CBS and Shari Redstone Plan to Fight for a Long, Long Time: DealBook Briefing

CBS and Shari Redstone Plan to Fight for a Long, Long Time: DealBook Briefing

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Shari Redstone

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Good Friday morning. Here’s what we’re watching:

• CBS continues its insurrection against its controlling shareholder.

• Why to be skeptical of China’s reported trade concession.

• The issues behind a bailout of 666 Fifth Ave.

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Despite court loss, CBS continues to defy Shari Redstone

Even after a Delaware judge denied CBS’s move to restrain its controlling shareholder, the broadcaster’s board — excluding Ms. Redstone and her two allies — voted to approve a special dividend that would remove much of the Redstones’ voting power. (It won’t take effect unless a Delaware court approves, and Ms. Redstone argues that she has already changed CBS’s bylaws to neuter the move.)

Both sides claimed a victory of sorts, but only one thing was clear: They will all be spending a lot of time in court.

Critics’ corner: Barton Crockett of B. Riley FBR says that Ms. Redstone’s ultimate goal, reuniting CBS and Viacom, isn’t the best outcome for either company. Rich Greenfield of BTIG says CBS’s C.E.O., Les Moonves, should move on if he wants to act like an owner.


Liu He, Beijing's top economic adviser.

Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

China’s $200 billion trade offer isn’t what it seems

Chinese negotiators may have proposed radically shrinking Beijing’s trade gap with the U.S., and that would look like a win for President Trump. But the math is fuzzy, according to Mark Landler and Ana Swanson of the NYT:

Even if the Chinese stopped buying other foreign products, like Airbus airplanes from the European Union or soybeans from Brazil, and purchased solely American products, it would add up to only a small fraction of the $200 billion total they are promising to purchase.

The U.S. economy is running at near-full capacity, so more exports to China would mean fewer elsewhere. But this may all be moot, since Beijing denies making the offer.


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The trade talks have other potential bumps. Congress wants more national security oversight of Chinese investment in the U.S. Mr. Trump himself cast doubt on the outcome of the negotiations, though maybe that was a tactical ploy.

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Elsewhere in trade: Japan may retaliate against U.S. metal tariffs. American sanctions on Iran and Venezuela may aid OPEC and Russia. Easing penalties against Rusal hasn’t stopped suffering at the metals giant.


666 Fifth Ave.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Why a bailout of the Kushners’ 666 Fifth Ave. matters

The Midtown Manhattan skyscraper has long been an albatross for Kushner Companies. But the potential rescue deal — with Brookfield Property Partners, a firm that has Qatari state backing — raised questions about Jared Kushner’s continuing ties to his family business.

Representatives for Brookfield and Qatar said the emirate wasn’t involved, and Brookfield is an established real-estate name in its own right. But Mr. Kushner remains financially tied to Kushner Companies, which has sought to do business with Anbang of China and Qatar. And fears that foreign governments might influence him that way may have helped lose him his security clearance.

Until terms of the deal come to light, Tim O’Brien of Bloomberg Opinion says, it’s fair to ask whether this would be another collision of private business and public policy.

The political flyaround

• Who gets put straight through to President Trump? The list reportedly includes Steve Schwarzman, Rupert Murdoch and Sean Hannity. (New York)

• The law enforcement official who leaked Michael Cohen’s financial records probably left an identifying digital trail. (Bloomberg)

• A defamation lawsuit against Mr. Trump by the former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos can go ahead, a New York appeals court ruled. (WaPo)


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• A branch of China Construction Bank offered clients the chance to dine with Mr. Trump for $150,000, prompting the president’s re-election campaign to complain to the Justice Department. (Bloomberg)

• Some ways private colleges may get around taxes on their endowments. (Bloomberg)

• The WSJ editorial board rebuked immigration hard-liners as hurting U.S. agriculture. (WSJ)


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

PayPal’s big deal sets up a bigger clash with Square

With its $2.2 billion deal to buy iZettle, PayPal has taken a big move in the global payments arms race. The Swedish iZettle — which had planned to go public — is Europe’s answer to Square, providing small businesses with credit-card readers and other services.

