Transcript: Nightly Business Report – December 14, 2017

ANNOUNCER:  This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Sue Herera.


Two of the world`s biggest entertainment companies announce a blockbuster deal,

increasing Disney`s muscle and changing the media industry as we know it.


New rules of the road.  The FCC moved today to reshape the future of the

Internet, ushering in a new era for the digital economy.


And heating up.  The economy is getting warmer.  Not just here but

globally.  And many hope the uptick will continue well into the New Year.


Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday,

December 14th.


Good evening, everyone.  I`m Tyler Mathisen.  Sue Herera is off tonight.


Well, the deal is sealed.  Disney (NYSE:DIS) in the biggest acquisition in

its history will buy most of 21st Century Fox for $52 billion in stock.  It

is a transaction that will reshape the media landscape.  Disney (NYSE:DIS)

already powerful in filmed entertainment and sports will become even more

dominant after it folds in Fox`s film and TV production assets and its 22

regional sports networks.


It`s an offensive/defensive play aimed at fending off the rise of tech

companies like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and others that

have turned Hollywood upside down.  Even though the deal was widely

expected and first reported by CNBC last month, shares of both Disney

(NYSE:DIS) and Fox were higher today.  Disney (NYSE:DIS) the best

performing stock on the blue chip Dow index.


Julia Boorstin now on what`s in the deal and why these two companies were

eager to get it done.





the fox.  Disney (NYSE:DIS) is spending $52.4 billion in stock for Fox`s

entertainment assets, including its film and TV studios, its cable

entertainment network, and its international TV business including Sky and



BOB IGER, DISNEY CHAIRMAN & CEO:  The aim of this combined company is to

create even more high quality content, and then to distribute it in ways

that consumers prefer and consumers demand in today`s world.


BOORSTIN:  Disney`s CEO Bob Iger is extending his contract for another 2

1/2 years, through 2021, to oversee the company`s integration.  Iger

stressing the potential and expanding Disney`s international reach and

building out its direct to consumer business, beyond its ESPN and Disney

(NYSE:DIS) apps already in the works.


IGER:  We`ll be buying control, because we`ll be buying out Fox`s stake.

With that we`ll have the ability to direct Hulu in ways that we haven`t

been able to, as essentially equal partners.  We`ll also be able to infuse

Hulu with even more content.  We will actually invest in content from both



KIM MASTERS, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER:  This is gigantic.  And it is just

terrifying Hollywood, because as it is, Disney (NYSE:DIS) already has such

dominant market share, especially in movies.  They release few movies than

other studios and still dominate in market share.


BOORSTIN:  This deal comes on the heels of the Department of Justice suing

to block AT&T`s acquisition of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX).  Iger says he`s not

concerned about getting approval for the deal.  Disney (NYSE:DIS) saying it

expects the deal to close in 12 to 18 months.


IGER:  We hope that regulatory authorities both here and in the United

States look at it with the consumer in mind.


LAURA MARTIN, NEEDHAM & CO.:  Media is no longer competing with old media.

It`s competing with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook

(NASDAQ:FB), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).  And so, to block the ability of Disney

(NYSE:DIS) or Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) to compete against those juggernauts

is silly for the U.S. government to do.


IGER:  And consumers can expect to see Disney (NYSE:DIS) build out their

popular brands such as “Avatar (NASDAQ:AVTR)” and to see a reunion of

Marvel characters that have been at Fox, such as “X-Men” and the “Fantastic

Four”, with their fellow superheroes such as “Iron Man” that have been

thriving under Disney`s ownership.


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.




MATHISEN:  Today`s announcement is the capstone in the career of long time

Disney (NYSE:DIS) CEO Bob Iger.  Piece by piece, he`s turned the company

into an entertainment, resort, and merchandising behemoth and he`s now

positioned it for a brave new digital world.




MATHISEN:  Long island boy Bob Iger began his career at ABC in 1974 as a

studio supervisor.  Over the next 20 years, he rose up through the ranks,

landing in senior management.


