Will ‘Real’ Small Businesses Get the Money This Time?

The Senate approved a $484 billion coronavirus rescue package, with $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program that ran dry last week. It also includes $60 billion for other small business rescue programs and $75 billion for hospitals. The House is expected to pass it tomorrow, and President Trump to sign it soon after.

There will be a closer eye on where this round of money goes, after data showed that over 80 public companies borrowed from a fund for needy small firms:

• Mr. Trump said yesterday that he would ask bigger companies to return money. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned of “severe consequences” for inappropriate borrowers.

• The competition is intensifying, with Disney Plus getting 50 million subscribers in just five months, NBCUniversal’s Peacock launching to 15 million Comcast customers last week, and AT&T’s HBO Max rolling out next month.

Extreme price volatility is a sign that the oil industry faces serious, structural problems from a glut in supply.

• President Trump promised yesterday to help the industry. Potential avenues could include paying oil companies to keep crude in the ground and building storage. But experts expect many producers to fail regardless, and Goldman Sachs analysts predict crunching consolidation among American shale companies.

The luxury department store is expected to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as today, Michael has learned. And it is just one player in what is developing into a retail apocalypse.

Neiman Marcus has struggled with $4.8 billion in debt assumed during 15 years of private equity ownership. It’s in talks to secure over $500 million in bankruptcy financing, according to Michael’s reporting. It missed an interest payment last week, and has already furloughed many of its 14,000 workers.

• Its lenders expect the business to survive, either as an independent company or under new ownership.

Department stores are in deep trouble, The Times’s Sapna Maheshwari and Vanessa Friedman write. E-commerce was already eating their business. Now, “the genre is toast,” Mark Cohen of Columbia Business School told our colleagues.

It’s all about small business, with the combination of WhatsApp and Jio’s business services opening up new ways for people to connect and shop on their phones. Facebook doesn’t make as much money from users in Asia as elsewhere, something this deal could change.

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