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Quest Means Business
WeWork Surges On First Day Of Trade After SPAC Deal; Haitian Gang Leader Threatens To Kill Missionary Hostages; Federal Reserve To Ban Officials From Buying Individual Stocks; Trump Announces Media Company SPAC Deal; Beverage Firm Vita Coco Makes Public Debut; Evergrande's Multibillion Dollar Deal Fails; Call To Earth: Farming Seagrass; U.K. COVID-19 Cases Surge; Israel Reopens To Tourists November 1. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 21, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Dow has been in the red the entire session. It is currently off by less than half of one percent. Those are
the markets, these are the main events.
WeWork goes to Wall Street. The company finally goes public two years later than first planned.
Donald Trump takes his own media company to market sparking a mini trading frenzy.
And the Fed says hands off. Top officials are now banned from buying up stocks.
Live from London, it is Thursday, October the 21st. I'm Max Foster. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Hello to you. One of the most notorious names in the startup history makes the trend that's all the rage on Wall Street. WeWork has finally gone
public this time in a SPAC deal. Shares are now trading in the office real estate company two years after it first planned to IPO. This time it's gone
for a SPAC deal and that means WeWork is essentially merging with a shell company and then going public rather than doing an IPO on its own.
Shares have been up as much as 10 percent on its first day. It's a special milestone for a company whose public debut was spectacularly abandoned back
in 2019. Paul La Monica joins us from New York and this new structure deal seems to have worked.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, it seems, Max, that WeWork finally is getting what it had hoped for a long time ago going public on
Wall Street, albeit at a much lower valuation than originally expected.
If you remember, WeWork was the darling of the unicorn startup world at a valuation of about $47 billion. It went public today, but at a fraction of
that, at just about $9 billion, which is still, you know, a respectable valuation for a private company, but a far cry from the days of WeWork
topping the list of unicorns.
FOSTER: Just explain how the SPAC deal works in a bit more detail because it is obviously a bit of a fashion right now, and this appears to be one
case where it's worked, at least initially.
LA MONICA: Yes, in this case, Max, what you have is WeWork merging with an already publicly traded company that had shares, which were out there
expressly for the purpose of trying to find a private company to merge with and then have that deal go through.
And now, you have WeWork being a public company because of the merger. So, it's different from the traditional IPO route where a company hires
investment bankers, they go on a road show and talk about the virtues of their company and then they sell shares directly to the public. That didn't
happen here. WeWork had to go to the back door so to speak, even though SPACs have definitely become more legitimized in the past couple of years.
You have some high profile companies like Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, the Fantasy Sports and sports betting king, DraftKings also going
public that way. So there's less of a stigma now about SPACs. There used to be, but I think obviously, there is still a stigma about WeWork because of
the big debacle in their blow up and fall from grace.
FOSTER: Yes, we're going to talk a bit more about that, Paul. Thank you very much indeed.
WeWork has had to reshuffle its grand plan several times these past few years. Before the original IPO plans, it was about expansion at all costs
really. The company was predicting a revolution in flexible working. Despite SoftBank investing billions of dollars, it was already burning
Then came COVID, working from home became the new trend. WeWork closed more than a hundred locations, the company is still losing money. The hope is
that this SPAC deal can be a turning point.
Eliot Brown is a reporter at "The Wall Street Journal" and co-author of "The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann and the Great Startup Delusion." Take
us through this then, what actually went wrong last time?
ELIOT BROWN, REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Oh, so much. So WeWork was the country's most valuable startup, and the way they did that and got
to this $47 billion valuation was by convincing the investment world very successfully that they were this disruptive tech company, when in reality,
I think, eventually everyone realized it was just a real estate leasing company that lost, you know, a dollar for every dollar of revenue it took
So, they were losing, you know, billions of dollars when sort of the investment world woke up in 2019 that this was far less of, you know,
brilliant tech investment than they thought.
So, it was all about convincing investors to see something different.
FOSTER: There was also this governance issue really, wasn't it? The CEO having so many voting rights. He was -- you know, he had too much control
effectively over the direction of the company in investors' eyes.