Under Iger`s leadership in the `90s, ABC maintained a competitive position

in the market, with leading brands including ESPN, Lifetime, and A&E.  Iger

played a key role in the merger between ABC parent Capital Cities and

Disney (NYSE:DIS) back in 1996.  He then joined Disney (NYSE:DIS) senior

management as the chairman of ABC Group.  Less than ten years later, in

2005, Iger became Disney`s CEO.


Throughout his tenure, Iger`s hunger for creative content and leading

technology have driven Disney (NYSE:DIS) to buy content behemoths,

beginning with the $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios in

  1. Just three years later, Disney (NYSE:DIS) purchased comic book

publisher and movie studio Marvel for $4 billion.  That was 2009.


In 2012, Disney (NYSE:DIS) added another linchpin, the “Star Wars” mega

franchise, in a $4 billion deal for Lucasfilm.  But today`s big deal dwarfs

all of those.  Disney`s $52 billion deal for 21st Century Fox`s assets is

Iger`s capstone achievement.  It represents the media giant`s bid to

bolster its TV and film content against new competitors like Netflix

(NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) as it builds its own streaming

services business.




MATHISEN:  Robert Luna joins us to talk more about Disney (NYSE:DIS) and

how it has flourished under Bob Iger.  He`s the CEO and chief investment

officer at Surevest Wealth Management and he`s the owner of Disney

(NYSE:DIS) shares.


Robert, welcome.  Good to have you with us.


Would you buy more Disney (NYSE:DIS) today, Robert, or did you?



over the last couple of days, Tyler, and we`ve added to our position this

morning.  So, a couple of points before we`re close.  We`re pretty happy

about that in the short run.


MATHISEN:  So you like the scope of this, you like what it does for Disney



LUNA:  Yes, absolutely.  I mean, we had $125 price target on the stock 12

months out, prior to this announcement.  I was on last month, we talked

about, you know, how synergistic this would be for the company.  We`ve

upped that price target to $130.  And we just think this deal in all

aspects makes a lot of sense.


It`s really the traditional playbook that Bob Iger started with two days

into his job as CEO, with the acquisition of Pixar, that he`s picking up

here, albeit a much bigger bite that he`s taking, near $60 million with the

assumption of debt.  But we think it`s going to play out just as well as

the other acquisitions have played out for Disney (NYSE:DIS) shareholders.


MATHISEN:  For my money, Bob Iger is one of the most impressive CEOs

certainly in media, or maybe more broadly, in the country.  Did anyone —

did you think he would be such a fearless deal maker, though?


LUNA:  I mean, not too bad for a boy from Long Island, right?  I mean, Bob

Iger has been an absolute monster in media.  And, you know, while not

necessarily the innovator that people like Steve Jobs were, what, you know,

Iger has the potential to do is really pick really great people, surround

himself with smart people, inspire them, give them the tools they need to

innovate and then get out of his way.  He`s been really, really good at

that.  And, you know, the types of deals he`s bitten off, whether it was

Pixar at the beginning for $8 billion, or then Lucas or Marvel, everybody

at every deal has talked about him overpaying for those deals.


And when you look at the reality of how much he`s made off of Pixar and

Lucas and Marvel, at the end of the day, he probably underpaid for those.

There`s a lot of skeptics surrounding this deal, saying he`s overpaying,

that he`s late to the party because of cord cutting.  But I think he`s

going to make them eat their words here probably in another year or two

when we see this play out.


MATHISEN:  You know, he`s relatively young, he`s in great shape, he`s going

to extend his contract, which must give investors like you some comfort.

We characterize this acquisition as an offensive/defensive play.


Do you see it that way?


LUNA:  Yes, I think so, because let`s be honest, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is a

juggernaut on its own.  They`re spending $8 billion next year on new

content to battle incumbents like Disney (NYSE:DIS).  So, they can`t fall

asleep at the wheel.  So, to do nothing absolutely is not a strategy.


And, you know, Bob Iger is famous for saying, you know, they to continually

challenge the status quo.  Sitting there and resting on their laurels is

not an option for him.  So, it is defensive, but also offensively.


A lot of people are looking at this saying he`s late to the party with cord

cutting, he has to make that move.  But also when you look deeper into this

deal, the bigger picture, and it could be the bigger growth story other

than direct to consumer and those types of things that Disney (NYSE:DIS) is

getting into, is this international expansion, now picking up Sky,

expanding the reach in to Europe.  And the big market for Disney (NYSE:DIS)

right now, India, they`re picking up 140 million direct subscribers through

Star India.  And they`re really getting to India`s heart because they`re

getting that regional sports network of cricket, which is huge in India.


