* Tribune Publishing Co. had offered to restart merger talks with Gannett Co. Inc. before MNG Enterprises Inc. approached the USA Today publisher, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. While Gannett executives did not show much interest in the approach at the time, the company's board is expected to reconsider the matter, the sources said. Tribune is still reportedly interested in having talks with Gannett.
* Apple Inc. will reduce hiring for some divisions amid weaker-than-expected iPhone sales and missed revenue forecast for the fiscal 2019 first-quarter revenue, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources familiar with the details. The announcement was made at a company meeting earlier this month by Apple CEO Tim Cook, the sources said.
* The longest U.S. government shutdown in history is adding a headwind to the rollout of next-generation wireless networks and devices during a year widely considered crucial in the global race to 5G, telecom industry insiders said. U.S. policymakers have sought to speed private sector 5G deployment efforts by easing regulations on infrastructure.
* Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. launched an ad-supported national streaming service that combines local news and content from various programming genres. The streaming service, named STIRR, will offer access to 20 national networks at launch, including NASA TV (US), FailArmy and CONtv, according to a news release.
* Apple has signed up Jason Katims, known for creating shows such as "Parenthood," "Roswell" and "Rise," for a multiyear overall deal, Variety reports. Katims and his True Jack Productions banner will remain at Universal TV until this summer when his current deal expires with the company.
* Netflix Inc. has picked up rights to "The Devil All the Time," a movie adaptation of Donald Ray Pollock's 2011 novel by the same name. The movie features Tom Holland, Chris Evans, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson, the company said.
* In more Netflix news, the streaming giant ordered a new comedy series, called "Space Force." The workplace comedy is centered on the people tasked with creating a sixth branch of the armed services, the company said. Steve Carell, who co-created the series, will star and executive produce as well.
Regulation & Policy
* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is facing a criminal investigation from U.S. federal prosecutors for stealing trade secrets from U.S. businesses, including the technology behind a robotic testing device used by T-Mobile US Inc., The Wall Street Journal reports. The report, citing anonymous sources, also claims that the probe is far along and could lead to an indictment soon.
* In response to growing calls to level the regulatory playing field between internet platforms and public service broadcasters in the U.K., a top official with the country's media watchdog said new legislation is needed to grant it the authority to expand rules designed to protect young viewers.
* Sprint Corp. has ended arrangements with data aggregators following a recent report highlighting the sale of mobile location data by third-party aggregators, a company spokesperson confirmed. The original report, released Jan. 8 by Vice Media's Motherboard, said T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T Inc. are "selling access to their customers' location data, and that data is ending up in the hands of bounty hunters and others not authorized to possess it, letting them track most phones in the country."
* IAC/InterActiveCorp and its subsidiary Match Group Inc. have accused Tinder Inc. co-founder Sean Rad of secretly copying company files and other proprietary information, Reuters reports. In a lawsuit filed in a Manhattan, New York, court, the companies are seeking nearly $250 million in damages, which they said represented "the portion of the equity compensation Rad received but that he was not entitled to by virtue of his wrongdoing." The suit comes six months after Tinder founders Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen, along with executives and early employees, filed a lawsuit against IAC and Match Group.
* Facebook Inc. removed more Pages, groups and accounts that may have been involved in "coordinated inauthentic behavior." Facebook discovered that two operations originated in Russia, one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, said in an official post.
* Microsoft Corp. will spend $500 million on affordable housing in and around Seattle. The move is aimed at preserving existing affordable housing stock, developing new supply and collaborating with nonprofits to take on the affordable housing crisis in the Puget Sound region and the eastside of King County, Microsoft said in a release.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.54% to 26,755.63, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.20% to 20,402.27.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.52% to 6,827.00 and the Euronext 100 was down 0.26% to 934.70.
On the macro front
The U.S. Housing starts report, the jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
The Daily Dose Europe: OTE to sell Telekom Albania; Facebook to enforce advertisement rules in Europe: OTE agreed to sell its stake in Telekom Albania Sh.A., while Facebook will implement its political advertisement rules in Ukraine and the European Union.
Netflix to regulate Indian content; Hotstar to boost original content spend: Netflix plans to self-regulate content streamed on its platform in India to prevent potential government censorship, while Star India Pvt. Ltd.'s video streaming service Hotstar will invest 1.2 billion rupees for original content.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Huawei target of US trade secrets theft probe; India's Byju's buys Osmo: Federal prosecutors are investigating Huawei Technologies for allegedly stealing trade secrets from U.S. business partners, while Indian online tutoring startup Byju's has acquired U.S.-based playful learning system Osmo.
Global Multichannel: Asia-Pacific consumers embrace ultra-fast broadband as fiber rollout takes off: The ongoing shift toward fiber-to-the-premises-based fixed broadband technology by major ISPs across the Asia-Pacific region has remarkably improved broadband speed in both advanced and emerging markets.
Technology: 5G looms as component shortages constrict broadband CPE market in Q3'18: Component shortages for critical parts continued to affect the customer premises equipment market in the third quarter of 2018 as 5G continues to affect future plans for most manufacturers.
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