Banking: Senate panel takes aim at Dodd-Frank
The Senate Banking Committee this week advanced a bill that would impose “sweeping” chang es to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, said Sylvan Lane in TheHill.com. Republicans on the panel were joined by a bloc of moderate Democrats in a vote of 16 to 7 to send the legislation to the full Senate for consideration. The bill would raise the threshold at which banks are labeled “too big to fail” from $50 billion to $250 billion, exempting some 30 larger and midsize banks from stricter oversight that was introduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. It also “exempts all banks with less than $100 billion in assets from federal stress tests immediately.”
The panel’s debate on the bill led to “the unusual sight of Democrats sparring with one another,” said Jim Puzzanghera in the Los Angeles Times. Several Democrats on the committee questioned the need for regulatory relief at a time when “bank profits have been soaring.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others attempted to blunt the rollback of some of the regulations and to add consumer protections to the bill, but they were thwarted by fellow Democrats who said that while they supported the amendments, they wanted to “avoid endangering GOP support” for regulatory relief for smaller banks.
Media: Disney and Fox close in on deal
Disney and 21st Century Fox are nearing a blockbuster deal worth roughly $60 billion, said David Faber in CNBC.com. The two companies have been in talks for several weeks after the Rupert Murdoch–run Fox signaled it would be open to off-loading its movie studio and entertainment channels, including FX and National Geographic. Under the rumored deal, Fox would sell its entertainment assets and some international properties, including a stake in the British broadcaster Sky, “and keep its news, sports, and broadcast network.” Fox has also been in talks with Comcast, but the talks with Disney have progressed faster.
Food: Chipotle removes founder and CEO
Chipotle Mexican Grill is seeking a new leader “with demonstrated turnaround expertise,” said Tiffany Hsu in The New York Times. The beleaguered fast-casual chain last week announced it is replacing Steve Ells, its founder and current chief executive. Ells established Chipotle in Denver in 1993 and oversaw its expansion to more than 2,350 locations. But in 2015 “Chipotle began dealing with the first in a long series of scandals,” including persistent food contamination issues. Ells, who will become executive chairman “once his successor is found,” drew “investor scrutiny” last year over his annual pay of nearly $16 million.
Finance: Mulvaney makes instant impact at CFPB
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney this week “laid out a tentative plan for remaking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” said Renae Merle in The Washington Post. Mulvaney, who became acting director of the consumer watchdog last week after a legal fight with the former director’s deputy and who once co-sponsored legislation to do away with the CFPB altogether, said he will begin his temporary tenure by “adding more political appointees and launching a review of the watchdog’s more than 100 active investigations and lawsuits.”
Tech: Google and Amazon feud escalates
Google pulled YouTube from some Amazon devices this week “in retaliation for Amazon refusing to sell many Google products,” said Jack Nicas in The Wall Street Journal. Google has accused Amazon of refusing to sell products like the Google Home smart speaker or Google’s Chromecast streaming device because they compete with Amazon’s own devices. In response, Google has cut access to YouTube on Amazon’s Echo Show smart speaker/screen and plans to block YouTube on Amazon’s Fire TV media-streaming device on Jan. 1. “Both companies said they hope to resolve the issue quickly.” ■