Disney’s Fox hunt, Weinstein army of spies, Snapchat’s disappearing act
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It’s a deal that would reshape the media landscape. Walt Disney held talks with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox about buying most of the company, including its stake in UK-based Sky. People briefed on the talks suggested Fox was effectively putting itself up for sale, and that the likes of Verizon, the US telecoms group, Charter Communications, the US cable company, and internet group Amazon could be looking at buying all or part of its assets.
The preliminary talks, first reported by CNBC, were no longer active but they underline the uncertainty facing big media companies as consumers move away from traditional television viewing towards on-demand and advertising-free streaming. A Disney-Fox tie-up could make life increasingly difficult and more costly for Netflix. Disney already announced it would stop selling movies to Netflix in August. Even if these talks are done for now, add Fox to the list of companies that are in play. Per the FT’s Lex: “Expect a new round of blockbuster media M&A to commence with no indication it will create value for buyers.” John Gapper says the surprise is that Rupert Murdoch is willing to relinquish a large part of his news and entertainment empire. (FT, CNBC, Bloomberg)
In the news
Deciphering the Paradise Papers
The leak of the “Paradise Papers” has inflamed both politicians and campaigners. The documents claim to show how “the rich get richer through offshore manoeuvres”. But for tax experts, the conclusions were less clear. They said the structures revealed so far in the new cache were very different from those exposed in last year’s “Panama Papers”. Still, they have thrust the small British island of Jersey into the spotlight over its role in allegedly helping Apple shape its overseas tax strategy. (FT)
Fuld’s Wall Street comeback
The man who drove Lehman Brothers to the biggest corporate collapse in history is making a quiet comeback on Wall Street. Richard “Dick” Fuld, the former chairman and chief executive of Lehman, joined with some old associates to launch a New York-based firm focused on providing corporate finance advice. Mr Fuld is one of a number of former big bank chiefs toppled by the financial crisis who are striking out on smaller ventures. (FT)
Trump sees Korea progress
Now on the South Korean leg of his Asia tour, US president Donald Trump has said he believes US-led international efforts to crank up the pressure on North Korea are beginning to work. Alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a joint news conference, President Trump said he thought the coalition was “making a lot of progress.” (CNN)
EU competition chief attacks big tech
EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has criticised Google, Facebook and Apple for cutting corners and distorting competition by abusing their market dominance. She also attacked the US for not going further to regulate big technology companies. “I never feel more European than when I am in the States,” she said. “Because we are different.” (FT)
Oil stays above $64 a barrel
Oil prices were paring gains in Asia on Tuesday after surging to the highest level in two years on Monday. The rise followed Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on dozens of princes and business tycoons, which raised concerns about stability and policymaking in the world’s largest crude exporter. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia said Iran had committed “a blatant act of military aggression” by providing Yemen with a missile that it fired at the Saudi capital over the weekend, raising the threat of a direct military clash between the rivals. (FT, NYT)
Texas church shooting
The US Air Force said it failed to follow policies for alerting federal law enforcement about Devin Kelley’s violent past, allowing him to purchase firearms before the shooting rampage that killed at least 26 churchgoers in Texas. He had a history of violence and may have been motivated by a “domestic situation” within his family. The mother-in-law of Devin Kelley — who appeared to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound — attended the church. (WaPo, NYT, FT, WSJ)
The day ahead
Pundits will be looking at local races around the country for signs of what Donald Trump’s historic unpopularity has done to the national political dynamic. Of particular note: the Republican candidate in Virginia’s hard right turn and racially tinged campaign, a special Seattle-area election that could result in Democrats gaining unified control of the entire west coast, and four other stories to watch. (NYT, NYMag)