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Media Navel Gaze: May 18, 2015

Mark Kollar  Follow

The Week Unpeeled

You Got Merger! Verizon agreed to buy AOL for some $4.4 billion (chump change for the phone company), vaulting the telecom company into TV and online video and clearly marrying old school/largest telephone service in the US with the older of the new online services that owns HuffPo.


  • DuPont appeared Teflon coated last week when shareholders re-elected the current slate of board members, rejecting activist Nelson Peltz's bid to join and putting in check for now direct pressure from the investor and his firm Trian Fund;
  • Avon was not calling but did become the center of a hoax of sorts when a bogus takeover offer was reportedly filed with regulators, sending the stock soaring and eventually forcing an FBI investigation and SEC probe;
  • Carl Icahn puts $100 million behind Lyft, creating no doubt some surge interest in the ride-sharing company;
  • The Amtrak wreck continued to lead stories with latest developments focused not as much on safety but possibility of a "hit" from a projectile before the crash;
  • Google is launching "buy buttons" on mobile search results, making it more of an online marketer;
  • A parade of bold names paid homage to David Letterman in recent days ahead of his final top-10 list this week, from Oprah to Obama amid heaps of media praise on how he changed the late-night format to more variety less straight talk;
  • The Dow ended the week up 0.45 percent to close on Friday at 18,272;
  • Blues legend BB King died;
  • The art-world exploded last week, with a Picasso selling for nearly $180 million and other records set as well; and
  • Receiving big pick-up all week, meta analysis now shows virtually no negative health risks associated with coffee; big gulp away!

LATAM GAZE Economics

  • Brazilian finance minister Joaquim Levy announced that Brazil will try to bring its spending back to 2013 levels.
  • Venezuela's government will now allow Ford to sell its vehicles in US Dollars, a deal made during a time of strained reserves.

Private Equity

  • KKR has formed a strategic partnership with Mexico's Monterra Energy, marking its first investment in Mexico's midstream energy sector. Details of the partnership have not yet been disclosed.


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