This is a market I think Disney (NYSE:DIS) really wants to play in.  And I

think the bigger global story with the Shanghai Park that just recently

launched, these acquisitions, is also going to play out well for Disney

(NYSE:DIS) in the long run.


MATHISEN:  I think you`re exactly right and it`s probably something we

haven`t paid as much attention to as we should have, that international

piece of the puzzle here.


Robert Luna, thanks very much, Robert, with Surevest Wealth Management.


Well, as the Disney (NYSE:DIS)/Fox deal moves ahead, another groundbreaking

event took place in Washington today.  The FCC voted to repeal some of the

Obama era rules governing the Internet, a sweeping act of deregulation that

could radically change consumers` online experiences.  Regulators will now

allow Internet providers to speed up some service for some apps and

Websites, block, slow down others, differentiate in terms of charges.


It`s considered a setback for tech companies, a win for Internet service

providers.  And the vote was defended by the agency`s chairman.




AJIT PAI, FCC CHAIRMAN:  Returning to the legal framework that governed the

internet from President Clinton`s pronouncement in 1996 until 2015 is not

going to destroy the Internet.  It is not going to end the Internet as we

know it.  It is not going to kill democracy.  It is not going to stifle

free expression online.




MATHISEN:  And FCC Commissioner Clyburn disagreed, and vehemently.




MIGNON CLYBURN, FCC COMMISSIONER:  A soon-to-be-toothless FCC is handing

the keys to the Internet, the Internet, one of the most remarkable,

empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime, over to a handful of

multibillion dollar corporations.




MATHISEN:  Protesters rallied outside the agency`s headquarters in D.C.,

urging the commissioners to reconsider.  Following the vote, some states

say they plan to sue.


So, what the rollback of the Internet rules mean for big media companies or

the telecom companies?


Matt Harrigan is senior media analyst at Buckingham Research and he joins

us now to discuss it.


So, Matt, who is right there, Commissioner Clyburn or Chairman Pai?



make arguments for both sides.  I probably tend to side slightly more with

Chairman Pai.  I think it`s really jockeying for position on who is going

to make the profits off the Internet.


I mean, to give you an example, over in Europe, supposedly Google

(NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), et cetera are taking about $100

million a day in profits from telecom companies over in Europe, you know,

$150 million or thereabouts in North America.  So, you know, basically I

don`t think this is going to be anything that causes any rationing in

prices for consumers.  But who really has free rein to, you know, benefit

from all new innovations, you know, moving into the next decade?  Is it the

telecom companies building the networks, is it more of the Googles or the

Disneys, et cetera?  Or is there some sort of, you know, equilibrium, a

little bit more sharing?


MATHISEN:  Am I wrong in feeling that the rollback of these Obama era rules

gives the Internet service providers, whether it`s a cable company, a

telecom company, more power of pricing?  And if so, who is going to end up

paying more for the premier access on those networks?


HARRIGAN:  Well, again, I don`t think the consumer is going to pay more,

because that would be making even more politicized, and you probably

wouldn`t have this change lasting very long.  You could have legislative

action.  I think it`s a matter of the pricing of the interconnection, you

now, whether someone is paying a premium for a fast lane, if you will.  I

think that`s what it comes down to, as opposed to something that`s coming

immediately out of the consumer`s wallet.


MATHISEN:  So, it could cost businesses that provide or that stream content

more, they may have to pay more.  Will that then affect their profits,

whether it`s a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), a Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), an Amazon



HARRIGAN:  You know, some of these companies are so evolved like a Netflix

(NASDAQ:NFLX).  I mean, if you really had a change in the regulatory

playing field, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) may not have become the monster it`s

become today.  Now, they really got a lot of the market.  It`s hard to see

how they could be badly hurt.  But I think when — you know, some of these

telecom executives, if you`re CEO of Verizon (NYSE:VZ) or Comcast

(NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS), you`re probably looking at the market cap of a

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and you`re trying to figure

out, you know, how much of that was appropriated from your investment in

your network.


