Shari Redstone Says CBS Is Improperly Stripping Her of Power: DealBook Briefing
The broadcaster’s case in Delaware’s Court of Chancery against its corporate parent, the Redstones’ National Amusements, is one of a number recently that challenge the kind of dual-class stock system used by the Redstones (and indeed by The New York Times Company).
Another part of CBS’s argument — that Ms. Redstone warned Verizon off bidding for CBS — took a hit yesterday. Verizon’s C.E.O., Lowell McAdam, told CNBC he didn’t want to invest in “linear TV.” (Read: CBS or 21st Century Fox.)
Speaking of Fox: An all-cash bid by Comcast for its assets could pit Rupert Murdoch, who would pay less tax on Disney’s share-based offer, against fellow shareholders. And in the middle of all this, Fox’s TV chiefs are in contract talks.
Elsewhere in deals: PaddyPower is reportedly close to buying FanDuel after the Supreme Court legalized sports betting. The hedge-fund mogul David Tepper signed a deal to buy the N.F.L.’s Carolina Panthers for $2.2 billion. FIFA is reportedly preparing a vote on the $25 billion offer by SoftBank and others for two new soccer tournaments. The two big proxy advisory firms urged Hyundai shareholders to side with Elliott Management against the management’s restructuring plan.
— Michael de la Merced
Lachlan Murdoch to head the new Fox
Lachlan Murdoch will become the chief executive officer and co-chairman of Fox, if Disney completes its deal for most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, the company announced on Wednesday.
Lachlan Murdoch currently serves as 21st Century Fox’s executive chairman. Rupert Murch will be the other chairman of the new Fox.
Not named in the announcement was James Murdoch, who is 21st Century Fox’s chief executive. Speculation has swirled about the fate of James Murdoch since reports of talks between Disney and Fox first broke last year. Early on the rumors focused on James Murdoch joining Disney as a senior executive and possibly succeeding Robert Iger, Disney’s chief executive. But last week the WSJ reported that James Murdoch is planning to strike out on his own if the Disney deal closed.
How Nafta and Iran trade talks got bogged down
As the Trump administration wages multiple trade battles, it has met several big hurdles. Negotiators on Nafta appear unlikely to hit an informal deadline that would let Congress approve a rewritten pact this year, the WSJ says. The timing isn’t set in stone, but further delays make a new Nafta less likely before elections in Mexico and the U.S.
At the same time, Europe has pledged to protect its companies from potential U.S. sanctions on Iran. The E.U.’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the goal was “maintaining and deepening economic relations with Iran.” (She may be emboldened by President Trump’s about-face on ZTE — more on that later.)
close to buying FanDuel after the Supreme Court legalized sports betting. The hedge-fund mogul David Tepper signed a deal to buy the N.F.L.’s Carolina Panthers for $2.2 billion. FIFA is reportedly preparing a vote on the $25 billion offer by SoftBank and others for two new soccer tournaments. The two big proxy advisory firms urged Hyundai shareholders to side with Elliott Management against the management’s restructuring plan.
Who doesn’t like Trump’s lifeline to ZTE?
Lawmakers from both parties aren’t likely to support easing sanctions on the Chinese telecom company, even if the White House reckons it might persuade Beijing to lift import limits on American agriculture. Representative Mac Thornberry, the head of the House Armed Services Committee, told Bloomberg, “It is not a question to me of economics, it is a question of security.”
The bigger picture: Is Huawei next for a reprieve?
Is ZTE a trade dispute or an enforcement action?
Top trade officials in the White House have tried to separate any discussions on ZTE from trade negotiations with China, calling it an enforcement action, not a trade dispute.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump seemed to contradict that point and pushed back against that narrative that he is caving to China.
The political flyaround
• The White House has eliminated the role of cybersecurity coordinator. (NYT)
• Robert Mueller was “squarely” within his rights as special counsel to indict Paul Manafort, a federal judge ruled. (Politico)
• Preet Bharara is reportedly considering running for New York’s attorney general — as an independent. (Bloomberg)
• Mr. Trump may invoke a Cold War-era statute to keep coal and nuclear power plants online. (Bloomberg)
Meet Mike Bloomberg’s answer to Davos
The New Economy Forum is designed for a world where China’s ascent looks unstoppable. So it’s in Beijing, rather than the Swiss Alps. Participants include the former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, Henry Kissinger, Janet Yellen and Gary Cohn.
Mr. Bloomberg’s pitch in the FT:
“Davos has been around for a long time: It is a very big conference and it is focused on lots of world problems. This conference is focused on the world and China as an emerging power and how we all work together.”
Elsewhere in boldface-name endeavors: Richard Branson and Pierre Omidyar are backers of a financial instrument for nonprofit investments devised by NPX.
Cambridge Analytica’s troubles aren’t over
The Justice Department and the F.B.I. are seeking to question the defunct firm’s former employees and banks, the NYT reports. That’s likely to keep concerns about Facebook’s privacy policies and role in the 2016 elections in the news.
Elsewhere on Facebook: The company says it deleted 583 million fake accounts, and has reportedly pushed up its content-review budget. Mark Zuckerberg is snubbing Britain’s Parliament. Some nurses at San Francisco’s general hospital want his name off the building.
Elsewhere in tech: Inside Tencent’s frenetic deal-making. Masa Son has high hopes for SoftBank’s next Vision Fund, and Japan probably should, too. Lyft joined Uber in eliminating mandatory arbitration for sexual misconduct cases. The Pentagon wants a nuclear-grade cloud.
The quarterly investor holdings flyaround
• Investors’ holdings of Apple dropped by the most since the first quarter of 2008.
• Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway raised its stakes in Teva Pharmaceutical and Monsanto.
• Stanley Druckenmiller bet on Alibaba and sold out of Facebook.
Remembering Tom Wolfe’s chronicles of capital
The famed author died yesterday at 88. Business was one of his big subjects, as his obituaries noted:
• On “The Bonfire of the Vanities”: “a sweeping, bitingly satirical picture of money, power, greed and vanity in New York during the shameless excesses of the 1980s.” (NYT)
• “‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’ wickedly dissected the Wall Street money-grubbing crowd who thought they were rulers of the universe. ‘A Man In Full’ did the same for the American myth of the self-made mogul, as well as, perhaps, being a disguised story of himself.” (FT)
• On “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”: “one of the great chronicles of Silicon Valley culture — although it wasn’t clear that it was about Silicon Valley at the time.” (CNBC)
• Two Tesla energy executives, Arch Padmanabhan and Bob Rudd, have left. (Bloomberg)
• Two senior UBS bankers — Severin Brizay, its head of M. & A. for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Laurent Dhome, a private equity specialist — are reportedly joining Bank of America. (Bloomberg)
• The human resources start-up Namely ousted its C.E.O., Matt Straz, over unspecified misconduct claims. (Bloomberg)
The speed read
• Fox settled discrimination lawsuits involving 18 current or former employees for $10 million. (NYT)
• The messaging business WeChat is reportedly considering a service for bankers in China. (FT)
• Six more states sued the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma. That makes 22. (Reuters)
• How Qatar is rebuilding in the face of a blockade led by Saudi Arabia. (FT)
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News credit : Nytimes