Does Dr. Parik Have More Bars Than the Rapping Bitcoin Fraudsters?
The meme doc offers his take on cringe crypto criminal "Razzlekhan," Peloton's rollercoaster week, and a merger in the airline industry.
Hi, I’m Dr. Parik Patel, BA, CFA, ACCA, Esq. If you don’t know me already, I’m a Chartered FinMeme Analyst (CFA) with a particular expertise in #stonk valuation (pro-tip: just multiply by two).
I’ve been told that I have a particularly special insight into the world of finance and memes, so I decided to set up this newsletter to share my thoughts on the latest news, memes, and everything in between!
Expect a newsletter at least twice a month, and follow me on Twitter for more updates and daily musings. Also, I have new Dr. Parik stickers available in the Bullish Studio Store — get yours here while supplies last!
For today's newsletter, I’m going to highlight some major news and events from the past week and explain what makes them noteworthy in the eyes of Dr. P. We'll touch on media milestones, including Peloton’s rollercoaster ride, a major merger in the airline industry, and the insanely cringe couple who allegedly stole $4.5 billion in Bitcoin — and also happen to be amateur rappers. Let’s dig in.
Once the darling of the VC and hedge fund crowd during the pandemic, Peloton has had a rough 12 months. After soaring more than 700% from the March 2020 lows due to the surge in demand for stay-at home gym alternatives, the stock cratered back below its IPO price as rising input costs, coupled with slowing subscriber growth, spooked investors. As if it couldn’t get worse, the company announced that it is temporarily shutting down production of its connected fitness bike in an effort to minimize costs amid dwindling demand.
However, to the relief of bagholders, the stock is once again picking up some steam, leaping 31% on Monday after reports that the company is exploring takeover options. Valued at just $8 billion at the end of last week, with nearly 6 million members on the platform, the company could be a valuable-yet-affordable addition to any sporting or technology company’s portfolio of assets. Potential acquirers are rumored to include sporting apparel giant Nike and e-commerce heavyweight Amazon.
In my view, since Peloton is just an iPad strapped to an exercise bike, the most logical acquirer would be Apple. The synergies would be immense. That said, I can’t wait for Jeff Bezos to strap a Kindle tablet to the bike and force consumers to order goods from Amazon every time they exercise.
Imagine if the two cheapest people you know got married. Well, that’s kind of happening in the aviation industry this week. On Monday, budget airlines Spirit and Frontier announced plans to merge together to create what would be the fifth-largest airline in the US by market share — should the deal be approved by regulators. If the deal goes ahead, which isn’t necessarily a given after the Justice Department sued to prevent a domestic alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue, the airlines aim to offer more flights to consumers on existing routes, reinforcing price discipline and allowing the new combined company to better respond to disruptions.
The merger between the two cheapskates is expected to close in the latter half of the year, with Frontier acquiring Spirit for $2.9 billion in a stock and cash deal. Analysts estimate that the combined airline would have an annual revenue rate of over $5 billion. Spirit’s stock price immediately leaped 17% by close on Monday, a little below Frontier’s bid price of $25.83 per share.
The announcement comes after airline stocks were decimated during the pandemic, plagued by high fixed-costs but little-to-no demand as the world ground to a halt. Now on the path to recovery, Spirit and Frontier seek to consolidate their hold over several airports, particularly the Orlando and Las Vegas destinations.
You’ve heard of the Wolf of Wall Street… well meet “Raunchy Rapper” Razzlekhan. Heather R. Morgan, the founder and CEO of Endpass, an AI fraud detection company (ironic), was arrested along with her husband Ilya Lichtenstein in Manhattan on Tuesday on account of conspiracy to launder ~120,000 bitcoins — or $4.5 billion stolen during a 2016 hack of the Bitfinex currency exchange. The couple funneled some of the money through AlphaBay Marketplace to hide their transactions, cashed some out at Bitcoin ATMs, purchased some NFTs, gold, and even Walmart gift cards.
In her Forbes contributor bio (which has now been updated to “former contributor”), Morgan describes herself as “an international economist, serial entrepreneur, and investor in B2B software companies.” In another ironic twist, the bio also says, ”When she's not reverse-engineering black markets to think of better ways to combat fraud and cybercrime, she enjoys rapping and designing streetwear fashion.” (Emphasis mine.)
Arguably, the most interesting bit is that last line — her raunchy rap career. Going by the name “Razzlekhan,” with the implication that she has “more pizzazz than Genghis Khan,” Morgan has posted an extensive catalog of rap and other videos on TikTok and YouTube, calling herself the “Turkish Martha Stewart” or the “Waffle Queen of Korea.”
You can watch one of her more popular music videos here. Viewer discretion is advised. Not because it’s majorly NSFW, but because it is cringe AF. I’m not sure what’s more surprising: That this couple was able to launder $4.5 billion worth of crypto, or that one of them is a tech entrepreneur / Forbes journalist / cringe rapper. The characters in the crypto world keep getting crazier…
What else did I miss? Shoot me a line or hit me on Twitter
~ Dr. PP out