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US Media & Comm management moves through Aug. 9: Amazon, Google, Disney

Media industry moves

* Walt Disney Co. said Aug. 8 that it agreed to buy an additional 42% stake in video-streaming company BAMTech LLC in a deal worth $1.58 billion. Disney previously bought a 33% stake in BAMTech under an agreement that included an option to acquire a majority stake in BAMTech in the future. Disney is also set to launch its ESPN-branded multisport video streaming service in early 2018, followed by a new Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019. Upon closing of the transaction, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger will serve as chairman of the BAMTech board. BAMTech CEO Michael Paull will report to Disney Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Mayer. John Skipper, ESPN (US) president and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, will manage the new ESPN-branded service.

* Uber Technologies Inc. co-founder and board member Garrett Camp assured employees that Travis Kalanick will not return to the company as CEO, Recode reported Aug. 7, citing an email sent to staff. Camp said the company is looking to hire "a new world class CEO to lead Uber."

* Google Inc. fired James Damore, the engineer who wrote an internal memo on gender inequality, Reuters reported Aug. 8. In July, Damore authored a memo entitled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," in which he argued, among others, that the Alphabet Inc. unit had a "politically correct monoculture" that ignored differences between the sexes. Damore said he was dismissed for "perpetuating gender stereotypes."

* A+E Networks, jointly owned by Hearst Corp. and Disney, promoted Evan Silverman to executive vice president of global digital products and platforms, the company said Aug. 7. Silverman will oversee digital product, technology and design teams for the company's channels, including A&E (US), History (US), Lifetime Television (US), FYI (US) and LMN (US).

* SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. tapped Marc Swanson to be CFO and treasurer of the company, the company said Aug. 7. Swanson had been serving in these positions on an interim basis since Peter Crage stepped down as CFO to take a senior-level financial position at another company. Elizabeth Gulacsy succeeded Swanson as chief accounting officer of SeaWorld.

* Tremor Video Inc. on Aug. 7 completed the sale of its buyer platform to Taptica International Ltd., a global mobile advertising technology platform, for $50 million. In connection with the sale of the business, Lauren Wiener, Tremor Video's president of buyer platform, resigned from the company.

* Eric Bolling, a host and contributor at FOX News Channel (US), was suspended following accusations of sexual harassment, multiple news outlets reported Aug. 5. A recent Huffington Post report said Bolling sent inappropriate messages to colleagues.

* Sports-first streaming TV service fuboTV said Aug. 3 that it hired Ben Grad to the newly created position of North American head of content strategy and acquisition. Grad will head content acquisition strategy, packaging, affiliate relations and contract negotiations with fuboTV's North American content partners. Moreover, he will oversee fuboTV's development of a new analytics platform. Grad worked for 10 years at Verizon Communications Inc., most recently as executive director of content strategy and acquisition.

* GSN (US) promoted Mark Feldman to president and CEO, the network said Aug. 3. Feldman replaces David Goldhill, who earlier this year announced his departure after serving as CEO for 10 years. Feldman, who has been with GSN since 2008, most recently was the network's executive vice president and general counsel. Sony Corp. and AT&T Inc. own GSN.

* CBS Corp. said Aug. 3 that it shuffled its advertising sales organization, promoting Jo Ann Ross to president and chief advertising revenue officer. In addition to her new role, Ross will continue running CBS Television Network's sales team in various operations. Reporting to Ross will be David Lawenda, who was named executive vice president of digital sales and sales strategy, and Dave Morris, who was named executive vice president of advanced advertising and client partnerships.

* Discovery Communications Inc. joined forces with TEN: The Enthusiast Network to form an automotive media company in the U.S., according to an Aug. 3 news release. The venture, to be called TEN: A Discovery Communications Co. upon closing of the transaction, will bring together Discovery-owned Velocity (US) and TEN's entire automotive digital portfolio, direct-to-consumer, social and live event portfolio, including industry leading brands Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Roadkill, Automobile and more than 20 others. Discovery Communications Chief Commercial Officer Paul Guyardo will serve as CEO, and chairman of the new venture's board, in addition to his existing responsibilities. Leading the new venture will be Scott Dickey, president of TEN, and Bob Scanlon, who will be appointed president of Velocity and TEN Video Content.

* Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. said Aug. 3 that it appointed Gene George executive vice president of worldwide distribution. George, who will be responsible for international television distribution, previously was executive vice president of Starz worldwide distribution.

* Inc. is opening its first warehouse in Australia as the company readies the launch of its retail operations in the country, Reuters reported Aug. 3. The facility is expected to create "hundreds of new roles" and open up business opportunities in line with the upcoming rollout of the Amazon Marketplace service. The company would immediately begin recruitment for operations managers, pickers, packers, systems technicians, human resources specialists and other roles, reported Aug. 3.

Communications industry moves

* Cox Communications Inc. said Aug. 9 that it closed the acquisition of Blueprint RF, a managed network solutions provider serving major hotel brands and hotel properties across the U.S. Blueprint RF co-founder and CEO Ron Peterson and his team will join Cox and will operate as part of Cox Business' New Business Ventures.

* Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai tapped Jim Balaguer to serve as deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, the agency said Aug. 4. Balaguer has been serving as an associate director and senior legislative analyst in the Office of Legislative Affairs since 2010.