Third Point Takes Stake in Disney, Pushes for ESPN Spinoff

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After pushing Disney to go all in on streaming in 2020, activist investing firm Third Point has amassed another sizeable stake in Big Mouse and is lobbying for additional changes aimed at making the sprawling company more profitable. Third Point is reportedly throwing around its nearly $1B ownership position to pressure the company to spin off ESPN, take “full control of the streaming service Hulu” and install “new board members”—all of which presents further challenges to CEO Bob Chapek, who just survived “a tumultuous period that thrust Disney into partisan political controversies” - NYTimes and WSJ and MarketWatch

While we’re talking activists, we’ve learned that Paul Singer’s Elliott Management has built a large position of its own in medical-products distributor Cardinal Health. Elliott “nominated five directors to the 11-person board roughly two weeks ago, before Cardinal abruptly replaced its chief executive officer last week” - WSJ

In a move consistent with enterprise-wide reorganization efforts at parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, HBO Max terminated some 70 employees on Monday, with its “unscripted and live-action family programming divisions” reportedly hit hardest - NYTimes and WSJ and TechCrunch

We’re getting some strong “fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice . . .” vibes from the news that Andreessen Horowitz has apparently signed on as a $350 million early investor in Flow, the new company focusing on the residential real estate market founded by—wait for it—WeWork’s Adam Neumann (“whose spectacular rise and fall has been chronicled in books, documentaries and a scripted television series”) - NYTimes and WSJ and TechCrunch and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Marketplace

Starbucks kicked off the week by asking that the NLRB “investigate allegations of misconduct during a union vote in the Kansas City area” and claimed “unfair coordination between the agency and the union” that warranted the suspension of “all elections until the allegations could be investigated” - NYTimes and WSJ and Law360

Weekend reports of a “faltering” Chinese economy helped drive oil prices lower. New July data showed that “[r]etail sales and industrial production in the month were weaker than expected,” and the nation’s central bank bucked global inflation-fighting trends by actually lowering interest rates in an effort to “help bolster the economy.” All that added up to the lowest oil prices in months - NYTimes and WSJ

After taking a series of meetings in recent weeks to consider its options, Walmart has reached a deal to partner with Paramount+ to offer the “streaming service to subscribers of Walmart’s membership program” as the company “seeks to challenge Amazon.com Inc., which has grown its own Prime membership program to about 200 million global members” - WSJ and TechCrunch and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

The Citi/Revlon drama over a mistakenly wired $900M rolls on, as the bank has sued the company after the recipients of the payments (Revlon’s creditors) largely failed to return the cash. Citi’s officially looking to be classified as a creditor in Revlon’s bankruptcy case - Bloomberg and Law360

A year or so of ramping up under its belt, Lina Khan’s FTC is living up to its billing as a new force to be reckoned with by Wall Street’s “deal machine” - WSJ

Wells Fargo is in the midst of a massive retreat from the home mortgage business, a major departure from a bank that at its height “once churned out one of every three home loans in the US.” The “strategy shift follows changes in the executive ranks and years of struggles to avoid costly regulatory probes and hits to the bank’s reputation” - Bloomberg

Be honest, your first reaction was “Only in Jersey,” right? But pretty hard to beat the allure of Diggerland USA, the construction-themed amusement park, no matter where you call home - NYTimes

Stay safe,

MDR

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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