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GUESS WHO’S BACK …
Ok, stop guessing. It’s Huawei. After being placed on the US’ “Entity List,” Huawei was given a lifeline by an unlikely source: the Trump White House. US companies looking to sell goods to the Chinese phone maker can now do so with a special license. The White House indicated that those licenses will be approved if the following criteria is met: there can be no threat to national security.
What exactly does that mean?
Well, no one’s really sure. The only way to find out is for a company to request a license, with the presumption of denial, and see what the f*ck happens. Is it the most efficient way to go about doing business? No. Is it the only way American firms can do business with one of the world’s largest technology companies? Yes. Yes, it is.
Huawei has been on the Commerce Department’s ominously-named Entity List since May, and after becoming a marked man, er, company, US chipmakers lobbied Washington to allow for special exceptions to the sales ban including non-sensitive products that Huawei could easily get overseas. Without that exception, US companies would essentially be locked out deals … with no material repercussions for Huawei.
Will it last?
Not according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who said that relaxed restrictions could help Huawei out, and therefore the leniency could only be available for a limited time. Kind of like the McRib.
I’M NOT YOUR FRIEND, GUY
AT&T’s WarnerMedia just introduced its highly-anticipated streaming service. Cord cutters, meet HBO Max. Wait, what? Of all of the nouns in the world, HBO chooses “Max” … as in Skinemax?
HBO Max will launch in “beta” (whatever that actually means) later this year. No price has been set, but those close to the matter have hinted that the service will cost between $15 and $18 per month … or roughly the same amount as HBO currently.
The service will offer shows and movies from Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, The CW (because apparently, UPN wasn’t available), Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and more. Programming will include “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Pretty Little Liars” … and “Friends.”
That’s right, AT&T will snag ‘Friends’ from rival Netflix starting in 2020 at the steep cost of roughly $85M per year. You might remember that just last month news broke that Netflix will lose its most-watched program, ‘The Office’ to NBCUniversal’s streaming offering.
With 155M global users and a massive headstart, Netflix is far from going the way of Blockbuster, but Reed Hastings is most certainly gearing up for battle against the well-established cable and media incumbents.
It’s a good day to be a virgin.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic will go public later this year on its way to becoming the first publicly traded human-spaceflight company, lending new meaning to the phrase ‘to the moon’ in terms of stock performance.
Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings, a special-purpose acquisition company, will invest $800M for a 49% stake in the space venture, bringing the combined valuation of the company to $1.5B. For those of you not in the know, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) has a two-year shelf life to buy a company after raising capital.
But wait, there’s more
Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya announced that spaceflights for tourists are expected to begin within a year. We’ve heard that before … just ask Lance Bass. There have already been $80M in deposits collected, with each flight costing $250k and a waitlist of 600 people.
At that rate, it’s easy to see why those geeks at Virgin Galactic expect to be profitable on an annual basis by August 2021.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Eat sh*t, Elon! BMW AG is getting into the electric car game with its new Min-E (ok, so that’s not the actual name … but it should be) Cooper. The Munich based car company released the electric Mini with a $36k price tag in hopes of taking market share from Volkswagen’s ID.3 and Tesla’s Model 3. Believe it or not, this is actually BMW’s second battery only car. The first, called i3, was released in 2013 and promptly, um, failed. Turns out battery-powered cars are incredibly expensive to make. Still the beamer-maker plans to have twelve electric models on the road by 2023.
- All systems go. Cisco Systems is buying network and semiconductor manufacturer, Acacia communications for $2.6B in an all-cash deal worth $70 per share. Acacia’s advanced technologies will allow Cisco to offer its customers the ability to drive more data over high-speed networks.
- Rapper, entrepreneur, and Mr. Queen Bey, Jay-Z, is breaking into the weed industry. Hova is joining up with California pot company Caliva to become its chief brand strategist and will look to light up the companies sales numbers. The San Jose based company has a grow facility and local retail shop in its hometown but supplies over 200 dispensaries throughout the state. Blue Ivy’s daddy joins legendary QB Joe Montana as a celebrity backer of Caliva.
- Checking out. Marriott is having a rough go of it as the company faces two separate legal battles. First, the Washington D.C. Attorney General is suing the hotel chain for charging additional resort, amenity, and destination fees to customers. The fees aren’t in and of themselves an issue, but Marriott was not fully transparent in disclosing the amounts upon booking guests. The legal woes don’t end there. Marriott is also facing a $124M fine from the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office for a data breach of its Starwood Hotel chain.
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