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


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.

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666 Fifth Ave.

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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)

• 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)

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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.

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Carl Icahn

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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)

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

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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.”

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

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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)

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Suzanne Scott, second from left.

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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)

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

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Anthony Scaramucci, right, with Michael Avenatti.

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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 Internet.org. (Wired)

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DealBook Briefing: CBS’s Revolt Against Shari Redstone Is at a Crossroads


• Something else we haven’t thought of. Stay tuned.

The bigger picture: Jim Stewart notes that the battle casts a spotlight on dual-class stock structures:

Should CBS ultimately prevail in what would be a highly unusual attempt to dilute a controlling shareholder, a bevy of dual-class companies will no doubt be scrambling to rewrite their bylaws. The conflict is magnified in this instance because Ms. Redstone is the controlling shareholder in both parties to the proposed merger.

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Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin on the road and Michael J. de la Merced in London.

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Michael Cohen, center.

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Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Cover-up fears led to the leaking of Michael Cohen’s records

Who was the source behind documents showing that AT&T and Novartis had paid President Trump’s personal lawyer? A law enforcement official worried that two “suspicious activity reports” regarding Mr. Cohen were missing from a Treasury database. Here’s what he told Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker:

“That system is a safeguard for the bank. It’s a stockpile of information. When something’s not there that should be, I immediately became concerned.”

More on Mr. Cohen: President Trump disclosed paying Mr. Cohen over $100,000, raising questions about whether he should have said so last year. The head of a Qatari investment fund said Mr. Cohen had demanded $1 million in exchange for access.

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Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Bob Lighthizer and Peter Navarro.

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Leah Millis/Reuters

Trump officials’ trade divide

It seems to be getting more personal: Peter Navarro, a hard-line trade adviser, reportedly bickered with Steven Mnuchin over the China negotiations. (Mr. Navarro briefly appeared unlikely to participate in a meeting with Beijing’s top economic negotiator, Liu He.)

More officials have voiced concern about easing sanctions on ZTE, including the F.B.I.’s director, Christopher Wray. Meanwhile, the U.S.’s top trade negotiator, Bob Lighthizer, reportedly told Democrats that he is pessimistic about reaching a Nafta deal this week. And the U.S. is starting to discover how hard it is to wean companies off Chinese imports. (The reverse is true, too.)

Meanwhile, European leaders appear more united in their negotiations with the administration over Iran sanctions, with a top official, Donald Tusk, tweeting, “With friends like that, who needs enemies.” Their challenge: Companies like Total are already preparing to withdraw from Iranian deals.

A reminder: ZTE’s punishment was for violating Iran sanctions — one reason Bloomberg Opinion argues it’s too important to bargain away.

The political flyaround

• The Senate voted to block the repeal of net neutrality, but the House is unlikely to follow. (NYT)

• Robert Mueller’s team said it wouldn’t try to indict President Trump, according to Rudy Giuliani. The secret origins of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation. The Senate Judiciary Committee released documents on that 2016 Russia meeting in Trump Tower.

• Britain has a new compromise idea on the E.U. customs union. (Bloomberg)

• How Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his brothers profited from state-linked business, including a deal with Airbus. (WSJ)

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Mark Zuckerberg

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Jason Henry for The New York Times

Mark Zuckerberg is going to Brussels

He’ll testify before the European Parliament, a reflection of global concerns over privacy — but don’t expect a replay of the congressional hearings. This will be behind closed doors, with transcripts published afterward.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, and her 140 employees are preparing to oversee tech giants. How much can they do? (A separate data question: Did some of Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook haul end up in Russia?)

Elsewhere in tech: Apple is reportedly considering a Northern Virginia outpost. Silicon Valley’s grow-at-all-costs ethos now shapes non-tech companies like MoviePass. What Brian Chen found by downloading his Google data. The killing of a young female passenger has prompted Didi Chuxing to overhaul its service. Tencent and Ant Financial showed the financial might of Chinese internet titans. The S.E.C. ran a fake I.C.O.

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

The deals flyaround

• WeWork has expanded its education arm by acquiring MissionU. (Axios)

• The investment vehicle run by the owner of the Houston Rockets has agreed to buy the food delivery start-up Waitr for $300 million. (Bloomberg)

• Takeda Pharmaceuticals’s C.E.O. said higher R.&D. costs and a squeeze from governments and insurers drove his deal for Shire. CVC Capital Partners has halted talks to buy the Italian drug maker Recordati.

