Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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Short Squeezes

The Piggly Wiggly Squeeze by Nick Maggiulli (Threader)

Today, iconic Southern grocery store Piggly Wiggly (a pioneer in the modern self-serve model) is privately held, but back in the Roaring Twenties it was the subject of a monster squeeze. [Link]

Hedge funds lose $30 billion on VW infinity squeeze (Mox Reports)

At the height of the financial crisis, Volkswagen was the subject of one of the largest short squeezes in the history of the financial markets thanks to some very impressive financial machinations by Porsche. [Link]

Legal Troubles

DoorDash Can’t Duck Restaurant’s False Advertising Suit by Nicholas Iovino (Courthouse News Service)

Delivery company DoorDash was dealt a blow this week by a federal judge who allowed a class action suit by restaurants to move forward. The suit alleges that the company set up pages for restaurants on its platform which labeled them closed or unavailable when they refused to partner. [Link]

Apollo CEO Leon Black to Step Down Following Review of Jeffrey Epstein Ties by Miriam Gottfried (WSJ)

The CEO of Apollo Global Management is resigning after an investigation into his relationship with deceased former financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein showed 9 figure payments for “tax advice”. [Link; paywall]


Ray Dalio calls bitcoin ‘one hell of an invention,’ considers it for new funds by Erik Schatzker (BNN Bloomberg)

The man behind the biggest hedge fund in the world has lots of technical praise for Bitcoin and is considering investing in crypto going forward. [Link]

Harvard, Yale, Brown Endowments Have Been Buying Bitcoin for at Least a Year: Sources by Ian Allison (Coindesk)

University endowments have been buying crypto on exchanges, with purchases dating back roughly 18 months, with a source estimating “some pretty nice chunks of return”. [Link]

MicroStrategy and Bitcoin: the Mother of All Fat Tails? by Bill Miller (Miller Value)

Crypto charts have gotten parabolic enough that income-focused value investors are busily racking up positions in convertible bonds in order to get exposure. [Link]


A Chick-fil-A manager stepped in to save a South Carolina drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic by Mary Meisenzahl (Business Insider)

Chick-fil-a does a huge multiple of competitors’ weekly revenues per location despite being open one less day, and a key to its success is the performance of its drive-throughs. So it’s not a shock that the experience of running one is paying off at COVID vaccination sites. [Link]

Mortality Rates From COVID-19 Are Lower In Unionized Nursing Homes by Adam Dean, Atheendar Venkataramani, and Simeon Kimmel (HealthAffairs)

Union protections that insured PPE access for nursing home workers helped to prevent spread of the virus around homes and therefore limited mortality rates. [Link]


If It Looks Like a Bubble and Swims Like a Bubble… by James Mackintosh (WSJ)

A list of attributes which make the recent equity market bubble (especially its most frothy sections) pretty hard to deny. [Link; paywall]

It’s not just GameStop. Market bubble fears are rising by Matt Egan (CNN)

Another review of how the current equity market environment looks in real time like the kind of situation that was after-the-fact clearly a bubble in the past. [Link]


Steve Cohen’s Point72 Loses 10-15% Amid Month’s Hedge Fund Carnage by Katherine Burton (Bloomberg)

The carnage for short sellers this week spread to Point72, which helped deliver more capital for besieged short sellers Melvin Capital and also booked double-digit losses. [Link]

Famed GameStop bull ‘Roaring Kitty’ is a Massachusetts financial advisor by Chris Prentice and Pete Schroeder (Reuters)

The Reddit trader that has ridden GME to profits in the tens of millions is a financial advisor who was recently employed by insurance giant MassMutual. [Link]


Parkinson’s Meds Are Hard To Grab. So TikTok Users Crowdsourced A Solution. by Kait Sanchez (The Verge)

An online community came together to support Parkinsons sufferers with an innovative design for pill bottles which can be very difficult to navigate. [Link]


Shark Populations Are Crashing, With a ‘Very Small Window’ to Avert Disaster by Catrin Einhorn (NYT)

Human fishing has led to a catastrophic plunge in shark populations around the world, with existing protections inadequate to protect species which have been navigating the deep for hundreds of millions of years. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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