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Showing posts with label ABC NEWS.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ABC NEWS.. Show all posts

May 8, 2018

The Sky plotsaga has yet more twists in the takeover | plot - May 8,2018. | The Telegraph

The Sky saga has yet more twists in the takeover plot

The Sky takeover saga has had more shifting deadlines than a satellite repeat of Homes Under the Hammer but here’s yet another one that may trump all the rest. June 12.
That is the day by which US District Judge Richard Leon has promised to deliver a decision in the antitrust trial over the takeover of Time Warner, owner of CNN and HBO, by the telecoms giant AT&T.
The deal is opposed by Donald Trump and the Department of Justice but AT&T boss Randall Stephenson has battled on.
He and many others are convinced that in a world of trillion-dollar monsters from Silicon Valley, a mere $85bn (£63bn) merger between two companies that do not directly compete should be allowed.
If Stephenson prevails next month, the potential ramifications for Sky of an approval or rejection of the deal are massive and further complicate a situation that is already more confusing than Sky’s recent Twin Peaks reboot.
As things stand, 21st Century Fox and Comcast have made competing bids for Sky. Comcast gatecrashed in February with a more generous bid that probably faces lower regulatory hurdles. The EU is due to rule on whether to approve the potential deal of conduct an in-depth investigation by June 15.
Murdoch-controlled Fox could increase its bid if it gets approval to buy Sky from the Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who has until June 13 to make a decision and could act sooner. If not the middle week of June looks quite crowded.

Matt Hancock has just over a month to decide on whether to approve Fox's Sky purchase Credit: Jeff Gilbert
For the holders of the 61pc of Sky shares not owned by Fox, the ideal situation would be approval and a straight auction. The field would not be totally level. Fox after all starts with 39pc of Sky and can switch its offer from a scheme of arrangement to a vanilla takeover that only requires 50pc plus one share to succeed.
In that scenario other shareholders would look to Martin Gilbert and the independent directors to maintain the lock up that prevents Fox buying more shares on the market, to ensure a shoot-out takes place. Normally Fox would be comprehensively outgunned by Comcast, had it not agreed to sell most of its assets on to Disney, which is trying to bulk up in anticipation of coming clashes with Silicon Valley.
Disney lacks the direct relationships with consumers that are expected to be essential to stand up to Netflix and Amazon and wants Sky to plug the gap. It could give Fox plenty of latitude to bid up against Comcast. This is where Judge Leon could take a starring role. When the Murdoch clan agreed to sell most of their entertainment empire to Disney last year, they also fielded interest from Comcast. The political opposition to the “vertical” merger of AT&T and Time Warner tilted the pitch in favour of Disney, however.
In the eyes of regulators, a combination of Comcast’s vast cable distribution network and Fox’s film and television assets could look quite similar to AT&T’s plans. Disney is meanwhile merely a rival media owner pursuing a “horizontal” deal with Fox.
Such a merger would not be unopposed, particularly in Europe where the likes of Virgin Media owner Liberty Global would fear consolidation of two film suppliers and its biggest rival, Sky.
Nevertheless in Fox’s eyes Disney looked the less risky option compared with Comcast.
Yet if AT&T defeats the government opposition to its takeover of Time Warner, Comcast is likely to revive its interest in the big deal with the Murdoch family. It wants Sky and has seized its opportunity in the UK, but it also wants the Hollywood film studio, the cable channels and the 30pc stake in the US Netflix rival Hulu. It certainly doesn’t want Disney to have them.
For holders of the 61pc of Sky shares not owned by Fox, the ideal is a straight auction
It emerged over the long weekend that Comcast has been gathering the necessary financial firepower, some $60bn in cash, versus $52bn in Disney shares.
If the court backs AT&T and gives the green light to a mega-merger of media and telecoms, Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts looks likely to mount another raid. And if he succeeds in usurping Disney at the court of Murdoch, an auction for Sky looks less likely.
The two current bidders – Fox and Comcast – would become one.

Comcast's Brian Roberts Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP
Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive, could make his own bid for Sky, but he would be up against a bidder with a 39pc stake in the bag and regulatory approval well under way if not sealed.
That is why news of Comcast’s manoeuvrings in the credit markets on Tuesday prompted a sell-off of Sky shares.
They fell more than 1.6pc as the hedge funds which have attempted to predict the many twists and turns of the Sky takeover estimated the risk that the cold war between Comcast and Disney may never turn hot, at least in the UK. That said the shares remain a pound above Comcast’s £12.50 offer, the best currently on the table.
It is entirely possible that Judge Leon will rule against AT&T, of course. Comcast would then have to make do with fighting it out for Sky.
It means the independent Sky shareholders now find themselves lined up alongside Trump, who it has been claimed opposes the AT&T takeover of Time Warner because of his hatred of CNN. News has always been at the centre of wrangling over Sky. So-called “fake news” and a US court could deliver the denouement.

