Bank of America Drops Merrill Lynch From Its Investment Banking Brand

Bank of America Corp. will drop Merrill Lynch from its investment-bank brand, while keeping the name Merrill for its wealth management unit.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender will refer to its investment bank as BofA Securities and drop the U.S. Trust name from its private bank, the company said Monday in a statement.

Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch, known for its “thundering herd” of brokers pitching stocks to Main Street, in the depths of the financial crisis. The firm took steps to dissolve the Merrill legal entity in 2013, but had kept the brand name across retail and institutional businesses.

Here are the key changes:

BofA Securities will be the name for the bank’s institutional broker-dealer businesses, including its global markets, investment banking and capital markets divisions Merrill will be the brand for the bank’s investing and wealth-management unit U.S. Trust will be renamed Bank of America Private BankThe moves are part of a campaign rolled out last year with an ad by Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan, who took the helm in 2010 after Kenneth Lewis stepped down. The bank posted a record net income of $28.1 billion in 2018, and is remaking its image as it moves on from crisis-era legacies, including the acquisitions of Merrill Lynch and subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns about 9.5 percent of the bank, said financial stocks are a good investment, specifically praising Bank of America’s chief in an interview with CNBC Monday.

“Brian Moynihan has done such a good job running that company since he took over — he was the most underestimated bank executive in the country,” Buffett said. “Everything he’s said he would do, he’s done it, and he’s beat it. He sets tougher targets for himself all the time and he’s been smart about repurchasing shares.”

Former Trump Campaign Staffer Accuses President of Sexual Assault

A former senior Trump campaign staffer Monday filed a lawsuit in federal court against the president, accusing him of sexual assault during his 2016 campaign.

Alva Johnson says Trump grabbed her hand and kissed her without her consent ahead of a campaign rally in Tampa. In an interview with the Washington Post, Johnson said, “I immediately felt violated because I wasn’t expecting it or wanting it. I can still see his lips coming straight for my face.”

The lawsuit alleges that President Trump forcibly kissed Johnson in a campaign RV “in front of numerous other campaign officials.” Johnson “felt reduced to just another object of defendant Trump’s unwanted sexual attention,” according to the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa.

Johnson is seeking unspecified damages for emotional pain and suffering, the Post reported.

Four people confirmed to the New Yorker that Johnson told them about the incident afterward, but two others Johnson says were present at the time of the assault said they did not see it.

At least 22 women have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct since the October 2016 release of a 2005 Access Hollywood tape where Trump is heard bragging about grabbing women’s genitals and kissing them without consent.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders denied the allegations in a statement to the Washington Post. “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” Sanders wrote.

Johnson also says she experienced racial discrimination while working for the president. “Not only did Ms. Johnson endure forcible kissing by her boss, she experienced race and gender discrimination as one of the few females and one of only a handful of African American people on the campaign payroll,” the lawsuit states.

Johnson initially consulted an attorney in 2016 after the Access Hollywood tape release because she recognized a similarity with what happened to her, according to the lawsuit.

Johnson’a attorney, Hassan A. Zavareei, in a news release, said she eventually decided to come forth. “When she saw what her work on the campaign had wrought–a president who mocks the #MeToo movement and undermines the dignity of the office with his sexist and racist behavior–she decided to seek justice.”

A Judge Ruled that the Male-Only Draft Violates the Constitution. Here’s What that Means for Women

No one has been conscripted into the U.S. military since the end of the Vietnam War. But that didn’t stop a judge from ruling that the male-only draft is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller ruled Friday that with the prohibition on women serving in combat lifted in 2015, their exclusion from the draft no longer makes sense. Yet the ruling will have limited effect.

The draft ended in 1973. In the years since, American men between the ages of 18 and 26 have nevertheless been required to register with the Selective Service System, which would allow the U.S. to act quickly should the draft be reinstated. Men who fail to register can be fined, imprisoned, or denied services such as federal student loans. Women face no such requirement.

Miller’s ruling stated that the male-only draft violates the equal protection provisions in the U.S. Constitution. It is largely a symbolic ruling though, as it was a declaratory judgment and not an injunction. The ruling did not include any order to change the requirements of the Selective Service, meaning that for the time being, women will still not have to register when they turn 18.

A more substantive ruling may come when the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service issues its report, a final version of which is expected in March 2020. The panel is in the process of considering a number of military staffing issues, including the draft system. The panel’s interim report released last month gave no indication as to how they are leaning.

