🍋 No Free Lunch

Piper Sandler got rid of company-sponsored lunches, plus Boeing struggling, and first stock market rally of 2024.

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“Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them.” — Alfred North Whitehead

Good Morning! Americans haven’t felt this good about the economy in over three years. And your paycheck might finally be outpacing inflation. Blackstone raised $1.3 billion for its debut private equity fund for individuals. Wall Street’s going all-in on bonds. Plus 7 ways to assert leadership when you’re working from home, and the absolute worst way to answer the "what are your weaknesses" interview question.

If you are interested in getting in front of a smart, young audience of business leaders, bankers, investment professionals, policy influencers of over 500,000 people, then fill out this form, we’ll be in touch.


No Free Lunch

You know the recession is really hitting hard at 1251 Avenue of the Americas when Piper Sandler’s getting rid of company-sponsored lunches. 

Piper Sandler is a middle market investment bank that specializes in healthcare and financial services.

In an email sent to employees last Friday, the bank says company-sponsored lunches cost the firm $1.5 million in 2023.

Company-sponsored lunches have become pretty rare - especially after Covid. A lot of banks will pay for dinner - you get $25 towards Seamless if you’re working past 7pm. 

And Piper Sandler says, if employees want to order lunch, the bank will cover the cost of transaction and delivery fees.

Takeaway: It’s not clear when Piper started the free lunch policy, but the bank pulling the plug shows how the investment banking in-office climate has changed over the past few years. In 2021 and 2022, firms were basically begging employees to come back, and they were willing to do whatever it takes. But in 2024? Employees don’t have the flexibility or the benefits.

Piper analysts have until the end of the month to get their share of free lunches in. And we’re curious - let us know below if you’re one of the lucky few who doesn’t have to shell out $20 for Chipotle (extra guac) or Sweetgreen bowls every day.

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Top Reads

  • Americans haven’t felt this good about the economy in 3 years (YF)

  • Blackstone’s first private equity fund for individuals raised $1.3 billion (BB)

  • Mark Cuban will distribute $35 million of bonuses to Dallas Mavericks employees (CNN)

  • Unpacking the bitcoin ETF frenzy (Axios)

  • Goldman Sachs says world is moving to a new super cycle (CNBC)

  • D1 hedge fund stung by venture bets for 2nd straight year (YF)

  • Nvidia’s newest chips are designed to run AI at home (CNBC)

  • Pay is beating inflation again (Axios)

  • Apple iPhone sales in China fell 30% in first week of 2024 (Reuters)

  • Why your boss might tell you to work harder soon (YF)

  • Wall Street doubles down on bonds (WSJ)


Markets Rundown

Stocks closed higher after positive inflation data.

Movers & Shakers

  • (+) Axonics ($AXNX) +20% after Boston Scientific acquired the company for around $3.7 billion

  • (+) Twilio ($TWLO) +7% after activist investors pushed the company’s CEO out.

  • (–) Boeing ($BA) -8% after Boeing 737 Max incident, groundings.

Private Dealmaking

  • Merck bought Harpoon Therapeutics, a cancer drugmaker, for $680 million

  • CVC Capital Partners nearing acquisition of Italian restaurant chain Gruppo La Piadineria from Permira for over $329 million

  • SentinelOne bought PingSafe, a cloud security company, for around $100 million

  • Swap Energy, an EV battery startup, raised $22 million

  • Solva, a provider of working capital to SMEs, raised $20 million

  • Revfin, an electric vehicle lending startup, raised $14 million

For more PE, VC & M&A deals, subscribe to our Buysiders newsletter.


Burn The Boats

From Sun Tzu to Julius Caesar, the ancient Israelites to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, there’s a bold and highly effective tactic seen throughout history—when leaders want to motivate their troops for success, they destroy all opportunities for retreat, and fully commit to the mission.

They burn their boats; it’s win or perish, and the clarity of sheer desperation propels them to victory.

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“If you’re someone who’s worried you won’t succeed, you’ve already failed.”


Vision Loss Expected to Surge to 55% by 2050

Expected number of people with vision loss globally in 2020 and 2050 (includes people suffering from blindness, moderate to severe, mild and near vision loss)

Source: Statista


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Real Value

“We tend to take every precaution to safeguard our material possessions because we know what they cost. 

But at the same time we neglect things which are much more precious because they don’t come with price tags attached.

The real value of things like our eyesight or relationships or freedom can be hidden to us, because money is not changing hands.”

Source: Peter D. Kaufman


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