BROWN: Yes, it was what we -- I think, it is sort of termed artfully as a corporate governance dumpster fire. So they -- Adam Neumann, the CEO, you
know, had borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars against his stock from banks working on the IPO. He sold the trademark to the word "We" to the
company. So he personally sort of was profiting, stood to profit off the word "We."
He was leasing properties to the company, he really had the sense that he was sort of above the norms of Corporate America and should be able to do
as he wished, because WeWork was so great, and so inevitably, you know, growing toward this tens of billions of or hundreds of billions of dollars
of value future.
FOSTER: He has still got about 11 percent of voting power, hasn't he? But there's a new CEO. He has obviously impressed investors ahead of this deal.
What's he done differently then to change -- to turn things around for the company?
BROWN: It's certainly a more sober approach. So, there's less tequila, there's fewer private jets. Adam Neumann really brought WeWork to
prominence by convincing people it was part of the sharing economy or a social network, a physical social network.
The current CEO is actually from real estate and has acknowledged, so he even embraced the reality that they are in the office space subleasing
business. So, you know, they've cut out a lot of things that they no longer have -- own a company that makes wave pools, where people can surf in the
middle of the country, and they aren't trying to buy Sweetgreen or Lyft. These were ideas that Adam Neumann had.
So it's a much more sort of focused approach on we will lease some office space from one landlord, make it cool, and sublease it in a shorter term
duration to companies that want to, you know, lease the space.
FOSTER: There is some concern, though, isn't it about the SPAC deal, because there are -- various people talked about the lack of scrutiny that
the company will have under this deal, as opposed to the previous deal. They can make bigger predictions than it could have done as a traditional
Just explain some of the issues that might be with a SPAC deal, which we wouldn't have had with an IPO.
BROWN: Yes, and this is super pervasive in the SPAC world. So, if you're doing an IPO, you have to talk about the past. You can't talk about the
future. You can sort of say, hey, we hope to do great things, but you can't say, here's what we plan to do for profits.
But with SPACs, you're kind of allowed to do that. And so WeWork as everyone else, paints this picture of you know, profits rushing in by the
billions in the out years. And you know, who knows? Like I think generally these things are considered by -- all these companies are considered to be
quite optimistic, WeWork has already had to revise down its targets just since they first announced the SPAC, and that's sort of related to delta
and the slow recovery of COVID.
So yes, what they're doing is painting a picture to investors of how things are going to be great in the future even though like today, we still lose a
lot of money and our offices are really pretty empty because of COVID.
FOSTER: Yes, it's interesting, isn't it? We'll see how it all plays out. Thank you very much indeed, Eliot Brown.
Now some Breaking News on the kidnapped missionaries in Haiti just coming into us. The leader of the gang that kidnapped them say he will kill the
hostages if he doesn't get what he wants. Matt Rivers is in Port-au-Prince -- Matt.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Max, this news coming in to us within the last half an hour or so. This is video that CNN is
choosing not to air, nor directly quote from, but basically in this video, the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang, which is the gang that authorities say
is responsible for the kidnapping of these 17 missionaries here in Haiti over the weekend.
He basically says that if he does not receive what he wants, what he has demanded, that he is not afraid to kill these hostages. This video,
according to a source in Haiti Security Forces was taken at a recent funeral for some of the gang's members that the gang alleges in this video
were killed by Haitian Police, and that is where we stand right now, Max.
This is a very troubling development at this point, because up until now, we hadn't heard directly from this gang. We knew that negotiations were
ongoing, but we haven't seen anything quite like this yet.
And the fact that we have now, it's not a very good development, and it is one that we can report as being taken quite seriously by authorities as
they make their way through this negotiation process.
Clearly, we've entered, it seems, into a new phase here, which authorities are going to have to deal with.
FOSTER: Okay, Matt in Haiti. Thank you.
Coming up, the Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve unveils new rules for his top policymakers after a trading scandal sparked a string of resignations
at the Fed.
