×

Nation & World Briefs


Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Comcast challenges Disney with $65B bid for Fox

NEW YORK — Comcast made a $65 billion bid Wednesday for Fox’s entertainment businesses, setting up a battle with Disney to become the next mega-media company.

The bid comes just a day after a federal judge cleared AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner and rejected the government’s argument that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies. The ruling signaled that Comcast could win regulatory approval, too; its bid for Fox shares many similarities with the AT&T-Time Warner deal.

Comcast says its cash bid is 19 percent higher than the value of Disney offer as of Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal and others reported earlier that Comcast had lined up $60 billion in cash to challenge Disney for media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s company. Disney’s offer was for $52.5 billion when it was made in December, though the final value will depend on the stock price at the closing.

“This is a golden offer that will put considerable pressure on (Disney CEO Bob) Iger and Disney to step up their game on another bid,” GBH Insights analyst Dan Ives said. “This is even higher than the Street thought, which speaks to Comcast really wanting these key assets.”

Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve took note of a resilient U.S. economy Wednesday by raising its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaling that it may step up its pace of rate increases.

The Fed now foresees four rate hikes this year, up from the three it had previously forecast. The action means consumers and businesses will face higher loan rates over time.

The central bank raised its key short-term rate by a modest quarter-point to a still-low range of 1.75 percent to 2 percent. With the economy now nine years into an expansion, the move reflects the steadiness of growth, the job market’s strength and inflation that’s finally reaching the Fed’s 2 percent target level.

Economists said the Fed left little doubt that it’s prepared to increase the pace of its credit tightening to guard against high inflation later on. “The labor market is getting tighter, and price pressures are picking up,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. “The Fed is prepared to be quicker about pushing rates higher.”

GOP leaders sell immigration bills, with Trump’s blessing

WASHINGTON — Republican leaders began the problematic task of finding support for an immigration compromise Wednesday, telling lawmakers that President Donald Trump was backing the still-evolving bill. But cracks within the party were on full display and it seemed that pushing the measure through the House next week would be a challenge.

“If it was a resolution on apple pie, you’re going to lose some votes, some Republican votes,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.

A day after top Republicans said the House would vote next week on two competing immigration measures, it was widely assumed that a hard-right measure would lose. That bill would give young “Dreamer” immigrants just limited opportunities to remain in the U.S. while imposing tough restrictions on legal immigration and bolstering border security.

GOP leaders, negotiating with quarreling moderates and conservatives, were still writing the second bill. Republicans said it would contain a way for Dreamers to qualify for permanent residence and potentially become citizens, while accepting conservatives’ demands to finance Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico and restrictions on legal immigration.

With Republicans battling to keep their House majority in November’s elections, merely staging the immigration votes, win or lose, achieves some political objectives. The plan helped party leaders block unhappy moderates trying to force the House to consider immigration bills considered too liberal by many Republicans, and will let lawmakers assert that they tried addressing the issue.

Nevada pimp wins GOP primary, rejoices with Hollywood madam

LAS VEGAS — Pimp Dennis Hof, owner of half a dozen legal brothels in Nevada and star of the HBO adult reality series “Cathouse,” won a Republican primary for the state Legislature on Tuesday, ousting a three-term lawmaker.

Hof defeated hospital executive James Oscarson. He’ll face Democrat Lesia Romanov in November, and will be the favored candidate in the Republican-leaning Assembly district.

Hof celebrated his win at a party in Pahrump, Nevada, with “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss at his side.

“It’s all because Donald Trump was the Christopher Columbus for me,” Hof told The Associated Press in a phone call. “He found the way and I jumped on it.”

Hof, who wrote a book titled “The Art of the Pimp,” has dubbed himself “The Trump of Pahrump,” and held a rally with longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. Hof was in the limelight in 2015, when former NBA player Lamar Odom was found unconscious at Hof’s Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nevada, after a four-day, $75,000 stay.

2 gamers plead not guilty in Kansas ‘swatting’ death

WICHITA, Kan. — Two online gamers whose dispute over a $1.50 Call of Duty WWII video game bet allegedly led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges in a “swatting” case that drew national attention.

Casey Viner, 18, of North College Hill, Ohio, and Shane Gaskill, 19, of Wichita, are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, wire fraud and other counts.

Viner allegedly became upset at Gaskill while playing the popular online game. Authorities say he then asked 25-year-old Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles to “swat” Gaskill at an address that Gaskill had previously provided him. Swatting is a form of retaliation sometimes used by gamers, who call police and make a false report to send first responders to an online opponent’s address.

Barriss is accused of calling Wichita police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28 to report a shooting and kidnapping at a Wichita address. Authorities say Barris researched the address Viner had given him for Gaskill and verified it was a home. When Gaskill noticed Barriss was following him on Twitter, he began communicating with Barriss through direct messages in which he also gave him that same old address and dared him to swat him.

From Associated Press