Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest.
Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.
The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the "big six" absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States. But even those areas of the media that the "big six" do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.
But it is the "big six" that are the biggest concerns. When you control what Americans watch, hear and read you gain a great deal of control over what they think. They don’t call it "programming" for nothing.
Back in 1983 it was bad enough that about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media. But since that time, power over the media has rapidly become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people….
In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal. … [I]n…
Were Bonnie Jean Hoxie and her boyfriend stupid or just desperate?
Regardless of the motivation (we hear it’s shoes, no kidding), you have to hand it to the FBI for bidding them down before busting them. That’s got to hurt. And after all of this, the dynamic duo couldn’t even deliver Disney’s earnings, just some vague earnings per share crap. Now that’s just sad.
The SEC alleges that Bonnie Jean Hoxie and her paramour attempted to sell Disney’s second-quarter earnings ahead of their official release. The method: the two sent as many as 20 hedge funds a letter offering to provide the earnings release for a fee. The text of the letter, contained in the SEC complaint, begins:
“Hi, I have access to Disney (DIS) quarterly earnings report before its release on 5/03/10. I am willing to share this information for a fee that we can determine later….My email is XXX I count on your discretion as you can count on mine.”
One of the hedge funds notified authorities about the letter and a pair of FBI agents got in contact with Hoxie’s boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag.
At one point, Sebbag asked for a $20,000 fee. The FBI agents, who were posing as traders, bid him down.
“$15K sounds great. $30K even better as I hope you will make a killing form Q2 earnings,’’ Sebbag allegedly wrote in an email to the agents, according to the SEC complaint. They settled on $15,000.
So what about the other 19 hedge funds who failed to report this boneheaded move?
The House of Mouse has its swagger back, mostly thanks to its CEO Bob Iger.
What follows will not be a analysis of Disney ($DIS) the stock, rather a look at why Disney is once again the coolest company in the media game. Whether or not it’s worthy of investment is up to you.
Movies: If there is a parent in America who doesn’t take their child to Toy Story 3 this summer, email me that parent’s contact info so I can alert Child Services. The Pixar acquisition was the best thing Disney has done in 20 years. Oh wait, they also bought Marvel, setting themselves up to capitalize on franchises like Iron man, Spider-Man, The Avengers etc.
The studio also can mine their existing properties forever. There’s a Tron remake coming out shortly and one can only imagine how many …
In my larval, pre-blogging days, I always faced the back-to-school moment with abject dread. It meant returning to a program of the most severe, mind-numbing regimentation in the ghastly New York City public schools after a summer of idyllic unreality in the New Hampshire woods, where I went to a Lord of the Flies type of summer camp. And so here I am, many decades later, still uneasy as the final page of the August calendar flies away in a hot Santa Ana wind, and a great hellfire closes in on the far eastern reaches of Los Angeles, and the American money system falls into a peculiar limbo, and every fifth person is out of work, or going bankrupt, or glugging down the seawater of default, or being denied coverage by health insurance that he-or-she has already shelled out ten grand for this year, or getting shot in a trailer park.
I was in Los Angeles for a few days last week, as chance had it, marveling at the odd disposition of things there. I’ve been there many times over the years, but you forget how overwhelmingly weird it is. Altogether the LA metro area has the ambience of a garage the size of Rhode Island where someone happened to leave the engine running. To say that LA is all about cars is kind of like saying the Pacific Ocean is all about water. But one forgets the supernatural scale of the freeways, the tsunamis of vehicles, the cosmic despair of the traffic jams. The vistas of present-day LA make the Blade Runner vision of things look quaint in comparison.
You motor out of the LAX airport – personally, I love the name "LAX" because it so beautifully describes the collective ethos of the place – and you discover quickly that the taxi cab’s windows are not that dirty, it’s the air itself colored brown like miso soup. Going north on the 405 freeway, you see the looming Moloch of the downtown skyline through the brown miso soup. And you begin to understand why the products of the film industry are so fixated on the theme of machine apocalypse. Downtown LA looks like just such a gigantic machine as the FX crews would dream up, as if a day will come when those gleaming mirrored office towers will pull themselves
First we had the $5.5 billion dollar deal between Baker Hughes and BJ Services. Now Disney picks up Marvel. It’s suddenly feeling like the old days when Monday mornings meant merger announcements. That’s $9.5 billion in deal flow today.
No details yet on the banks working the deals or the financing involved.
From the Associated Press:
Walt Disney Co. says it is acquiring Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man into the Disney family.
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters.
Disney said Monday that Marvel shareholders will receive $30 per share in cash plus 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel share they own.
It said the boards of Disney and Marvel have both approved the transaction, but it requires an antitrust review and the approval of Marvel shareholders.
Disney (DIS) announced this morning it was acquiring Marvel Entertainment (MVL) for about $4 billion, or $50 per Marvel share. The acquisition price represents a 30% premium to Marvel’s current share price.
