May 17, 2018

CBS projects confidence in legal battle with Redstone

CBS CEO Les Moonves. Photo: Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

CBS was all chuckles yesterday at its annual Upfront advertising presentation, even though the company's future was being decided in a courtroom 200 miles to the south.

Why it matters: The big takeaway from the night was that Madison Ave. loves CBS CEO Les Moonves and CBS execs seem confident in their future.

“So, how’s your week been?“
— Moonves joked at the top of the presentation
“CBS has some of the most exciting legal dramas and some great TV shows.”
— Stephen Colbert

But the bubble could be burst as early as today, as Delaware Chancery Court is being asked to rule on a lawsuit brought by CBS to strip company control from Shari Redstone (and, thus, prevent a merger with Viacom).

  • The court did grant CBS an emergency restraining order against Redstone after she tried to change company bylaws shortly before the hearing began. It's a small win from a legal perspective, but CBS execs were crowing about it during their afterparty at the Plaza hotel.
  • Remember that these sorts of legal disputes are almost unheard of in dual-class stock structures, but arose here because Sumner Redstone included a "nuclear option" in the CBS charter 12 years ago. It's unclear exactly why, but the bottom line it's certainly causing major headaches for his daughter.

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Peter Navarro defends hydroxychloroquine use in heated CNN interview

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro defended the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus during a CNN interview Monday, highlighting "the possibility" that it has therapeutic efficacy.

Why it matters: Navarro did not deny reporting from Axios' Jonathan Swan that he got into a heated exchange in the White House Situation Room over the weekend with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci about the drug's prospects against the illness.

Special report: Health care workers vs. coronavirus

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, and Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images

Health care workers are at an especially high risk of catching the coronavirus, because of their prolonged exposure to patients who have it. Making matters worse, the U.S. doesn't have enough of the protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that keeps them safe.

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Backed by the Fed, bond investors get bullish

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed's massive injections of liquidity have reopened much of the bond market, and after back-to-back weeks in which more than $100 billion flowed out of bond funds, investors have regained their bearings and now see opportunity.

What's happening: But after the hemorrhaging outflows relented last week, bulls may now be sticking their heads out a bit too far. Junk bond funds took in more than $7 billion for the week ended April 1, according to Refinitiv Lipper, setting a new weekly record.