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The pandemic was the news event of the last year. What was the ‘impact event’?

August 13, 2021, 10:31 AM UTC

Good morning.

Here’s an interesting question for CEO Daily readers to ponder during their August vacations, courtesy of my friend Bruce Mehlman, who advises companies on issues at the intersection of politics and business. He points out that big news events and great impact events are often very different. For instance:

In 1994, the big news event in the U.S. was the GOP takeover of Congress. But the event that had a bigger impact on history was the launching of the Mosaic web browser.

In 2001, the big news was the 9/11 attacks. But the bigger impact came from the world accepting China into the WTO.

And in 2007, the big news was the mortgage meltdown and resulting financial crisis. But the bigger change in our lives came from the launch of the iPhone.

So the question to ponder is this: If the big news of the last year has been COVID-19 and its consequences, what has the big impact event been? When we look back three decades from now, how will events of the last year have changed the world?

Send me your answers, and I’ll report back next week.  More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Rise of Reddit 

A new round of funding has pushed Reddit to a valuation of $10 billion. The site said it will raise up to $700 million in a round led by Fidelity, building on its expanding notoriety as the site that's reshaping Wall Street, as retail traders have overtaken the platform. However, its valuation still trails other tech giants, including Twitter and Facebook, which date from the same era. Reuters

Reebok loss

Adidas is selling shoe brand Reebok for less than the company paid for it. The sportswear giant bought the company for $3.8 billion in 2006, and will sell it to Authentic Brands Group for $2.5 billion. The deal is expected to go through next year. Reebok was once a hot brand in the NBA, but it seems to have suffered in the years since from being stuck in the middle: offering similar products to brands like Nike and Lululemon. CNN

Asthma acquisition

Meanwhile, tobacco giant Philip Morris is on track to buy Vectura, a British company that makes asthma medication, for $1.4 billion. The deal has drawn widespread outcry from asthma and respiratory associations and doctors, who argue that the acquisition is a clear conflict of interest that will undermine efforts to decrease smoking. Bloomberg

Disney rebound 

Disney's results beat analyst expectations for the latest quarter, with sales up 45% from a year ago, bolstered by the return of tourists to the company's theme parks and rising Disney+ subscribers. But the Delta variant is already casting a shadow over the rest of the year. “We did not anticipate—nor did I think anybody" that the Delta variant that would have such a significant impact on the marketplace, CEO Bob Chapek said. WSJ

AROUND THE WATER COOLER

Caffeine spike 

Another commodity being hit by extreme weather and clogged ports? What else—coffee. First there were political protests in Colombia, and now there are shipping delays from Vietnam, a major producer, and climate shocks in Brazil, which has been hit with drought. Futures are climbing, and while the giants can absorb some of the costs, your local independent café may already be feeling the pain. NYT

Insurance blowout

Speaking of extreme weather, this year's cocktail of huge fires, huge floods, freak storms and droughts has cost $40 billion in the first half alone, the most expensive start to a year for insurers in an (already dramatic) decade. Winter storm Uri in the U.S. alone cost $15 billion. The "stage is set" for potentially record losses, says Swiss Re's head of catastrophe perils (yes, a terrifying job title), given at July's record floods alone. FT

Green Bonds

If the litany of disasters above is making you reassess your portfolio, Fortune's Jessica Matthews has this excellent explainer on "green" bonds in her new weekly investing column—what they are, how they're different from regular bonds, and whether they're a total swap for the fixed income you may already own (spoiler: no.) “The idea was simply a bond that could … have the same risk and yield characteristics of any other bond but have a bonus feature” where the investments would address climate change, says one expert. “That's it. Nothing more complicated than that." Fortune

Delayed again

If you aren't back in the office already, you may wonder whether you're ever going back. A nightmare scenario, or fantastic flexibility? For most people, at all ages, hybrid is still the clear winner, according to this survey by Fortune Analytics. But as the pandemic drags on, the number of people who want to stay fully remote is declining, and the reason is simple: we miss each other. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Katherine Dunn. 

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