* Google LLC has struck a deal to acquire smartwatch technology from Fossil Group Inc. for $40 million. As part of the transaction, a portion of Fossil Group's research and development team currently supporting the transferring of the intellectual property to Google will join the Alphabet Inc. unit, according to a news release.
* Justin Dearborn has stepped down as chairman and CEO of Tribune Publishing Co. The company's board has tapped Timothy Knight as its new CEO and David Dreier as chairman, according to a news release.
* Netflix Inc. will reinvest its profits from a recently announced price increase into its content, with a focus on expanding its local-language and international originals as it continues to tap debt markets to fund expenses, executives said on an earnings conference webcast. The company's new CFO Spencer Neumann said he plans to "meaningfully improve" Netflix's negative cash flow, supported by a growing operating margin. Netflix grew its global paid streaming video members by 8.84 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, falling below its prior-quarter guidance predicting global paid net additions of 9.4 million.
* Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to start monitoring data brokers and how they use people's digital information, Bloomberg News reports. In a post, Cook said the agency should establish a data-broker clearinghouse that would allow users to delete their "data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all."
* Security researcher Troy Hunt revealed a massive data breach that has exposed nearly 773 million unique email addresses. In a blog post, Hunt said the data breach, which also includes 21,222,975 unique passwords, comprises different individual data breaches from thousands of different sources.
* Former CBS Corp. Chairman and CEO Les Moonves is pursuing binding arbitration as a means to gain the $120 million severance he was recently denied when the programmer's board of directors determined he was fired for cause. Moonves, the company's longtime leader, resigned in September 2018 in the wake of an article in The New Yorker detailing allegations that he sexually assaulted and threatened several women.
* Former Walt Disney Co. executive Paul DeBenedittis has joined Viacom Inc.'s Nickelodeon (US) as executive vice president of programming and content strategy, Multichannel News reports, citing a company statement. DeBenedittis recently served as senior vice president of programming strategy at Disney Channels Worldwide.
* Premium television network EPIX (US) has acquired rights to feature-length documentary "Laurel Canyon," Broadcasting & Cable reports, citing an official statement. The movie, which will premiere later this year, explores music history with a look at the music of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, The Mamas and others.
* Comedy series "The Kominsky Method" will return for a second season on Netflix Inc.'s streaming service, Variety reports. The series starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin recently won two Golden Globe Awards.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 1.25% to 27,090.81, and the Nikkei 225 rose 1.29% to 20,666.07.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 1.40% to 6,930.93, and the Euronext 100 was up 1.52% to 949.88.
On the macro front
The industrial production report, the consumer sentiment report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report 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: Facebook removes Russia-linked accounts; Euskaltel adds Amazon Prime Video: Social media giant Facebook Inc. has removed hundreds of accounts and campaigns linked to Russia, while Spanish regional operator Euskaltel SA is adding Amazon Prime Video to its TV offer.
The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Germany mulls banning Huawei from 5G rollout; SoftBank to buy stake in Delhivery: Germany is considering plans to restrict the use of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. equipment in its 5G rollout, while the SoftBank Vision Fund is seeking the Competition Commission of India's approval to acquire a stake in India's Delhivery Private Ltd.
Data Dispatch: Netflix price increase feeds pre-earnings bulls: As Netflix prepares to report earnings Jan. 17, a price increase for its U.S. streaming subscribers is expected to drive up revenue and help the company pay for its expanded content budget in 2019, despite a potential short-term increase in churn.
Hires and Fires: Disney nominates CVS exec to board; Nexstar Chairman gets contract extension: Walt Disney nominated Derica Rice to stand for election as a director, while Nexstar Media Group Inc.'s board extended the employment agreement of President and CEO Perry Sook.
Economics of Internet: Making a Netflix-killer: 2019 trends in subscription video on demand: Netflix may be the leader in the over-the-top video subscription race, but it also has a big target on its back as a pitched battle in the U.S. market with Amazon and Hulu gets even messier in 2019 as new competitors emerge.
Consumer Insights: Amazon Prime features used among US subscribers: Free shipping is the center point of Amazon Prime's list of features.
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