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Apple may end iTunes service; Hawaii conditionally clears T-Mobile/Sprint deal

Top News

* Apple Inc. is expected to announce the end of its iTunes service as it unveils new stand-alone music, TV and podcasts apps for Macbooks and desktop computers at the Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Variety reports. The iPhone maker is also expected to unveil new versions of its desktop and mobile operating systems at the event.

* The Hawaii Utility Commission has conditionally approved the proposed merger between T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp., Bloomberg News reports, citing a regulatory filing. The companies now only require approval from California and the U.S. Department of Justice to close the deal.

* Frontier Communications Corp.'s deal to sell its assets in four Northwestern states in the U.S. sent its shares soaring for the week ended May 31, marking the company's latest efforts to tackle its mounting debt. Meanwhile, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. stock dipped during the week following an analyst downgrade, which cited concerns about the company's content production.

Advertising

* Amazon.com Inc.'s advertising unit confirmed that it is buying bankrupt advertising company Sizmek Inc.'s Ad Server and Dynamic Creative Optimization assets and will continue serving the platforms' customers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Amazon said the two platforms will continue to operate separately from Amazon Advertising for now.

Internet & OTT

* The U.S. Justice Department said it is laying the groundwork for an antitrust investigation into Google LLC, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. Both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the DOJ share authority on antitrust investigations but have agreed for the law enforcement agency to go ahead with the investigation, according to the report. A task force is investigating how the Alphabet Inc. unit arranges search results, how it integrates its search engine with its other services and its advertising practices, The New York Times reported later that day, citing three people "with knowledge of the deliberations."

* Otter Media Holdings LLC CEO Tony Goncalves will now oversee the development of WarnerMedia's upcoming direct-to-consumer service as part of Otter Media's realignment under WarnerMedia Entertainment. Andy Forssell, most recently COO of Otter Media and former CEO of Hulu LLC, will serve as executive vice president and general manager of the new streaming service, according to a news release.

* Facebook Inc. is in "very early stages of conversations" with the U.S. derivatives regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, regarding the company's plans for a digital currency, Christopher Giancarlo, head of the CFTC, confirmed to London's Financial Times. The currency is expected to help Facebook members send money to one another and buy things not only on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp but also across the internet and outside of the internet globally.

* Amazon.com is launching its Prime Video Channels in Canada. Prime Video Channels will be available as paid monthly subscriptions from C$3.99 per month, with no long-term contracts and anytime cancellation, the company said.

Film & TV

* FX Networks LLC has tapped Eric Schrier to the newly created position of president of FX Entertainment and promoted Gina Balian to president of original programming at FX Entertainment, Variety reports, citing an official statement. As president of original programming at FX Entertainment, Nick Grad will continue to head scripted original programming alongside Balian, in addition to now overseeing the network's expansion into documentary films and televised series.

* Warner Bros.' "Godzilla: King Of The Monsters" topped the domestic box office for the May 31 weekend with $49.0 million, followed by Walt Disney Co.'s "Aladdin" at No. 2 with $42.3 million and Paramount's "Rocketman" at the third spot with $25 million, according to comScore Inc. Universal's "Ma" was No. 4 with $18.3 million, while Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" was No. 5 with $11.1 million.

* AT&T Inc. will add Locast's interactive app on its DIRECTV and U-verse platforms. Locast is a public service app that allows viewers with broadband-connected receivers to access to their local ABC (US), CBS (US), NBC (US), FOX (US) and other broadcast stations online, according to a news release.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.08% to 26,880.45, and the Nikkei 225 fell 0.92% to 20,410.88.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.39% to 7,133.74, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.39% to 1,018.09.

On the macro front

The PMI manufacturing index, the ISM manufacturing index and the construction spending 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.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Infineon to buy Cypress Semiconductor; Tele2 to sell Croatian business: Infineon Technologies AG agreed to buy Cypress Semiconductor Corp. for €9 billion, while Tele2 AB agreed to sell its Croatian business to United Group.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Trump to threaten UK over Huawei; Kakao files binding bid for game developer NXC: U.S. President Donald Trump will threaten to restrain intelligence sharing between Washington and the U.K. if the latter allows Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to build a part of the country's 5G network, while five companies including Kakao Corp. submitted binding offers for NXC Corp..

Data Dispatch: Godzilla's monstrous shadow to loom large over Aladdin's lamp at box office: "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" will likely steal the box office crown from Disney's live-action "Aladdin" reboot over the weekend of May 31.

The Best Of: Editor's picks: Boost Mobile attracts buyers; Frontier sells assets in 4 states: Stories about interested buyers lining up for Boost Mobile and analysts deeming Frontier's asset sales as temporary fix to long-term problem are featured in the editor's technology, media and telecommunications top picks for the week ended May 31.

The Best Of: Most read: Frontier selling assets in 4 states; Gogo building 5G network: Articles about Frontier's $1.35B cash deal to sell assets in 4 states and Gogo Inc. building an air-to-ground 5G network were among the most read in technology, media and telecommunications news for the week ended May 31.

Data Dispatch: Vodafone's debt-cutting disposals to go beyond New Zealand unit: Vodafone Group PLC's cell tower businesses across Europe, as well as its assets outside the region including in Africa, could be sold to reduce debt.

Featured research

Technology: Q1'19 CCAP market declines further as MSOs eye virtualization: Worldwide shipments of total DOCSIS and video quadrature amplitude modulation channels dropped again in the first quarter of 2019, both sequentially and year over year.

Economics of Networks: EVINE Live revives Shop HQ brand following 3 losing quarters: Home shopping network EVINE Live Inc. plans to change its name back to ShopHQ after disappointing first-quarter earnings results.

Wireless Investor: Fate of New T-Mobile may be spiraling into a whole new ballgame: The U.S. Department of Justice's insistence on a four national carrier wireless industry is blowing open the options T-Mobile and Sprint must consider to get their year-old merger attempt approved.

Economics of TV & Film: KBOX week 21: Summer box office is cooling down: The summer season is starting to slide after two weeks of box office declines. Total week 21 box office was down 7.9% from $254.6 million in 2018 to $234.4 million 2019. The summer season is now up by just 1.8% to $991.0 million.

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