Struggling Wisconsin Dairy Sector Could Shift Votes From Trump in 2020

Wisconsin is losing dairy farms at an unprecedented rate, with 700 closing just last year, or two daily–a dismal situation that could figure into the 2020 presidential election.

America’s Dairyland may have helped give President Donald Trump an edge in the 2016 election, but the state’s declining dairy sector could shift votes away from him, particularly since his tariff wars have hit the dairy industry hard.

A precipitous decline in milk sales and prices is at the root of dairy farm troubles. Milk prices are about to hit their lowest mark in the last 50 years, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Trump did extend federal help to Wisconsin farms in a $10 million bailout program.

However, the assistance isn’t nearly enough for farmers to stay afloat. A 55-cow farm, for instance, might receive a one-time payment of $725, while losing anywhere from $36,000 to $48,000.

The state has 8,000 dairy herds, a 40% decline in the last decade.

“We are looking at a short-term washout of 20% of Wisconsin dairy farm milk income on a monthly basis. That’s how dangerous this mess is,” Pete Hardin, who publishes a dairy industry magazine in Brooklyn, Wisconsin, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Smaller dairy farms are struggling the most, and economic hardship is contributing to a surge in depression, suicide, and suicidal thoughts among farmers, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Calls to the Wisconsin Farm Center, a service that helps distressed farmers, were up last year, including a 33% increase in November and December. “There’s a major increase in their stress level,” Angie Sullivan, supervisor of the farm center, and part of the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection told the Journal.

This Year’s List of the Most Overpaid CEOs in America Is Out

The disparity between executive salaries and those of the workforce has been an issue of increasing scrutiny for a while as the gap has continued to widen. Now, a nonprofit shareholder advocacy group has assembled a list of the CEOs it says are the most overpaid in America.

As You Sow has been issuing its report on overpaid CEOs since 2015. Topping this year’s list, says the group, is Ronald F. Clarke, who heads Fleetcor Technologies. Clarke earned $52,643,810 last year, compared to the median employee, who took home $34,700.

Only two companies–Oracle and Comcast–have appeared on the As You Sow list each of the five years it has compiled the list. Four companies–Discovery Communications, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Walt Disney, and Wynn Resorts–are making their second consecutive appearance this year.

The group notes that the number of S&P 500 companies, where shareholder opposition to the CEO pay package is on the rise, has increased since it began the list.

“In the five years As You Sow has been publishing this report, our research has increasingly demonstrated that all investors … can play a critical role in the effort to reverse the practices that have allowed CEO compensation packages to rise unabated — often without any nexus to corporate performance,” the group said. ” Progress is evident in this 2019 report. But there is a long way to go.”

It’s worth noting that a high executive salary does not necessarily mean the group ranks the CEO as overpaid. For instance, several of the top five executives who were named on the Conference’s Board’s list of 2017’s highest compensated did not make the As You Sow list.

Here’s a look at the list’s ranking of the 10 most overpaid CEOs in America:

  1. Ronald F. Clarke, Fleetcor Technologies Inc
    Salary: $52,643,810 (Median employee pay: $34,700)
  2. Mark V. Hurd/Safra Catz, Oracle Corp.
    Salary: $81,562,244 (Median employee pay: $89,887)
  3. Hock Tan, Broadcom, Inc.
    Salary: $103,211,163 (Median employee pay: NA)
  4. Dirk Van de Put, Mondelez International, Inc.
    Salary: $42,442,924 (Median employee pay: $42,893)
  5. Stephen Wynn, Wynn Resorts Ltd.
    Salary: $34,522,695 (Median employee pay: $44,437)
  6. Robert Iger, The Walt Disney Co.
    Salary: $36,283,680 (Median employee pay: $46,127)
  7. W. Nicholas Howley, TransDigm Group, Inc.
    Salary: $61,023,102 (Median employee pay: $46,742)
  8. Brian Duperreault, American International Group, Inc.
    Salary: $43,086,861 (Median employee pay: $64,186)
  9. Margaret H. Georgiadis, Mattel, Inc.
    Salary: $31,275,289 (Median employee pay: $6,271)
  10. E. Hunter Harrison, CSX Corp.
    Salary: $151,147,286 (Median employee pay: $98,697)

‘Appointed for Life, Not for Eternity.’ Dead Judge’s Vote Shouldn’t Have Counted, Supreme Court Rules

The U.S. Supreme Court said judges “are appointed for life, not for eternity,” in setting aside a pay-discrimination ruling written by a jurist who died a week and a half before the decision was issued.

