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DISH to buy EchoStar's BSS business; chipmakers, Google cut ties with Huawei

Top News

* DISH Network Corp. struck a deal to buy EchoStar Corp.'s broadcast satellite service business in an all-stock, tax-free transaction valued at about $800 million. Under the deal, EchoStar will transfer operations and other assets that comprise the company's BSS business, including nine direct broadcast satellites, licensing for the 61.5-degree orbital slot, and select real estate properties to DISH in exchange for about 22.9 million shares of DISH stock that will be distributed to EchoStar shareholders.

* T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. are working on concessions to win regulatory approval for their proposed merger, Bloomberg News reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The concessions, which could be announced as early as this week, will reportedly include asset sales, a three-year buildout of their 5G network and rural-service guarantees.

* Chipmakers, including Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc., have joined Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC in suspending ties with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Bloomberg News reports. The move comes after the U.S. blacklisted the Chinese technology company. Google recently suspended some of its business with Huawei that involves the transfer of hardware, software and technical services, except those available through open source licensing.

* Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. has sought $5.5 billion for Starz (US) cable channel from CBS Corp., Reuters reports, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter. Lions Gate made the counteroffer after CBS Corp.'s Interim CEO Joe Ianniello made an informal offer of about $5 billion for Starz, which Lions Gate executives turned down for being too low.

Film & Programming

* Live Nation Entertainment Inc. has acquired Los Angeles-based concert promoter Spaceland Presents for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes the purchase of Spaceland's Los Angeles-area venues, according to a news release.

* ABC (US) has pulled the plug on syndicated game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" after a 17-year run, Variety reports, citing a spokesperson for the show. ABC first aired the show in 1999 before shifting to syndication in 2002.

* Hulu LLC has bought U.S. rights to "Untouchable," a feature documentary about disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein, Variety reports. The film, directed by Ursula Macfarlane, premiered at Sundance.

* Boston-based regional sports network NESN has picked up rights to broadcast 23 Connecticut Sun WNBA games in 2019 on NESN and NESNplus, Broadcasting & Cable reports, citing an official statement. NESN is the TV home of the Boston Red Sox and Bruins and is owned by those teams' owners.

* Lions Gate's "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum" topped the domestic box office for the May 17 weekend with $57.0 million, followed by Walt Disney Co.'s "Avengers: Endgame" at No. 2 with $29.4 million and Warner Bros.' "Pokemon Detective Pikachu" at the third spot with $24.8 million, according to comScore Inc. Universal's "A Dog's Journey" was No. 4 with $8 million, while United Artists Releasing's "The Hustle" was No. 5 with $6.0 million.


* Rapidly escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China took a toll on some big tech names — including Apple Inc. and Intel Corp. — for the week ended May 17, while Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. stock also saw movement amid updates to the pending merger between the two wireless carriers. On May 10, the U.S. raised tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports to 25% and promised more tariffs to come. China hit back on May 13 by imposing levies of up to 25% on $60 billion of U.S. imports beginning in June.

* In the wake of recent U.S. government actions to prevent future use of telecommunications equipment from certain international sources, security experts said risks remain for rural carriers continuing to use equipment from Huawei Technologies. However, removing it may not be a top priority for the government. On May 15, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that declared a national emergency to prevent the acquisition of information and communications equipment from countries posing a national security threat. On the same day, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it was placing Huawei and its affiliates on its "entity list," which bans the sale or transfer of U.S. technology to anyone on the list without government approval.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.57% to 27,787.61. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.24% to 21,301.73.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.74% to 7,293.91, and the Euronext 100 was down 1.13% to 1,047.06.

On the macro front

Chicago Fed National Activity Index is 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 Best Of: Most read: NBCU touts streaming service; T-Mobile weighs prepaid divestiture: Articles about NBCUniversal Media LLC's streaming service and WarnerMedia's programming strategy were among the most read in Technology, Media & Telecommunications news for the week ended May 17.

The Best Of: Editor's picks: Apple antitrust suit moves forward; CBS unveils new programs: Articles about an Apple lawsuit and a new programming slate at CBS are among those highlighted in the editor's technology, media and telecommunications top picks for the week ended May 17.

Data Dispatch: 'Avengers' to take a hit from 'John Wick': If the third "John Wick" film performs at the high end of expectations, the movie may succeed in knocking Marvel's "Avengers: Endgame" out of the No. 1 seat at the weekend box office. The superhero title has held the top spot for three weeks running.

Data Dispatch EMEA: Europe's continental divide in internet ad spending to grow through 2021: Growth is set to continue in Western Europe, while it slows elsewhere. Analysts say mobile and internet-connected devices will play a vital role in driving both internet usage and digital ad spending throughout the continent.

The Daily Dose Europe: Banijay, Endemol Shine end deal talks; Google faces antitrust probe in Italy: Banijay Group SAS ends deal talks with Endemol Shine Group, while Italy's regulator began investigating Google's alleged abuse of a dominant market position in operating systems for smart devices.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Google suspends some business with Huawei; US mulling scaling back Huawei ban: Google has suspended some business with Huawei in the wake of U.S. restrictions, while U.S. officials are considering temporarily scaling back restrictions on Huawei so it could service its existing customers, according to Reuters.

Featured research

Economics of Networks: Qurate retail revenue falls across segments in Q1: Products under the home category, the company's largest by revenue, fell 6.5% in the quarter to $679 million, as gardening and fitness underperformed.

Consumer Insights: DIRECTV NOW user profile, 2019: In Kagan's 2019 MediaCensus survey, we asked former DIRECTV NOW subscribers why they dropped the service, which has seen decreasing subscriber numbers for two consecutive quarters.

Global Multichannel: Viacom expands global footprint with mobile partnerships, Pluto TV: While most major TV programmers allocate resources on the launch of their own direct-to-consumer services, Viacom has been focusing on a global distribution strategy that prioritizes partnerships with a wide range of platforms to create growth.

Global Multichannel: TV distribution issues drove QVC's decision to exit France: Gaining favorable TV carriage was one of the biggest challenges that pushed parent company Qurate Retail Group Inc. to shutter its QVC Inc. operations in France, according to President and CEO Michael George.

Economics of Internet: Apple TV Channels joins other OTT aggregators from Amazon, Roku: After years of speculation about Apple's video ambitions, Apple TV Channels officially launched on May 13 and joined other existing U.S. OTT aggregators from Amazon, Roku and VRV.

Wireless Investor: Infrastructure expansion, unlimited plans bolster 4G in Colombia: The prospect of expansion could further stretch mobile network operators in Colombia that have their hands full between staying liquid for the 700MHz band sale in October and competing in an "Unlimited" postpaid plan price war.

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