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Apple may unveil TV service at event; F5 to buy Nginx Software for $670M


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Apple may unveil TV service at event; F5 to buy Nginx Software for $670M

Top News

* Apple Inc. may unveil a new streaming television service and a bundled subscription Apple News offering at a March 25 event, reports. The service, expected to launch globally, will include subscription TV offerings from CBS Corp., Viacom Inc. and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.'s Starz, an earlier report said.

* The proposed T-Mobile US Inc.-Sprint Corp. merger is back in the spotlight on Capitol Hill this week. A U.S. House subcommittee overseeing antitrust matters is hearing from T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure about the deal. The March 12 hearing hosted by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law will mark the second time in a month that the companies' top executives have testified before Congress about the pending transaction.

* Investors have long associated the telecommunications sector with generous dividend payments. But with a growing list of smaller operators trimming or eliminating their dividends in recent years, analysts say that association may be a thing of the past.

* F5 Networks Inc. agreed to acquire all issued and outstanding shares of privately held Nginx Software Inc. for a total enterprise value of about $670 million. Upon closing of the deal, F5 will maintain the NGINX brand, and current NGINX CEO Gus Robertson, along with founders, Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov, will continue to lead NGINX, the company said.

Internet & OTT

* Google LLC agreed to pay a total of $135 million in exit packages to former executives Amit Singhal and Andy Rubin, who both left the company after being accused of sexual misconduct, The Wall Street Journal reports. The payments were disclosed in a civil shareholder lawsuit alleging that Google covered up sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

* Netflix Inc. has struck partnerships with Japanese production studios Anima Inc., Sublimation Inc. and David Production to co-develop original anime series, the company said in a news release. Netflix has ordered "Dragon's Dogma" from Sublimation, which is an anime series based on a video game of the same name from home video game developer Capcom Co. Ltd. Netflix will also team up with David Production to create "SPRIGGAN" inspired by a manga series.

* AT&T Inc. increased the prices of existing tiers of DIRECTV NOW subscription packages by $10 a month, reports. Additionally, DIRECTV NOW will offer two new plans, called Plus and Max. Plus will offer more than 40 channels for $50 per month, while Max will offer more than 50 channels for $70 per month.

* Facebook Inc. restored ads by Sen. Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign that called for the social networking giant to be broken up, Bloomberg News reports, citing a company statement. Facebook said it removed the ads because they violated its policies against the use of its corporate logo, but then restored them to allow "robust debate."

* Former NBCUniversal Media LLC digital executive Lori Conkling has joined YouTube LLC as global head of partnerships for YouTube TV and Google Fiber, Multichannel News reports. Conkling previously served NBCU as executive vice president, overseeing digital strategy.


* The U.S. government is pressuring Germany to bar Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from building the country's 5G telecom network infrastructure by warning that using Chinese-made equipment could jeopardize intelligence-sharing between the U.S. and Germany, the Journal reports, citing a letter from U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to the German Economics Minister. The letter also cautioned against using other Chinese equipment vendors for fear of the Chinese government's ability to influence these companies.

* NVIDIA Corp.'s proposed $6.9 billion deal to acquire Mellanox Technologies Ltd. is a play to diversify into higher-margin enterprise markets as Nvidia looks to capitalize on growing opportunities in artificial intelligence and the cloud, analysts said. Mellanox is a dominant player in the data center networking market, so while the deal would mark Nvidia's biggest acquisition to date, it is also considered a safe bet by analysts.

* Former Oracle Corp. executive Amit Zavery has joined Alphabet Inc.'s Google Cloud as vice president of engineering, Reuters reports, citing a company spokeswoman. Zavery recently exited Oracle as executive vice president for Oracle cloud platform.

* Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving vehicle subsidiary Waymo LLC is looking to raise cash from outside investors, The Information reports, citing a person with knowledge of the matter. Waymo costs Alphabet at least $1 billion a year, former employees and other industry executives reportedly estimated.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 1.46% to 28,920.87. The Nikkei 225 rose 1.79% to 21,503.69.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 is up 0.17% to 7,142.66 and the Euronext 100 is up 0.03% to 1,020.81.

On the macro front

The Redbook, Consumer Price Index and the NFIB small business optimism 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.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: US warns Germany against buying Huawei equipment; Sea raises over US$1.5B: The U.S. government pressures Germany to bar Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. from building the country's 5G telecom network infrastructure; Singapore-based digital entertainment company Sea Ltd. raised over US$1.5 billion in its recent offering of American depositary shares.

M&A Replay: Nvidia to buy Mellanox for $6.9B; NBCU buys Serestar stations: Nvidia agreed to acquire Mellanox Technologies for a total enterprise value of about $6.9 billion, while NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations has acquired Serestar Communications Corp. stations in Salt Lake City and Sacramento, Calif.

The Week in OTT: NBC News' streaming service; 'Harlots' season 3 release date: NBC News is gearing up to launch a new streaming service in early May, while Walt Disney Co. is considering plans to test its upcoming Disney+ streaming service in the Netherlands before it launches in the U.S.

Huawei lawsuit against US government is largely strategic, legal experts say: The lawsuit was "unavoidable" and could benefit the company and its peers regardless of outcome — for example, by forcing the U.S. government to provide evidence for its accusations, lawyers and legal experts said.

M&A Replay: Vivendi sells remaining Ubisoft stake; BC Partners closes United Group deal: French media group Vivendi SA has sold its remaining stake in video game publisher Ubisoft Entertainment SA, while private equity firm BC Partners completed the acquisition of a majority stake in southeast Europe-based operator United Group BV.

The Week Ahead Europe: EU to vote on Chinese tech security risk: The European Parliament will this week vote on security risks posed by the "rising presence" of Chinese technology suppliers within the EU and on possible ways to reduce any threat.

Featured research

Multichannel Trends: Q4'18 multiproduct analysis sheds more light on video's fall from grace: An estimated 87.3% of video subscribers for a core group of top MSOs took the original cable product within a multiproduct context, taking at least one other service, as of Dec. 31, 2018.

Multichannel Trends: Pricing & Packaging: Stand-alone video packages fall short despite revamp: Comparing the first half of 2019 video package prices against the second half of 2017 equivalents shows marked discounts, which have been unable to curb subscribers from cutting the cord.

Multichannel Trends: Q4'18 and full-year broadband gains illustrate wireline momentum: Wireline broadband in the U.S. leaned heavily on cable in 2018, which overcame flagging telco subscribers to produce full-year growth of nearly 2.7 million subscribers to top 105.8 million at year-end, according to our full industry estimates.

The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended March 8.

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