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Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes and 57 seconds
IT’S MR. STEAL YOUR DEAL
Just when the dust was beginning to settle on Fox’s bid for Sky, Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts came in throwing haymakers like a frat boy named Chad at the Delta formal. Comcast is offering £12.50 per share for Sky ($31B total) vs. Fox’s £10.75 per share for the remaining 61% of the network home of Downton Abbey that it doesn’t own.
But the bid didn’t just throw a wrench in Fox’s spokes, it went nuclear on a separate deal between Fox and Disney. See, Disney had planned a fairy tale ending with Fox, buying a majority of the network’s assets for a cool $52B and living happily ever after. And Disney really, really liked that Sky was part of the package.
The European network has become the belle of the American cable companies’ ball mostly because it would provide international exposure and partially because of a lucrative deal Sky signed with the EPL. It’s safe to say that the last Sky this beloved by American TV executives was a daily fixture at the local gentlemen’s cabaret.
You can’t make this stuff up
But hands down the best scene of this made-for-TV, CNBC movie script will surely be Comcast CEO Brian Robert’s taxicab confession. He allegedly conjured up the plan so crazy it just might work (read: taking over Sky) after talking to a cabbie in London about the network.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Seems like there has been an awful lot of consolidation in the media and telecom sectors. I’m sure there are some rules in place to stop these service providers from blocking or charging more for competing content. Right? You guys?!”
GHOST RIDE THE WHIP
Ford will pilot a program to test how people in Miami respond to driverless deliveries. The cars will be piloted by humans but will appear to be driverless. And judging by their very public announcement, Ford either believes that the entire city of Miami is living under a giant rock … or is full of very, very stupid people. Ford will partner with Domino’s to deliver pizza (and more importantly, cheesy bread) and Postmates to courier lactose-free packages.
The program was initially tested in Detroit last year but the vehicles kept getting attacked by packs of feral dogs. The ultimate goal is to roll out a fleet of vehicles that can shuttle corporate cogs during the morning and evening commutes, and deliver packages during the day, starting in 2021.
While their Motor City adversary works to perfect a driverless goods delivery racket, General Motors and Waymo are putting all their gas in the “people as cargo” tank. And that road just got a bit less bumpy as California announced it will allow companies to test autonomous vehicles without the safety driver that is currently required. The companies still have to get a permit from the California DMV, so there’s a strong possibility, as with most DMVs, that nothing will ever happen.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “I’m less concerned about the safe transportation of humans than I am my food order. Humans can walk, ride bikes, or drive their own damn car if they want, but my food order has a hard enough time getting delivered on time and correct as it is …”
DING DONG DITCH
In what would be an acceptable response to their own decision to allow delivery drivers to enter customer’s homes, Amazon is getting into the home security business. Amazon agreed to buy Ring, the former Shark-Tank-reject video doorbell company, in a deal that’s worth around $1B.
The deal marks one of Amazon’s biggest acquisitions, aside from its 2017 non-GMO purchase of organic grocery store, and soccer mom favorite, Whole Foods. Amazon’s efforts to get into home security most likely have something to do with its range of services that can deliver products right into your living room.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “I’m fine with Amazon drivers coming in my house, as long as they take their shoes off when they come in. Sure, the acquisition seems innocent, but now Jeff Bezos knows when you’re not home. Get ready for some unsolicited Alexa visits.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- New Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, was busy doing Fed Chair things Tuesday, like hinting at four interest rate hikes in 2018, citing a stronger economic outlook. Grandparents around the country were glued to C-SPAN, hanging on Powell’s every last word.
- Walmart owned Sam’s Club will partner with Instacart to provide same-day grocery delivery in a bid to keep pace with Amazon. In a statement, a representative for the Bentonville, Arkansas retailer had this to say: “Eat sh*t, Bezos.”
- SeaWorld’s CEO Joel Manby will step down effective immediately as the theme park drew fewer visitors and losses grew. Are you happy now Blackfish?
- Starbucks will cut up to 30% of products from its shelves including mugs, thermoses, and other useless items. You know, the stuff you buy for a colleague when you remember it’s their birthday on the way to work and you’re in charge of getting a gift.
- US indices were down yesterday:
- DOW: -1.16%
- S&P 500: -1.27%
- NASDAQ: -1.23%
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Ok, so once you get over the fact that Jack Ma is a blatant ageist (0:56), there is pure gold in these nuggets from The World Economic Forum. The pumpkin-headed trillionaire claims he doesn’t consider himself smart (0:10). But he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night … and knows that a major key to success is surrounding yourself with ringers and identifying talent whose coattails you can ride into the sunset.