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AT&T closes Time Warner deal; Apple could release a theatrical film

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AT&T closes Time Warner deal; Apple could release a theatrical film

Top News

* AT&T Inc. closed the acquisition of Time Warner Inc., bringing Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., HBO and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. under the former's leadership, according to a news release. "We're going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said. Time Warner's former chairman and CEO, Jeff Bewkes, will remain with the company as a senior adviser during the transition period.

* Apple Inc. is close to buying distribution rights to an animated movie from Ireland-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon, Bloomberg News reports, citing sources with knowledge of the talks between the companies. While details of the project remain undisclosed, the tech giant could opt for a theatrical release for the movie, one of the sources said.

* With few new major sports rights properties surfacing, rights deals for major league baseball, hockey, football and soccer games that are expiring within the next several years are expected to draw keen interest, including from the newly merged AT&T and Time Warner. S&P Global Market Intelligence spoke with industry insiders to learn more about the deal's potential impact on sports rights.

Technology

* The early hype of virtual reality and augmented reality may have faded but speakers at this year's AR & VR World in London believe the two technologies will play a long-term role in transforming their industries. Speaking during a panel at the annual tech conference, experts from the telecom, automotive, industrial and manufacturing sectors agreed that the future payoff of immersive tech could be substantial as VR and AR tools become easier to navigate.

* Nintendo Co. Ltd. drew massive crowds at its E3 2018 booth largely due to excitement over the Switch and new titles that will be launching on the device. The title generating the most buzz at the busy booth was "Super Smash Bros." "The enthusiasm for this franchise has always been high, but I think the main factor driving consumer interest to a new level this time around is simply the Nintendo Switch," Ken Jager, assistant manager of internal communications at Nintendo, told S&P Global Market Intelligence at the event.

Wireless

* T-Mobile US Inc. CEO John Legere has stepped down as president of the company. According to an SEC filing, the company's board tapped G. Michael Sievert to be the new president.

Internet & OTT

* Elliot Schrage, head of Facebook Inc.'s policy and communications, is leaving the company. In a Facebook post, Schrage said he will now start a "new chapter" in his life after working at the social-networking giant for more than a decade.

* Netflix Inc. picked up rights to "Dolemite is my Name!" a film based on the real-life story of Rudy Ray Moore. The movie, starring Eddie Murphy, will be released in 2019, the company said.

Programming

* Altice USA Inc. will offer the majority of games from the 2018 World Cup in the 4K format on Channel 200, Multichannel News reports. Subscribers will need a 4K TV and the Altice One all-services box to access the 4K programming.

* Discovery Inc. will move its global headquarters to Park Avenue in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, N.Y. The company said it will consolidate several of its existing New York offices and move its headquarters to 230 Park Ave. South, with a targeted move-in date beginning fall 2019 and continuing through mid-2020. The news comes nearly six months since Discovery announced plans to relocate its headquarters from Silver Spring, Md., to New York.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.43% to 30,309.49, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.50% to 22,851.75.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.75% to 7,707.44, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.15% to 1,076.62.

On the macro front

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the industrial production report, the consumer sentiment report, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count and the Treasury International Capital report are due out today.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: 'French Netflix' nears launch; Kinnevik to distribute MTG shares: France Télévisions SA, Groupe M6 and TF1 Group are set to launch a French-style Netflix, while Swedish investment firm Kinnevik AB proposed to distribute its shares in Modern Times Group to help expedite approval of the Tele2/Com Hem merger.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: ZTE seeks US$10.7B credit line; SoftBank in talks to invest more in WeWork: ZTE Corp. is looking to secure financing worth US$10.7 billion as it tries to recover from a crippling fight with U.S. regulators, while New York-based WeWork Cos. is in talks to receive a "multibillion-dollar investment" from SoftBank Group Corp.

Hires and Fires: Verizon CEO to retire; DC Entertainment loses president; Lasseter to leave Pixar: Lowell McAdam is retiring as CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment and president of Time Warner unit Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will leave the company.

Featured research

Economics of Networks: Comcast bid values Fox's cable networks at 12.8x cash flow: Comcast Corp.'s bid for 21st Century Fox Inc.'s assets has sparked new life into cable network M&A.

Economics of Networks: Comcast's $65B bid for Fox assets values RSNs at 15x cash flow multiple: Comcast has submitted a $65 billion all-cash bid for the same 21st Century Fox assets that Walt Disney Co. agreed to purchase.

Economics of Networks: Premium nets chronicle a slow Q1'18: Following a record end to 2017, when full-premium network units inched north of 111 million, the first quarter of 2018 was off to a sluggish start.

Multichannel Trends: Cable shares regain footing in early June; all eyes on vertical M&A: June private market valuation for a core group of five publicly traded U.S. cable operators.

Economics of TV & Film: Bidding war over Fox could spur titans to take a look at Paramount Pictures: Emboldened by the approval of the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner with no restrictions, and as Disney and Comcast battle over who gets to control 21st Century Fox, some media titans may start kicking the tires at Paramount Pictures.

Global Multichannel: Global markets update — Australia, India, Philippines, Bolivia: Kagan published updated Global Multichannel & Broadband analysis for four markets.

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