Live Primary Election Coverage: Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia | ABC News.

Aug 13, 2014

ABC News Who Needs a Hug -August 13, 2014-.

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Who Needs A Hug?

August 13, 2014 09:12 AMBy MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
  • WHITE HOUSE: HILLARY REMAINS OBAMA'S 'CLOSE FRIEND' DESPITE RECENT TENSION: Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told ABC's JON KARL yesterday that Hillary Clinton "remains a close friend of the President's" and that their friendship "extends well beyond any differences or anything that is spun up in the public sphere," despite her comments to The Atlantic about Obama's approach to several foreign policy challenges, particularly Syria. Rhodes said tonight when they will both attend a private party in Martha's Vineyard "they'll have a good chance to see each other, have a laugh about this, move on." WATCH:
  • HILLARY PLANS ON 'HUGGING IT OUT' WITH OBAMA: According to Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill, the former secretary of state looks forward to "hugging it out" with the president at tonight's party, ABC's ERIN DOOLEY notes. In an interview with The Atlantic published Monday, Clinton said, "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle." In a statement to ABC News, Merrill said, "While they've had honest differences on some issues, including aspects of the wicked challenge Syria presents, she has explained those differences. … Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night."
ABC's JEFF ZELENY: President Obama may have declined the ALS ice challenge from Ethel Kennedy, but there's another frigid appointment awaiting him: A meeting tonight with Hillary Clinton on Martha's Vineyard. The former Secretary of State's criticism of the president and his foreign policy in that well-read Atlantic interview was less surprising than her attempt to apologize and clarify. If she moves forward with a presidential bid next year, she will surely have to put some distance between her and the old boss. Voters in a Democratic primary, and certainly a general election, would demand it. So even though the play-by-play commentary in the latest round of Clinton v. Obama was overplayed -like many August stories tend to be - the apology actually makes it intriguing. Not only does it show that she's still respectful and deferential to Obama, but also raises a question: Will she always be this busy cleaning up her remarks? From 'Dead broke' earlier this summer to this, the clean up aisle is getting crowded.
ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: The Republican State Leadership Committee will announce today that their group launched to woo female GOP candidates "Right Women, Right Now" has passed their recruitment goal. They have 558 new female candidates for state-level races across the country from at least 47 states, exceeding their goal of 300, the group tells ABC News. The RSLC is holding an online campaign school for all their Republican candidates this summer. "Right Women, Right Now" is part of the RSLC's Future Majority Project, chaired by Govs. Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada. This is an outreach group to try and identify candidates of Hispanic descent. RWRN also launched 14 female candidates to watch from states including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, and more. These are the races that won't make the national radar, but as Republicans try to take control of even more statehouses across the country they are critcally important for both sides of the aisle.
NEW BOOK: BEING ASSIGNED TO HILLARY CLINTON'S SECRET SERVICE DETAIL 'A FORM OF PUNISHMENT.' There's no worse assignment for a Secret Service agent than protecting Hillary Clinton, if claims in a controversial new book are to be believed. Ronald Kessler's book, "First Family Detail," is filled with salacious revelations about the secret personal lives of the nation's most high-profile political leaders. But the authenticity of those revelations has been called into question over factual inaccuracies in the book, as well as its reliance on anonymous Secret Service agents. "She is so nasty to agents that being assigned to her detail is considered a form of punishment," Kessler said of Clinton in an interview with ABC's RICK KLEIN, host of "Top Line." Clinton continues to receive Secret Service protection as a former first lady. WATCH:
ARE PRESIDENT OBAMA'S VACATIONS CURSED? For the past six years, it might seem like there has been a coordinated effort underway between Mother Nature, Vladimir Putin and House Republicans to make sure President Obama can never vacation peacefully. From the fiscal cliff (2012) to Crimea, to this year's crisis in Iraq, President Obama's vacations seem to be interrupted every time he sets out for some much-needed rest and relaxation. In reality it's simply the nature of the job - whether the president is in the Oval Office or kicking back on the beach, the news doesn't stop and emergencies, disasters and political turmoil keep coming. The man can't even have a beach day without making a statement on Iraq. ABC's SCOTT WILSON looked back at the first family's vacations over the past few years and found that, much of the time, Obama just can't catch a break:
U.S. SENDS 130-MEMBER MILITARY ASSESSMENT TEAM TO ERBIL. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced that the United States has sent a new 130 member military assessment team to Erbil in northern Iraq to determine what further assistance the U.S. can provide in easing the humanitarian crisis of thousands of Yazidis trapped at Mount Sinjar, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ reports. For now, the United States has provided five airdrops of food and water to the Yazidis and conducted 18 airstrikes targeting ISIS fighters surrounding the mountain or who were approaching Erbil. Addressing a group of Marines during a visit to Camp Pendleton in California, Hagel said the team had arrived in northern Iraq "to take a closer look and give a more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help the Iraqis with what they're doing and the threats that they are now dealing with." The new team is in addition to the 40 U.S. military personnel already in Erbil who for several weeks have been manning a Joint Operations Center with Kurdish military forces.
BATTLE OF THE SUMMER VACATION HOMES: OBAMAS VS. CLINTONS. With the first family in tow, President Obama jetted off for a two-week vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, over the weekend. Meanwhile, Bill and Hillary Clinton decamped for their rental home in the Hamptons last week. Yes, there are political points to be scored here - Could the Clinton's pricey vacation alienate some voters in 2016 especially with Hillary Clinton's "dead broke" comment still resonating? Does the president's penchant for golf suggest he's taking his eye off pressing international and domestic matters? (Sen. Ted Cruz seems to think so).But, as long as we're in a scoring mood, here's the really important question: who's got it better this summer - the Obamas or the Clintons? Here's ABC's ERIN DOOLEY's scorecard:
"EXCLUSIVE: SEN. MARY LANDRIEU'S CAMPAIGN FLIGHT WAS CHARGED TO TAXPAYERS," by CNN's Chris Frates. "Sen. Mary Landrieu made headlines last November when she hitched a ride home on Air Force One with President Obama, but chose not to attend his event in New Orleans. Another lesser-known flight Landrieu took that same day mistakenly cost taxpayers more than $3,000. CNN has learned that the vulnerable Louisiana Democrat used government money to charter a private plane to travel to a campaign fundraiser, in violation of federal law. Landrieu spent more than $3,200 in taxpayer money to fly 400 miles round trip from New Orleans to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she attended a $40-per person fundraising lunch with hundreds of women, according to Senate records and Landrieu campaign information. It is illegal to spend government money campaigning. Landrieu's campaign spokesman, Fabien Levy, said in a statement that the charter company mistakenly billed Landrieu's Senate office instead of her re-election campaign. Levy said the campaign noticed the error a few weeks ago and asked the company to refund the Senate office and bill the campaign, which the company did. Levy said Landrieu's re-election campaign paid for the flight August 4, almost nine months after the November 8trip. 'We take our finances very seriously and are glad we caught the vendor's mistake and were able to rectify the matter as soon as possible,' Levy said."

