WWE Inks New TV Deals; Uber Gets OK To Operate In London; Sequoia Capital Raising New Fund
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OFF THE TOP ROPE
World Wrestling Entertainment just signed a five-year agreement with USA Networks and Fox Sports to broadcast their ‘Monday Night Raw’, and Thursday night ‘Smackdown’ programs, respectively. No details were disclosed but estimates peg WWE revenue from key agreements at $462M by 2021 (up from $235M in 2018).
The ‘Raw’ program has been a USA mainstay, but moving the lesser promoted ‘Smackdown’ to Fox is a big win for the company.
Earlier this year, the McMahon’s family business signed a 10 year deal with partners in Saudi Arabia, as the scripted blood sport’s appeal grows globally, and Saudia Arabia opens up the kingdom to foreign entertainment.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “If you haven’t watched a full-grown, half-naked man jump from atop a 20-foot ladder onto another full-grown, half-naked man lying nearly unconscious on top of 2 stacked folding tables, you haven’t lived.”
LICENSE TO KILL
A judge and regulators in London have decided that Uber will be granted a 15-month license to operate.
The decision came only after Dara Khosrowshahi literally begged Transportation for London (think: Department of Transportation) for forgiveness and promised Uber has changed its ways. London is Uber’s largest market in Europe, with 3.6M people regularly using the app. Desperation ain’t your color, Dara.
But this is by no means a get out of jail free card. Uber will be on a short leash during the probationary period.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “The deal is contingent on Uber never mentioning Travis Kalanick again.”
Sequoia Capital, a VC that would undoubtedly adorn a venture capital Mt. Rushmore, has raised $6B of the $8B it is looking to secure for a new global fund.
The new fund has been buoyed only by those with no prior relationship to Sequoia thus far. The remaining $2B will come from previous investors. Investments start at the low, low price of $250M.
Sequoia’s track record, which reads like a who’s who of the three comma club, warrants the massive fundraising, but there may be another reason Sequoia is going all in: to keep up with the Joneses.
Softbank’s $100B Vision Fund has pushed the limits of fundraising efforts and raised the stakes in the VC space forcing firms like Sequoia to pay if they want to play.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “We’re getting to the point where any startup with the buzzwords blockchain or autonomous vehicle in its pitch deck will walk out of Silicon Valley with at least $50M.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- A federal judge dismissed lawsuits by the cities of San Franciso and Oakland against 5 oil companies, claiming the refiners should pay for the impacts of climate change. Judges don’t believe in science!
- GE announced its “final” business cuts: it plans to part ways with its health-care unit and Baker Hughes. The conglomerate is refocusing on its jet engine and power turbine manufacturing lines.
- AmEx and Amazon are partnering to launch a credit card for small businesses. Now Amazon can set you up with a line of credit, and then put you out of business. Talk about a one-stop shop.
- Berkshire Hathaway is hiring Lee Enterprises to run its faltering newspaper business.
- Google sister company Calico, and AbbVie are funding $1B worth of research for age-related diseases like cancer … because f*ck cancer.
- US indices were up yesterday:
- DOW: +0.12%
- S&P 500: +0.22%
- NASDAQ: +0.39%