* Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. struck a tentative deal to appoint an executive team that would lead the combined company in the event of a merger, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish would lead the combined entity as chief executive, and CBS CFO Christina Spade could become financial chief of the new company, a source reportedly said. CBS President and acting CEO Joe Ianniello would oversee all of CBS' assets at the merged company, according to the source.
* Fox Corp. agreed to buy a 67% stake in Credible Labs Inc., a U.S.-based consumer finance marketplace operator, for about $265 million. Post deal completion, Fox Corp. will invest up to $75 million in Credible Labs over about two years to support the company's growth, according to a news release.
* Texas has joined other states' lawsuit to block the proposed merger between Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc., Multichannel News reports, citing a statement by the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. In the statement, Paxton said the "bargain struck by the U.S. Department of Justice is not in the best interest of working Texans," who require affordable mobile wireless telecommunication services.
* In related news, a New York Southern District Court has pushed back the start of a trial in the state attorneys general lawsuit against the Sprint/T-Mobile deal to Dec. 9 from Oct. 7, Multichannel News reports, citing a source familiar with the initial status hearing in the New York court on Aug. 1. The delay means the deal will not close until 2020 unless a settlement is reached.
* Facebook Inc. is aiming to unify its apps by adding its name to its Instagram Inc. and WhatsApp Inc. brands, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing multiple sources. Specifically, the social media giant would include a "from Facebook" tag to Instagram and WhatsApp brands.
Technology & Wireless
* As the U.S. government's strict trade restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. show signs of easing, the world is still of two minds about the Chinese technology equipment supplier. The U.S. Commerce Department may decide this week to grant licenses to U.S. companies wanting to do business with Huawei, Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly said.
* Analysts are working to figure out how to think about Apple Inc.'s future in China during a week that included better-than-expected results in the region from the iPhone-maker followed by a new tariff announcement from the White House. Apple on July 30 reported quarterly sales in China of $9.16 billion, down 10.4% sequentially from the March quarter.
* Technology companies led gains in the S&P 500 index in July. This helped push both the communications services and information technology subsectors higher as Twitter Inc., Facebook and Alphabet Inc. all posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. Communications stocks posted a total return of 3.4% in July. Information technology rose 3.3%, helping the broader S&P 500 to a 1.4% advance, its second consecutive monthly gain.
* DISH Network Corp.'s $5 billion deal to acquire wireless assets from Sprint and T-Mobile will transform the satellite company into a nationwide U.S. wireless operator, but analysts say it is unclear whether DISH needs — or can afford — all the assets it is buying. As part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to divest myriad wireless assets to DISH.
* Universal's "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" topped the domestic box office for the weekend of Aug. 2 with $60.8 million, followed by Walt Disney Co.'s "The Lion King" at No. 2 with $38.2 million and Sony Corp.'s "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" at the third spot with $20.0 million, according to comScore Inc. Sony's "Spider-Man: Far From Home" was No. 4 with $7.8 million, while Disney's "Toy Story 4" took the fifth spot with $7.2 million.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, Hang Seng dropped 2.85% to 26,151.32, while the Nikkei 225 shed 1.74% to 20,720.29.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 2.18% to 7,245.47, and the Euronext 100 lost 2.19% to 1,028.29.
On the macro front
The US Services purchasing managers' index, the Institute for Supply Management nonmanufacturing index and the TD Ameritrade investor movement index are 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.
The Daily Dose Europe: Telia CEO resignation; Cellnex interest in Arqiva unit; US on UK digital tax: Johan Dennelind is stepping down as Telia Co. AB's president and CEO, Cellnex Telecom SA is eyeing the towers business of U.K. company Arqiva Ltd., and the U.S. government has urged Britain to scrap the country's proposed digital tax.
M&A Replay: Vodafone completes sale of NZ unit; ByteDance acquires UK-based AI music startup: Vodafone Group PLC completed the NZ$3.4 billion sale of its unit Vodafone New Zealand Ltd., while Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd. acquired Jukedeck Ltd., a U.K.-based artificial intelligence music startup.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Foxconn factory sale; Sony's share buyback program; Tencent, Nintendo deal: Foxconn Technology Group Co. Ltd. is looking to sell its US$8.8 billion liquid crystal display factory, Sony repurchased ¥4.25 billion of common stock throughout July, while Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Nintendo Co. Ltd. struck a deal to launch Switch games in China.
Data Dispatch: Summer box office speeds up with Fast & Furious spinoff: Universal Pictures will launch a spinoff of its profitable Fast & Furious franchise over the weekend of Aug. 2, adding some momentum to a summer box office recovery that has so far been led by Disney.
Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: As Chinese tech IPO market stalls, investors seek other exit strategies: Tech companies seeking IPOs in Greater China are better to hold their plans for a more optimal timing instead of rushing for cash-out, while early-stage investors can consider other methods to exit, such as M&A, experts said.
Data Dispatch: S&P 500 IT sector's effective tax rates drop since 2017 tax reform: Chart Watch: The median effective tax rate for companies in the S&P 500 information technology sector dropped to 15.5% in the first quarter of 2019 from 21.1% in the same period of 2017.
Economics of Networks: HBO reigns atop the premium network ratings throne in Q2: With a huge assist from the final season of "Game of Thrones," HBO (US) claimed the Nielsen Holdings PLC ratings crown for premium networks during the second quarter.
Sprint reports fiscal Q1 loss, looks ahead to T-Mobile merger approval: Sprint reported smaller-than-expected net losses in the quarter ended June 30, but "structural headwinds" remain that make the company's pending merger with T-Mobile the best outcome for all stakeholders, said Sprint CEO Michel Combes.
Bharti Airtel reports loss due to shift to 4G, Africa IPO: The Indian telco's average revenue per user increased for the second consecutive quarter but overall takings were hit by the switch from 3G to 4G.
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