FOSTER: Breaking News in the last hour, the U.S. Federal Reserve says it'll ban policymakers and senior staff from trading in individual stocks.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced the new rules after an ethics scandal last month involving two regional Fed officials. Both the Boston and Dallas
Fed Presidents resigned amid criticism over their trading.
CNN's Matt Egan has more, and when you look at the details of this, many people are questioning why these rules weren't in place before.
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Max, I think a lot of people are asking just that question. But listen, the Federal Reserve is facing a credibility
crisis. So, they really did need to take action here, and so these new rules are going to ban policymakers and senior staff from buying individual
stocks, from owning individual bonds, from owning agency securities, and from entering into derivatives contracts.
Effectively, they're just going to be able to buy vanilla investments like mutual funds or ETFs. And also, the Fed said that in an effort to avoid
even the appearance of a conflict of interest, they're going to now require these policymakers and senior staff generally to provide a 45-day heads up
when they're going to make -- buying or selling transactions. Those deals have to actually be approved ahead of time, and they're going to be
required to hold on to investments for at least a year.
Now, let me read you a statement from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, he said quote: "These tough new rules raise the bar high in order
to assure the public we serve that all of our senior officials maintain a single-minded focus on the public mission of the Federal Reserve."
You know, another part of these rules is that the Fed says that the senior staff and policymakers, they are going to be prohibited from trading during
what they call heightened financial market stress, No word yet on who is going to declare when we're in one of those periods, but they're not going
to be able to trade during this time period.
Now, as you mentioned, this all comes as the Fed has been engulfed in this this trading scandal over transactions made by senior officials, and don't
forget that the Fed has played such a pivotal role in the market recovery that began in March of 2020.
EGAN: So, you know, Max, clearly the Fed is taking this action in an effort to try to put out the fire, to try to restore some confidence in the
institution. And don't forget the subplot here, Jerome Powell, his term expires in February. The White House hasn't said whether or not he'll be
re-nominated, but clearly this trading scandal was not helping his chances.
FOSTER: Okay, well, Matt do stay with me because more alarm bells are ringing over inflation, supply chain problems and the rising cost of raw
materials are leading more firms to charge more for their own products.
Unilever says it has raised its prices more than four percent during the third quarter. The company owns the Dove and Marmite brands, amongst many
others, of course. The Dutch paint manufacturer, AkzoNobel said this week, it has raised consumer prices by nine percent. Both companies say they
expect inflation to continue into next year.
Going back to Matt now, these markets are near record highs. Why aren't investors more worried about inflation?
EGAN: Yes, Max. You know, it is incredible. I mean, the price spikes just -- they keep coming. You mentioned AkzoNobel, and we had Unilever, Procter
& Gamble; another big paint maker, Sherwin-Williams, just a few weeks ago announced that it was going to raise prices. And we know from all these
different government reports that inflation is a real problem both for companies and for consumers.
And yet, the market continues to chug away here. You know, the S&P 500, the Dow trading right near record highs. There have been some moments of sort
of, you know, concerns about inflation, or even stagflation, but they tend to be pretty fleeting.
I think that investors are sort of betting that the Federal Reserve is going to be able to kind of navigate this, they're going to be able to
slowly unwind their bond purchases. They're going to be able to, you know, just gently increase interest rates of zero, and sort of, you know, get
ahead of this inflationary problem. And that may very well be the case.
But you know, you also have got to wonder if investors are sort of maybe being a little bit complacent here, because we are talking about elevated
levels of inflation that even the Fed acknowledges have lasted longer than the Fed had expected.
And you know, the risk here is that businesses and consumers start to anticipate that inflation is going to stick around, and that's something we
have to watch very carefully, what they call inflation expectations. Because if people start to anticipate the prices are going to keep rising,
they're going to react that way, and they're going to start raising prices ahead of time, and it can become this self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, we do need to keep a close eye on inflation expectations here because that's going to play a key role.
FOSTER: Okay, Matt, thank you. Well, Moody says the stress on U.S. supply chains is getting worse with no sign of relief. The shortage of goods is
making retailers worried as the Holidays draw near.
