Financial Daily Dose 5.17.2021 | Top Story: AT&T to Spinoff WarnerMedia Assets and Merge with Discovery

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AT&T made late-weekend waves with the announcement that it’s planning to spin off its WarnerMedia division (think HBO and CNN) and merge with Discovery’s “reality-TV empire” in a deal that could value the AT&T assets at around $50 billion. AT&T had only recently acquired the Warner assets just 3 years ago as part of its TimeWarner purchase. The tax-free merger with Discovery is aimed at “building a business that would be a formidable competitor to Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co.” - Bloomberg and NYTimes and WSJ and MarketWatch and HuffPost

Last Thursday’s unexpected CDC mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans was welcome news for a country making good vaccine progress, but its suddenness and a still-scary virus mean that it’s also a major headache for retailers who are trying to appease (and protect) workers and customers alike – Marketplace and NYTimes and WSJ

In the massive Big Tech regulatory void left by a “dither[ing]” Congress, states are stepping up and doing so at an impressive rate—in just the past 6 months, “at least 38 states . . . have introduced more than 100 bills to protect people’s data privacy, regulate speech policies and encourage tech competition.” While “only a handful of the bills have been signed into law,” the “push signals that states are no longer content to sit on the sidelines of setting the rules for the internet—especially as Washington has moved slowly” - NYTimes

A UK-based tech advocacy group that “forced the British government to scrap a controversial algorithm for processing visas and led a public backlash over a tool for predicting high-school grades” has set its powerful sights on Facebook and Uber in the battle for tech-worker rights. Here’s what you need to know about Foxglove and why you should be paying attention to them - WSJ

The Times traces the wild ride of Dogecoin from its beginnings as a literal joke in 2013 to a ludicrous ride in 2021 that at one point saw the crypto’s value jump more than 12,000%. Here are some of the stories behind and lessons from the year of the Doge (so far) - NYTimes  [and MarketWatch]

As movie theaters return to full operation and increasingly find themselves short of content thanks to studios “paring back their release calendars,” some cinema chains have forged an “unlikely alliance” with Netflix that is seeing the streaming giant’s offerings showing on the big screen - WSJ

After a blazing-hot year, recent concerns about inflation and volatility have shaken the U.S. IPO market. And that means that some are viewing next week’s Oatly debut on public markets as more than just a big day for the Swedish oat-milk maker but a harbinger of rough times ahead for companies looking to go public - WSJ

Streetwise on the challenges that even short-term inflation will present to the Fed. [AKA, how to convince jittery markets to trust the central bank’s long-term approach] - WSJ and Bloomberg

Some immediate Monday morning quarterbacking on the state of U.S cybersecurity now that the Colonial Pipeline ransomware episode is in the rear view. And it’s not pretty - NYTimes

Fascinating stuff from The Devil’s Playbook via Bloomberg on vaping giant Juul’s biggest mistake—hooking the teen offspring of really, really wealthy parents - Bloomberg

Our week 2 dispatch from the Epic Games/Apple trial, including a battle of experts and a look ahead to anticipated CEO testimony - WSJ and Law360

China’s weekend landing of its own rover on the Martian surface means that we get to spend seven minutes on “rover tech in Mars space race” - WSJ

Stay safe and get vaxxed.

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