Morning Brew - ☕ Everything changed

Did banks just get a bailout?
March 14, 2023 View Online | Sign Up | Shop 10% Off

Morning Brew


Good morning. At an event outside Tokyo in 2006, Akira Haraguchi set an unofficial world record for reciting the most digits of pi: 100,000 over more than 16 hours. So, how’d he do it? In his mind, he linked each digit with a syllable and created a collection of epic stories from the words those syllables formed.

For Haraguchi, pi is more than just a number—it’s a spiritual calling. He told The Guardian: “All things in this world, including ourselves, are aggregate sums of atoms, which are made up of rotating electrons. The ultimate history of mankind is moving toward a happy ending for people of all races. The Earth, the galaxy, and the universe all rotate. In other words, I think rotation is the absolute truth. So as long as I’m thinking about pi, I think I can live a life according to truth.

Happy Pi Day.

Sam Klebanov, Jamie Wilde, Neal Freyman, Abby Rubenstein












First Republic


*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 4:00am ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: It was a roller coaster of a day for stocks yesterday as the market continued to absorb the failure of two banks and the government’s efforts to keep those failures contained. Some stocks were actually buoyed by the notion that the Fed might stop raising interest rates due to the potential for a banking crisis. But bank stocks, especially regional ones, took a big hit, even though several regional banks told news outlets that they weren’t experiencing the big deposit pullouts investors feared.


Did the government hand SVB and Signature Bank a bailout?

Government extinguishing an SVB cash fire Hannah Minn

You may have heard that the second- and third-largest bank implosions in US history occurred in the past four days. And since financial regulators know that bank runs can be as contagious as measles, they moved fast to keep cash flowing in order to prevent a system-wide epidemic.

Officials announced Sunday that clients of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank will get their full deposits back, with the money coming from the Deposit Insurance Fund of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The decision prompted comparisons to when Uncle Sam bailed out banking behemoths back in 2008, angering many taxpayers who footed the bill to rescue bank shareholders and executives.

But is it a bailout?

Here’s why it sure looks like a bailout to some: The FDIC guarantees bank deposits only up to $250,000, but most SVB and Signature clients were businesses rather than individuals, with account balances surpassing that mark. The government threw out the $250k compensation limit for the banks’ clients. And the Federal Reserve said it’s got cash ready to loan other banks that might be in trouble.

But officials are adamant that there’s no need to use the b-word, pointing out that only the banks’ clients are getting their money back.

So, what’s different this time around?

  • Unlike in 2008, SVB and Signature investors are taking a loss, and executives at the banks will be fired. “That’s how capitalism works,” President Biden said, referring to the fact that shareholders won’t get a free pass for their financial flops (sorry if you took Jim Cramer’s advice).
  • The Treasury Department is also stressing that this time the recovery money is not from taxpayers but from an FDIC fund that banks pay into.

However, there’s no free lunch for taxpayers…banks may have to shell out extra cash to the FDIC to make SVB and Signature clients whole, which could ultimately come out of their customers’ pockets.—SK



600 million cases, 1 unsolvable problem…



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That’s a big issue, and one that Cytonics is about to solve.

Founded by an orthopedic surgeon, Cytonics has identified the root cause of osteoarthritis and is developing a biologic agent to attack it. With 22 issued US and international patents, $25m in funding already raised, and 8,000 patients successfully treated, Cytonics is well on their way to dominating the $240 billion osteoarthritis treatment market.

The best part? They’re still accepting investments.

Check out Cytonics’ investment opportunity before their round closes on 3/30.


Tour de headlines

An Uber full of money in front of a Lyft Francis Scialabba

Uber drivers are contractors, California court says. A state appeals court upheld Proposition 22, a California ballot measure that classifies Uber and Lyft drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. The decision overturned a lower court’s ruling voiding the law. But the legal battle over the status of hundreds of thousands of gig workers is likely far from over: The Service Employees International Union is expected to appeal the decision to the state’s highest court.

Australia is getting nuclear-powered submarines. The US, UK, and Australia struck a deal yesterday to help the country Down Under go further down under. Australia will buy submarines from the US to modernize its aging naval fleet in what Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called “the biggest single investment in Australia’s defense capability in all of our history.” The agreement is the product of a nuclear partnership among the three nations that kicked off in 2021.

Pfizer bets $43 billion on cancer drugs. Pfizer is shelling out that cash to purchase Seagen, a biotech company specializing in innovative cancer treatments known as antibody-drug conjugates that can attack cancer while leaving healthy cells intact. The purchase could get attention from antitrust regulators as the government has started looking closely at healthcare deals. However, although Pfizer’s oncology division raked in $12 billion in revenue last year, it doesn’t have the kind of treatments it will get from Seagen.


The Fed rethinks its playbook

a meme about the Fed reversing direction Imgflip/Neal Freyman

Fed Chair Jerome Powell had a plan: He was going to continue hiking interest rates until inflation returned to typical 2% levels. But then Silicon Valley Bank collapsed, and that plan became almost as outdated as Mason jar decor.

Given the current fragility of the banking sector, some economists predict that Powell will change his strategy to put the health of banks above all other considerations.

  • Goldman Sachs, which previously projected a rate increase of 25 basis points at the Fed’s meeting next week, now expects no rate increase, citing “stress in the banking system.”
  • The Japanese bank Nomura made an even bolder prediction yesterday: a rate cut at next week’s Fed meeting.

Another rate hike next week is still the most popular bet—as of yesterday, traders were pricing in a 70% chance of a 25 basis-point increase. But the fact that we’re even talking about the Fed potentially pausing rate hikes shows how dramatically the conversation has shifted since last Friday, when the probability of a meaty, 50 basis-point hike was 40% (now it’s 0%).