• TPG has reportedly reinvested in the security software maker Tanium at a $5 billion valuation. (Reuters)

• Your next hedge fund’s name may well involve booze or Nantucket. (Bloomberg)

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Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Steve Jurvetson’s board seat at Tesla is under pressure

The venture capitalist isn’t up for re-election, but the proxy adviser Glass, Lewis said it was concerned by “the fairly extraordinary length” of his leave of absence as a director. He stepped back amid a sexual misconduct investigation at his former investment firm, DFJ. The complaint: That reduces oversight of Elon Musk.

Elsewhere in workplace misconduct: A lawyer ridiculed Steve Wynn’s claim that he can’t have ogled dancers because he’s legally blind. Walt Disney may reportedly allow back John Lasseter, the senior animation executive accused of misconduct. The L.A. Times suspended its Beijing bureau chief, Jonathan Kaiman, amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Why an investment firm is teaming up with a labor union

The $50 billion GCM Grosvenor is expected to announce this morning that its infrastructure business will team up with North America’s Building Trades Unions to make sure that “responsible contractors,” including union members, will be part of the process for its investments.

Sean McGarvey, the union’s president, said, “GCM Grosvenor’s responsible contractor policy is as good as any we have seen for workers and communities, if not better.”

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Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Revolving door

Lachlan Murdoch is in line to be C.E.O. of a vastly smaller “new Fox” if the Disney deal goes through. (NYT)

Joe Sullivan, the Uber cybersecurity executive ousted reportedly for helping cover up a data breach, will become CloudFlare’s chief security officer. (CNBC)

• Bain Capital Ventures hired Sarah Smith, an early employee at Facebook and the answer site Quora, as its first female partner. (Bain Capital Ventures)

Kenneth Muller, a private equity specialist, has left Morrison & Foerster for Kirkland & Ellis. (American Lawyer)

The speed read

• A Canadian-American council recommended steps to improve access to capital for female entrepreneurs. (Investissement Québec)

• A British retailer was accused of levying a “fat tax” by charging more for larger clothing sizes. (NYT)

• Sinclair continues to circle Sean Hannity. (Politico)

• Stan Lee has sued Pow! Entertainment, which he helped found, for $1 billion, alleging fraud. (Hollywood Reporter)

• The Robin Hood Foundation won’t say what its latest gala raised. (Bloomberg)

• Are you apologizing incorrectly? (Bloomberg Opinion)

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Stormy Daniels Attracts 22 Million Viewers to ‘60 Minutes’


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The “60 Minutes” interview of Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, on a screen at the Hi-Life bar in Manhattan on Sunday.

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Peter Foley/EPA, via Shutterstock

Stormy Daniels is a ratings blockbuster.

CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday night featuring the pornographic film actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, garnered the highest ratings for the program in almost a decade. It drew 22 million viewers, according to Nielsen, more than the much-hyped recent telecasts for the Grammys and the Golden Globes.

The segment on Ms. Clifford, who said she had a sexual relationship with Donald J. Trump in 2006 and had been offered money to keep it quiet, took up more than half the episode. The start of the episode was delayed 36 minutes by an overtime NCAA men’s basketball tournament game between Kansas and Duke. The CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who joined “60 Minutes” as a correspondent in 2006, conducted the interview.

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Ms. Daniels’s interview, conducted by Anderson Cooper, got “60 Minutes” its best rating since a 2008 sit-down with the Obamas.

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Reuters

The episode was the best performer for “60 Minutes” since the airing of Steve Kroft’s interview with Barack and Michelle Obama after the 2008 election, which had more than 25 million viewers. The ratings on Sunday were probably helped somewhat by a strong lead-in, the college basketball game, which Kansas won, 85-81.

The rise of streaming has fractured the television audience, and it has become a rarity for a show to draw more than 20 million viewers. The exceptions are live broadcasts of major sporting events and awards shows.

The interview segment with Ms. Clifford made for a bigger draw than the telecasts of this year’s Grammys (19.8 million) and the Golden Globes (19 million). The “60 Minutes” episode also had more viewers than the usual editions of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which averaged 18 million viewers, and came within striking distance of ABC’s telecast last month of the Academy Awards, which had 26.5 million viewers.

The highly anticipated segment on Ms. Clifford kicked off viewing parties, both at home and at bars.

The broadcast also outperformed recent “60 Minutes” breakout episodes. The El Chapo-focused interview with Sean Penn, in January 2016, drew 20.6 million viewers, and Lesley Stahl’s sit-down with Mr. Trump and his family, soon after he won the presidential election in November 2016, drew 20 million.

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