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Media and LatAm Navel Gaze: February 21, 2017

Mark Kollar  Follow


In an effort to dispel the notion of “chaos” in the White House, President Trump staged a pretty chaotic (at least at times) some-80-minutes press conference that ranged in topics from the “dishonest media” and fake news to “criminal” leakers to claims that no one seems to have talked to the Russians (besides the “fine person” Flynn) to anti-Semitism. A kitchen-sink presser that perhaps needs a smarter-thinking kitchen cabinet calling shots. Elsewhere:

  • Trump has named Lt. Gen. H.R, McMaster as his NSA director and Scott Pruitt has been confirmed EPA chief;
  • Kraft Heinz (surprise!) bids $143 billion for Unilever, who played hard to get, and then pulled the offer; no doubt more to come;
  • Apple is launching two original content videos on iTunes, moving into Netflix, Amazon territory just to make things interesting and channel switching turning to platform switching;
  • In a way awkward move, Josh Elliot of CBSN, the network’s streaming service was told he’s being promoted to CBS, told his audience goodbye and surprised many including the brass, who sent him packing, taking streaming a little bit too literally;
  • The deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal is masthead jumping and taking her title to The New York Times, to become one of the highest-ranking women in the newsroom; and
  • The Dow posted another record last week, ending slightly higher (up 1.7 percent) but at a new high nonetheless at 20,624.


For the first time in ten years, Ecuadorians will have a new president, as the term of current President Rafael Correa expires. There are 8 candidates in the field, and early poll predictions show Lenin Moreno, Mr.Correa’s chosen successor and former Vice-President, as a favorite. 

Brazilian investment titans 3G Capital this week made a US$143 billion bid, through their portfolio company Kraft Heinz, to acquire Unilever. While the deal was turned down, negotiations are expected to continue. Since 2011, 3G Capital has made an array of large acquisitions in the food and beverage space, including Burger King (2011; US$4 billion), Tim Hortons (2014; US$23 billion), Kraft + Heinz (2013; US$56 billion), and AB InBev-SAB Miller (2016; US$108 billion).

Venezuela’s government this week kicked CNN’s Spanish-language channel (CNN en Español) off its airwaves after the network aired an investigation into alleged fraudulent issuing of Venezuelan passports and visas.

Investors are becoming more optimistic about Argentina’s credit markets as inflation and interest rates fall, causing leading banks including HSBC to predict that lending could triple by 2020 as economic sentiment improves.  

Chile’s Levita Magnetics, a medical technology company, was named by Fast Company as one of the “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Health” for being the first mover in magnetic surgery.  

Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has asked Donald Trump to consider deporting fugitive ex-Peruvian leader Alejandro Toledo, who is believed to be in San Francisco. Mr Toledo governed Peru from 2001 to 2006 and is accused of taking US$20 million in bribes from Brazilian building firm Odebrecht in return for a contract to build stretches of a highway linking the country with Brazil.

End of Week Market Updates

  • Merval (Argentina):   +  0.91%
  • Bovespa (Brazil):       +  2.46%
  • IPSA (Chile):              +  0.88%
  • IGBC (Colombia):       -  0.45%
  • IPC (Mexico):             -   1.32%
  • BVL (Peru):                -   1.14%

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