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Apple, Amazon in talks to invest in Saudi Arabia; Apple hit with 8 suits

Top News

* Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are holding talks with SAGIA, Saudi Arabia's foreign investment authority, to invest in the kingdom, Reuters reports, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter. While Apple is expected to strike a licensing deal for Apple stores by February 2018, talks with the online retailer are at an early stage. Apple's first retail outlet is expected to open in 2019.

* Apple is now facing eight lawsuits over claims that it slowed down iPhones to cover up poor battery performance, Reuters reports. The suits filed in U.S. District Courts in California, New York and Illinois seek class-action status on behalf of iPhone users across the U.S.

* As 2017 comes to a close, the pending deal between Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Tribune Media Co. remains a major piece of unfinished business at the Federal Communications Commission, leading observers to look for signs as to what may happen in the new year. Sinclair and Tribune are waiting on regulatory approval to close the $6.7 billion transaction, which would create a combined entity that owns more than 200 full-power TV stations nationwide covering U.S. homes across 108 markets.

TV Networks

* The National Football League ended plans for Sunday Night Football on NBC (US) on New Year's Eve, Deadline.com reports, citing a statement by NFL Senior Vice President Of Broadcasting Howard Katz. The game would have been the first scheduled showdown on New Year's Eve since 2006. Katz said canceling the game and scheduling all Week 17 games in the afternoon slots was the fairest thing to do from a "competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective."

* 21st Century Fox Inc.'s FX Network (US) picked up new dance musical series, called "Pose," from producer Ryan Murphy, Broadcasting & Cable reports. Set in the 1980s, the series will feature transgender actors in regular roles as it looks at several segments of life and society in New York.

Multichannel

* RCN Corp. could be preparing to file a federal complaint against Comcast Corp. after recently accusing the company of overcharging it for NBC broadcasts in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the New York Post reports. The move could result in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal Media LLC.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.90% to 29,863.71. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.56% to 22,783.98.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.14% to 7,631.42, while the Euronext 100 was down 0.04% to 1,041.59.

On the macro front

The U.S. international trade in goods report, the jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, the EIA petroleum status report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply report are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Apple sued in France over iPhone slowdown; Axel Springer eyes Israeli firm: Tech giant Apple is facing legal action in France after admitting to slowing down its older iPhone models, while Axel Springer SE is in talks to acquire Israel-based online price comparison portal Zap Group.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Google funds China's Chushou TV; Apple faces lawsuits for slowing old iPhones: Google Inc. participated in the series D funding round of Chinese game streaming platform Chushou TV, while Apple is facing lawsuits in South Korea for deliberately slowing down old iPhones.

M&A Replay: Amazon buys Blink; TEGNA to acquire Midwest Television's San Diego stations: Amazon.com acquired a startup that makes battery-powered connected home security cameras. TEGNA Inc. agreed to buy Midwest Television Inc.'s broadcasting stations in San Diego for $325 million in an all-cash deal.

M&A Replay: European deals: Liberty Global sells Austrian biz; NJJ Telecom, Iliad to buy eir: Liberty Global plc is selling its UPC Austria GmbH unit to Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile Austria GmbH, while a consortium led by NJJ Group's NJJ Telecom Europe is teaming up with French telco Iliad to acquire a majority stake in Irish operator eir.

Featured research

Economics of Internet: Facebook ad revenue continues to surge in US: Top digital ad firms in the U.S. saw yet another period of strong combined results in the third quarter, but Facebook Inc. and Google continued to be the primary beneficiaries.

Wireless Investor: Emerging Asia-Pacific poised for rapid 4G growth: China boasts the highest 4G penetration rate among emerging Asia-Pacific markets covered by Kagan, at 57.4% in year-end 2016, followed by Malaysia at 23.0% and Thailand at 16.5%.

Economics of Advertising: FOX Sports Ohio grabs November's top RSN ratings spot: FOX Sports Ohio (US) (in Cleveland-Akron-Canton) earned the top spot among regional sports networks in prime-time ratings in November, scoring a 2.49.

Economics of Advertising: NFL's ratings collapse continues in November: The NFL's TV ratings problem extended to November, with average ratings down year over year from weeks nine through 12, based on comScore TV Essentials data.

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