable plastics that we’re seeing in general,” she said. Trash collectors have been overwhelmed by household waste in areas where stay-at-home orders were put in place.
    “These packets will show up in the waste stream,” O’Neill said.

    ‘Tremendous growth’

    US Foods (USFD), a food service distributor that works with about 300,000 restaurants and food service operators, has been “seeing tremendous growth” in single-serve salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard and hot sauce, said Jim Osborne, the company’s senior vice president of customer strategy and innovation.
    Since some restaurants started reopening in May, sales of single-serve condiments have increased up to 40% compared to last year, he said. The highest increases have been in condiments that restaurants would normally put on table tops. Osborne noted that US Foods sells biodegradable and compostable cups and lids, which the company recommends to businesses that want more sustainable options.
    The CDC has issued some reopening “considerations” for bars and restaurants, which include avoiding the use of shared condiments in dining rooms and switching to single-serve condiment packets.
    Beyond hygiene implications, the switch could make customers more comfortable. Tanya Spaulding, principal at Shea Inc., a full-service restaurant design firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, recently told CNN Business that to entice customers, restaurants should clear their tables of anything that could be seen as unhygienic.
    Restaurant menus are getting smaller. Here's what some big chains are dropping
    “People don’t want to pick up something and use something that someone else may have,” she said.
    Some restaurants needed more spice packets when they started selling more off-premise meals, which also contributed to the spike in demand.
    Dan Scott, head of operations for, an online food service provider that sells to restaurants, offices, ghost kitchens, schools and other places that sell food, started seeing orders spike in mid-March, when some states instructed restaurants to close their doors.
    Since mid-March, there’s “been a massive demand … for individually packaged items of absolutely everything,” he said. In the first half of the year, sales of single-serve condiments like mayo, ketchup and salad dressings grew by 300% compared to the same time last year, he noted.
    Pizza Spice Packet, which sells individual packets of garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, red pepper and other pizza spices, has also seen a spike in demand.
    “We’ve seen an incredible, significant increase in [business to business] sales due to the unprecedented demand in the single-serve condiment packets,” said David New, the company’s CEO. “We’re just trying to keep up with demand,” he added. “It’s been a really crazy time for us.”
    He said the packets, which are not recyclable, are less wasteful than individual plastic cups for sauces and the company is working on a biodegradable version of its product.
    The uptick could continue into the future.
    McCormick & Company is planning to increase the amount of single-serve spices it makes in order to accommodate new restaurant guidelines.

      “As many places will be moving away from tabletop condiments, we are pivoting to portion-controlled packaging for dining and carryout,” said CEO Lawrence Kurzius during a recent analyst call discussing the company’s second-quarter financial results. “We’re also exploring other options to expand our portion-controlled offering further.” McCormick’s single-serve dip cups are recyclable, and its single-serve sachets will be fully recyclable by 2025, a company representative told CNN Business in an email.
      “If there is a significant presence of virus in the US, single-serve packaging for condiments should pick up materially in the coming months,” predicted David Driscoll, an analyst covering packaged food at DD Research.
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      Spain locks down a region of 200,000 people indefinitely after it experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases

      • The Catalonian government in Spain announced on Saturday an indefinite period of lockdown for the Segrià region of the country, which is home to more than 200,000 people.
      • Gatherings are restricted to no more than 10 people and travel in and out of the city is prohibited, with exceptions for workers in the city.
      • There were at least 72,860 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12,586 deaths in the region, according to the government's news agency.
      • Spain has faced one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks among European countries with 250,545 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 28,385 deaths, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University.
      • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

      The Catalonian government on Saturday announced that the Segrià region of Spain, which is home to more than 200,000 people, will enter an indefinite period of lockdown after a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

      "We take a step back to protect ourselves and we will take all the decisions to stop the contagion," Catalonia President Quim Torra said, according to The Independent.

      Police checkpoints will be used to enforce the lockdown order, according to the BBC. Catalonian leaders ruled out the idea of "selective confinement," opting instead for the entire lockdown order, according to The Independent.

      On Friday, a field hospital was set up outside the Lleida's Arnau de Vilanova hospital in the region's capital city of Lleida, the BBC reported. It has the capacity to treat up to 105 additional patients if needed.

      According to the report, there are 21 reported people being treated in local hospitals with six requiring intensive care treatment.

      Beginning Saturday, gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited in both private and public settings, according to the report. Only people who work in the area will be allowed to enter or leave the region. 

      There were at least 72,860 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12,586 deaths tied to or expected to have resulted from the virus in the region, according to numbers released Friday by the government-owned Catalan News agency.

      As a whole, Spain has been one of the hardest-hit European countries by the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University, the country has recorded 250,545 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 28,385 deaths caused by the COVID-19.

      According to a Reuters tally, the number of COVID-19 cases globally surpassed 11 million on Friday. About a quarter of all deaths from the virus have occurred in the United States, which on Thursday reported more than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 — an all-time high of the pandemic.

      Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.

      Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

      Source: Read Full Article


      This map shows how much a backyard barbecue costs in every US state

      Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many Americans will still celebrate the Fourth of July with small, outdoor soirees in place of the big blowouts of the past — and residents of some states will pay a slightly higher margin for their supplies. 

      That's according to new data from deal site Simple Thrifty Living, which compared prices for cheeseburgers, hot dogs, drinks, sides and paper goods in each state to see how the cost of a backyard barbecue varies across the U.S. The site used data from local Walmart stores and based all quantities on a gathering of 10 people. (These numbers are for illustrative purposes. The size of any actual gathering should be based on local laws and restrictions, per the CDC.)

      Here are the exact items included in the analysis: 

      • Cheeseburgers: 85% lean/15% fat ground beef, hamburger buns, Kraft Singles cheese slices, Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, Hellmann's mayonnaise, sweet onion, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, Vlasic dill pickles
      • Hot dogs: Ball Park beef hot dogs, hot dog buns
      • Beverages: Bud Light beer, White Claw seltzer, cans of Coca-Cola
      • Sides: Watermelon, corn on the cob, Bush's baked beans, Popsicles
      • Paper goods: Paper plates, napkins, plastic cutlery

      The most expensive barbecues will take place in Alaska, where it costs an average of $137.74 to cover all of the supplies. Hawaii, Wyoming, Tennessee and South Dakota also landed in the top five most expensive states. "Substantially higher meat, produce, fruit and beer prices were the culprits for a higher overall bill in these states," Simple Thrifty Living reports. 

      South Carolina was the only state to come in under $100, with a 10-person barbecue costing an average of just $99.03.

      How does your state stack up? Check out the map and full list below.

      Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwards


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $109.38


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $137.74


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $103.18


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.67


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.58


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $107.02


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $104.64


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $105.09


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.12


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $104.52


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $131.46


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $104.64


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $100.19


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $104.27


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $104.35


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $103.69


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.04


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $108.13


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $108.50


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $105.42


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $105.83


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $102.29


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $109.41


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.27


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $107.01


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $109.48


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $108.49


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $107.79

      New Hampshire

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $103.58

      New Jersey

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.44

      New Mexico

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.48

      New York

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $103

      North Carolina

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $104.22

      North Dakota

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $109.96


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $107.09


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $108.11


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $108.83


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.61

      Rhode Island

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $103.44

      South Carolina

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $99.03

      South Dakota

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $110.48


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $112.51


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $107.83


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $102.28


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $110.42


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $102.87


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $107.98

      West Virginia

      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $105.24


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $106.38


      Average cost of a 10-person backyard barbecue: $115.46

      Check out: The best credit cards of 2020 could earn you over $1,000 in 5 years

      Don't miss: Barbara Corcoran reacts to a 24-year-old who earns $120,000 and owns 3 rental properties

      Source: Read Full Article


      Wall Street Insider: The Mooch's leaked memo to Merrill — Boutique bank exits — Hackers target PE


      Welcome to Wall Street Insider, where we take you behind the scenes of the finance team's biggest scoops and deep dives from the past week. 

      If you aren't yet a subscriber to Wall Street Insider, you can sign up here.

      Dealmaking activity has fallen off a cliff this year, as executives focus on steering their existing businesses through the havoc caused by the coronavirus crisis instead of seeking out new deals. Data from Refinitiv released this week showed that the drop in activity was more pronounced for bigger M&A transactions, with the overall value of deals worth more than $5 billion down 53% year-on-year.

      As Alex Morrell reports, the fading memories of the megadeals of the last few years are hitting boutique banks. Independent investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners was ramping up its footprint after an explosive start in 2016, landing one of the largest mergers in history — AT&T's $100 billion deal for Time Warner. 

      But since then, deals have been scarce for Perella's media and telecom team, and the group has been gutted by departures in 2020. Alex dives into how experienced media and telecom bankers have been laid off, quietly asked to leave, or departed for other firms.

      Read the full story here: 

      After flashy hires and a big buildout, Perella Weinberg's media and telecom team has been gutted. We tracked the exodus — and what it says about the landscape for blockbuster M&A deals.

      Over in the world of real estate, big office deals are stalling as banks grow cautious about extending debt over concerns about the future of the workplace. Dan Geiger reports on how this is especially perilous for real estate investors who have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to enter into contracts for buildings like the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco. 

      Despite the uncertainty of when or how people will occupy spaces like they did in the pre-pandemic era, there are real estate players looking far into the future. As Dan reports, a Las Vegas landlord, which owns some of the strip's biggest casino resorts like Caesars Palace, is plotting the city's next mega-project. Recruiting for executives to lead new projects is also picking up, reports Alex Nicoll, who spoke to four recruiters on the roles they're looking to fill.

      Keep reading for a look at how private equity and hedge fund firms are ramping up their efforts in impact investing; some due diligence drama between Anthony Scaramucci and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; and the story behind a JPMorgan trading team's hot streak. 