CNN's Clare Sebastian reports.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Staff at this New York City toy store had no idea they'd be getting this delivery of
books and toys today, or that all of the orders would be incomplete.
CHRISTINA CLARK, OWNER, KIDDING AROUND NYC: We're placing orders every day constantly. As many as we can think of. One of my bigger companies, I
ordered a huge order in February, and it just shipped a couple of weeks ago. So, it's so hard to determine when and if things are going to come.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): The enticing displays here mask an unprecedented inventory problem. Many items running out.
CLARK: I have three of these. There is no more downstairs. I have three of these. There's no more downstairs.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): Others in oversupply.
CLARK: I've got about 20 times that in my basement.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): And behind the scenes.
CLARK: This is what my very messy office looks like, with shipping out to be done and shipping into process.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): Christina Clark says she was warned by suppliers to stockpile ahead of the holidays. Eighty five percent of all toys sold in
the U.S. are imported according to the Toy Association, and right now, the ships that carry them mostly from Asia are stuck in a giant maritime
traffic jam. The result of surging demand as economies recover ongoing COVID related disruptions.
SEBASTIAN (on camera): But it's not just a shipping crisis affecting the toy supply chain, there is also port congestion piling on and a shortage of
truck drivers to get them to their destination.
STEVE PASIERB, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE TOY ASSOCIATION: That combination of online shopping, COVID shutdowns, and resupplying things that were out of
stock, and the Holidays together have all combined into what, you know, really is a crisis of shipping and a crisis of consumer products.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): And it is sending costs skyrocketing.
PASIERB: The average shipping container has gone from somewhere right around $3,000.00 to around $24,000.00 on the spot market.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): Christina Clark says many of her suppliers have raised prices twice this year and some and are now tacking on a shipping
surcharge, most of which she isn't passing on to her customers.
SEBASTIAN (on camera): Financially, how is this affecting you?
CLARK: We just have a lot of debt. I have a huge amount of debt, and hope -- hope that it will be covered.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): Her message to customers, start your Holiday shopping now. This will not be over by Christmas.
Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.
FOSTER: And ahead, the U.S. Trade Representative said she is making headway in her effort to build a better relationship with the E.U.
Ambassador Katherine Tai has aimed at repairing the strains leftover from the Trump era, and that includes the relationship with France which was
furious with the Biden White House for cutting it out of a submarine deal with Australia.
Ambassador Tai spoke exclusively to CNN's Julia Chatterley. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHERINE TAI, U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Let me just say that the transatlantic relationship writ large, which certainly includes the U.S.-
French relationship is at the forefront of our priorities in the Biden administration, including in trade policy, in terms of rebuilding the
relationship, but not just to where it was a couple of years ago, but really building the relationship and injecting it with momentum, forward
movement for collaboration in confronting and addressing the challenges that we share.
In fact, that's why I'm here in Brussels on this trip, which is primarily to connect with stakeholders here in Europe. Part of what I'm doing at home
is getting myself out of Washington, connecting with Americans where they live, where they work in their communities, and understanding what they
need from trade policy at this point in our economic moment.
And it's also critically important for me to connect with workers, environmental organization stakeholders here in Europe, so that we can be a
better partner with Europe, and really understand all the parameters for collaboration and opportunities that we have right now.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: And I think the Europeans certainly benefit and welcome your presence. And as you said,
you've been there many times, even just in the last few weeks. Have things improved with France? Just to tackle that directly.
TAI: I think so. What I want to say is this, you know, governments, like our economies, we're comprised of people and none of us is perfect as
people. But we're also not perfect in our relationships. The key, the test of any strong relationship is not whether or not you can avoid having
issues crop up. It's what you do when those issues crop up.
And I think that the intensification of communication, consultation, collaboration that you see, not just from me, but across the Biden
administration, is really indicative of the strength of the relationship and the potential for how strong we can build it.
CHATTERLEY: Makes perfect sense to me, the heart of diplomacy. One of the ways, I think that they would immediately follow to your response there
would be, a bone of contention, as far as metal tariffs are concerned on imports of E.U. metals into the United States. How close are we to seeing
the United States remove those metal tariffs?
