Good morning. Gautam Adani, whose Indian business empire is under pressure over fraud allegations, repaid a $1.1bn share-backed loan last week after facing a margin call of more than $500mn, according to four people with direct knowledge of the matter.
They said the repayment was designed to avoid further damage to investor confidence in the group.
Adani’s empire, which spans airports to energy, has been reeling since New York-based short seller Hindenburg Research last month accused it of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation. The Adani group has denied the claims.
The lenders of the $1.1bn loan, which included Barclays, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, requested last week that the billionaire top up the amount of stock pledged against the loan after a sharp fall in the shares of the listed Adani companies, according to the people with knowledge of the matter.
Five more stories in the news
1. Biden warns China over threats to US sovereignty President Joe Biden used his annual State of the Union address to Congress to deliver a defiant message to Beijing and defend his economic record in the White House. Biden also said his economic plans, with billions of dollars in subsidies for domestic manufacturing including semiconductors, were helping the US win the economic competition.
2. Google shares fall sharply after AI chatbot debut stumbles Shares of Google parent Alphabet closed almost 8 per cent lower on Wednesday, wiping billions of dollars off its market value, as Wall Street digested the potential damage to its search dominance and profits from a new artificial intelligence battle with Microsoft.
3. UK considers sending fighter jets to Ukraine Britain said it was looking into sending combat aircraft to Ukraine after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for western fighter jets in an impassioned plea for “wings for freedom” in the UK parliament. Downing Street said UK defence secretary Ben Wallace had been asked to examine “what jets we might be able to give” Ukraine, but it warned this was a “medium to long-term” solution.
4. Popeyes re-enters China to take on KFC Tims China will relaunch the fried chicken chain Popeyes in China, as food and beverage franchises snap up retail space to capture an anticipated post-lockdown consumption rebound. The Chinese operator of Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons announced a partnership with Miami-headquartered Popeyes yesterday, with the aim of opening 1,700 outlets in China in the next decade.
5. Hermès wins landmark lawsuit over ‘MetaBirkin’ NFTs An artist who sold non-fungible tokens featuring digital depictions of Birkin handbags has been ordered to pay $133,000 in damages to the brand’s owner Hermès, a victory for the French luxury group in a landmark case over how US intellectual property rights are applied to digital assets.
Thanks to readers who took our quiz yesterday. Of the respondents, 53% said that the positive impact of artificial intelligence will outweigh the negative.
The day ahead
Japanese PM hosts Philippines’ president Fumio Kishida will hold talks with Philippines’ President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The leaders are expected to sign agreements related to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, infrastructure, defence, agriculture and digital co-operation.
EU summit in Brussels Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to attend the special summit following his visit to the UK.
Former FBI agent in US court Charles McGonigal, who has been charged with working for sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan.
Join us on February 23 at 1pm GMT/9pm HKT for a subscriber only webinar, Putin’s war on Ukraine: when and how will it end? with the FT’s Ben Hall, Chris Miller and guests. Register for your free ticket at ft.com/ukraine-event.
What else we’re reading
How FTX built its network of stars Endorsements from celebrities and athletes such as American football player Tom Brady, basketball star Steph Curry and comedian Larry David played a big role in the rapid rise of FTX. But behind the star-studded facade, court documents reveal a web of personal and financial relationships.
Allure of abroad fades for Chinese MBA students Enrolling for an MBA abroad has been an important part of many Chinese professionals’ career plans for the best part of two decades. But the pandemic and rising tensions between China and the west are leading some prospective students to study domestically or within Asia.
Syria suffers disaster upon disaster The biggest earthquake to strike Turkey in eight decades has also wrought devastation across the border in north-west Syria, an impoverished, war-shattered region that provides pockets of sanctuary for the remnants of the opposition that fought Bashar al-Assad’s regime over a 12-year civil conflict.
Credit Suisse’s make-or-break moment The scandal-plagued lender is set to publish what will arguably be the most important set of financial results in its 167-year history. Credit Suisse has warned it is on course for its second consecutive annual loss, with chair Axel Lehmann describing 2022 as a “horrifying year”. Will a radical restructuring be enough to turn it into a banking powerhouse?
Why Rothschild is calling time on the public market For years, Alexandre de Rothschild watched his family wrangle over whether their eponymous investment bank should remain a publicly listed company. Now, the seventh-generation leader has settled the debate once and for all, launching a €3.7bn deal to take the Anglo-French institution private — his highest-stakes move since taking over the bank five years ago.
“You can’t be half pregnant,” de Rothschild told the Financial Times. “It was clear that we had reached the limit and full potential of the listing. Our DNA is much better suited to being a private company.”
Take a break from the news
In his latest style column, Robert Armstrong explains why you should say no to oversized clothes.