Media: Comcast’s surprise bid for Sky
“Comcast may have found a way to disrupt Walt Disney Co.’s plan to buy most of 21st Century Fox,” said Chad Bray and Michael de la Merced in The New York Times. The U.S. cable company this week offered a surprise $31 billion bid for British satellite broadcaster Sky. Fox has spent the past year negotiating with British regulators to buy the 61 percent of Sky it doesn’t already own; in the midst of those talks, Fox agreed to sell most of itself to Disney. Comcast’s bid means that either Fox will have to increase its offer for Sky “or Disney will lose a valuable international property to Comcast.”
Entertainment: Weinstein Co. files for bankruptcy
The film studio Weinstein Co., co-founded by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, announced this week it will file for bankruptcy, said Ryan Faughnder in the Los Angeles Times. The studio had been in sale negotiations with a group of investors, but a lawsuit against the company filed last month by New York’s attorney general brought the talks to a halt. The lawsuit alleged the company repeatedly violated state and city laws barring sexual harassment and discrimination.
Economy: Consumer confidence hits 17-year high
“U.S. consumer confidence surged in February, building off its rebound from January and reaching the highest level since 2000,” said Kevin Breuinger in CNBC.com. The Conference Board’s index bounced to 130.80 in February, up from 124.30 in January. The board’s index surveys Americans’ views of current economic conditions as well as their expectations for the coming six months. Optimism around labor and business market conditions has swelled this year. Economists pay close attention to the confidence figure, because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
Companies: Beijing takes over troubled insurance giant
The Chinese government last week seized control of the country’s third-largest insurance firm, the owner of New York City’s Waldorf Astoria and other marquee global properties, said James Areddy in The Wall Street Journal. Anbang Insurance Group, which holds more than $310 billion in assets and has 35 million customers, will be overseen for at least a year by Chinese regulators; its former chairman was also charged with economic crimes. The company, which has an opaque ownership structure, financed its vast real estate portfolio thanks “to legions of individuals who lent it money when they became policyholders.”