Inspiring, uninspriring, and down right messed up financial news of the day. RAT date 04/17/2024

RAT Money
Rat Money

The media on this page is taken largely from a financial newsletter now published by Sherwood Media. They enfolded the company Robinhood, which is an online stock trading company and financial company. Its CEO has done some really wild things in the stock trading game, and is one of the most impressive people known.

Around a year ago, he led the stampeded of investors at Robinhood in the GameStop market takeover, which made them billions, and cost many billionares and large hedgefunds billions, and made them the laughing stock of Wall Street. He named his copmpany well.

However, I am referring to Robinhood’s previous CEO. Now it is Bulgarian born Vladamir Tevin, 36 years old.

Robinhood Financial

The Justice Department is set to sue Live Nation after Ticketmaster’s bad blood

Not rooting for the antihero… Taylor Swift fans have beef with Ticketmaster owner Live Nation, and the US government does too. The Justice Department is reportedly getting ready to slap America’s largest concert promoter with an antitrust lawsuit as soon as next month. While the deets of the suit are unknown, lawmakers and regulators have accused Live Nation of outrageous ticket prices, iffy customer service, and anticompetitive practices. Live Nation snatched up Ticketmaster in 2010, and critics of the merger say it should be undone.

Live domination? Ticketmaster controls over 80% of the market for primary ticket sales in America’s largest venues, and has exclusive deals with numerous arenas and stadiums.
Ticketmaster said it has “more competition today than it has ever had,” and denied allegations from lawmakers like AOC that it’s a monopoly.

From “Bad Blood” to Bad Bunny… Live Nation’s biz model has caught mainstream attention after high-profile issues with concert-ticket sales for stars including Swift and Bad Bunny. The DOJ launched an investigation into the concert colossus in 2022, and the probe heated up in November of that year when Ticketmaster crashed after millions of Swifties tried to snap up Eras Tour tickets. Presale tix were going for $50 to $500 on Ticketmaster, but resellers quickly began listing seats for as much as $21K+ on sites like StubHub.

Baddest bunny: Shortly after the Swift fiasco, fans who’d purchased tickets through Ticketmaster for a Bad Bunny concert in Mexico had their tix rejected as fakes because of glitchy scanning machines, leaving the sold-out stadium half-empty.


The spotlight isn’t always kind… Live Nation has been crushing it since pandemic restrictions were lifted and folks started splurging on revenge experiences like concerts. Its revenue surged 36% as ticket sales and attendance hit record levels. But the company’s role in concert flops led to scrutiny from lawmakers and consumers. Now, a DOJ suit could force a big reckoning.

Biden’s fund infusion to the IRS appears to be paying off this tax season

Filed in style… Tax Day was Monday, and the IRS is giving itself a lot of credit. The agency said it had reduced customer-service wait times to an average of three minutes — down from four minutes last year and 28 minutes in 2022. That’s despite receiving nearly 1M more calls this year and helping 88% of callers (in 2022 it answered just 15% of calls). What changed:

Billions: In 2022, the Biden admin approved $80B in fresh funding to modernize the IRS, an amount later reduced to $60B by budget-conscious GOP members.
Money talks: “This shows that when it has the resources it needs, it will provide taxpayers the service they deserve,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

Fresh discresh… After receiving its new allowance, the IRS hired 5K staff to help digitize its tax archives, ramped up audits, and said it collected $500M from delinquent millionaires. Still, The Wall Street Journal reported that over half of new audits last summer were directed at folks making less than $200K. The IRS also rolled out its Direct File program, which lets taxpayers with simple returns file directly online at no charge. It’s bad news for third-party tax-prep services like Intuit’s TurboTax and H&R Block. Direct File’s been introduced in 12 states so far, but the IRS said it met its goal of getting 100K people to use the service this year.

The IRS has lifestyle creep… The Internal Revenue Service has taken big steps toward modernizing with new funding, but the agency said it’ll need more budget to keep up the momentum and ramp up audits of Big Biz. It’s why the IRS is touting its achievements now to show legislators that you get what you pay for — in this case, more tax $$ to fund the government.

Sports betting is thriving — but it’s also putting pro players on the bench

Sports betting is more popular than ever. Last year, Americans bet $119B+ on sports, up 27.5% from 2022. Pro-sports leagues have benefited from lucrative ad deals with sportsbooks like DraftKings. One problem: players aren’t allowed to bet on their own sports, but some have done it anyway. In 2023 alone, 10 NFL players were suspended for sports betting — more than in all other years since 1963 combined.

What else we’re Snackin’

Compute: The AI chip market’s getting crowded: AMD debuted two powerful chips for “AI PCs,” which chipmakers like Nvidia and Intel have marketed as the next big thing (also: “AI phones”).
De-luxe: Louis Vuitton owner LVMH saw Q1 sales dip 2%, missing analysts’ estimates. While its Sephora chain had “remarkable growth,” shoppers splurged less on designer bags, jewelry, and high-end liquors.
Grounded: US consumers filed a suit to stop Alaska Airlines’ $1.9B purchase of Hawaiian Airlines, arguing that the combined jumbo carrier would lead to layoffs, higher ticket prices, and fewer flights.
Bluelight: Mark Zuckerberg isn’t liable for any part that FB and Insta may’ve played in kids’ social-media addictions, a judge ruled. Social-media cos are facing scrutiny amid a teen mental-health crisis.
Poke: UnitedHealth shares spiked after the healthcare giant topped earnings estimates, with medical costs dropping in Q1 from last year. It’s expecting up to a $1.6B loss from a cyberattack in February.

Last updated 04/17/2024

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