• Actress Shailene Woodley: Plastics have caused a true ocean, marine crisis
    Yahoo Finance

    Actress Shailene Woodley: Plastics have caused a true ocean, marine crisis

    Actress and environmental activist Shailene Woodley joins Yahoo Finance to chat about her efforts to rid the world of harmful plastics in oceans.

  • Fed Watch, U.S. Industrial Strength, Oil Updates & Buy JLL Stock - Free Lunch
    Zacks

    Fed Watch, U.S. Industrial Strength, Oil Updates & Buy JLL Stock - Free Lunch

    What investors might expect from the Fed's two-day policy meeting as Wall Street awaits another rate cut. The latest global oil news after the weekend's attacks on Saudi Arabia. Positive U.S. economic updates. And why JLL stock looks like a buy - Free Lunch

  • Google Cloud Head of India Resigns, Joins Disney Unit
    Market Realist

    Google Cloud Head of India Resigns, Joins Disney Unit

    The head of Google’s cloud computing business in India, Nitin Bawankule, is set to leave the company at the end of this month.

  • Will Purdue’s Bankruptcy Engulf Its Owners?
    Bloomberg

    Will Purdue’s Bankruptcy Engulf Its Owners?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The bankruptcy of Purdue Pharma LP lays bare a distinction that the internet is making it more and more difficult to maintain: that between a company and the people who own or founded it.The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid OxyContin, which has contributed to a crisis that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. There are numerous charges and more than 2,000 lawsuits against the company and its owners, and some recent joint settlements. The company has now declared bankruptcy, and wants to give control of Purdue to a trust run by the states, cities and counties that have filed suit against it.But what about the personal fortune of the Sacklers, estimated at $13 billion or more? Under traditional corporate theory, there is a clear distinction between the assets of the corporation and those of the owners. The limited liability company can go under, but the assets of the company owners are safe — just as, say, holding shares of Volkswagen in your mutual fund did not expose you to any personal liability for the automaker’s actions in falsifying emissions data.It turns out that this distinction is harder to uphold, if only in the eyes of the public, when a single family owns and runs a company. Last week New York State alleged that the Sackler family drained at least $1 billion from Purdue for the purpose of avoiding penalties against the corporation and thus shielding its wealth. If it looks like the Sackler family was trying to avoid legal penalties and fines, there will be strong political pressure, possibly backed by public opinion, to go after those additional funds.More generally, if a company is endangered by lawsuits, and the suits are not settled, its owners have a rationale to extract money from the company and stash it far away. But doing so will elicit a legal and public response, and the distinction between the personal and the corporate will not always be respected.Consider the Federal Trade Commission’s recent settlement with Facebook, under which some of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s personal assets are potentially on the line if Facebook does not respect its privacy agreements with the federal government. Some FTC commissioners suggested harsher treatment yet for Zuckerberg’s personal assets.Or, to give another example, Senator Elizabeth Warren has been promoting the notion of personal criminal liability for corporate CEOs if the firms engage in wrongdoing. Her bill would extend corporate liability beyond the company itself, and of course most CEOs of major companies are also shareholders to some extent. Maybe the goal is to punish these individuals in their roles as executives rather than as shareholders. But such penalties would blur these distinctions in the mind of the public — and eventually, perhaps, under the law.So how does the internet matter in all this? First, social media is very effective at drumming up outrage, and negative news seems to have a longer lifespan than positive news. The media’s pre-existing negative bias has been amplified, creating further animosity against any actual or supposed corporate villain.More important, social media personalizes agency — in effect, making it easier to accuse particular individuals of wrongdoing. Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and the Koch brothers all have images or iconic photos that can be put into a social media post, amplifying any attack on their respective companies. It is harder to vilify Exxon, in part because hardly anyone can name its CEO (Darren Woods, since 2017), who in any case did not create the current version of the company. Putting the Exxon logo on your vituperative social media post just doesn’t have the same impact. With Bill Gates having stepped down as Microsoft CEO in 2000, it is harder to vilify that company as well.This personalization of corporate evil has become a bigger issue in part because many prominent tech companies are currently led by their founders, and also because the number of publicly traded companies has been falling, which means there are fewer truly anonymous corporations. It’s not hard to imagine a future in which the most important decision a new company makes is how personalized it wants to be. A well-known founder can spark interest in the company and its products, and help to attract talent. At the same time, a personalized company is potentially a much greater target.The more human identities and feelings are part of the equation, however, the harder it will be to keep the classic distinction between a corporation and its owners. As the era of personalization evolves, it will inevitably engulf that most impersonal of entities — the corporation.(Corrects second paragraph to say that hundreds of thousands of deaths have resulted from the opioid crisis, not the opioid OxyContin, in article published Sept. 16.)To contact the author of this story: Tyler Cowen at tcowen2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Marriott's Brand Debuts in Jordan, Opens St. Regis Amman
    Zacks

    Marriott's Brand Debuts in Jordan, Opens St. Regis Amman

    Marriott's (MAR) brand, St. Regis, fortifies its international presence with the opening of St. Regis Amman in Jordan.

