The video streaming service led by CEO Reed Hastings launched in France and Germany this week, part of its previously announced plan to focus on international expansion to grow subscribers over the next year. Netflix, which has about 48 million global subscribers, roughly 12 million of them in international markets, plans to launch in four more European countries in the next year.
Vice Media, which started as a tiny free magazine in Montreal, raised $500 million in a pair of deals that value the company at $2.5 billion. The investments, which come after talks about a deal with Time Warner’s HLN cable network fell apart, were from A&E Networks and venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures. Each company invested $250 million in return for a 10% stake.
Big box retailer Target cut its full-year profit forecast Wednesday by roughly 50 cents in the face of continued consumer spending declines. The company, which recently named a new CEO after its customers had their data hacked over the holiday season, now expects to earn between $3.10-$3.30 per share.
McDonald’s posted a 2.5% decline in global sales for the month of July, its worst monthly sales performance in a decade. A food safety issue in Asia, along with the promotion of premium rather than value products in the U.S., factored heavily into the decline.
According to reports, that’s what a group of investors, including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, are valuing the disappearing photo app company in funding talks. Snapchat, which has already raised $100 million in venture capital, turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook last year, a decision many observers mocked at the time.
Despite raising prices for the first time in three years, consumers’s insatiable appetite for Chipotle burritos continued unabated during the second quarter. The casual dining chain easily beat Wall Street’s earning expectations, posting revenue of $1.05 billion and net income of $110.3 million.
In a deal that underscores the increasing fragmentation of digital streaming services, Hulu announced over the weekend that it has acquired exclusive streaming rights to South Park. The deal, valued by The New York Times at more than $80 million, gives Hulu the streaming rights to the Trey Parker and Matt Stone cartoon’s entire back catalog, as well as new episodes following their premiere on Comedy Central.
As the annual Sun Valley conference hosted by investment bank Allen & Co. gets underway in Idaho this week, the eyes of the media world will be on Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. After years of spinning off assets and slimming down his company, observers are wondering if Time Warner is a buyer or a seller. Does Bewkes want to buy a company like Discovery or sell to someone like Rupert Murdoch’s Fox?
Mark Zuckerberg is coming under fire again after it was revealed that Facebook manipulated the News Feeds of just under 700,000 users in the name of a science experiment to determine if online emotions were contagious. Anger among users at the perceived privacy violation spread quickly.
The Supreme Court ruled that Aereo violates the copyrights of broadcasters by streaming local TV signals over the internet via remote antennas. The ruling effectively puts Aereo out of business, as executives have said repeatedly the company has no plan B.
In a bid to buy both cool and a digital media presence, Time Warner is reportedly talking to Vice Media about a deal. The details are murky, but could involve Time Warner infusing Vice with up to $1 billion in cash and spinning off its HLN cable news network. The reports, which value Vice at around $2 billion, follow Time Warner’s spin off of its legacy magazine unit, Time Inc.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin unveiled at Re/code’s inaugural Code Conference this week the company’s long-awaited self-driving car prototype. Brin said Google would be making around 100 prototype cars, with each lacking a steering wheel, accelerator pedal or brake pedal and featuring a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour.
General Motors announced the recall of another 2.4 million cars this week, bringing the total figure for this year to a stunning 13 million. (Last year it recalled less than one million cars.) The company, which appointed Mary Barra as its first female CEO in December, said the latest recall would result in a $400 million charge.
Multiple news outlets reported Monday that AT&T is closing in on a deal to acquire DirecTV, the nation’s largest satellite TV operator, for $50 billion. The potential deal comes after years of on-again, off-again negotiations between the two companies and follows the impending $45.2 billion merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Disney, led by CEO Bob Iger, reported a nearly 30% gain in fiscal second quarter earnings to $1.9 billion on a 10% jump in revenue to $11.65 billion, both well ahead of analysts estimates. The gains were owed to the strong performance of its film studio unit, where revenue swelled 35% to $1.8 billion, and the box office success of animated movie Frozen, in particular.
After years of grooming, Mark Fields, 53, officially was handed the keys to the CEO suite at Ford Motor Thursday. He takes over for Alan Mulally, who has led Ford for the last eight years, taking the automaker from a government bailout to an expected profit of upwards of $7 billion this year.
After being usurped by Comcast to acquire all of Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications managed to save face by inking a deal to buy and swap some cable systems with Comcast in a complex, three-step, roughly $20 billion deal. As a result, Charter, whose biggest shareholder is cable industry pioneer John Malone, will become the second-largest cable distributor in the country, trailing only the combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable.
The investment bank, led by CEO James Gorman, reported a 56% profit gain to $1.46 billion in the first quarter. The gain was owed in part to its investment banking business, where Morgan Stanley topped the rankings in global mergers and acquisitions advising during the quarter.
Shares of WWE, led by founder Vince McMahon, are getting body-slammed by investors after the company reported less than expected subscribers to its new streaming TV service. Just over 667,000 people subscribed to the WWE’s $9.99 per month online video service in the first month. Analysts were projecting upwards of 800,000 subscribers.
Wall Street’s chief enforcement agent, Preet Bharara, said in a speech before the Security Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) that it won’t be too long before “a significant financial institution will be charged with a felony or be made to plead guilty to a felony.” Bharara has been a leading advocate for holding institutions themselves, and not just people, accountable for crimes and has aggressively been going after financial firms and white-collar criminals in particular.