* The boards of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. are set to meet in the week of March 26 to discuss valuations of both companies for a potential merger, Variety reports. The deal, which is expected to be an all-cash transaction, will see CBS Corp. as the acquiring entity and CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves leading the combined entity.
* As expected, Grab purchased Uber Technologies Inc.'s operations in Southeast Asia. As part of the acquisition, Uber will take a 27.5% stake in Grab and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab's board, the company said. Also, Grab will integrate Uber's ridesharing and food delivery business in the region into its existing multi-modal transportation and fintech platform.
* Facebook Inc.'s shares plummeted as the company faced continued backlash from investors and legislators concerned about the mishandling of user data. Meanwhile, AT&T Inc. kicked off its legal battle with the U.S. government in a long-awaited antitrust case.
* Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook called for "calm heads" and more open trade, amid the heated rhetoric over tariffs between the U.S. and China, Reuters reports. China has threatened the U.S. with plans to impose a 15% tariff on up to $3 billion of U.S. imports, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff plans on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports.
* Singapore-based Broadcom Ltd.'s shareholders approved the company's plan to re-domicile in the U.S. at a March 23 meeting. The company expects the process to complete on April 4 after close of trading, subject to approval from Singapore's high court regarding the statutory arrangements in the country to implement the redomiciliation, according to a news release.
* Elon Musk has had the Facebook pages for Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. deleted amid the social network's data breach scandal. The pages disappeared shortly after the CEO of the two companies exchanged tweets with users who suggested the removal of his companies' official Facebook profiles, London's Financial Times reports.
Internet & OTT
* Facebook dismissed reports that it collected the content of users' call and test messages data without consent, TechCrunch.com reports, citing a company post. The social networking giant clarified that users do get an option to upload contacts along with call and text history when they sign up for Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android but that does not mean that it sells that data or records the content of calls and text messages.
* Universal's "Pacific Rim Uprising" topped the domestic box office for the March 25 weekend with $28 million, followed by Walt Disney Co.'s "Black Panther" at No. 2 with $16.7 million and Roadside Attractions' "I Can Only Imagine" at the third spot with $13.8 million, according to comScore Inc. Paramount's "Sherlock Gnomes" was No. 4 with $10.6 million, while Warner Bros.' "Tomb Raider" slipped to No. 5 with $10.4 million.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.79% to 30,548.77. The Nikkei 225 added 0.72% to 20,766.10. In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.45% to 6,952.81, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.27% to 999.02.
On the macro front
Chicago Fed National Activity Index and the Dallas Fed manufacturing survery are due out today.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: China cracks down on video spoofs; Reliance to acquire stake in Saavn: China directed online video sites to ban video spoofs as part of an intensified crackdown on content, while Reliance Industries Ltd. is buying a stake in New York-based music streaming service Saavn LLC and merge it with its Jio Music app.
The Daily Dose Europe: UPC Polska cancels Multimedia Polska deal; MTG to split company into two: UPC Polska LLC will not push through with its planned acquisition of Multimedia Polska S.A., while Modern Times Group's board agreed to move Nordic Entertainment Group into a separate company.
Data Dispatch: New 'Black Panther' challenger rises from 'Pacific Rim': "Pacific Rim Uprising" will look to finally unseat "Black Panther" at the top of the box office during the weekend of March 23.
The Best Of: Media & Comm, most read: AT&T/Time Warner trial starts; MGM CEO leaves: Stories about DOJ's AT&T/Time Warner Inc. trial, a new football league and IndyCar deal are included in the most read stories for the week ended March 23.
The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: FTC to probe Facebook; Zuckerberg breaks silence: Stories about an FTC probe of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg's comments on the Cambridge Analytica LLC scandal and Hallmark's snowy presentation via Facebook Live are among the editor's top five picks for the week ended March 23.
Economics of Internet: State of Austria online video: Subscription: In Austria, the adoption of streaming video services has not yet reached the levels found in other European markets, such as the U.K. and the Nordics, and is in line with the low multichannel penetration of 50.8% in 2017.
Economics of TV & Film: Expansion and acquisitions boost 2017 exhibitor results: The publicly traded exhibitors have reported their final results. Acquisitions bolstered the results for some exhibitors, while growth in average ticket prices helped to offset the admissions decline for others.
Economics of Networks: The Sports Report: The DVR-proof nature of televised sports incentivize national sports networks like ESPN (US) to pay leagues like the NBA and NFL an exorbitant amount of money to broadcast games and keep them away from competitors like FOX Sports 1 (US).
Technology: 1 Gig take rates strong, industry plots course for broadband enhancements: Mediacom Communications Corp.'s surprising 1 Gbps take rates, the wait for high bandwidth consumer use cases, and tough-to-gauge network usage trends topped themes from the recent Cable Next-Gen Technologies and Strategies event.
Economics of Networks: Surcharges increasingly used by multichannel operators to boost video margins: There is no question that margins on video are slim and have been getting even slimmer in recent years.
Global Multichannel: Hughes unveils plans for LatAm expansion and Jupiter 3 launch at Satellite 2018: Hughes Communications Inc. revealed plans to add five countries to its Latin American footprint for 2018. Its Jupiter 3 satellite project is expected to increase capacity and throughput.
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