  • Newell Gains 24% in 3 Months on Solid Transformation Efforts
    Zacks

    Newell Gains 24% in 3 Months on Solid Transformation Efforts

    Newell (NWL) progresses well with its Transformation Plan, which is likely to boost its operational performance and enhance shareholder value.

  • IQV or APTV: Which Technology Services Stock Should You Hold?
    Zacks

    IQV or APTV: Which Technology Services Stock Should You Hold?

    Despite a fast share price rally on a year-to-date basis, Aptiv (APTV)'s valuation is cheap compared with IQVIA Holdings (IQV).

  • Karyopharm Signs $150M Royalty Agreement to Support Xpovio
    Zacks

    Karyopharm Signs $150M Royalty Agreement to Support Xpovio

    Karyopharm (KPTI) signs royalty agreement with HealthCare Royalty Partners for up to $150 million to fund Xpovio's commercialization and development.

  • Oracle at OpenWorld: Autonomous Database & Cloud in Focus
    Zacks

    Oracle at OpenWorld: Autonomous Database & Cloud in Focus

    Oracle (ORCL) is strategically expanding Autonomous Database portfolio and enhancing functionalities of cloud-based applications, which is encouraging adoption.

  • Oracle on a Partnership Spree With VMwae, Intel & Deloitte
    Zacks

    Oracle on a Partnership Spree With VMwae, Intel & Deloitte

    Oracle's (ORCL) partnerships with the likes of Accenture and Microsoft are expected to aid the company in expanding cloud-base clientele.

  • Alnylam Begins Phase III Study on Onpattro for New Indication
    Zacks

    Alnylam Begins Phase III Study on Onpattro for New Indication

    Alnylam (ALNY) starts phase III APOLLO-B study on its lead drug Onpattro for treating transthyretin amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy. Shares rise.

  • Microsoft, Walt Disney Partner to Boost SLAB initiatives
    Zacks

    Microsoft, Walt Disney Partner to Boost SLAB initiatives

    Microsoft's (MSFT) IoT initiatives aimed at providing robust tools and platform to developers, and strengthening partner base will aid it in improving overall performance.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: PayPal, Square, Intuit, Apple and JPMorgan Chase
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: PayPal, Square, Intuit, Apple and JPMorgan Chase

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: PayPal, Square, Intuit, Apple and JPMorgan Chase

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Celgene, Sinopec, HSBC, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Prudential Financial
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Celgene, Sinopec, HSBC, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Prudential Financial

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Celgene, Sinopec, HSBC, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Prudential Financial

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Netflix, AMC, Lyft, Uber and Slack
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Netflix, AMC, Lyft, Uber and Slack

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Netflix, AMC, Lyft, Uber and Slack

  • AT&T Faces a Lawsuit from a Group of Investors
    Market Realist

    AT&T Faces a Lawsuit from a Group of Investors

    AT&T; is facing a lawsuit from a group of investors. According to the lawsuit, the company misled investors about DIRECTV NOW's growth.

  • Netflix’s Recent Small Move Could Have a Big Impact
    Market Realist

    Netflix’s Recent Small Move Could Have a Big Impact

    As competition heats up in the video streaming space, Netflix (NFLX) has made a small software update that could have a big impact on its business.

  • AT&T Is New. It Needs a New Type of CEO.
    Bloomberg

    AT&T Is New. It Needs a New Type of CEO.

