NBCU Quietly Sold Snapchat Stake; Twitter CEO Dorsey Evades Ouster Attempt By Activist Investor

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Gone In A Snap

NBCUniversal quietly sold its $500 million stake in Snapchat stock late last year to rebalance its portfolio toward streaming media. The broadcaster invested in Snapchat during its IPO three years ago to expand the network’s digital presence. Since then, NBCU acquired Sky for $39 billion, saddling it with debt, and plans to commit $2 billion to the launch of Peacock later this year. According to a January regulatory filing, Comcast sold its stake in Snap for $293 million, taking a $283 million loss. NBC isn’t the only network offloading assets to make room for streaming properties. ViacomCBS sold the publishing house Simon & Schuster, Disney spun out the FoxNext game development studio and WarnerMedia sold its stake in the Game Show Network. “They all have years ahead of them with losses in the streaming business,” Hal Vogel, CEO of Vogel Capital Management, told The Hollywood Reporter. “This is not like, you turn a switch and you make an extra buck of profit in the next year.” More.

Jumping Jack Flash

Twitter has come to an agreement with activist investor Elliott Management that will keep CEO Jack Dorsey at the wheel. The social media platform agreed to add two members to its board and search for a third independent director. It will also issue $2 billion in share repurchases, funded in part by a $1 billion investment from Silver Lake, and has promised to grow its user base 20% or more each year, The Wall Street Journal reports. The agreement didn’t accomplish Elliott’s main goal of removing Dorsey, who it sees as having his attention split between Twitter and payment company Square, where he is also CEO. But it leaves the possibility of an executive change down the line, as the new board members appointed by Elliott will join a committee to examine its leadership structure and announce its findings by the end of the year. Shares closed 3% lower on Monday ($32.46), which is more impressive than it sounds because concerns about the new coronavirus and potential economic downturn led to major losses for Facebook, Alphabet, Snap and Pinterest. More.  

Not Cardifree

The FTC slapped a rare $1 million fine on a detox tea company for making unverified health claims and paying influencers for Instagram ads without disclosure. Teami paid 10 influencers, including entertainers Cardi B and Jordin Sparks, to hawk its products in Instagram posts without revealing that they were paid, BuzzFeed reports. The company also touted that its teas could unclog arteries and stop cancer, among other claims. The FTC has issued guidelines for influencer marketing disclosure, but it rarely enforces them. This marks the first time the agency has filed legal action against a brand using influencers to make unproven claims. More.

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