TAI: Well, let me put this in context as well. This is something that we've been working on since June in the U.S.-E.U. Summit when the President
came to Brussels, but certainly an area where our interactions and engagement have intensified over the last couple months, and certainly
these last couple of weeks. And what I would say is that, I feel a very focused energy from both sides to take the trade measures that are between
us right now, and really focus on the big picture.
How do we take down the temperature between the U.S. and E.U. economies where we are ideally -- we are ideally going to be aligned in terms of the
challenges that we share in facing a global overcapacity that is distorting the market, not just for the workers and businesses in the U.S., but also
here in the E.U.
How do we take down the temperature? And how do we start to build the trust between us and build the relationship and collaboration again, so that we
can be working together, we can be connecting our economies as a more powerful force in pushing back on a global overcapacity that is distorting
the market for all of us.
CHATTERLEY: That sounds to me like it's not happening anytime soon.
TAI: Oh. If you're taking that from it. No, no. I just want to focus on what the goals are and how important -- how important it is for us to reach
TAI: So, what I would say is, we're working very hard and I think that we are making very good progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: I quick programming note for you. President Joe Biden will participate in a CNN Town Hall moderated by Anderson Cooper, in just a few
hours' time. Tune in Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern in New York. That's Friday at 1:00 a.m. in London right here on CNN.
Now, Donald Trump is returning to Wall Street, the former U.S. President is planning to take a new media company public and get back on social media
after Twitter kicked him off. We'll tell you how investors are reacting to that.
FOSTER: Well, I am Max Foster. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment when a Trump-backed social media company soaring nearly 400 percent
on its first day of trade, and the CEO of beverage giant Vita Coco joins me to discuss supply chain problems as well, and his company's IPO before
that, headlines though this hour.
The leader of the Haitian gang holding 17 foreign missionaries is threatening to kill them if his demands aren't met. He wants a ransom of
$17 million for their release. Haitian Security Forces say the gang holding has provided evidence of proof of life for their captors.
The man charged with the murder of British lawmaker David Amess appeared at a Magistrate's Court in London today. The prosecutor told the court that
the suspect was an ISIS supporter and had planned to kill a Member of Parliament for years.
The suspect will appear at a criminal court tomorrow.
India has administered over one billion coronavirus vaccine doses. It's a big milestone, but experts warn the job is far from over. Only 30 percent
of people are fully vaccinated and there are still millions of people who haven't got a single shot.
Disasters, flooding, and mudslides have killed at least 150 people in Northeastern India and Western Nepal. Monsoon rains have pummeled the
region and rescuers face dangers and challenges evacuating survivors. The rains are forecast to continue for several more days although not as
intensely as earlier this week.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: -- like to get investors, like to be in business with them. And he has suddenly provided a way to do
that by announcing this new brand, emerging with this SPAC, he is creating a vessel for his supporters to get invested.
And in the words of Trump whisperer and "The New York Times'" Maggie Haberman, this is as much about giving Trump a cash infusion and connecting
him to an existing public company as it is about the social media potential.
But let's talk about social media potential. Truth Social, a very interesting name, this Twitter-like platform will allegedly launch early
next year. So these investors are getting in before it launches.
There were some embarrassments overnight when this was first rolled out, where some people were able to figure out ways to sign up for accounts
before it was launched. They were taking handles, like Mike Pence and Donald Trump and doing very creative things with them. So there's already
been some trouble or some black eyes for this new company.
But it is a really curious move by a former president to try to get in business with investors, try to present a public company, let people
invest and see how big it gets and then the real test will be, if and when it launches, how popular does it become and how profitable does it become?
Can it really take on the Twitters and Facebooks of the world?
Or will it end up being more of a stunt than a real success story?
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: He does have this ready-made audience, a very loyal audience, a sort of audience that is cynical about
mainstream media and tech.
So presumably that's the argument here. He's got that guaranteed audience to get into a social media project, which other social media projects don't
STELTER: Yes, and he's saying he's not just going to launch his own version of Twitter. He's also claiming this will be a media company. The
suggestion being that he will create content and will have streaming shows.