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- AT&T Inc. is a very different company today from the wireless-service provider it was five years ago. CEO Randall Stephenson, who transformed AT&T by acquiring pay-TV and media assets such as HBO, is now eyeing retirement. It raises the question of whether the man who appears to be the next in line – John Stankey, another three-decade veteran of the phone business – is the right person for the job.Stephenson, who has been at the helm since June 2007, is interested in stepping down as soon as next year, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing unnamed sources. For much of his 37 years at the telephone giant, Stephenson has worked alongside Stankey, who he’s been priming to take over as the next CEO. While speaking at an investor conference Tuesday morning, he praised Stankey’s leadership, saying that he would have to be on “the very short list of people” who could run AT&T’s diverse set of businesses. But Stankey has also emerged as a controversial figure within AT&T, so much so that his recent promotion to the role of chief operating officer is largely what motivated Elliott Management Corp. to press ahead with an activist investor campaign, according to people familiar with the shareholder’s thinking. (Last week, Elliott sent a public letter to AT&T’s board calling for it to review ways to improve earnings and the stock price.)AT&T may benefit from running a broader search for Stephenson’s replacement, and outside pressure led by Elliott may give the board one more reason to do so. The $273 billion company could use someone with more expertise in growing media properties and who’s willing to part with weaker assets that are serving as distractions. While wireless data plans and business connectivity services still drive the bulk of AT&T’s profits, the company generates half its revenue elsewhere, such as pay-TV subscriptions, cable networks and the box office.Under Stephenson, 59, AT&T morphed into a communications and media conglomerate through the 2015 acquisition of DirecTV for $67 billion, followed by last year’s $102 billion takeover of Time Warner, a business unit now called WarnerMedia. Stankey, 56, is in charge of WarnerMedia, in addition to his new duties as COO of AT&T. During Stephenson’s tenure, Stankey has been his go-to for overseeing special projects, such as buying spectrum and helping the Time Warner merger clear the courts.Stephenson has been criticized for his bold dealmaking, and yet I don’t think his plan to reinvent AT&T was inherently bad. He has a vision for the company to be a leader in entertainment, which people are increasingly consuming on mobile devices, and 5G wireless networks like AT&T’s will facilitate more of that. But Stephenson did overpay for DirecTV, and he may have underestimated the challenge of integrating both that business and WarnerMedia, the latest tasks assigned to Stankey. As two executives who have worked in the telephone industry since their early 20s, they perhaps not surprisingly may have difficulty operating media assets, especially at a time when Netflix Inc. has changed what it means to watch TV.­­­AT&T’s lagging stock price looks to be the consequence of an incoherent strategy and an attempt to juggle too many things at once: building 5G, devising a plan for WarnerMedia, paying down debt and managing the decline of the DirecTV satellite business. There have also reportedly been tensions between Stankey and his new Hollywood employees. It’s said that his approach and at times irascible personality have clashed with that of WarnerMedia’s veterans. Richard Plepler, the former HBO boss, is among those who have departed. One can see why Stankey’s attempt to break down silos in WarnerMedia was a necessary step and one that wouldn’t sit well with legacy top brass. And to his credit, he brought in Bob Greenblatt, who formerly ran Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and before that Showtime, to manage WarnerMedia’s entertainment properties and streaming platforms. It also seems likely that Stankey will name a new chief to oversee all of WarnerMedia. Still, it’s concerning that more of HBO’s top people are said to be leaving in the next few weeks, in part due to frustrations with Stankey, as NBC News reported Tuesday morning.The capstone project of Stankey’s WarnerMedia integration is HBO Max, a Netflix-like streaming-TV service that’s expected to launch next spring. Plans for that service seem to be ever-changing, and Stankey’s handling of the roll-out stands in contrast to Walt Disney Co.’s meticulous approach to the Disney+ app, which launches Nov. 12. WarnerMedia also recently struck a production deal with director J.J. Abrams for an exorbitant amount of money that a company like Disney probably wouldn’t have offered, as I wrote last week. A key date for Stankey and WarnerMedia is Oct. 29, which is when investors will get a first look at HBO Max.The topic of succession is a valid concern. Any conglomerate could benefit from having a CEO for whom there are no sacred cows. At best, Stankey may promise more of the same, which investors haven’t been that pleased with lately. At worst, he could be at risk of botching AT&T’s transformation. His compensation looks high when viewed through that lens. After the Time Warner deal closed in June of last year, Stankey’s base salary more than doubled to $2.9 million, which AT&T said was “to reflect the increased scope and complexity of his new role as CEO of WarnerMedia.” He also received a $2 million “merger completion bonus.” Including stock grants and performance-linked awards, Stankey’s total realized compensation was $12.74 million. That was 89% higher than what John Donovan, the outgoing CEO of AT&T Communications – a division larger than WarnerMedia – earned in 2018. (1)The Wall Street Journal reported that the board supports Stankey, citing a person familiar with its thinking who said there aren’t many outside the company “who would be obvious candidates to run a complicated media and communications business.” But isn’t it at least worth looking around? And if the answer is that no one is capable of doing it, then perhaps all these businesses don’t belong together.(1) Stephenson earned $18.84 million. AT&T hasn’t said yet how Stankey’s pay will be adjusted to reflect his COO promotion.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • NBCUniversal to Take on Netflix With ‘Peacock’ Streaming Service
    Bloomberg

