FirstFT: Today’s most read stories | Financial Times


Good Morning. This article is an on-site version of our FirstFT Europe / Africa newsletter. Sign up here to get the newsletter delivered directly to your inbox every weekday morning.

AT&T agreed to merge WarnerMedia with its rival Discovery in a multi-billion dollar deal to create a programming-heavy media empire to compete with Disney and Netflix in a global streaming race.

The deal comes just three years after AT&T paid $ 85.4 billion to the owner of CNN, HBO and Warner Bros, and reflects the groundbreaking pace of change of traditional U.S. media groups trying to reinvent themselves as streaming services.

As part of the proposed link, one of Hollywood’s most valuable portfolios, including a cable channel portfolio including Warner Bros film and television studios, the HBO network and CNN, will be brought together with the “real life” output of their brand, Discovery. They range from sports and wildlife to home remodeling.

David Zaslav, Discovery’s long-serving CEO, will lead the combined group, which will be 71 percent owned by AT&T.

AT&T has sought to become a serious Hollywood player in the past decade by moving beyond the mobile, broadband and cable phone business. Instead, the two major purchases – Time Warner and DirecTV in 2014 – proved to be millstones for $ 67 billion, says Lex Column.

Coronavirus digestion

  • Price gold It rose to its highest level in more than three months Monday after fears of inflation in the US last week and the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in parts of Asia shook investors.

  • A leader Indian The scientist resigned from the government-appointed Covid-19 task force days after publicly criticizing Narendra Modi’s government.

  • The ABs the largest countries are lifting restrictions, but epidemiologists worry that the transition will be too soon. Brussels plans to focus on a new move to expand vaccine production in Turkey. Africa.

  • Matt Hancock, England the health secretary expressed confidence that the vaccines are working against the variant detected in rising India in London and northwestern England.

  • GlaxoSmithKline He said he could fall behind in the Covid-19 vaccine race after publishing positive trial data with his French partner Sanofi.

Follow the latest developments live blog, and register for us Coronavirus Business Update newsletter.

In the news

Israel accelerates its attacks on Gaza Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip lasted for the second week on Monday, as talks continue between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and the United States to end violence. The conflict has shaken Israel’s ties with a third of the Arab world, but it may have revived the political fortune of Benjamin Netanyahu. “Together we count the explosions out loud” – Gazans describe terror.

Father carrying his injured daughter from the rubble of a destroyed house after Israel's airstrike in Gaza

A distressed father carries his injured daughter from the rubble of a destroyed house after Israel’s airstrike in Gaza on Sunday © Haitham Imad / EPA / Shutterstock

Citi elects new head of European investment banking Ignacio Gutiérrez-Orrantia was named head of Citigroup’s new investment banking operations in Europe, as it acted to displace US lenders JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs as the highest-paid bank in the region. Meanwhile, a senior banking analyst warned that US banks could drop 200,000 people, or 10 percent of their workforce, in the next decade.

Asset managers wary of cryptocurrency UBS Asset Management, Pimco, T Rowe Price and Glenmede Investment Management raised doubts about the future of cryptocurrencies as an asset class following the recent Bitcoin price volatility triggered by Elon Musk. Bitcoin traded just above $ 44,000 on Monday, down nearly $ 20,000 from a record it reached just a month ago.

Spacs lose their deals as fire subsides Shares of special-purpose purchasing companies are on the decline following the takeover announcements, which can threaten a significant return from their previous enthusiasm for vehicles and their ability to make deals.

Microsoft investigates Gates on ‘close relationship’ Bill Gates denied that Microsoft’s investigation of a “close relationship” with an employee two decades ago had influenced the software company’s decision to leave the board of directors last year.

Indonesia’s Gojek and Tokopedia agree on $ 18 billion merger Indonesia’s two largest start-ups have agreed to a merger to form a $ 18 billion catering delivery, passenger calling and e-commerce group reaching across southeast Asia. Separately, JD Logistics, the delivery unit of Chinese e-commerce group JD.com, will aim to raise up to $ 3.4 billion in a Hong Kong IPO this year.

Jimmy Lai’s Hong Kong media group is suspicious A Hong Kong media company controlled by Jimmy Lai stopped trading its shares on Monday after authorities freezed the assets of imprisoned pro-democracy campaigners in accordance with the region’s national security law. The trial came when Lai and nine other activists pleaded guilty to holding an “unauthorized meeting.”

China landed the rover on Mars for the first time Chinese state media reported that the landing from the Tianwen-1 unmanned probe and the rover reached Mars on Saturday. FT View is that the international community should establish governance norms and laws in space.

Depiction of a Chinese landing craft in a Mars-like environment in Beijing. China reports that the spacecraft and accompanying rover landed on the red planet early Saturday morning © AP

Depiction of a Chinese landing craft in a Mars-like environment in Beijing. China reports that the spacecraft and accompanying rover landed on the red planet early Saturday morning © AP

The next day

Covid restrictions ease Despite concerns about the variant spotted in India, indoor hospitality will be reopened in the UK from today. England, Wales and Scotland will also allow international travel to resume. As Pakistan lifts its domestic travel ban, Turkey will begin lifting restrictions. Trinidad and Tobago will declare a state of emergency.

FT is starting a new email today on markets and on the people and companies that live and die by them. Written by US finance editor Robert Armstrong, the book will land in the inboxes every morning on weekdays. register As “Unhedged”.

What else are we reading

Middle age crisis taking shape in the USA For decades, the US birth rate has helped stimulate growth and the global situation. But since the financial crisis, the total fertility rate in the United States – the number of births expected in a woman’s lifetime – has fallen to levels similar to that in Europe. Rana Foroohar writes that a country obsessed with youth will need a creative, two-party thinking to address the magnitude of its demographic slowdown.

Inflation: Will central banks and investors keep their nerves? A summer burst of inflation was inevitable as lockdown measures began to loosen. However, the central bankers’ assurances that the price increases were temporary did not calm the nerves of the investors. Investors will have to make a call as to whether the change is temporary or regime change.

Colombia’s social unrest can spread Colombia this month is uncannily similar to Chile in 2019. President Iván Duque’s “Sustainable Solidarity Act” has proven everything to the residents of one of the world’s most unequal countries. According to Latin America editor Michael Stott, anger is mounting as long-standing complaints about governments across the region seen as contactless, corrupt and incompetent.

Ominous PR pressure connecting cybercriminals to CEOs DarkSide, the hackers who forced to shut down a US pipeline last week, is the leading group in the rapidly professionalizing industry, called ransomware as a service. They are in a “war of talent” in the dark web where resumes and references are requested. DarkSide is also smart against the ESG trend.

Can a building be sexist? An exhibition at the Barbican gallery in London explores the Matrix Feminist Design Cooperative, one of the first architectural practices to openly call itself feminist. The feminist architectural idea is to creatively rethink the assumptions behind traditional building procurement and design.

How to prevent the return of office clicks Dropbox decided against the hybrid model after weighing the pros and cons of future working models. It preferred a virtual priority principle that prioritizes remote work over the office. Situational employees may be eager to return to the office, but that could create a two-tier workforce, one expert warns.

  • Do you remember Mondayitis? Pilita Clark says the problem subsided during the epidemic, but is ready to return in many parts of the world.

© FT assembly

Video of the day

Why internet freedom is under threat Has the dream of a free and accessible internet already dead? Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan examines how philosophical, political and social attitudes towards online privacy create a “splinternet”.

Thank you for reading. Please send your suggestions and feedback to firstft@ft.com.