Operationally Marvel appears to be a good fit for Disney. Disney’s distribution could quickly exploit Marvel’s strong licensing business. In addition, Marvel has recently gotten into making its own productions (versus just licensing its characters for films), which has helped drive better-than-expected results the past few quarters.
The world has been watching every peep, sniffle, or innuendo associated with any voting member of the FOMC. What is the future of the latest in their ongoing market manipulation, in which money is printed to buy bonds to hold down interest rates, spur corporate borrowing, and artificially inflate stocks? Lately, that’s all investors have cared about.
Yes, it seems that all anyone has been talking about is the Federal Reserve and the timing of their “tapering” off on quant easing. There was a lot of anticipation going into this latest meeting. Fed chairman Bernanke said on Wednesday that if the economy continues to improve, their asset-purchasing program could start to wind down in late 2013 and conclude in 2014.
Stocks sold off on the news and Treasury yields spiked to 2011 highs. Int...
PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: PDCE) today announced that it closed yesterday, June 18, 2013, on the previously disclosed sale of its non-core Colorado natural gas assets.
The Company's non-core Colorado assets were sold to Caerus Oil and Gas LLC for approximately $185 million in net proceeds, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. Under the purchase and sale agreement, the transaction was given economic effect as of January 1, 2013. The assets sold are approximately 99% natural gas in terms of reserves and include an estimated 85 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) of net proved developed producing reserves as of December 31, 2012. The assets produced approximately 40 million net cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day in the first quarter of...
It seems liquidity (or counterparty mistrust) is beginning to reach extreme levels in China as the nation's banking system is now quoting overnight repo transactions at 25%. The explosion in funding costs echoes the collapse in trust (and surge in TED spread) among US banks in the run-up to the Lehman bankruptcy. MSCI Asia-Pac stocks are down over 3% with China's Shanghai Composite -2.5% at seven-month lows.
China’s 1-day Repo Rate Climbs to Highest Since at Least 2006
“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.” – Edward Snowden
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” - Samuel Adams
MU - Micron Technology, Inc. – Options traders appear to be snapping up out of the money call options on Micron Technology this morning ahead of the company’s third-quarter earnings report after the closing bell today. Shares in the name kicked off the trading session in rally mode, rising as much as 2.6% to a six-year high of $14.11 in the early going, but have since turned negative to stand 0.15% lower on the day at $13.73 as of 11:10 a.m. ET. Micron’s shares are up roughly 130% since this time last year. July expiry call optio...
With nothing of international significance to predetermine US market direction, the trade from the opening bell was one of marking time in advance of the June FOMC press release at 2 PM and more importantly Chairman Bernanke's hour-long press conference at 2:30. Prior to 2 PM the S&P 500 traded in a narrow negative range and hit its intraday high at 2:01 PM, up 0.04%, Then began a three-stage selloff. The first was a brief knee-jerk sell when the Fed summary was released, one that was essentially reversed a few minutes later. The second started about 15-minutes into Bernanke's press conference, again one that was partially reversed. The third selloff came during the final 30 minutes with no reversal. The index closed down 1.39%, a microscopic 0.02 points off its in...
No change to the statement as expected and Ben is speaking now. Basically he is dovish – one takeaway which I mentioned quite a few months ago but he reiterated today. The 6.5% unemployment rate is a threshold NOT a trigger. What that means is if inflation is benign when 6.5% unemployment returns, the Fed will be in no rush to raise interest rates. i.e. the goalposts are soft, nor hard. The market rallied on that… but it's not new news really.
Also the majority of members do not anticipate selling MBS off the balance sheet – this is part and parcel with the view that the balance sheet will not...
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I am going to share with you how I manage my IRA and the power of reducing your cost basis. My goal each year is a 20% return in my IRA. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't, but I believe that all of my success is due to reducing my cost basis. To illustrate the power of reducing your cost basis here are some trades we did last year. These trades are taken from an educational portfolio we ran in a paper-trading account for a little more than a year.
We bought RIG on 5/15/2012 for $44.13, sold it on 1/18/2013 for $46 but booked a profit of $1,154.
We bought MT on 1/4/2012 for $19.24, sold it on 12/21/2012 for $15 but booked a profit of $454.
We bought CHK on 1/27/2012 for $21.93, sold it on 10/19/2012 for $18 b...
Stock market posts another record setting week, but the big news came after Friday’s close.
Courtesy of NASA
The stock market put on another record setting show with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) closing at a record high 15,118 and the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) closing at 1633.70, another all time closing high.
For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) gained 1%, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) climbed 1.2%, the Nasdaq Composite (NYSEARCA:...
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Well, well, well....it is good to know that there are others in the scientific arena who believed that YMI Bioscience's data (cough - Gilead) is a better drug than Incyte's Jakafi. Now, the definitive data are still unknown, but there was enough evidence from a Phase 2 trial to take a small risk for a huge reward. So, let's forget about Apple (AAPL), and do nothing but biotechs from now until Congress passes universal health care coverage for prescriptions....and drive the prices down so that research and development is no longer feasible to conduct in the US. Even Seattle Genetics (SGEN) has been on a tear as of late...
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