    NBCUniversal to Take on Netflix With ‘Peacock’ Streaming Service

    (Bloomberg) -- NBCUniversal revealed the name and initial lineup for its new online TV platform, aiming to challenge Netflix Inc. and other streaming rivals with more than 15,000 hours of programming.The service, slated to debut in April 2020, will be called Peacock, a tip of the hat to NBC’s logo. It will include reruns of NBC shows, including “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” as well as a slate of original shows, the Comcast Corp. division said on Tuesday.Peacock will join a crowded field of streaming services, all of which are fighting for TV viewers’ eyeballs and wallets. Walt Disney Co. and Apple Inc. are both launching offerings in November, while AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia is readying a product for early next year.Peacock’s original programming will include a “Battlestar Galactica” reboot from “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail and the drama “Dr. Death” starring Alec Baldwin. It also will feature comedies from the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels.The company will draw heavily on its vault of content. In addition to streaming reruns, Peacock will reboot the comedies “Saved by the Bell” and “Punky Brewster.”To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Turner in Los Angeles at nturner7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, John J. Edwards IIIFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Coding Startup GitLab Hits $2.75 Billion Value With New Funding

    (Bloomberg) -- GitLab Inc., a platform for developing and collaborating on code, has raised $268 million in new funding in a round valuing the startup at $2.75 billion, more than double its last valuation, the company said.The San Francisco-based startup provides a single application for companies to draft, develop and release code. The product is used by companies including Delta Air Lines Inc., Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.GitLab helps companies “get faster from ‘I want to make this,’ to getting the software out the door,” Chief Executive Officer Sid Sijbrandij said in an interview. “All the companies are becoming software companies, every change you want to make influences software, and the faster you can make that change, the easier it is.”The new funds will be used to add monitoring and security to GitLab’s offering, and to increase the company’s staff to more than 1,000 employees this year from 400. GitLab is able to add workers at a rapid rate, since it has an all-remote workforce, Sijbrandij said.The investment also comes in preparation for a potential public offering next year. GitLab’s largest competitor, GitHub Inc., was acquired by Microsoft Corp. in a stock deal announced in June 2018 worth $7.5 billion. But GitLab will instead aim for the public markets, targeting an IPO or direct listing next fall, Sijbrandij said.“We’d rather stay independent as a company,” he said. GitLab has set a tentative date of Nov. 18, 2020, but the CEO added that the startup will watch market conditions and that nothing is guaranteed.The Series E funding round was led by ICONIQ Capital and Goldman Sachs. New investors include Adage Capital Management, Alkeon Capital and Two Sigma Ventures, among others.GitLab has raised a total $426 million so far, including the new round.To contact the reporter on this story: Kiley Roache in New York at kroache@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Netflix Acquires Seinfeld Rights, Partners Canal+ in France
    Zacks

    Netflix Acquires Seinfeld Rights, Partners Canal+ in France

    Netflix's (NFLX) acquisition of streaming rights of popular comedy Seinfeld will help it fill up the gap in its content portfolio post the departure of shows like Friends and The Office.

  • Bloomberg

    HBO Max Claims ‘Big Bang Theory’ in Streaming Race for Sitcoms

    (Bloomberg) -- As streaming services fight for rights to popular sitcoms, AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia has locked down a key show: “The Big Bang Theory.”The company’s new streaming service, HBO Max, will have the U.S. rights to all 279 episodes of the comedy when it launches in the spring, WarnerMedia said on Tuesday. The show also extended a separate agreement with WarnerMedia’s cable network TBS to air “Big Bang Theory” through 2028.The move comes a day after Netflix Inc. secured the rights to all 180 episodes of “Seinfeld,” starting in 2021. Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures Television, the distributor of that show, currently has a deal with Walt Disney Co.’s Hulu. The “Seinfeld” bidding war followed battles over the rights to “The Office” and “Friends” -- two sitcoms that Netflix is losing to streaming rivals.In the case of “Big Bang Theory,” there wasn’t much of a contest. It was widely expected to go to HBO Max since the show is distributed by the same parent company. The in-house deal, which lasts five years, was valued at close to $500 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. Still, the comedy should be a key draw for the nascent platform. “Big Bang Theory,” which debuted in 2007, is billed as the longest-running multicamera comedy in U.S. TV history. It won 10 Emmy awards.“We’re thrilled that HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming home for this comedy juggernaut when we launch in the spring of 2020,” said Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer business. “This show has been a hit virtually around the globe, it’s one of the biggest shows on broadcast television of the last decade, and the fact that we get to bring it to a streaming platform for the first time in the U.S. is a coup for our new offering.”To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Turner in Los Angeles at nturner7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, John J. Edwards IIIFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.