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Apple weighs legal options against travel ban; Disney settles wage-fixing suit

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Fintech Intelligence Digital Newsletter: April 2021


Apple weighs legal options against travel ban; Disney settles wage-fixing suit

Top News

* Apple Inc. is considering a legal action against the Trump administration's executive order on immigration, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing an interview with company CEO Tim Cook. While declining to give details about possible legal options for the iPhone maker, Cook said he was also in contact with "very, very senior people in the White House" about why the order should be repealed.

* Animation workers settled an alleged wage-fixing lawsuit against Walt Disney Co., Pixar and Lucasfilm for $100 million, Variety reports. Filed in 2014, the suit accused the companies of violating antitrust laws by conspiring to fix wages of animation employees under non-poaching agreements.

Multichannel

* DISH Network Corp. struck a deal to acquire certain assets and operations of EchoStar Corp., including a 10% stake in over-the-top service Sling TV, in exchange for DISH's 80% economic interest in Hughes Retail Group, EchoStar's residential retail satellite broadband business. The transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter, will also give DISH wireless spectrum licenses covering four markets in the 28-GHz band and certain real estate properties, according to a news release.

* Lumos Networks Corp. acquired Charlotte, N.C.-based DC74 Data Centers for $23.5 million to $28.5 million. The price range for the three data centers depends on future growth earn-out projections, implying a multiple of about 8x to 10x adjusted EBITDA in 2016, the company said.

TV Networks

* Sky plc will continue to carry 12 Discovery Communications Inc. channels after the companies reached a new carriage deal. In addition to the 12 Discovery channels available on Sky, the namesake Discovery Channel (US) will also continue to be available on NOW TV after Jan. 31.

* The long-simmering carriage and legal battle between Univision Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. finally boiled over, with programming from the Spanish-language media giant going dark to the cable operator's subscribers shortly after midnight ET on Jan. 31. After being unable to come to terms, Univision pulled the signals from Charter systems for Univision (US)- and UniMás (US)-owned stations, as well as cable networks Galavision (US) and Univision Deportes (US), in key markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Texas, where the programmer said Charter is its largest distributor.

Technology

* Amazon.com Inc. is working to build a new air hub near Cincinnati on 900 acres of land for $1.49 billion, Bloomberg News reports, citing an airport spokeswoman. Situated at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the facility will support the online retail giant's fleet of planes that carry inventory around the U.S. for online shoppers.

Film & TV Programming

* Sony Corp. CEO Kazuo Hirai plans to spend two weeks a month at the company's film and TV studio in Culver City, Calif., in a bid to revive the division, Bloomberg News reports. The move comes after the company recorded an impairment charge against the goodwill of its Pictures segment of ¥112.1 billion in the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016.

Internet & OTT

* Match Group Inc agreed to sell all of its non-dating business to ST Unitas, a global education technology company. The transaction, financial terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to close in the first half of 2017, the company said in an SEC filing.

* Facebook Inc. is working on a video-focused app for set-top boxes, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the situation. The project will reportedly complement Facebook's push into premium content distribution, as the social media giant is courting media entities for rights to long-form TV-quality content.

* Facebook updated its metrics reports to include information on metrics, partnerships, products and research. According to a company filing, advertisers can now see cross-channel comparability and third-party verification, while the company also extended viewability measurement to more placements across Facebook's apps and services, and completed the integration of display viewability on Facebook with comScore Inc., Integral Ad Science and Moat.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.18% to 23,318.39, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.56% to 19,148.08.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.64% to 7,144.27, and the Euronext 100 had climbed 1.08% to 926.64.

On the macro front

The Bank Reserve Settlement report, the motor vehicle sales report, the MBA mortgage applications report, the ADP employment report, the Gallup U.S. job creation index, the Treasury refunding announcement, the PMI manufacturing index report, the construction spending report, the EIA petroleum status report and the FOMC meeting announcement are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: SoftBank mulls US$1B WeWork investment; Vodafone, Idea talk merger in India: SoftBank Group Corp. is reportedly considering an investment worth more than US$1 billion in shared-office space company WeWork, while Vodafone Group Plc confirmed reports that it is in talks to combine its India unit with local rival Idea Cellular.

