New York closures, IPOs and 25 years of game-changing games console

Planet Business: Brave moves and unforgettable experiences

Madison Avenue, New York, where retail space is very definitely available. The city has been devastated by 6,000 business closures. Photograph: Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg

Madison Avenue, New York, where retail space is very definitely available. The city has been devastated by 6,000 business closures. Photograph: Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg

 

Image of the week: Space for rent

These New York diners enjoying what seems to be mostly water by an empty storefront on Madison Avenue are by no means unique. All across Manhattan, similar scenes have been captured of outside dining spilling over to the places where retail – often swanky retail – once held sway. About 6,000 businesses in New York City have closed, 4,000 of them permanently, according to user reviews site, Yelp. There has already been a 40 per cent jump in bankruptcy filings in the region compared to 2019, with the result that the three most common words to be found in the windows are “retail space available”. An “avalanche” of further bankruptcies is now forecast to arrive along with the cold weather, as New York reckons with the same pandemic desertion wounding other cities around the world, only on a bigger scale than most.

In numbers: Console life

25

Years, as of September 29th, that the original PlayStation has been on sale in Europe. This was not the first 25th anniversary that maker Sony has celebrated, as the games console was first released in Japan in December 1994.

155 million

The biggest-selling console to date is its successor, the PlayStation 2, which was released in 2000 and went on to sell 155 million units.

€399

The price of a PlayStation 5 (the digital version) when it launches in Europe next month. The original cost of the PlayStation in 1995 was about €380, with the console doubling its Irish sales (to 30,000) by the following year.

Getting to know: Tom Reeg

Tom Reeg is a very excited man. The American businessman is the chief executive of Caesars Entertainment, the hotel-casino giant “where every guest is treated like Caesar and every visit is unforgettable” (both good things, apparently). Reeg’s tenure at the top of Caesars has had the fortune, even by casino standards, to follow in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s striking down of a federal law that had effectively made betting on sport illegal in most states. Sports betting is now legal in 22 US states, so it is very much win-win, quids-in, for the likes of Caesars, notwithstanding the pandemic, with Reeg comparing the opportunity to the 1990s legalisation of riverboat casinos beyond Nevada and New Jersey. Reeg has since agreed a deal with Disney-owned sport broadcaster ESPN – “we think there is a lot of money to be made here” – and now UK bookmaker William Hill has agreed to be taken over by Caesars in a £2.9 billion (€3.2 billion) deal Reeg dubbed “an exciting prospect”.

The list: Stock market debuts

Equity markets haven’t been the most rock-solid of places of late for newbie stocks to venture either through direct market listings or traditional initial public offerings (IPOs). So which brave companies are still thinking about making an entrance?

1 Bumble. The six-year-old dating app where women make the first move is pondering its prospects on Wall Street in early 2021.

2 Wish. The ecommerce platform that isn’t Amazon markets itself with the line “shopping made fun” because normally people hate buying stuff.

3 DoorDash. The US food delivery company is valued at $13 billion, because why not? The gig economy always seems to pay for somebody.

4 Airbnb. It has been such a dreadful year for Airbnb that an IPO could hardly make it any worse.

5 Starlink. This satellite internet business, owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is destined for an IPO, “but only several years in the future”, when space internet is more of a thing.

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