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Media group offers to buy Gannett; Apple to unveil 3 new iPhones this fall


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Media group offers to buy Gannett; Apple to unveil 3 new iPhones this fall

Top News

* MNG Enterprises Inc. offered to acquire USA Today publisher Gannett Co. Inc. for $12 per share in cash, confirming an earlier report. In a letter to Gannett's board, MNG Enterprises, also known as Digital Media First, urged Gannett to start talks regarding a potential merger. MNG also called on Gannett to hire an investment bank for a review of its strategic alternatives, including a potential sale. Furthermore, MNG wants Gannett to halt its push into digital acquisitions, as well as to a create a "feasible, strategic and financial path" forward prior to hiring a new CEO.

* Apple Inc. is mulling plans to release three new iPhones this fall, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. The tech giant is expected to unveil new features such as a triple rear camera for the highest-end model and a double rear camera for the two other models, the people said.

* At one of the world's biggest technology trade shows, cybersecurity — and how unprepared most consumers and even regulators are to address it — emerged as a key theme at various panel discussions interspersed with flashy new product announcements. At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, analysts, security professionals and even some executives acknowledged that more regulation was likely necessary, but many expressed concerns about the ability of legislators to effectively guide cybersecurity strategy as a "tsunami" of poorly secured connected devices hit the market.

TV Networks

* Viacom Inc. is considering plans to sell a majority stake in some of its China operations, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The company reportedly has held talks with at least one Chinese entity, with the discussions involving the potential sale of a majority share in Viacom channel brands such as MTV and Nickelodeon in China.

* Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC reached a deal with Megyn Kelly, former host of the "Megyn Kelly Today" show, regarding the latter's exit from NBC (US), which includes a $30 million payout, reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. The decision comes more than two months after Kelly's morning show was canceled, following her remarks on blackface Halloween costumes.

* CBS Corp. has renewed its partnership with Nielsen Holdings PLC for national, digital and local audience measurement, the companies announced. The renewal covers CBS (US), CBS Television Distribution, Showtime Networks, Smithsonian Channel (US), POP (US), CBS Sports Network (US) and CBS' 27 owned-and-operated local television stations.

* New Fox, the company to be spun off in connection with 21st Century Fox Inc.'s merger with Walt Disney Co., does not intend to bid for any of the regional sports networks that Disney may sell to win U.S. Justice Department's approval for the 21st Century Fox entertainment assets. Fox Corp. said in an SEC filing that it intends to commence preliminary discussions with investors in connection with a potential financing consisting of senior unsecured notes.

* FX Network (US) and AT&T Inc.'s HBO (US) scored five awards each to tie for the top spot at the Critics Choice Awards, followed by Amazon Studios at No. 2 with four awards, Multichannel News reports. FX series "The Americans" tied with Inc.-owned studio's comedy series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" for the most Critics Choice wins with three. Netflix Inc. series "BoJack Horseman" won an award for the best animated series.

* CBS Corp. plans to capture Super Bowl LIII action with 115 cameras, including 4K and 8K cameras, RapidTV News reports. The cameras will offer additional live game camera angles, super slow-motion replays and HD close-ups.

* The final season of HBO's fantasy series "Game of Thrones" will premiere on April 14, according to a new teaser trailer released by the premium network. The final season will feature six episodes.


* RingCentral Inc. has agreed to buy Connect First, a cloud-based outbound/blended customer engagement platform for midsize and enterprise companies, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter, and is estimated to have no material financial impact for the year ending Dec. 31, the company said.

* Apple considered using Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and MediaTek Inc.'s 5G modem chips for its 2019 iPhones, according to a report by Reuters. An Apple executive reportedly disclosed the talks between the companies while testifying at a trial between Qualcomm Inc. and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The regulatory agency is suing Qualcomm, alleging that it took part in anti-competitive patent licensing practices to maintain the company's position selling modem chips in the marketplace.

* Shares in global software developer Luxoft Holding Inc. skyrocketed amid news of the firm's acquisition by information technology firm DXC Technology Co. Meanwhile, early earnings anticipation also fueled movement during the week.

Film and OTT

* STX Entertainment's "The Upside" topped the domestic box office for the Jan. 13 weekend with $19.6 million, followed by Warner Bros.' "Aquaman" at No. 2 with $17.3 million and Sony Corp.'s "A Dog's Way Home" at the third spot with $11.3 million, according to comScore Inc. Sony's "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse" was No. 4 with $9 million, while Sony's "Escape Room" took the fifth spot with $8.9 million.

* Chooseco LLC, a publisher of the classic children's interactive book series "Choose Your Own Adventure," sued Netflix for $25 million over the alleged trademark infringement in the streaming giant's "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" interactive film. In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, the publisher claimed that associating the movie, which included graphic content, with the book series could impact book sales and its ability to work with licensing partners in the future, according to a news release.

* Netflix has picked up global rights to romantic comedy "The Perfect Date," according to a news release. Produced by Awesomeness Films and Ace Entertainment, the movie follows Brooks Rattigan, who creates a dating app where he will "stand in" for non-existent boyfriends, to raise funds for college.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 1.38% to 26,298.33 while the Nikkei 225 was closed today.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 slid 0.98% to 6,850.48, and the Euronext 100 declined 0.96% to 926.19.

On the macro front

There are no notable economic reports 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.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Facebook may face partial ban in Germany; Discovery to open Dutch HQ: Facebook Inc. may be partially banned from collecting user data in Germany, while Discovery Inc. will open a headquarters in Netherlands.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Poland may ban Huawei; Viacom in talks to sell majority stake in China unit: Poland could consider a ban on the use of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. products following the arrest of a Huawei employee suspected of spying, while Viacom is in talks to sell a majority stake in some of its China operations.

Data Dispatch: 'Aquaman' leaves little 'upside' for January box office competition: "A Dog's Way Home" and "The Upside" will challenge holiday holdover "Aquaman," which is expected to continue to outswim its competition at the box office as overall January ticket sales trend lower compared to a year ago.

The Best Of: Media & Comm, most read: AT&T's layoffs plans; Big tech in 2019: Stories about AT&T gearing up for a round of layoffs in 2019 and the benefits and misconceptions around broadband usage-based billing are included in the most read stories for the week ended Jan. 11.

The Best Of: Media & Comm, editor's picks: Shutdown impact on IPOs; Viacom CEO on CBS merger: Stories about wireless carriers being in a race to deliver next-generation connectivity and regulators considering how to improve data privacy safeguards are among the editor's top five story picks for the week ended Jan. 11.

The Pay Check: Apple CEO's 22% pay bump; new Netflix CFO's salary: Apple CEO Tim Cook saw his compensation increase about 22% year over year in 2018. Netflix's newly named CFO Spencer Neumann will receive $5.0 million in salary and $5.0 million in annual stock option allowance.

Featured research

Technology: Worldwide fiber-to-the-home, DSL equipment spending swings upward in Q3'18: During third quarter 2018, fiber-to-the-home and DSL equipment spending reached $2.27 billion, up 8% over revenue in the second quarter of 2018 but down 7% from third quarter 2017.

Economics of Networks: New Fox cable networks have strong growth profile: The cable networks not being sold to Walt Disney by 21st Century Fox show a strong growth profile.

Global Multichannel: Ad dependency and flat growth leaves Indonesian TV networks at risk of decline: Indonesia's free-to-air media groups are feeling the pressure from marginal advertising growth — their main source of revenues. The country's low pay TV penetration leaves room for development on mobile primarily.

The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.