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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

James Hennessy

Good morning and TGIF. We've earned this one.

1. The neck and neck battle for Virgin has lost one neck. Wall Street hedge fund Cyrus Capital Partners has pulled its bid, citing a "a lack of engagement by the administrator", leaving Bain Capital with an open run. To add to the drama, Cyrus is alleging a pretty serious dereliction of duty on the part of administrators at Deloitte. "The administrators have not returned calls, emails, or meaningfully engaged with Cyrus to progress its offer," it said.

2. Australia and New Zealand have won the vote to host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. The trans-Tasman bid won the FIFA council vote with a majority of 22 to 13. The proposed Aussie venues will be the Sydney Football Stadium, ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, HBF Park in Perth, AAMI Park in Melbourne, McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle and York Park in Launceston.

3. Atlassian has revealed plans for a 40-storey building to serve as its new headquarters in Sydney. At 180 metres, this will be the tallest hybrid timber building in the world, and will form the centre of a new tech precinct stretching from Central to Redfern. Looks like the headquarters of some sort of corporate behemoth in a cyberpunk dystopia – and, depending on where the winds of history take us, maybe it will be!

4. Google has bowed to global pressure from regulators and lawmakers and agreed to pay some publishers for news content. "Today, we are announcing a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience launching later this year," Google News' vice president of product management Brad Bender said. Some Australian publishers have struck a deal, including Antony Catalano's Australian Community Media, and Schwartz Media.

5. Jobs ads fell by 43% during the three months to May, the largest fall on record, according to new labour force figures. It’s the latest evidence of the enormous strain on the Australian labour market, with economists urging the federal government to reconsider cutting its JobKeeper program.

6. Further data released yesterday suggests the pandemic and the associated chaos in markets have taken a hammer to our wealth. The ABS says Australians lost about $10,000 on average as markets tumbled.

7. Accent Group, the parent company of footwear retailers including Platypus and The Athlete’s Foot, has seen a spike in online sales during the coronavirus pandemic. Online sales in May and June have been strong following the company's decision to shut all its stores back in March. The workers stood down back then have now been reinstated. Suggestions the coronavirus would radically reshape society may have been overblown, but not when it comes to Australian retailers and the push to online, I'll wager.

8. The US had 8.7 million coronavirus infections during the last three weeks of March, according to a new study. Only 100,000 cases were officially recorded during that time. The researchers estimated that less than 13% of true US coronavirus infections had been diagnosed by the end of March. This could go some way to explaining why the virus is currently running rampant in the country.

9. Companies are taking notice of the spiralling situation in the US too. Apple, for example, is re-closing retail locations in states which have seen spikes in COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, the company said it would close seven stores in the Houston, Texas area, coming after it re-closed stores elsewhere on Friday.

10. SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son is stepping down from the board of Alibaba, he announced in a shareholder call on Wednesday. Son was one of Alibaba’s earliest backers, making a $US20 million investment in the company two decades ago that was worth $US60 billion by 2014. He said he will remain a “long-term investor.” He’s now focused on righting SoftBank’s financials, which have taken a hit from COVID-19 and from several bets on tech startups that tanked in the past year.


Even Merry old England isn't immune from the panic around people crowding onto beaches during the coronavirus pandemic. I have to say, though: surely no English beach is worth the risk.