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EMPIRE STATE OF MIND
The NFL has turned to an unlikely source to help run its newly created social justice program, announcing a new deal with Jay-Z and Roc Nation. HOV will look to help ease tensions surrounding social issues like the protests sparked by former-player Colin Kaepernick.
Players protesting the national anthem has been a tricky subject the past few years for the NFL. Kaepernick himself is no longer on an NFL roster, POTUS had a few things to say about the issue, and you could say the protests led to the downfall of Papa John’s John Schnatter … although a racist conference call was his official undoing.
Blue Ivy’s daddy will work with Inspire Change to further the organization’s initiatives of improving police and community relations along with giving players a platform to express their social views via outlets other than on the gridiron. So, you know, where they will fall on deaf ears.
Are you not entertained?
It’s not all God’s work for the rapper. Roc Nation will also help the League with the Super Bowl halftime show, and develop and distribute new football-related content for streaming services. A Hard Knock Life indeed.
DELAY OF GAME
Fear thee not, global markets, help is on the way.
Washington (DC, not George … RIP in peace) announced that the 10% tariffs originally slated to hit $300B of untaxed Chinese imports have been pushed back from September 1st to December 15th. Perfect, just in time for another Christmas Eve bloodbath.
This is not to say that all tariffs are off the table, as the 25% tariffs that currently affect $250B worth of imports from China will remain in place. The $300B of goods that were scheduled to be taxed fell largely into the “Christmas list” category (think: smartphones, laptops, and toys). But the Donald is not about to play Grinch. So, fear not suburban moms around the country: Black Friday is still scheduled for a-go.
Leading up to it
The announcement comes after US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, according to El Presidente, had a very good call with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. The two sides will reportedly speak again in a fortnight and there is even a possibility that the Chinese will resume purchases of agricultural products from the US, which was halted last week after The Donald vowed to move forward with the September 1st tariffs.
The stock market was way tf up on the news, with the Dow jumping 450 points (1.7%) at its peak, before settling 372 points higher for the day. Apple popped 4% mostly because the 10% tariffs would largely disrupt the North Pole’s main export …. the iPhone.
KISS AND MAKE UP
CBS and Viacom are getting back together. The all-stock deal values Viacom at around $12B and marks the first time the two have been together since Sumner Redstone split the two entities back in 2006.
It’s complicated …
As with any merger, there will be a shuffling of board members and C-suite types. Cue executives scrambling to show their value. Shari Redstone, the current vice-chair of both companies, will become chair of the combined organization.
Redstone currently controls both companies via her family’s holding company, National Amusements. Bob Bakish, Viacom’s current CEO, will become CEO of the new entity, while CBS’s chairman and CEO Joe Ianello will remain chairman and CEO of the “new” CBS.
The merger comes as more and more millennials are cutting the cord, and it’s believed that the new ViacomCBS would be able to compete with the likes of the big dogs like Netflix, AT&T, and Comcast, among others. The combination of Viacom properties like MTV, Nickelodeon, and the Paramount film and TV studio with CBS’s networks, including Showtime, will make quite the formidable opponent. Yeah, but will they stream ‘The Office’ after 2020?
IN OTHER NEWS
- Inflation accelerated again in July, helping the economy achieve its strongest 2-month gain since 2006. As measured by the consumer price index, inflation rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3%, marking the second month in a row that inflation grew at that pace. This is a welcome sign for economists at the Fed who consider low inflation dangerous as it weights on interest rates. The higher inflation mark could sway the Fed’s decision to lower interest rates in September.
- Evan Spiegel is nothing if not persistent. Snap announced yet another iteration of its Spectacle wearable camera product. So by my count, that’s two versions that absolutely nobody asked for. The third version looks to appeal to the fashion-forward, trading in the clunky plastic for a steel wireframe. And the newest version will have two cameras … which apparently justifies a $380 price-tag … more than double that of the original version. After selling only 200k pairs of its first Spectacle and being forced to write down some $40M in inventory, Snap is going all “limited edition” this time around …
- Mack Weldon, you’ve officially been put on notice … Allbirds is coming for the crown. The DTC shoe startup synonymous with douchey VCs is getting into the apparel biz. And it will start with reasonably priced socks ($12 to $16) made from sustainable materials. Why? Diversity, which I’m pretty sure is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era. The company is looking to diversify its portfolio despite its latest valuation reaching approximately $1.4B.
- Showtime is being sued. Its hit show ‘Billions’ portrayed the Cayuga Native American tribe and Council Member Clint Halftown as irresponsible and corruptible. An episode of the show depicts the tribe and Halftown, whose name is changed to Jane Halftown (real clever, guys), committing illegal revenue sharing and executing a less than kosher land deal related to the Nation’s casino. The tribe claims defamation and seeks unspecified damages. It’s well known that the show’s main characters Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades are based loosely on Steven A. Cohen and Preet Bharara, respectively. No word on why the show half-assed its attempt to change names in the case of the Cayuga and Halftown.
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