The unsigned opinion said a federal appeals court was wrong to count the vote of the late Judge Stephen Reinhardt in a ruling that let a female math consultant sue a California school official.

In letting the case go forward, the 11-judge appellate panel ruled unanimously but splintered in its reasoning. Reinhardt’s opinion said employers can’t pay female workers less than their male counterparts just because the women earned lower wages in their previous jobs.

Five fellow judges joined Reinhardt’s opinion, making it the appeals court’s controlling reasoning by a single vote.

“The upshot is that Judge Reinhardt’s vote made a difference,” the Supreme Court wrote. The high court’s order was issued without published dissent.

The appeals court ruling, issued April 9, 2018, contained a footnote that said the judges voted and finished their opinions before Reinhardt died more than a week earlier, on March 29.

The lawsuit turned on the U.S. Equal Pay Act, which permits pay disparities if they are based on a “factor other than sex.”

Fresno County Schools Superintendent Jim Yovino says those words leave room for policies that link pay to prior salary. The county’s policy is to pay new employees 5 percent more than they received in their previous job, an approach Yovino says is gender-neutral.

The math consultant, Aileen Rizo, was hired in 2009 at a starting salary of $62,133. She says she learned in a lunchroom conversation three years later that her three male colleagues all started at salaries more than $10,000 higher even though they do the same job.

In his appeal, Yovino contended Reinhardt’s vote shouldn’t have been counted, though the school official acknowledged the result probably won’t change without the late judge.

The case is Yovino v. Rizo, 18-272.

Your Avocado Toast Is Getting More Expensive. Blame the Healthy Fats Trend

It’s not your imagination. Food you love with healthy fats are getting more expensive.

The Wall Street Journal reports the average price for avocados, butter, olive oil, and salmon have all increased as much as 60% since 2013. Meanwhile, the price of staples such as corn, soybeans, and wheat has remained more or less the same or dropped.

There are a number of factors at play.

Consumers across much of the world–not just in Western countries as has been in the past–are eating more food high in natural fats. It’s also not easy to ramp up food production to match growing demand.

Olives, for example, require adequate land and can only be grown under certain conditions. The WSJ also notes that recent droughts in California have posed an added challenge to growers. Almonds and avocados can also only be grown in particular areas and take several years to start producing fruit.

While butter consumption has increased–particularly consumption of European-style butter–manufacturers are reluctant to make enough to meet demand. The byproduct of butter is skim milk, which does not fetch high prices as, say, cheese or cream. Farmers are therefore producing less butter, leading to shortages of European-style butter and pushing prices up. The price of butter from New Zealand grew by 50% between 2012 and last year.

Environmental concerns are also at play in each of these industries, but it is perhaps most pronounced among salmon fisheries. The Norwegian and Scottish governments, for example, have limited the creation of new salmon farms due to farming difficulties and problems with sea lice, which can hurt the fish population.

Until the demand plateaus, don’t expect healthy fat food prices to drop any time soon.

Boston Market Frozen Meals Recalled After Plastic, Glass Found

Frozen dinners bearing the Boston Market name have been recalled by the manufacturer after learning they might be contaminated with either pieces of glass or hard plastic, and possibly both.

Bellisio Foods is recalling the Boston Market Home Style Meal with a BBQ boneless pork rib shaped patty and mashed potatoes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Saturday.

Consumers who have the frozen meals should look for the establishment number “EST. 18297” on the end carton flap of the package. They are stamped with the best by date of 12/07/2019 and lot code 8341 or a date of 01/04/2020 with lot code 9004. Also affected are meals with the best buy date of 01/24/2020 and lot code 9024 or 02/15/2020 lot code 9046.

There have been no reports of illnesses or adverse reactions, according to the USDA, although consumers have reported meals with extraneous materials in the pork patty. The USDA said it is concerned consumers might have the meal in their freezer. If you do, either discard it or return it to the point of purchase for a refund.

Glass and/or hard plastic is just the latest odd object to find its way into people’s foods. In January, Perdue recalled 68,000 pounds of chicken nuggets when consumers reported finding wood in them. The company, similarly, had to recall some nuggets contaminated with plastic materials in 2016. And Kroger issued a warning about ground beef last May when there was the threat of plastic contamination.

The recall follows a series of notable food recalls in 2018. In December, the USDA recalled 29,000 pounds of Jimmy Dean Sausage. JBS Tolleson has recalled over 6,000 tons of beef since last October. And Cargill was forced to twice recall meats, once in August and more in September.

