AT&T is nearing a deal to combine its content unit WarnerMedia with rival Discovery to create a media giant with an enterprise value of $150bn, a few years after acquiring the owner of CNN, HBO and Warner Bros, said people briefed about the matter.
The board of directors of AT&T were meeting on Sunday to approve the deal, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter. The agreed deal is expected to be announced in the coming days.
The combined unit would merge one of Hollywood’s most valuable catalogues with Discovery, which has had success with a streaming service focused on unscripted cooking and home renovation shows.
The world’s largest media and tech companies have sought to fight back against Netflix with their own services. In the past year and a half, Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia, Comcast, Discovery and others have launched streaming platforms to battle for a piece of the future of entertainment.
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Netanyahu: Hamas offensive ‘will take time’ Israel’s prime minister warned on Sunday that its biggest military offensive against Hamas in seven years would continue “with full force” despite UN calls for a ceasefire, while in the US, progressive Democrats are putting pressure on Joe Biden confront Israel. The seven-day bombing campaign has killed 192 people in Gaza, according to Palestinian officials, while 10 in Israel have been killed. The conflict has rattled Israel’s ties with a third of the Arab world, but it may have resurrected Benjamin Netanyahu’s political fortunes.
Lithuanian fintech under Wirecard scrutiny Prosecutors suspect Lithuanian payments company UAB Finolita Unio was used to steal more than €100m from Wirecard weeks before it collapsed, with some of the money channelled to the German group’s fugitive second-in-command Jan Marsalek. Wirecard went bust last June after disclosing a €1.9bn hole in its balance sheet.
Asset managers warn over cryptocurrency UBS Wealth Management, Pimco, T Rowe Price and Glenmede Investment Management have raised doubts over the future of cryptocurrencies as an asset class after recent bitcoin price volatility triggered by Elon Musk. The Tesla chief executive could become a kingmaker for a cryptocurrency to rival or supersede bitcoin, writes Richard Waters.
Microsoft probe into Gates-staffer relationship Board members decided that the billionaire co-founder needed to step down in 2020 amid an investigation into a previous romantic relationship with a female employee that was deemed inappropriate, according to people familiar with the matter. Gates resigned before the probe was completed, and his spokesperson said the decision was unrelated. (WSJ)
China lands rover on Mars for the first time Chinese state media reported that the lander and the rover from the Tianwen-1 unmanned probe reached Mars on Saturday. The FT View is that the international community should establish norms of governance and laws in space.
GFG Alliance fallout The Australian government is under pressure to spell out contingency plans if industrialist Sanjeev Gupta is unable to secure emergency financing to save metals operations that employ thousands. The UK’s Serious Fraud Office on Friday announced an investigation into Gupta’s conglomerate over suspected fraud and money laundering.
Russian businesses count cost of EU carbon border tax Russian companies stand to be among the biggest losers from the EU’s proposed carbon tax on imports, prompting accusations of protectionism from Moscow. The levy is designed to hit countries making insufficient efforts to combat climate change.
Spacs lose ‘pop’ as fever fades Shares in special purpose acquisition companies are sliding following takeover announcements, a marked reversal from previous enthusiasm for the vehicles, which could threaten their ability to do deals.
Covid restrictions ease Indoor hospitality will reopen in the UK from today, despite concerns about the variant that was detected in India. England, Wales and Scotland will also allow international travel to resume. Turkey will begin to lift restrictions, while Pakistan is to lift a ban on internal travel. Trinidad and Tobago will impose a state of emergency.
Will central banks and investors hold their nerve? A summer burst of inflation was inevitable once lockdown measures began to ease. But central bankers’ assurances that price rises are temporary have not calmed investors’ nerves. Michael Mackenzie writes that investors will have to make a call on whether the shift is transitory or a regime change. The FT has a new email on markets and the people and companies that live and die by them, delivered each weekday morning. Sign up to “Unhedged”.
Why reform of urban planning is essential The planning system is the biggest market distortion in the economy: it is throttling supply, to the benefit of homeowners, who have made huge unearned gains. But the idea that we have no land left for houses is absurd. We should base policy on demand, not “need”, writes Martin Wolf.
Can a building be sexist? An exhibition at the Barbican explores the Matrix Feminist Design Co-operative, one of the first architectural practices to explicitly call itself feminist. The idea of feminist architecture is to creatively rethink assumptions behind conventional building provision and design.
How satellite monitoring became an ESG opportunity If investors are asking about the environmental impact of a pipeline, a mine, a power-plant or a factory, how better to quell those concerns than with images of healthy vegetation captured and processed by a private microsatellite, asks Leo Lewis.
The property developers betting on London offices After the pandemic, offices will be much less busy than they were before. The growing importance of reducing carbon emissions is also likely to make a vast chunk of London’s corporate real estate obsolete. But developers are betting on a future of modern, flexible spaces.
Why internet freedom is under threat Is the dream of a free and accessible internet already dead? Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan examines how philosophical, political and social attitudes towards online privacy are creating a “splinternet”.