Aug 8, 2014

ABC News - August 8, 2014: More Unto Iraq.

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More Unto Iraq

August 08, 2014 09:07 AM

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )

BREAKING - U.S. CONDUCTS AIR STRIKE IN IRAQ: A statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby: "At approximately 6:45 a.m. EDT, the U.S. military conducted a targeted airstrike against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists. Two F/A-18 aircraft dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece near Erbil. ISIL was using this artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil where U.S. personnel are located. The decision to strike was made by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief. As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against ISIL when they threaten our personnel and facilities."
WHAT OBAMA SAID: President Obama said last night he has authorized "targeted" air strikes if necessary to protect American interests in Iraq from insurgent forces that are taking over the country's northern cities. If the terrorist group ISIS reaches Erbil, the president said he will call in U.S. air strikes. The U.S. has an embassy and other staffers in the city. Air strikes have also been authorized to protect families fleeing ISIS in the Sinjar Mountains. "These innocent families are faced with a choice: descend and be slaughtered or stay and slowly die of hunger," he said.
U.S. COMBAT TROOPS WILL NOT RETURN: "As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be drawn into fighting another war in Iraq," Obama said in a brief address at the White House last night. The announcements marked the deepest American engagement in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew in late 2011 after nearly a decade of war. "Today, America is coming to help," Obama said. "The U.S. cannot turn a blind eye." An air drop of food, water and medicine made at the request of the Iraqi government has been completed, the president said in the statement from the White House.

THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': On Sunday, "This Week" covers the latest on the U.S. response to the escalating crisis in Iraq. Plus, the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week's politics, with ABC News' Matthew Dowd and Cokie Roberts, ESPN's LZ Granderson, and journalist and author Sharyl Attkisson. See the "This Week" homepage for full guest listings. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. Tune in Sunday:


ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: It's officially a clean sweep. For the first time since 2008, this is the first cycle when no incumbent GOP Senator has lost a re-nomination fight. Sen. Lamar Alexander's victory last night marked the tea party's last stand this primary season and although it was a tighter than expected outcome at a nine point spread, the tea party came up short yet again. Despite the failure to topple a sitting Senator with millions of dollars unsuccessfully spent, it's unlikely we will see an end to insurgent challengers in each cycle. One victory they can claim, in addition to Eric Cantor's fall, is the ability to say they helped move the party to the right. Out of fear of being challenged or more pure reasons, the GOP has become more conservative and that's one win the tea party can rightfully claim and will continue to push for.

ABC's JEFF ZELENY: The week in Iowa politics opened with a three-day visit by Rand Paul and closes with a parade of Republican hopefuls, all eager to plant early seeds for their 2016 presidential aspirations. Ted Cruz is arriving for his second straight weekend. Rick Santorum and Rick Perry are back, too. And Bobby Jindal is bringing his whole family to the Iowa State Fair. Even for the most politically inclined, these trips may be coming a bit early. And there is a quiet sense of worry, among at least some Iowa Republicans we talk to, that the visits may not be entirely helpful to the biggest contest of the year: The campaign to fill Sen. Tom Harkin's seat. Joni Ernst has become one of the most promising Republican Senate recruits of the year, but as she tries to create her own persona, will having Cruz and the gang tagging around make it more difficult?


ABC'S '14 FOR 14- HOT SEAT: MEET MARY BURKE, WISCONSIN GOV. SCOTT WALKER'S WORST NIGHTMARE. Democrat Mary Burke is statistically tied in the latest polling with Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is often discussed as a possible contender for his party's nomination for president in 2016. Burke, a Democrat whose family owns a successful bicycle business, is hoping to play spoiler in one of the most closely watched head-to-head races in the country this November. Recent polling from Marquette University Law School shows her with a one-point edge among likely voters, and within one point of Walker among registered voters. The Wisconsin governor's race is part of ABC's "14 for 14? project, which is tracking key contests across the country between now and November. ABC's JOHN PARKINSON recentlyconducted a rapid-fire question/answer session with Burke, delving into the candidate's thoughts on a range of topics, from her ties to Hartland, Wis. to forgiveness for future Packers Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.



TENNESSEE SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER DEFEATS TEA PARTY CHALLENGER JOE CARR.Incumbent Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander won his primary last night, defeating tea party challenger state Rep. Joe Carr in the Republican primary, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Alexander bested Carr 49.7 percent to 40.5 percent, according to the Associated Press. This was a tighter than expected final outcome. Self-funding candidate and Memphis radio station owner George Flinn came in with 5.2 percent and there were four other lesser-known challengers. This race marked the tea party's last best chance to beat an incumbent senator and with Alexander's victory, it marks the end of months of trying, as well as millions of dollars spent, to oust a sitting senator by an insurgent intra-party challenger. They tried in Kentucky, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, and earlier this week in Kansas, but came up short each time. Despite the effort and dollars spent, this will be the first cycle since 2008 when no incumbent GOP senator has lost a re-nomination fight. Unlike many of those other races, this one didn't get the support of several outside conservative groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund, which pledged to toss out incumbent senators in other races but were unsuccessful.

IOWA CANDIDATE: 'PRESSURE IS ON' IN SENATE CONTROL BATTLE. DES MOINES-At the dawn of the midterm election season, when Republican dreams of winning control of the Senate still seemed distant, the open seat in Iowa was barely on the radar of the marquee races to watch, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ and JEFF ZELENY note. But with only three months of campaigning to go, it's not an overstatement to say Democrats now worry that their ability to retain the Senate majority hinges to a large degree on the outcome of the race in Iowa. Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic nominee, has struggled to meet lofty expectations and is now locked in a tough contest with Joni Ernst, a Republican state senator. "The pressure is to make sure Iowa voters understand the clear choice they have in this election between me and my opponent because of the huge impact it's going to have on their future," Braley told ABC News on Thursday at the Iowa State Fair. He did not dismiss the suggestion he's the underdog in the race. "I've always felt like when you're running in a race in a state like Iowa, you're the underdog because this is a very purple state," he said.

