🌎 Musk stocks up

Plus: Serena Williams is trading tennis for VC
🌎 Musk stocks up

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Elon Musk has sold nearly $7 billion worth of Tesla shares. The billionaire said he needed cash in case he is forced to close the $44 billion Twitter deal.

Donald Trump said he’s meeting with New York attorney general Letitia James. The former president is expected to give a deposition as part of an investigation into his business practices.

Mobile tech company AppLovin offered $17.5 billion to buy game engine Unity. The proposal threatens to derail Unity’s plan to buy AppLovin’s rival ironSource.

A former Twitter employee was convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia. Ahmad Abouammo was found guilty of supplying information about accounts critical of the Saudi regime.

Nebraska authorities used Facebook data to prosecute an abortion case. DMs between a 17-year-old and her mother were obtained via a search warrant and presented as evidence.

Monkeypox fear led to attacks against monkeys in Brazil. The WHO, which is due to rename the disease, condemned the violence against the animals.

What to watch for

July’s US consumer price index—due at 8:30am US eastern time today—is following indicators of falling commodity prices, but consumers won’t feel those declines just yet.

The delay is caused by extra steps in the food production chain. As Bespoke Investment Group analyst George Pearkes explained to Quartz, a loaf of bread has to go through a manufacturing process and so will be slowed in its descent by processors that have to pay utility bills. Something like meat, however, will move more quickly from the wholesale market to the supermarket, so a price decline will move faster too.

Gasoline futures will take about six weeks to turn into lower gasoline prices, Pearkes added. But any downward trend will be a reprieve for drivers, as crude oil prices remain high compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Image for article titled 🌎 Musk stocks up
Graphic: US Energy Information Administration, FRED

Serena Williams is ready to ace VC

“Someone who looks like me needs to start writing the big checks.”

Serena Williams, whose essay in Vogue magazine’s September issue is quoted above, is saying goodbye to tennis after dominating the sport for 25 years. What’s next? A deeper focus on family life and her role as founder and managing partner of Serena Ventures, the investment firm she launched in 2014 to focus on growing early-stage startups.

Some impressive digits from both of Williams’s careers:

23: Grand Slam titles to her name

73: Singles titles

12: Times she said the word “crazy” in a 90-second Nike ad during the 2019 Academy Awards, reminding the world that when women are labeled thusly, history’s usually being made

$94,588,910: Total winnings

$111 million: Amount raised for Serena Ventures’s inaugural fund

3: Household names that were served up cash in their startup stage by Serena Ventures—Masterclass, Impossible Foods, and nutritional app Noom

Air travel is back (for tourists), baby!

Business travelers though, will have to content themselves with more virtual meetings. Business travel is lagging, with several big airlines—Delta, American, United, and Southwest—reporting corporate sales that are still 20% below 2019 levels. This tracks with a survey conducted by Morgan Stanley in 2021, in which corporate travel managers in the US, Europe, and Asia suggested their companies would replace about a quarter of typical business travel with virtual meetings in 2022.

Leisure travel, however, is only 10% below 2019 levels. It could mean companies are making good on their promise to trim the fat from their travel budgets. But airlines have their fingers crossed that companies will still rely on face-to-face meetings.

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Surprising discoveries

Conservationists are trying to save a stranded whale in France. The beluga will receive medical treatment before it’s released into the sea.

Spiders might be dreamers, too. One species was observed to make REM-like twitches while snoozing. 

Domino’s Pizza quit Italy... To the surprise of no one, the US chain just couldn’t beat the pies from local shops.

…and Italy sued a country over balsamic vinegar. Slovenia was allegedly diluting the vinegar’s authenticity with lax standards.

A devilish meme of US president Joe Biden has gone viral. “Dark Brandon,” created to mock both Biden and a popular conservative meme, has now been embraced by White House aides.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, co-opted memes, and whatever you think spiders have nightmares about to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Nicolás Rivero, Nate DiCamillo, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, and Susan Howson.