Term Sheet — Monday, February 25


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

CTRL-labs, a New York City-based startup developing a non-invasive neural interface, raised $28 million in venture funding, from investors including GV, Amazon Alexa Fund, Lux Capital, Matrix Partners, Breyer Capital, Spark Capital, and Fuel Capital. What does “a non-invasive neural interface” do exactly? To put it more simply, CTRL-labs is building a device capable of translating electrical muscle impulses into digital signals (see it in action here).

I first learned about this company from Josh Wolfe, the co-founder and managing partner of Lux Capital, who invested in the company. Below is an excerpt from our Q&A in September, in which he describes the capabilities of CTRL-labs & the future of brain-computer interfaces.

TERM SHEET: More and more companies are working on building a brain-computer interface, which would allow the mind to connect with artificial intelligence. You’ve said the future of BCIs is non-invasive. Can you elaborate on this idea given that Elon Musk wants to put a chip in our brains?

WOLFE: There are certain directional arrows of progress, certain inevitabilities — and this is one of them. When we invested in this company called CTRL Labs, we had this thesis that we called “the half-life of technology intimacy.” Basically, you see this directional arrow of how computers keep getting closer and closer to you and it’s more sophisticated but it’s almost more invisible. So 50 years ago, you had a giant mainframe computer, 25 years ago you had a PC, 12 years ago, you had a laptop, six and a half years ago, you had the iPhone, three years ago, you had the iWatch which is touching your skin all day, and one year ago, we got AirPods.

That observable trend is that technology is becoming more and more intimate with us. So it seems that the next frontier is voice and gesture. The idea of a brain-machine interface is so misplaced to think that we’ll have some sort of surgical operation where we’re going to invasively put something in our brain. When you talked to the best and brightest in neuroscience, they just laugh at that. Rather, if you can pick up signals from the body using really advanced technology, then you can translate that signal into a device.

In CTRL Labs’ case, what the founder was able to do is take the signals coming off of the nerves that are firing to tell your muscles to move even if you’re typing or moving with your hands. And you can perfectly capture that. The crazy thing with what CTRL has done is that just by thinking of moving your finger or hand, the machine can pick it up. [For a visual of what this looks like, watch this video.]

What does the world look like if BCI technologies like this go mainstream?

WOLFE: I literally see a world in the near future where I tap my fingers together to turn on Spotify. And instead of tapping a button to change the next song, I just swipe to the left. And if I want to raise the volume, I make a motion like a conductor.

Read the full Q&A here.

IPO WATCH: Peloton, the home exercise equipment maker, has chosen Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to lead its initial public offering, which could value the company at more than $8 billion. Peloton raised approximately $550 million in funding last year that valued that company at $4.15 billion. Investors included TCV, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tiger Global Management and GGV Capital.

Peloton is a peculiar company as it has developed a loyal, cult-like following of customers who are willing to pay up to $4,000 for workout equipment, including bikes and treadmills. It offers live classes that are designed to make remote riders feel as if they’re part of a connected experience.

Ironically enough, seven months ago, Peloton co-founder and CEO John Foley told Fortune that people shouldn’t expect an IPO anytime soon. “The benefits of staying private would be not having to report quarterly earnings so you can invest more,” he said. “You can be more innovative I would say as a private company, you can disrupt yourself and not worry about how that will destroy your stock.”

Well, this is about to change in 2019.

DEBT DRAWBACK: Some private equity firms are paying for expensive acquisitions of fast-growing companies mostly out of their own pockets and trimming back their reliance on debt, according to a new report. PE firms are expanding beyond the traditional leveraged buyout model and turning to equity as they look to deploy the record $1.2 trillion they have raised from their investors. Read more here.


[ts_bullet_primary], a digital mortgage company, raised $75 million in Series C funding. Investors include American Express Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs, and Pine Brook.

[ts_bullet_primary] Roadie, an Atlanta, Ga.-based crowdsourced delivery company, raised $37 million in funding. Investors include The Home Depot, Warren Stephens, and TomorrowVentures.

[ts_bullet_primary] Zededa, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based developer of virtualization software, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Energize Ventures and Lux Capital co-led the round.

[ts_bullet_primary] Accurx, a U.K.- based developer of a messaging service for doctor surgeries, raised ?8.8 million ($11.5 million) in Series A funding, according to TechCrunch. Atomico led the round, and was joined by investors including LocalGlobe and EF.

[ts_bullet_primary] Showfields, a business that helps online brands move into offline, brick-and-mortar retail, raised $9 million in seed funding. Hanaco Ventures led the round.