What I would say to that is there already is a Trump TV and it's called FOX News, it's called Newsmax, it's called One America News. There are the many
competitors for the Trump TV brand.
But it will be interesting to see if he's able to raise a lot of money and produce actual programming. That's a new twist. That's a new turn in the
Trump story. "The Apprentice" was a long time ago and he was really the fact of that show.
If he's really going to become a producer of content and have a streaming service, that's a really interesting move by a former president. And all of
this, of course, with an eye toward 2024 and what is Trump building?
Is he trying to rerig a campaign apparatus or is he happier on the sidelines, not rerunning for president but instead running a media
apparatus to engage alienated voters, who don't believe Facebook or Twitter is right for them anymore?
That, I think, is where we're heading. I think the conventional wisdom is, yes, he's running again but now he has this other option if he so chooses.
FOSTER: It's fascinating. Brian, thank you.
A busy day for IPOs today. The Nasdaq opening bell was rung by Vita Coco, celebrating their debut. Shares were offered at $15 and opened more than 2
percent higher. That puts the company's value at about $850 million. Joining me now, Vita Coco CEO Mike Kirban.
How was the day?
MIKE KIRBAN, VITA COCO CO-CEO: Thanks so much. It's been incredible, exhilarating, fun, awesome.
FOSTER: How do you think you've convinced investors around this IPO and your future?
Because you're suffering from the same supply problems that others in your sector are suffering from?
KIRBAN: I think two things that resonated really well, as we were talking to investors. One is we're a high-growth consumer brand, a consumer
business, that is both profitable and cash generative. And that is quite rare these days for a midsized food or beverage company. We're excited
And at the same time, the other thing that was quite convincing is our supply chain. We've created an incredible moat that allows us to push back
any potential entrants or anybody trying to scale in the coconut water business. So I think that puts us in a really unique category.
FOSTER: How concerned are you?
We keep reporting on all these concerns running up to the holiday season and companies like yours, unable to get product in and issues with the
How concerned are you about that?
KIRBAN: It's been an issue for us, what 1.5 years now we've been supply constrained and yet we've grown 17 percent through the first half of this
year and accelerated that growth into Q3.
And it's a process these days. We've done all of this while being supply constrained.
Shelves are not full all the time. We are not delivering the best service we could because it's taking a while to get through ports, get into
warehouses and get to shelves. It's something we're all dealing with but we're able to continue to accelerate growth and profitability at the same
FOSTER: Who's your consumer?
KIRBAN: One, coming out of COVID, consumers are starving for health and wellness and our brands are healthy and functional, plant-based.
Also we have a very interesting demographic mix. We over index with Asians and Latinos, both, at least in the U.S., are driving true change in the
food and beverage world.
And finally, it's young consumers, young consumers who are driving, to be honest, the majority of the new entrants into the category, majority of the
growth in the category. They're not sitting around eating muffins and cereals anymore, they're making smoothies and drinking coconut water. And
we're at the tip of the spear of these generational changes.
FOSTER: Could it not just be a fashion or fad?
I know some investors have suggested these things come and go. The same way you came in, someone may come in behind you and throw you off kilter.
KIRBAN: One, coconut water has been the one of the most consumed beverage in the tropical world for hundreds of years. We just brought it to North
America and Western Europe.
The second thing is we've been building this business for 17 years. I don't think it's a fad or a trend. If it is, it's a 17-year fad or a trend and it
continues to accelerate.
So I feel pretty good about it. I feel like we're in a great position. I don't think health and wellness is going away anytime soon. Consumers are
looking for more and more health functionality and wellness. And that's what we play with all of our brands, not just Vita Coco.
FOSTER: You have some very high-profile investors.
How helpful was that?
Was that something you sought to help with the brand or something that came to you?
KIRBAN: In the early days, Madonna, Rihanna, Matthew McConaughey came to us. They were drinking and supporting the brand. They said, we're drinking
it on stage.
How do we invest in the business?
And they did. I think these early celebrity investors helped give us a louder microphone from which to speak and have a greater voice and tell
people about the benefits of coconut water over the years.
