Situational awareness: Comcast won the bidding war for Sky, paying £17.28 per share, or $39 billion. The winning bid was $3.6 billion more than the rival £15.67-per-share offer from Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
With her Conservative Party's annual conference looming later this month, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May went to Salzburg this week seeking buy-in from Europe's leaders for her highly controversial Chequers plan. What she got instead was humiliation and disaster.
Be smart: The U.K.'s ties to Europe, especially along the Irish border, are far too complex and interconnected to easily disentangle. A successfully negotiated Brexit was always less likely than one of the corner solutions.
May's political career has already lasted longer than anybody thought it would, largely thanks to the absence of a credible alternative prime minister. But May has now lost all credibility herself.
The bottom line: We are very close to the worst-case scenario for Brexit negotiations where positions become entrenched, goodwill evaporates and brinkmanship leads inexorably to disaster.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
We are now, officially, in a full-fledged trade war. Effective Monday morning, President Trump will be taxing half of China’s imports into the US, with aggressions set to intensify further in January when the tariff rises from 10% to 25%.
Trump's bigger-picture view is well-known: "TRADE IS BAD."
This trade war could last for decades, if not forever. American voters share Trump's ignorance of Ricardo, which means that there's not much political incentive for a president of either party to rapidly normalize trade relations.
Are you gaining confidence in your country's economy? If you're American, German, Japanese or even Russian, the answer's probably yes. The Italians, by contrast, are much less sanguine. Axios' Stef Kight goes deeper.
Globally, on the other hand, the world is reaching record levels of unhappiness, per an annual Gallup survey, with Africa particularly unhappy.
"Collectively, the world is more stressed, worried, sad and in pain today than we've ever seen it."— Gallup's managing editor, Mohamed Younis
In an era of financial-services innovation, money remains one of the great stressors in our lives. According to a new report from Nonfiction:
The financial-services industry does a dreadful job of addressing these problems, and the problems are getting worse.
By the numbers: 5% of Americans with checking accounts rack up more than 50% of all the country's overdraft and bounced-check fees. It's a $35 billion income stream for the banks, even after Dodd-Frank.
Varo Money recently received preliminary authorization to become a national bank from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Why it matters: It's the first time that bank regulators have indicated that they're going to grant a national charter to a mobile bank.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
When there's a gold rush, sell picks and shovels. Right now, there's a mad rush to cover every urban sidewalk in motorized scooters, with Lime and Bird both having crossed the 10 million ride mark already.
The big picture: The big winners here are the companies producing scooters as fast as Lime and Bird can order them. E-scooters "weren’t designed with heavy fleet use in mind and often wear out after a few months," write Cory Weinberg and Amir Efrati in The Information.
Tariffs are top of mind, however. "U.S. tariffs on imports from China [add] about 25% to the original cost of a scooter," Weinberg and Efrati report.
Now that I'm writing a weekly newsletter, I'm increasingly interested in how weekly news is valued. A few data points:
The big picture: As media companies decline in profitability, they're increasingly being traded more as trophies than as businesses. Many billionaires expect a financial return on their media investments. But others, including Benioff, Jeff Bezos, Pierre Omidyar and Laurene Powell Jobs, do not. For them, owning a media property is a quasi-philanthropic way to invest in civil society. In terms of personal satisfaction and broader social acclaim, it's cheaper and more rewarding than buying a new yacht, or jet, or private island.
*He was worth way more than $200 million, so he was a billionaire, don't @ me.
One of the more depressing pages on the internet is the "Our Members" page for the Financial Services Forum, a group representing the eight largest financial institutions headquartered in the U.S. Each firm is represented by its CEO, and seven of the eight CEOs are white men between the ages of 58 and 64. (The eighth, BNY Mellon's Charles Scharf, breaks the mold by being a white man aged 53.)
The bottom line: It's long past time that this group became significantly more diverse.
By the numbers: The situation for female entrepreneurs is, if anything, even worse. A comprehensive survey of private-company cap tables performed by Carta for #ANGELS concluded:
Congratulations to anybody who's been holding cannabis stocks this year — you've done much better than crypto holders. And congratulations especially to Tilray, the lone cannabis stock listed in New York rather than Toronto. (Aurora might join it in New York in October, assuming the bubble hasn't definitively burst by then.)
Be smart: What you're seeing here is something between a bubble and a random number generator.
AI Superpowers cover via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
"AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order" is being published on Tuesday. I haven't read it and can't vouch for it, which seemingly puts me in the minority, given the number of blurbers who (almost certainly) haven't read it and yet are happy to vouch for it anyway.
Robert Venturi, the master of postmodernism, died this week at the age of 93. He built the Vanna Venturi House for his mother, between 1962 and 1964. It became known around the world as the first postmodern building.