[ts_bullet_primary] Funnel, a Sweden-based software company delivering automated data collection and transformation software to advertising and marketing business users, raised $8 million in funding from Oxx.

[ts_bullet_primary] Briq, a platform for construction data, raised $3 million in funding. Investors include Eniac Ventures and MetaProp NYC.

[ts_bullet_primary] Back to the Roots, an Oakland, Calif.-based organic food and gardening company, raised $3 million in Series C funding. Central Garden & Pet led the round, and was joined by investors including Blue Scorpion Investments.

[ts_bullet_primary] Szent, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based beverage startup, raised $2.2 million in funding. Gerald Poch led the round.


[ts_bullet_primary] Project Management Academy, which is backed by Leeds Equity Partners, acquired Watermark Learning, a Minneapolis-based provider of business analysis, project management and process improvement training. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

[ts_bullet_primary] First Reserve agreed to acquire Refuel Inc, a Charleston, S.C.-based retail fuel distribution and convenience store chain. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

[ts_bullet_primary] Cairngorm Capital acquired Sentry Doors, a U.K.-based maker of timber fire and security doors. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

[ts_bullet_primary] Hamilton Robinson Capital Partners recapitalized American Roller Company, a Union Grove, Wisc.-based provider of engineered services and industrial rollers. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

[ts_bullet_primary] Wind Point Partners will sell Paragon Films Inc, a Broken Arrow, Okla.-based supplier of stretch film products to customers, according to Bloomberg. The company could sell for $500 million. Read more.

[ts_bullet_primary] First Reserve agreed to acquire Weir Flow Control, a designer, manufacturer and aftermarket services provider of engineered valves and pumps used in energy and broader industrial applications, from The Weir Group PLC. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


[ts_bullet_primary] Roche Holding AG will buy Spark Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ONCE) in a $4.3 billion (?3.3 billion) deal. Roche will acquire U.S.-based Spark for $114.50 per share, which is a premium of approximately 122% to Spark’s closing price on Feb. 22. Read more.

[ts_bullet_primary] Danaher will buy the biopharmaceutical business of General Electric (NYSE: GE) in a $21.4 billion deal.


[ts_bullet_primary] Virgin Trains, a Miami-based express passenger rail system, withdrew plans for an IPO. Previously it planned to raise $510 million in an offering of 28.3 million shares priced between $17 to $19. It posted revenue of $5.2 million in the nine months ending Sept. 2018, and loss of $87 million. Barclays, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley were underwriters. It planned to list on the Nasdaq as “VTUS.” Read more.

[ts_bullet_primary] Up Fintech Holding, an Beijing-based online brokerage focused on Chinese investors around the world, filed for a $150 million IPO. The firm posted sales of $33.7 million in 2018 and loss of $44.3 million. Xiaomi (17.3%) and Interactive Brokers Group (9.5%) back the firm. Citi and Deutsche Bank are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “TIGR.” Read more.

[ts_bullet_primary] Ping An Insurance, China’s insurance giant, is readying for a Hong Kong IPO of its fintech unit, OneConnect, that could value it at about $8 billion, Bloomberg reports citing sources. Read more.

[ts_bullet_primary] Peloton Interactive, the exercise video and gym equipment maker, has reportedly chosen Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan for an IPO that could value it at $8 billion, Bloomberg reports citing sources. L Catterton and venture capital firm TCV back the firm. Read more.


[ts_bullet_primary] Genstar Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, raised $5.5 billion for its latest fund.

[ts_bullet_primary] SK Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, raised approximately $2.1 for its fifth fund.


[ts_bullet_primary] John Eck joined Peakstone as a managing director.


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Polina Marinova produces Term Sheet, and Lucinda Shen compiles the IPO news. Send deal announcements to Polina here and IPO news to Lucinda here.

Data Sheet—America’s Tech Behemoths Face a Reckoning

The technology industry is one of the least regulated collection of businesses in the world, especially given its impact on society.

That’s about to change, as I report in an article in the new issue of Fortune, published online this morning. Big Tech, aptly dubbed “the behemoths” by new (and old) Attorney General William Barr, are under attack on multiple fronts by regulators, legislators, antitrust watchdogs, consumer advocates, journalists, and assorted others creeped out by the power Silicon Valley has amassed.

Until recently regulating the biggest technology companies was more of an abstraction–or the purview of regulation-loving European bureaucrats. Now an assortment of measures has begun to move through Washington as well as multiple state and international capitals.

At the heart of the efforts is the realization that while preaching the virtues of connecting with one’s friends (Facebook), making the world’s information easily accessible (Google), and making everything cheaper for consumers (Amazon), these and other behemoths have done considerable harm. They have trafficked in the personal data of their users, cheapened the value of intellectual property they didn’t create, and crushed the businesses of competitors near and far.

The regulation of the tech industry will take several forms. Privacy legislation has a real chance of passing in politically divided Washington this year, if for no other reason than industry wants to pre-empt a hated privacy law set to take effect next year in California. Antitrust action is slower but becoming a real possibility. It’s also possible, if not likely, that Congress will remove the exception Internet “platforms” enjoy from being liable for the information they publish. That last change would inflict real damage on companies like Facebook and Google–and might be the only way to truly rein them in.


I was off last week and return with three recommendations of outstanding articles to read, all from The New Yorker:

* Ian Frazier’s masterful profile of the oil-field “pumper” Rachael Van Horn is many things. It is a work of social commentary, a window into the life of an emotionally scarred veteran, a subtle and tasteful work of political theory, and more. At its heart, this divinely written article is about the critical job one woman performs, a task–caring for temperamental oil wells–that will never be replaced by artificial intelligence.

* “Deception, Inc.” by Adam Entous and Ronan Farrow is a harrowing tell of disgusting, unscrupulous, former intelligence agents who use social media and other under-regulated tools (see above) to lie, cheat, and confuse on behalf of their clients.

* Sheelah Kolhatkar’s compelling account of a whistleblower’s quixotic effort to expose Medicare fraud at an insurance company will make you angry, shocked, and inspired all at once. The article is both specific about a single case and general in its condemnation of fraud across the healthcare industry. I plan to ask industry executives their thoughts on the subject at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego in early April.

Adam Lashinsky


Why Apple chose Goldman: Apple prefers to go its own way in most things but, when it came to expanding its financial footprint, the iPhone maker realized it needed a big time partner. As the WSJ explains, the Goldman-Apple tie-up is part of a larger phenomenon in which big banks and tech giants (including Amazon) realize they need each other to crack the consumer market.

Make stupidity less contagious: Amid a measles outbreak in American cities, YouTube moved to deprive anti-vax videos of ad revenue, including those with titles like “Mom Researches Vaccines, Discovers Vaccination Horrors and Goes Vaccine Free.” The move comes after Pinterest and Facebook took similar measures.

If you can’t beat ’em, sue ’em: As Adam notes above, regulators are finally getting serious about bringing tech behemoths to heel. They may have an important ally in class action lawyers, especially Chicago-based Edelson PC, which are finding new ways to work with state attorneys general to punish tech firms over privacy transgressions.

Cracked out: Tales of smart phone addiction are nothing new but this personal account by a Times tech columnist is better than most. After his screen-time showed he had picked up his phone more than 100 times one day, he took dramatic steps to cut back and rediscovered books and the world around him.

Burnt out: Would you be okay making $28,000 a year to spend your days watching snuff videos and racist, sexist rants? That’s what Facebook moderators in America make. The most chilling part of a new expos? on the company’s content serfs is that some of them start believing the conspiracy videos they’re supposed to be policing.

Creepy even for Facebook: The social network’s latest privacy horror story turns on revelations that personal health apps are sending data about everything from ovulation, periods and heart rates to Facebook, by means of a standard SDK tool. The app makers and Facebook have now pledged to cut off the data flow.


Airbnb likes to talk about “home sharing” and how it helps locals make ends meet, but if you look under the head, it can look more like a corporate hotel. A new expos? describes a scheme in Manhattan where a self-described “disruptive entrepreneur” netted $20 million a year by renting 130 separate Airbnb apartments, and creating a significant nuisance. The city is suing to recover some of the ill-gotten gains.

In just a few months, Mr. Beckman had booked more than 500 guests and generated about $84,000 from the building at 78 East 119th Street, according to the city’s lawsuit.

Some residents in the 10-unit building grew annoyed by strangers constantly showing up with luggage.

“It’s been 3 a.m. and I’ve had people ringing my buzzer to get in,” said Ziograin Correa, 40, who lives in the building with his wife and six children. “They don’t have a key, so they ring my buzzer.”


Where are the worms? A study in England revealed that worms are rare or absent in 20% of farmers’ fields. Meanwhile, the average field had “nine earthworms in every spadeful of soil, with top fields having three times that number.” Worms, of course, are important for soil health and water absorption and, in response to the study, farmers are pledging to change their cultivation practices in the low-worm field.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Jeff John Roberts. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.