“Small businesses are the engine of the global economy and we are continuing to expand our platform to help them compete and win online, in-store and via mobile,” said PayPal’s C.E.O., Dan Schulman.

Chew on this: Another sale of a European start-up to an American company may trouble European policymakers who want a homegrown tech industry to rival Silicon Valley.


Carl Icahn

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The deals flyaround

• Carl Icahn’s next campaign: fighting a take-private of AmTrust. (WSJ)

• Nissan wants better terms from a potential merger with its corporate cousin, Renault. (Bloomberg)

BJ’s Wholesale Club, Universal Music Group and Arion Bank, the successor to the failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, all plan to go public. And shares in the tech training company Pluralsight rose 35 percent in their first day of trading.

• Vista Equity Partners and Thoma Bravo, two of the big names in tech private equity, are each looking to raise at least $10 billion apiece for new funds. (WSJ)


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• TPG Growth is continuing its deal-making in Myanmar. (Bloomberg)


Richard Drew/Associated Press

Why Wells Fargo is still a headache for bank regulators

The latest scandal: Employees at its wholesale unit altered customers’ information — from Social Security numbers to dates of birth — without consent, according to the WSJ. They did so in 2017 and early this year in a rush to comply with anti-money-laundering rules.

Peter Eavis writes: A bank doesn’t have to harm customers to get into trouble with its regulators. These missteps suggest that Wells Fargo is still struggling to improve its compliance and its workplace culture.

Elsewhere in finance: Business Insider goes behind the scenes at the Goldman Sachs trading shake-up. The Vatican said that the response to the 2008 financial crisis has smacked of “a return to the heights of myopic egoism.”


Google’s C.E.O., Sundar Pichai, demonstrating the company’s assistant software.

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The tech flyaround

How realistic was that hairdresser-calling Google A.I. assistant? An internal Google video, “The Selfish Ledger,” dreams of all-encompassing data collection.

• Has Apple picked North Carolina instead of Northern Virginia for a new campus? (WRAL)

Fraud is still rampant in I.C.O.s. JPMorgan Chase is exploring potential uses of cryptocurrencies.

• Uber’s fight with Ola has been good for Indian customers — but bad for SoftBank, which owns stakes in both. (FT)

• Goldman Sachs analysts think Tesla needs to raise $10 billion by 2020. (Fortune)


Suzanne Scott, second from left.

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Revolving door

Suzanne Scott, a longtime Fox News executive, became the network’s first woman C.E.O. and the only female head of a major broadcast or cable news operation. (NYT)

Andrew Levy, United Continental’s C.F.O., and Julie Stewart, chief of staff to its C.E.O., are leaving. (WSJ)


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Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer and flying-taxi supremo, is leaving. (Recode)


Anthony Scaramucci, right, with Michael Avenatti.

Jamie Mccarthy/Getty Images

Quote of the day

“How about: Not Happening.”

Anthony Scaramucci, on what a prospective TV show starring the onetime White House official and Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, should be called.

The speed read

• Companies like Tesla and Apple want lithium and cobalt so much, they’re sometimes partnering with suppliers who aren’t producing yet. And China shouldn’t count on a stranglehold on lithium forever.

• The F.D.A. has called out drug makers it says are blocking generic competition. (WSJ)

• American shale drillers are still spending more than they make, even as oil prices rise. (WSJ)

• MTV has halted production of “Catfish: The TV Show” amid a sexual misconduct investigation into its host, Nev Schulman. (Daily Beast)

• Why some people admire Ajit Pai’s work at the F.C.C. while others revile it. (Wired)

• Should Uber just drop mandatory arbitration? (NYT)

• A history of Facebook’s (Wired)

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