Dec 14, 2017

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen
1 big thing: Trump's phone call

President Trump spoke with 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch yesterday about the $52.4 billion Fox-Disney deal, Axios' Dan Primack and Sara Fischer report.

  • Why it matters: "Trump and Murdoch are old pals, but this conversation could raise accusations of political favoritism when it comes to regulatory approvals. Not only for Disney/Fox, but also for AT&T's attempted takeover of Time Warner."

Details of the deal:

  • The transaction would include 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, like 20th Century Fox and its rights to popular movies like X-Men and Avatar, its cable entertainment networks, like Nat Geo TV and FX, and international TV businesses, like its 39% in UK-based Sky News and Star TV in India.
  • Disney also gets Fox's 30% stake in Hulu. Added to its existing 30% stake, Disney becomes the controlling stakeowner in the streaming property.
  • Disney expects to achieve $2 billion in "cost synergies" by 2021, which often is corporate-speak for layoffs, it said in an investor call today.
  • Disney would owe Fox a $2.5 billion breakup fee in the event of government opposition. That either means Disney is quite confident in regulatory approval, or means that Fox is wary.

Go deeper...

2. What you missed
  1. Tax cut updates: Marco Rubio is threatening to vote against the deal unless Republicans up child tax credit. They might let individual tax rate cuts expire sooner.
  2. The FCC voted today to remove net neutrality rules that prohibited internet providers from giving preferential treatment to some web content — or blocking it entirely. More.
  3. Venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar has left Sherpa Ventures, the San Francisco-based firm he co-founded in 2013, following multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He has denied all of the claims, including one made on-the-record to Axios. Details.
  4. By the numbers: 42% of working women in the U.S. say they have faced gender discrimination on the job. Only 22% of working men say the same. More.
  5. Walmart will start allowing its workers to claim already-earned wages before their scheduled payday, in order to help its associates meet unexpected expenses. Read up.
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Mike Allen