Financial Daily Dose 10.28.2020 | Top Story: Big Tech CEOs to Face Senators Today Over Section 230 and Content Monitoring

Robins Kaplan LLP

Robins Kaplan LLP

A handful of tech’s biggest leaders—the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google, to be precise—descend upon the Hill today for a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on content monitoring and Section 230, the “slim and powerful law . . . that shields internet companies from liability for most of the material their users post.” Here’s what to expect – Bloomberg and MarketWatch and NYTimes and WSJ

With that hearing in mind, the Journal profiles Twitter & Square CEO Jack Dorsey, a decidedly “hands-off” CEO who delegates “most major decisions to subordinates in part so he can pursue his personal passions”—a management style facing “one of its biggest tests ever, amid growing pressure to address” Twitter’s problems – WSJ

In a win for WeChat and its users, a Ninth Circuit panel has refused to lift an order blocking the White House’s attempt to “temporarily ban downloads of the Chinese-owned messaging app . . . from U.S. app stores while the government appeals a lower court’s preliminary injunction forbidding the ban” – Law360

The Times helps us prep for tomorrow’s Commerce Department release of a preliminary Q3 economic growth estimate by putting in context what’s expected to be the country’s “fastest three months of economic growth on record.” Why? Because we can’t look at the GDP report in isolation; instead, it only makes sense as “an echo of the second quarter’s equally unprecedented contract, when business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders led gross domestic product to fall by 9 percent.” More relevant is the reality that while the “economy has revived considerably since last spring, it is far short of its level before the pandemic” – NYTimes [and Bloomberg]

The good news (because why not at least a dash of optimism)? The forced shutdown of entertainment, many restaurants, and vacations when combined with Covid-related relief from many creditors means that “[d]espite the pandemic’s economic devastation, which has tipped millions of people into unemployment, many American households are in relatively good shape” – NYTimes

The DOJ is reportedly considering taking action to block Visa’s planned $5.3 billion acquisition of fintech firm Plaid Inc., which “provides the technological infrastructure underpinning an array of next-general financial apps.” Justice officials have been reviewing the deal for the deter part of a year and have concerns that “it could limit nascent competition in the payments sector” – WSJ and Law360

Getting to know Inspire Brands, the Arby’s and Sonic and B Dubs owner that’s trying hard to add Dunkin’ to its stable of brands – NYTimes

European regulators have given Tiffany & Co. the regulatory approvals it needs to complete its “16.2 billion acquisition by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French luxury goods group.” The approval is the “latest twist in an increasingly acrimonious legal battle between LVMH and Tiffany, which began last November with the unveiling of their deal” and is now in a Delaware court after LVMH pulled its offer this September – NYTimes

Callaway—already a 14% owner—has agreed to buy out the rest of “driving-range operator Topgolf Entertainment Group in a move that will bring a company known for its clubs and golf balls into the fast-growing sports-entertainment business” – WSJ

A British union for Uber drivers has sued the company in the Netherlands “over its use of an algorithm to dismiss drivers” under an as-yet-untested provision in the EU’s landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that requires companies to have legal grounds (and give workers the right to object) if using automated decision-making technology – Law360

While pre-election Covid stimulus bill negotiations are at an impasse, a new bipartisan bill that would “expand retirement staving options for workers” appears to actually have a shot of making it through Congress “no matter who wins next week’s presidential election.” Among other things, the measure would “automatically enroll employees in their company’s 401(k) retirement plan, increase a tax credit for law-and-middle income individuals who save for retirement, and allow individuals who are at least 60 years old to save more for retirement in tax-favored accounts” – Bloomberg

A Masters in the fall? Sure. It’s 2020, after all. But the College Game Day treatment? Really, Freddie? – Bloomberg

Stay safe.

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Robins Kaplan LLP

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