Zoom out: The Fed already had a tough job trying to bring down historic inflation. But thanks to SVB’s implosion, it now needs to balance its fight against inflation with preventing even more banking chaos.

Looking ahead…the Fed’s path forward could get even murkier when the latest inflation report drops this morning.—NF

We’re covering everything you need to know about SVB on our podcast, Morning Brew Daily. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or watch us on YouTube.




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Controversial Alaska drilling project gets the green light

Wild birds in Alaska The Washington Post/Getty Images

President Biden approved the controversial Willow oil project for the Alaskan Arctic yesterday. That means oil company ConocoPhillips can drill on some of the US’s last unspoiled wilderness, where it’ll extract an estimated 576 million barrels of oil over the next 30 years.

Environmentalists oppose the drilling, calling the approval a severe setback for Biden’s goal of cutting CO2 emissions in half by 2030. And they’ve got support: More than 1 million protest letters have been sent to the White House, a petition has 3.2 million signatures, and the #StopWillow hashtag on TikTok has over 180 million views.

But Alaska lawmakers, oil industry groups, and some Native groups welcome the Willow oil project for the revenue and jobs it could create.

Biden *tried* to please everyone

The final project scales back ConocoPhillips’s original proposal by about 68,000 acres, only allowing three out of five requested drilling “pads,” or sites where a rig is set up.

Biden also threw in some environmental consolation gifts: He banned all drilling in the Arctic Ocean and added protections for 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. But Jamal Raad, co-founder of the climate group Evergreen Action, called these measures “lipstick on a pig.”

Looking ahead…environmental groups plan to oppose the project in court.—JW



Key performance indicators

A 7-11 in Japan SOPA Images/Getty Images

Stat: Pour out a Slurpee for Masatoshi Ito, the Japanese billionaire who took 7-Eleven convenience stores global (he died on Friday at age 98). Ito succeeded in making 7-Eleven the place to grab mustard and batteries in the middle of the night, and nowhere is it more popular than in his native country. Despite the chain being headquartered in Dallas, Texas, about a quarter of the world’s 83,000 7-Elevens are located in Japan, with 2,881 in Tokyo alone.

Quote: “We have no relation to Silicon Valley Bank.”

There’s no question that the fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank could be far-reaching, but it probably wouldn’t have sent customers at an Indian cooperative bank into a panic except for one thing: their similar names. Mumbai-based SVC Bank reminded everyone this weekend that it has zero connection to the now notorious SVB and urged its customers to ignore “baseless rumors and mischief-mongering” after fielding repeated questions on social media about whether it was failing.

Read: How to protect your money from a bank failure. (Wall Street Journal)


Don’t be like Jerry

Jerry from Parks and Rec getting a pie in his face. Parks and Recreation/NBC via Giphy

Want to hold your own with the CFO, but keep getting sidetracked by everything else going on (today’s distraction is Pi Day pies)? The Brew’s best-selling Financial Forecasting sprint is a one-week online course that’ll get you up to speed on all things business budgets. Reserve your seat now.


What else is brewing

  • The BBC reinstated star soccer presenter Gary Lineker, who it had booted from the airwaves over political tweets—a move that caused many of his fellow on-camera personalities to stay home over the weekend in solidarity.
  • Chick-fil-A has a $1 billion plan to expand outside the US and sell its chicken sandwiches in Europe and Asia by 2030.
  • Meta will stop creating and selling NFTs for Facebook and Instagram less than a year after introducing them to its platforms.
  • The Academy Awards snagged its biggest audience since 2020, with 18.7 million viewers tuning in—a 12% jump from last year’s Oscars. Meanwhile, the season finale of The Last of Us, which ran on HBO at the same time, drew 8.2 million viewers.


Pi Day pie time: Here’s a pizza crust-based demonstration of everyone’s favorite geometry concept. Or, for a sweeter take on the day, check out these pie recipes.

Musical upcycling: Watch this video to see an electric guitar get made out of Ikea furniture.

Sleep tips: Let the experts help you catch some Zzzs.

Find yourself: This game shows you a video of a street, and you guess what city you’re in.

Got financial questions? Subscribe to Moneywise to get them answered. And if you do it today, you’ll also get a free tax prep checklist and a chance to win $500—consider it a bonus refund.+

Enlighten, entertain, replay. With exclusive films and shows you can’t watch anywhere else, Curiosity Stream is the deepest library of streaming documentaries about anything and everything. Snag 25% off your annual subscription.*

*This is sponsored advertising content. +Content from an editorial partner.


The puzzle section

Brew Mini: If you’re the crossword racing type, Neal’s time to beat today is 32 seconds. If you want to take your time with the Mini, that’s great, too. Play it here.

Pie trivia

The answer to each clue has the word “pie” in it.

  1. A dessert that is named after a city and is not a pie but a cake.
  2. The longest song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 until Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well.”
  3. One of Mark Twain’s favorite desserts. (Hint: a character in his books is named after it.)
  4. A bird that was the first non-mammalian species to recognize itself in a mirror.
  5. According to legend, this pie’s name comes from insects flocking to its sweet molasses filling.


Hey managers: Recruit better

Hey managers: Recruit better

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Join us at The Brief: A Summit presented by Marketing Brew as we dig into the trends and challenges defining the industry. Reserve your spot before it's gone.


  1. Boston cream pie
  2. “American Pie”
  3. Huckleberry pie
  4. Magpie
  5. Shoofly pie

✢ A Note From Cytonics

This is a paid advertisement for Cytonics’ Regulation CF Offering. Please read the offering circular at


Written by Neal Freyman, Abigail Rubenstein, Sam Klebanov, and Jamie Wilde

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