Plus: The U.S. and four allies blame China for 12 years of cyberattacks; vaping company Juul Labs strikes a $13 billion deal with cigarette giant Altria; idiots with drones shut down London’s Gatwick Airport.
Recode Daily is taking next week off for the holidays — we’ll be back in your email inbox on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!
When tech’s highest-valued companies finally go public next year, they will unleash billions of liquid dollars into the market and make 2019 a year of incredible wealth creation. Startup darlings like Uber, Lyft, Pinterest and Slack are expected to headline the best IPO year in recent memory, allowing investors and rank-and-file employees to eventually sell their shares and turn stock into real money. The companies will likely together be worth more than $100 billion — and it’s got to go somewhere. That’s why the wealth advisory world is anticipating next year — and the non-wealthy should be, too. Because the decisions that the rich make in 2019 will shape the real estate, philanthropy and startup worlds for years to come. [Theodore Schleifer / Recode]
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Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters that President Donald Trump said he will not sign Senate-passed stopgap legislation that would fund the government through Feb. 8 because it does not provide funding for his proposed border wall with Mexico, raising the specter of a partial government shutdown on Saturday. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said House Republicans would try to pass legislation that would include $5 billion in wall funding, but that measure would likely be dead on arrival in the Senate, even if the House GOP could pass it — which is unclear. A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign for the wall has raised more than $11 million in four days. [Emily Cochrane / The New York Times]
The United States and four of its closest allies blamed China for a 12-year campaign of cyberattacks that vacuumed up technology and trade secrets from corporate computers in 12 countries, affecting almost every major global industry. Joining the U.S. in issuing an unprecedented mass condemnation and sanctions were the U.K., Australia, Canada, Japan and Germany. And the Justice Department unveiled indictments against two Chinese hackers, who it said acted “in association with” the Chinese Ministry of State Security; they are accused of stealing information from at least 45 U.S. tech companies and government agencies. [Ellen Nakashima and David J. Lynch / The Washington Post]
After a long year fighting underage use of its products, vaping company Juul Labs struck a $13 billion deal with Altria, the owners of Philip Morris USA and makers of Marlboro cigarettes. The all-cash deal values Juul at $38 billion, and injects the company with a fresh $12.8 billion in exchange for a 35 percent stake. Some of Juul’s 1,500 employees were upset with the deal to sell out to Big Tobacco, given that Juul’s mission has been to lead people away from smoking traditional cigarettes. So part of Altria’s investment involved giving an unprecedented bonus of $2 billion to Juul’s 1,500 employees — averaging out to more than $1 million each. [Sheila Kaplan and Matt Richtel / The New York Times]
Idiots with drones shut down the U.K.’s second-largest airport, causing hundreds of delayed and cancelled flights. Gatwick Airport has been closed since Wednesday night after it observed two drones flying nearby. As well as preventing any flights from taking off, the suspension meant that numerous inbound flights had to be diverted to other London-area airports, while other flights were forced to land in Paris and Amsterdam. Current U.K. law states that flying within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of an airport is illegal without explicit permission; if caught, the pilots of Gatwick’s pesky drones could face up to five years in prison. [Jon Porter / The Verge]
Facebook is developing a cryptocurrency for WhatsApp, focusing first on the remittances market in India. The social media giant is developing a stablecoin — a type of digital currency pegged to the U.S. dollar — to minimize volatility. Facebook is far from releasing the coin and is still working on the strategy, including a plan for custody assets, or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin. After hiring former PayPal president David Marcus to run its Messenger app in 2014, Facebook has been expected to make a move in financial services. In May, Marcus became the head of the company’s blockchain initiatives. [Sarah Frier and Julie Verhage / Bloomberg]
Times Square’s New Year’s Eve event will officially celebrate journalists and press freedom. The recipient of the New York City event’s official charity will be the Committee to Protect Journalists; well-known journalists will push the button that starts the iconic ball-drop at midnight — hopefully seeing a brighter future for journalism and a reduction in the attacks that have put them increasingly at risk. [John Eggerton / BroadcastingCable.com]
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