Nov 16, 2017

Comcast and Verizon also considering Fox acquisition

Less than two weeks after CNBC reported that the Walt Disney Company approached 21st Century Fox about an acquisition of its entertainment assets, Verizon and Comcast are both expressing interest, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Some media experts believe that the CNBC story was used a signal from Fox executives to potential buyers that it was interested dumping its entertainment assets to focus on its global news and sports properties. Both Comcast and Verizon have made major investments in content companies in an effort to scale their digital audiences, primarily through video on mobile.

Go deeper: The Fox acquisition would be noteworthy given its size ($50 billion + market cap) and given the regulatory environment a deal would be met with. The DOJ's antitrust division is currently weighing a lawsuit against AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, and AT&T may take the issue to court.

  • Comcast owns NBC Universal, and its entertainment assets, and is an investor in several other content companies, like Buzzfeed, Vox and Axios.
  • Verizon acquired Oath earlier this year, which includes media properties like AOL, HuffPo, Yahoo and more. Oath CEO Tim Armstrong has been vocal about how the merger would give the company the scale in user data it would need to take on Google and Facebook's advertising business.

Fox Chief Executive James Murdoch brushed off any rumors that Fox was concerned about not having the scale to compete with other entertainment brands on last week's earnings call to investors. "We recognize there'll be challenges to navigate the shifting digital landscape; however, we believe the unique strength and scale of these franchises make the next few years a period of great opportunity," Mudroch said. Still, an entertainment business is tough to sustain in an era where on-demand entertainment viewing is dominated by streaming services, particularly Netflix.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Milwaukee Molson Coors brewery complex on Wednesday, including the shooter, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

What's happening: Police said "there is no active threat" just before 6 pm ET, but noted the scene remains active. Police chief Alfonso Morales told reporters that officers have "more than 20 buildings we have to secure" at the complex and they do not currently have all employees accounted for, as more than 1,000 were at the complex during the shooting.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Live updates: CDC confirms possible community spread of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor have contact with a confirmed case, the CDC said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 45 mins ago - Health

Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response


President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy