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Google buys smartwatch OS startup; Viacom, CBS end deal talks

Top News

* Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc. acquired smartwatch OS startup Cronologics for an undisclosed sum. According to a post on Cronologics' website, the startup will join Google's Android Wear division.

* Viacom Inc. discontinued talks about a potential merger with CBS Corp. The company also tapped Bob Bakish, who has led Viacom as acting president and CEO since Nov. 15, to take the role on a permanent basis, according to an official news release.

* Alphabet has halted its plans to develop a fully self-driving car in favor of partnerships with automakers to build an autonomous vehicle with traditional features for human drivers, The Information reports, citing sources familiar with the details. The move comes as the tech giant plans to spin off its self-driving car business as a stand-alone unit, which is currently under the company's research lab X.


* Apple Inc. is in talks to participate in a $100 billion funding round by SoftBank Group Corp., The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The iPhone maker has reportedly considered backing SoftBank with an investment of up to $1 billion.

* Microsoft Corp. launched a new Microsoft Ventures fund for investment in artificial intelligence companies. According to an official blog post, the software giant has invested in Element AI, an incubator and platform that helps organizations embrace an AI-first strategy, and also closed five other investments in the U.S. and one in Israel.

Internet & OTT

* Netflix Inc. canceled original series "Marco Polo" after two seasons, reports, citing a statement by Cindy Holland, vice president of original content at the company. The second season of the series premiered July 1 on Netflix.

* Nancy Lee, head of diversity at Google, is retiring from the company, reports. It remains unclear who will succeed Lee, who joined the company's legal team in 2006.

* Group Inc. agreed to buy Latin American technology company The deal, financial details of which were not disclosed, is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2017, the company said.


* Julie Laulis, president and COO of Cable One Inc., will succeed Tom Might as CEO of the company, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Might, who has been serving Cable ONE as CEO since 1994, will continue to serve as executive chairman, the company said.

* Discovery Communications Inc. invested in Batanga Media, an independent digital media and content company for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market. Discovery entered into a strategic partnership with Batanga, which also includes a commercial agreement, according to a news release.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.06% to 22,446.70, while the Nikkei 225 lifted 0.50% to 19,250.52.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.35% to 6,914.51, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.75% to 920.13.

On the macro front

The NFIB small business optimism index, the import and export prices report and the Redbook are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: WhatsApp, Skype to face stricter EU rules; Vivendi ups Mediaset stake: WhatsApp and Skype could soon face stricter EU security rules, similar to telecom operators, while Vivendi SA said it has crossed the 3% threshold of Mediaset SpA share capital, as it now owns 3.01% of the Italian media firm.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Apple considers joining SoftBank fund; Honda partners with Grab: Apple reportedly held talks to invest up to US$1 billion in SoftBank's US$100 billion tech fund, while Honda made an investment and plans to collaborate with Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab.

No merger for Viacom, CBS: Less than three months ago, Sumner and Shari Redstone thought CBS and Viacom should combine. Now, the father and daughter pair have changed their minds, leading many investors to wonder what the future may hold for the two media companies.

Briefing Room: NBC back in the hunt for Golden Globe awards; HBO, FX lead nominations: Recovering from a year with zero awards, NBC (US), which will televise the Golden Globe awards ceremony Jan. 8, earned three nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for its multi-generational family series "This Is Us."

M&A Replay: Microsoft closes LinkedIn deal; Lions Gate completes Starz purchase: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. media and communications deal announcements and completions from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9.

M&A Replay: European deals through Dec. 10: Microsoft, América Móvil, LinkedIn: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Dec. 2 to Dec. 10.

Samsung wins ruling over Apple; Obama blocks Chinese tech deal: In this biweekly Asia-Pacific Regulatory Spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of significant recent regulatory events in the Asia-Pacific region.

Featured research

Economics of Networks: College sports execs see opportunity in changing media landscape: Distribution models were clearly on the minds of executives attending the 2016 Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum held Dec. 7 and 8 in New York, with some wondering how much more sports content will go directly to the consumer.

Multichannel Trends: Surge at Comcast sends programming costs to record high: Programming expenses spiked again for the core U.S. multichannel distributors in the third quarter, further validating the industry consensus on the outlay's trajectory.

Best of SNL: SNL Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Here are the editor's top picks for the week ended Dec. 9.

Multichannel Trends: Cable shares on track for largest gains in three years: Roughly two weeks away from year-end, the top publicly traded cable operators are poised to log their largest annual share gains since 2013, strengthening their M&A currency power.

Economics of Internet: State of Polish online video: Subscription: Over the past few years, the subscription video over-the-top market in Poland has showed signs of growth, albeit still not at the average level of many Western European countries.

Wireless Investor: Vision Zero: Verizon takes on making Boston 'smart': At the Smart Cities Summit in Boston on Dec. 6, Verizon Wireless announced its partnership with the City of Boston to implement the "Vision Zero" concept.

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