FOSTER: Mike Kirban, thank you for joining us.
KIRBAN: Thank you.
Now shares in Evergrande are taking a hit after a deal to sell part of the business collapsed. They're buried around a mountain of debt worth around
$300 billion. And they're facing another interest payment deadline on Saturday. Selina Wang is in Tokyo for us.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Things went from bad to worse for China's most indebted developer, Evergrande. Its shares plunged after an
opportunity for a cash injection fell through.
Investors were waiting for hops in development, another development firm to take a controlling stake in their property services unit for about $2.6
billion. But the two sides said they couldn't agree on the terms of the deal.
WANG: The big question is what happens next?
How will Evergrande sort through this mountain of $300 billion in debt?
We're just days away from a dollar bond deadline that could push Evergrande into default. They've been trying to sell different assets. But so far it
hasn't been successful selling to buyers.
Analysts think Beijing will ultimately bail the company out, while making it look like it was done by the private sector because the stakes are
incredibly high. This has become one of the biggest risks to China's economy and it sent a wave of panic and has fueled fears of contagion
throughout the broader property sector.
Several other property firms have announced they're struggling to pay their debts. What happens in the property sector is critical because it has
supercharged China's economy in recent decades. It accounts for as much as 30 percent of China's GDP and nearly 75 percent household wealth in China
is tied up in property.
Beijing wants to limit contagion for Evergrande and is also trying to rein in excessive borrowing in the real estate sector. Economist say what's
really important is what this all signals in terms of Beijing's future plans.
It signals this high growth economic model, fueled by debt in the property sector is coming to an end. That growth model now poses a risk to the
country and the party -- Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.
FOSTER: Later on, Israel is opening up again to tourists. We'll explain the vaccine requirements travelers will need to satisfy.
FOSTER: It's farm to fork season for CNN's call to Earth. We're examining how eating habits affect the planet. This week a chef in Spain has
discovered a way of cooking grains from seagrass in order to restore marine habitats and revolutionize the future of food.
ANGEL LEON, CHEF, APONIENTE (through translator): My story begins on these shores in Cadiz.
LEON (through translator): For me, first goes to sea and then comes the kitchen.
I'm Angel Leon, chef from Aponiente, a restaurant with three Michelin stars in southern Spain.
When I started to cook with unwanted parts of fish 15 years ago, this was truly avant-garde. But as a cook, it seems more respectful to use what I
call trash fish than to use the fish that everyone knows.
I have an obsession with discovering new ingredients from the sea, looking for plants that can produce biomass, plants that could produce food. And
suddenly this estada marina (ph) came to me.
JUAN MARTIN BERMUDEZ, DIRECTOR OF R&D, APORIENTE (through translator): Seagrass menus (ph) are the most ecologically productive echo systems on
the planet, more than the rain forest. They sequester carbon, produce oxygen and house many species of marine animal.
LEON (through translator): Science saw it as an important plant for the ecosystem. What I saw in it, an undiscovered grain.
It's interesting because seagrass doesn't taste like the sea. That's important. The texture is something between quinoa and rice. The only
documented use of it was by the Seri Indians in Mexico. It is said that this civilization ate marine rice.
BERMUDEZ (through translator): We went to Mexico and one of the most exciting points of the trip was when they gave us a demonstration on how
they cooked this, although it's been 40 years since they actually used it as a food.
This is the future of seagrass. If we plant the seagrass in these estuaries, we're going to bring a lot of invertebrates. We're going to
bring a lot of fish. The salt culture, the local culture, which is at risk of disappearance, will once again have a story to tell through a new crop.
LEON (through translator): My dream is that, in 10 years' time, the world will cook and harvest rice in the sea, in a planet where almost three-
quarters of it is water. Think of how we could irrigate the land with sea water. Think about the amount of protein the plant can provide us with.
And it only needs light, water and the movement of the sea. I am much more excited about finding new foods in the sea than any of my Michelin stars. I
think we will leave something more important, which is the discovery of new ways of feeding ourselves in the future.