      Have a great holiday weekend, 

      Michelle Abrego

      (Meredith is on vacation and will be back next week.)

      PE goes ESG

      The coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing reckoning of racial justice and equity in the workplace have put ESG investing at the forefront of the conversations in the asset management business.

      As Casey Sullivan and Bradley Saacks report, some private-equity firms and activist hedge funds are committing resources and capital to ESG and impact investing.

      Read the full story here: 

      Big investors like Apollo and Carlyle are clamoring for a piece of the $30 trillion ESG space. We spoke to 15 insiders about how they're ramping up hires, raising money, and striking data-driven deals.

      The Mooch vs. Merrill 

      SkyBridge founder Anthony Scaramucci sent a 6-page, strongly-worded memo to Andy Sieg, the president of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, on Thursday after the company downgraded its flagship fund, Meghan Morris reveals. 

      In a leaked memo seen by Business Insider, Scaramucci said Merrill Lynch published an inaccurate due diligence report. He called the firms' relationship "yet another casualty of the pandemic," writing that the report "reflects a breakdown in communication" between the firms – one he didn't think would happen if executives had met in person.

      Read the full story here:

      LEAKED MEMO: Anthony Scaramucci mourns his relationship with $2.2 trillion Merrill Lynch after it downgraded SkyBridge's main fund

      Victorious volatility trades

      Markets have produced bizarre and historic results in the first half of 2020, creating stark swings and diverging fortunes for traders.

      As Alex Morrell reports, that's especially true in the world of equity derivatives and the traders that bet on volatility, where some investment funds have flamed out spectacularly while many Wall Street banks have minted hundreds of millions in revenues.

      Read the full story here: 

      JPMorgan volatility traders raked in $700 million through June — 3 times what they brought in for all of 2019. Here's how they outpaced Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley on the hottest trade of the year.

      Hackers are targeting private equity firms 

      Cyberattacks have been on the rise in 2020 due to the pandemic, with financial services targeted the most.

      Private equity, in particular, has been viewed as a viable new opportunity for cybercriminals as they have deep pockets and wire large sums of money, reports Dan DeFrancesco. While bigger PE firms have the resources to dedicate to cybersecurity, the process at small to mid-size shops remains a work in progress.

      Read the full story here:

      Cyberattacks against financial firms are up 238%. Experts explain why deep-pocketed private equity firms are most at risk.

      The future of fintech is infrastructure  

      As Shannen Balogh reports, fintechs are looking for ways to reimagine and disrupt core banking services that have been long dominated by infrastructure giants like FIS and Fiserv.

      "They are all, as it currently stands, very good businesses with large customer bases who trust them, but the fact of the matter is they've fallen behind on technology," Tripp Shriner, partner at Point72 Ventures told Shannen.

      Shriner isn't alone in his prediction. Goldman's investment banking head of fintech also says that the next trend to watch in fintech is players that focus on banks' core, often dated, infrastructure. 

      Read more:

      Business Insider events

      One-click checkout startup Fast raised its $20 million Series A from investors including Index Ventures and buzzy fintech Stripe in May as it looks to take on Apple Pay to solve pain-points around password management and online checkout.

      Join Business Insider reporter Shannen Balogh on Tuesday, July 14 at 1:30 p.m ET when she will speak with Domm Holland, Fast's co-founder and CEO, and Jan Hammer, general partner at Index Venture. They'll discuss how Holland came up with the idea for Fast, how to build a pitch deck, and what it takes to win over investors.

      If you're a Business Insider subscriber, you can sign up here.

      You can also join Business Insider on July 8 at 12 p.m. ET for "Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times," a free digital event and part of the Master Your Money series. Presented by Fidelity, it will explore components of a strong financial plan and how to adjust it given recent events. 

      Click here to register for the Master your Money event.

      Real estate

      • Vacancy rates are soaring above 15% in Washington DC's normally recession-proof office market. Here's why some industry players are still optimistic.
      • Meet Material Bank, a Bain-backed logistics startup disrupting the architecture industry. Here's a look at its vision for becoming the Amazon of design.


      • How a Bank of America exec is partnering with a non-profit training program to tap into a diverse and underserved talent pool for Wall Street tech jobs

      Wealth management & fintech

      • Morgan Stanley financial advisers are starting to head back to offices around the country. Here's what they can expect when they return.
      • An app helping families save for college used this pitch deck to raise $9 million from investors like Anthos Capital and NBA all-star Baron Davis

      Going public

      • A 179-year-old data shop just raised $1.7 billion in an IPO. Dun & Bradstreet's president walked us through its quick return to public markets and why the company's in high demand.


      Read the latest banking news and featured articles:
      – Banking Industry Trends
      – Future of Banking Technology
      – Mobile Banking Market
      – Banking as a Service Explained
      – Digital Banking
      – Open Banking & Bank APIs
      – Alternative Lending & Nonbanks
      – US Neobank Market

      Exclusive FREE Slide Deck: 10 Up and Coming Fintechs by Insider Intelligence

      Source: Read Full Article