Data Dispatch: Sony write-down follows another troubling year at the box office: Sony's movie business has been struggling since a 2014 hack reverberated through the company. A recent $1 billion write-down illustrates its troubles through 2016.

Data Dispatch: Deal-hungry Cable One changes seats at M&A table: On its path toward future growth, Cable One Inc. may soon come to a fork in the road. In one direction lies further purchases of smaller operators; in the other, the potential for Cable One to be not the acquirer but the target.

The Short Report: Meredith tops media short interest gainers in early January: Meredith Corp. posted the greatest increase in short interest relative to shares outstanding among SNL-covered media and entertainment companies between Dec. 30, 2016, and Jan. 13.

The Short Report: Live Ventures leads new media short interest decliners in early January: Live Ventures Inc. posted the largest decrease in short interest relative to shares outstanding among SNL-covered new media companies between Dec. 30, 2016, and Jan. 13.

The Short Report: Gogo tops communications short interest decliners in early January: Gogo Inc. saw the largest decline in short interest relative to shares outstanding among SNL-covered communications companies between Dec. 30, 2016, and Jan. 13.

Analysts: Vodafone India merger may trigger consolidation, new price war: Consolidation is firmly on the cards for the Indian telecom sector as Vodafone's merger discussions add to hyper-competition in a crowded market of more than 10 players.

Tech Time: Nokia, Orange team up to develop 5G-based services: In this feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a bi-weekly global roundup of the latest developments in technology.

Kwese TV goes live in Ghana, Zambia, Rwanda: In this monthly Africa and Middle East video spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different African and Middle Eastern markets.

The Daily Dose Europe: Sky, Discovery reach last-minute deal; MásMóvil Ibercom buys Llamaya: Sky has reached a last-minute carriage deal with Discovery Communications, avoiding a blackout, while MásMóvil Ibercom completed the acquisition of Llamaya mobile brand from More Minutes Comunications.

Featured research

Wireless Investor: How much more will auction bidders pay for preferred frequencies?: Bids increased 5%, or $921.0 million, over eight days and 17 rounds of bidding in the final segment of the 600 MHz forward auction. Once the current clock phase ends, the FCC plans to organize the assignment phase.

Broadcast Investor: Broker ranking, 2016: 2016 will be remembered as one of the hardest years in the world of broadcast deal making. With a quiet period for TV transactions due to the FCC Incentive Auction and with the lowest radio deal volume in 35 years, it is not surprising that the brokered deal volume did not measure up to previous years.

Broadcast Investor: Post-auction TV station M&A could hit record levels: TV station industry consolidation is expected to ramp up post-FCC incentive auction in 2017 as reverse auction losing bidders look to sell stations in the private markets and major station groups look to gain scale under a potential loosening of national ownership caps.

Broadcast Investor: TV station multiplatform analysis 2017 update: New audiences targeted: Based on our TV station-level analysis of content offerings as of Jan. 26, total live over-the-air broadcast channels for the 1,693 full-power digital, 180 Class A and 258 low-power stations in the U.S. increased to 6,109 from 5,905 in February 2016, and from 2,518 at the end of 2010. Our counts include digital multicasts and mobile TV.

Economics of Networks: Multichannel subscribers will soon be Cloo-less: A few weeks after NBCUniversal Media LLC opted to pull the plug on Esquire Network (US), the company will quietly shut down Cloo Network on Feb. 1, continuing to trim its cable network portfolio.

Recent earnings

Apple reports earnings beat, citing iPhone, Services growth: The company reported an earnings beat for the 2017 fiscal first quarter, singling out iPhone sales and App Store growth.

Sprint CFO: Consolidation among smaller players may be necessary: Sprint Corp. executives addressed some of the M&A possibilities that have been floated in the wake of the U.S. presidential election.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.