FOSTER: And we'll continue showcasing inspirational environmental stories like this one. Tell us what you're doing and use the #CallToEarth.
FOSTER: COVID cases are rising in the U.K. and hospitalizations and death rates are up since the summer. U.K. reported more than 50,000 new cases on
Thursday for the first time in three months. Fred Pleitgen has the very latest from London.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Max.
Well, look, the government acknowledges the numbers seem to be going in the wrong direction. In fact, yesterday, the U.K. health secretary acknowledged
the U.K. has been above 40,000 new infections, daily new infections, for the past seven days running.
In fact, on Monday, it was up to 49,000 new infections. And the U.K. health secretary yesterday also said it could get as bad as possibly 100,000 new
daily infections, once the winter really kicks in and we move along further into the winter months.
Nevertheless, the government seems to think it has the situation under control, that while the numbers are bad, they are as have been projected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: The numbers of infections are high. But we're within the parameters of what the predictions were and where they
said we would be, given the steps that we've taken. So we're sticking with our plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So essentially, the government wants to expand the vaccinations that have been going on. The U.K. vaccination campaign was so good and
efficient in the early stages but has been stuttering somewhat as of recently.
And the government wants to first of all, get jabs to people who have not been vaccinated yet and also get booster shots to folks that are eligible,
as fast as possible. And then also offer jabs to children as young as 12 years old, at least single jabs.
Now all of this is indeed being criticized by the British Medical Association, also by senior leaders of the NHS as well, who say they
believe this plan B, these strict measures need to be put in place now. I want to read you some of what the British Medical Association said today.
Quote, "The government has taken the foot off the brake, giving the impression that the pandemic is behind us and that life has returned to
"It is willfully negligent of the Westminster government not to be taking any further action to reduce the spread of infection, such as mandatory
mask wearing, physical distancing and ventilation requirements in high-risk settings, particularly indoor crowded spaces."
You can see the folks representing the medical professions in this country are sounding the alarm bells. They say the situation is bad and warrants
and justifies more strict measures to bring things under control.
FOSTER: Thanks, Fred.
And it's a brighter picture in Israel. Tourists will soon be able to visit the country for the first time in 20 months. People fully vaccinated
against COVID-19 or recovered from it can begin arriving on November 1st. They still need to test negative before their flight and then quarantine
after their flight once they test negative once more.
It's great news for Israel's economy as it recovers from the latest spike, as Hadas Gold reports from Jerusalem.
HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Max, since March of 2020, Israel's borders have been closed to nearly all foreign tourists. But
starting November 1st, they've announced tourists they consider vaccinated or recovered from coronavirus will be allow in.
Who will be eligible to enter the country?
Who Israel considers vaccinated or recovered is at a higher bar than many other countries. And that's because of Israel rolling out its third booster
shots to most of the population here.
Who will be allowed entry?
Anybody who has received certain approved vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna and who has received two doses within the past six months or if
more than six months have passed, they have received a third booster dose.
Or if they have recovered from coronavirus in the past six months or it's been more than six months since they recovered, they need to receive
another dose of the vaccine.
So this could limit the number of tourists allowed because, in many other countries, they have not rolled out a booster campaign for most of the
population. But this will help their tourism industry. In 2019 before the pandemic, 4.55 million tourists entered the country, contributing more than
$7 billion to the economy.
The Israeli government has warned this plan could change, depending on the caseloads and any sort of new variants they may discover. And countries may
be added or taken off to banned lists.
But the cases in Israel have been going down ever since Israel rolled out its booster campaign. Within the last month, the weekly average caseload
has gone from 3,562, down to 1,280.
That's the weekly average positive caseload. So clearly a downward trend, which is leading the Israeli government to say they can finally open up the
country to tourists.
FOSTER: Now just a few moments left to trade on Wall Street. It's been an extraordinary day there. We'll have the closing numbers and the closing
bell right after this.
FOSTER: A few moments left to trade on Wall Street. The Dow in the red. The S&P 500 looking good for a record close, up very slightly, which is
enough for an all-time high.
That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I'm Max Foster. The closing bell ringing in New York. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts next.