CANDIDATES USE HOLLYWOOD SOUNDS TO WOO VOTERS. Politics rarely resembles the interpretation of government that Hollywood, or Netflix for that matter, presents to the public. Every now and then though and especially during campaign season, the two worlds coalesce. It is not unusual to find celebrities endorsing political candidates and even donating campaign funds. What is unusual is a candidate using the soundtrack of a Hollywood blockbuster as background music for their television ad, notes ABC's CALEB JACKSON. One quick glance at this ad from Tennessee state Representative Charles Sargent, and you may recognize the romantic, somewhat patriotic tune in the background. It happens to be the theme song from "Dances with Wolves," the 1990 Western starring Kevin Costner. No word on whether Sargent has paid for the rights to use the track or why he chose the soundtrack from a film about a man befriending wild wolves. ABC News tried reached out to Sargent for comment on his exquisite taste in cinema orchestration, but he never responded.

HERE'S HOW BADLY COLUMBUS, OHIO WANTS 2016 DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION. Forget the red carpet-Columbus, Ohio, is rolling out the blue. With a team from the Democratic National Committee in town to consider the central Ohio city as a possible site for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, residents and city leaders are pulling out all the stops, according to ABC's JENNIFER HANSLER. Thursday was the city's last chance to impress the DNC. The day's itinerary was meant to showcase Columbus' "championship culture," according to the Columbus Dispatch. Delegates will tour Ohio Stadium, the home turf of the Ohio State Buckeyes, and may meet with coach Urban Meyer. With the visit to the venue, organizers hope to woo the selection team with the idea of a presidential nominee accepting the nomination there in front of a crowd of 100,000. And on Wednesday, the city actually staged an entire parade and rally outside of Nationwide Arena to welcome the DNC's site selection delegation.

MONTANA SEN. JOHN WALSH ABANDONS SENATE RACE AFTER PLAGIARISM SCANDAL.Sen. John Walsh, Democrat of Montana, is abandoning his fall election bid in the wake of a plagiarism scandal that shook his campaign late last month, reports ABC's JEFF ZELENY. "The 2007 research paper from my time at the U.S. Army War College has become a distraction from the debate you expect and deserve," Walsh said in a statement. "I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. Senator. You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will." "It is time for us all to return to the real issues of this election," he added. Walsh intends to serve out the rest of his appointed term, one official tells ABC News. He has been under heavy pressure to leave the race, including calls from party officials and editorials in his state's newspapers.

OBAMA SIGNS VA REFORM BILL. President Obama signed the new veterans' reform bill Thursday, signing into law one of the few bipartisan legislative accomplishments of this Congress, notes ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL. The reform bill, enacted in response to revelations of poor care and long wait times at veteran care centers across the country, will provide the facilities with greater resources while adding oversight to the Department of Veterans' Affairs healthcare system. Eager to show progress on a crisis that drew sharp criticism for his administration, Obama said the bill would address the problems discovered at facilities. "Working together, we set out to fix [problems at VA facilities] and do right by our veterans across the board, no matter how long it took," Obama said.

CDC: UNCLEAR WHETHER EXPERIMENTAL EBOLA SERUM WORKING ON AMERICANS. As two American relief volunteers infected with the Ebola virus make "slow improvement" at an Atlanta hospital, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Congress that even with a full recovery it will be impossible to know whether an experimental drug has had any impact on their health, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON reports. Lawmakers convened a rare summer hearing today to examine the international community's response to the outbreak across West Africa, as well as deliberate whether ZMapp, an experimental serum mixture of three antibodies, could help stem the deadly outbreak if it was more widely available. "The plain fact is that we don't know whether that treatment is helpful, harmful or doesn't have any impact," Dr. Tom Frieden testified. "We're unlikely to know from the experience of two or a handful of patients whether it works." "If there's a new treatment, we will do everything we can to help get it out to those who need it most," Frieden said. "But right now, we are months or at least a year away."


MISCHIEVOUS TODDLER TRIGGERS WHITE HOUSE LOCK DOWN. Well, this might be a first. The White House was temporarily locked down Thursday night as Secret Service responded to a unique incident on the North Lawn. Fence-jumpers are a frequent occurrence here, but not like this, notes ABC's MARY BRUCE. A toddler apparently squeezed through the north fence, triggering security alerts and causing agents to race across the lawn. Per protocol, the White House was locked down, Pennsylvania Avenue was closed, and the gates were shut. The toddler, who no doubt was terrified by the ordeal, has since been reunited with his parents. "We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him, but in lieu of that he got a timeout and was sent on way with parents," Edwin Donovan, spokesman for the US Secret Service, said in what will go down as one of the best press statements of the year. Just another night at the White House…

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