Good morning everyone.
The big news, hot and fresh this morning: payments giant Square is buying Afterpay. Square will acquire all the shares in Afterpay under a scheme of arrangement with an implied value of $US29 billion ($39 billion). “We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible and inclusive and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles,” said Square founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, who is also the founder of Twitter. $39 billion is a lot of money.
As this was literally just announced, details are still pretty scant on the ground. The AFR’s Street Talk cites involved sources who say the two companies began to work together closely as Afterpay took on the US market. “It got to the point where a lot of Square merchants were wanting Afterpay integration as part of their payments terminals, so Square started looking closely at the Australian founded company,” the report reads.
Brisbane went into lockdown over the weekend, and the city’s residents are waking up to their second day under stay-at-home orders. Queensland recorded nine new locally acquired cases on Sunday, the biggest daily spike in almost a year. All of the new cases were linked to the Indooroopilly cluster, which centres around a student at a high school. The snap lockdown is only supposed to go for three days, but we’ll see.
Australian Defence Force troops will hit Sydney’s streets today to enforce the city’s stay-at-home orders. Adam Leto, executive director of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, told Business Insider Australia the overwhelming majority of businesses and workers in city hotspots are complying with the public health orders. “I think anytime the message is sending in police in numbers, the Defence Force in numbers… it sends a fairly negative message in this current climate, I don’t know if it’s one that’s really necessary,” he said.
NSW recorded 239 cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Of those, at least 26 were infectious in the community. Meanwhile, some experts are sounding the alarm on the government’s plan to have Year 12 students return to face-to-face learning, with many students expected to travel some distances in and out of hotspot areas.
National Cabinet agreed to a four-phase plan on Friday evening for getting Australia out of the pandemic and putting an end to lockdowns. Now the states are trying to get to the necessary vaccine thresholds. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton thinks his state will get to the 70% threshold ahead of most other states, while NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has outlined a tentative four-month plan to get there.
The Nine papers report that a mid-November timeframe for exiting restrictions is feasible — contingent on young men getting their jabs. Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said Australia’s target of vaccinating 80 per cent of people over the age of 16 is achievable by the end of the year “at our current rate”, and may even be possible earlier if we hurry up a little.
YouTube has suspended Sky News Australia from uploading content onto its website. The Alphabet-owned video platform said the News Corp-controlled media company had breached its COVID-19 misinformation standards. “We apply our policies equally for everyone regardless of uploader, and in accordance with these policies and our long-standing strikes system, removed videos from and issued a strike to Sky News Australia’s channel,” a spokesperson said.
A new wave of Australian investors are changing the local investment landscape as they flood into the market. Roboadvisors, offering automated and low-cost investment portfolios for clients, could be one of the big winners of prevailing trends. New forecasts by financial services research house Rainmaker projects the industry could grow to $60 billion, twice its previous target.
Elon Musk’s Starlink will seek to provide high-speed internet across Great Britain. The company is filing with the Isle of Man’s communications regulator to set up a ground station and install equipment on the island. This continues Starlink and SpaceX’s effort to provide broadband for the whole world by 2027.
Want something fun to look at? The guy who designed Steve Jobs’ yacht has now designed a luxury train.