And, of course, these are very difficult issues to resolve.  I mean, you

need innovation in terms of the network, building out 5G wireless and all

that, and you also need innovation and content.  I think the scariest

aspect is you don`t want a status quo where you got a few winners among the

big telecom companies and the people already there on the content side,

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Disney (NYSE:DIS) as some of your other guests

have eloquently expressed.  You really want to see more skunk works,

innovation coming out of Silicon Valley and other places.


I think the danger here is it perhaps stifles that a little bit.  This is

maybe where I side a little bit with Commissioner Clyburn.


MATHISEN:  Matt, thank you very much for your perspectives tonight.  We

appreciate it.


HARRIGAN:  Thank you.


MATHISEN:  Matt Harrigan with Buckingham Research.


Still ahead, it may be getting cold outside.  It appears as if economic

growth is heating up.




MATHISEN:  On Wall Street, the Dow snapped a five-day win streak as some

Republican senators raised concerns about the tax bill.  Among them, Marco

Rubio of Florida, who said he`ll vote against the proposal unless he can

get an expansion of the child tax care credit.  And Senator Mike Lee said

else also undecided.


As one strategist put it, this market is moving in lockstep with the

progress being made on the tax bill.  And when there are questions, you`ll

get some volatility, as we saw today.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 76 points to 24,508.  Nasdaq was off 19.  The S&P 500 down 10.


Well, President Trump touted his rollback of regulations today, calling

them far-reaching, touching industries from financial services to health

care to the environment.





taxation.  So many of these enormous regulatory burdens were imposed on our

citizens with no vote, no debate, and no accountability.  Now, there is





MATHISEN:  The president said there are decades of excess regulations to

remove.  He`s challenging his cabinet to find and remove what he calls

every single outdated, unlawful, and excessive regulation on the books.


Well, also in Washington, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, reportedly

thinking about leaving Congress after the 2018 midterm elections.  As first

reported by “Politico”, Ryan said he was tiring of D.C. even before

accepting the speakership.  But Ryan has denied that report.  When asked

today if he was quitting anytime soon, he laughed and said, “I`m not, no.”


Well, the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment

benefits fell last week.  Jobless claims decreased by 11,000 last week to

225,000, the second lowest reading since 1973.  Claims are considered a

proxy for layoffs across the U.S.


Well, the low unemployment rate is one of the reasons why the economy

appears to be on such solid footing and getting stronger.


Steve Liesman takes a look at the upbeat outlook for growth.





But suddenly growth seems to be springing up all over.  On Wednesday, the

Federal Reserve raised its forecast for 2018 GDP by 4/10ths to 2.5 percent.


JANET YELLEN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR:  We`re enjoying solid economic growth

with low inflation and the risks in the global economy look more balanced

than they have in many years.


LIESMAN:  Not to be outdone, the European central bank raised its 2018

forecast by 5/10 to 2.3 percent.


MARIO DRAGHI, ECB PRESIDENT:  The incoming information, including our staff

projections, our new staff projections indicates a strong pace of economic

expansion, and a significant improvement in the growth outlook.


LIESMAN:  And the U.S. government today reported that shoppers seemed to

hit the stores with gusto in November.  Retail sales were more than three

times economist expectations.  It was one of the best November gains for

retail sales taking out autos and food in 13 years.


Americans spent more on gasoline.  But they had plenty left over to buy

electronics and appliances, clothing and even go out for dinner and the

drink.  Most of all consumers shopped online.  Sales of so-called non-store

retailer surged in November.  Economists now think GDP is running at a

strong 2.6 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter.


The question is whether consumers can keep up the pace.  Sometimes strong

November sales mean consumers did their shopping early and December can

suffer.  Or maybe Draghi and Yellen had it right, the November sales are

just the leading edge of an uptick that will run through the holiday season

into next year.






MATHISEN:  Teva Pharmaceuticals will cut 14,000 jobs.  And that`s where we

begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.


The Israeli drug maker said it would eliminate more than a quarter of its

total workforce as part of a plan to cut $3 billion within two years.  Teva

said it will also suspend dividend payouts to shareholders.  Shares of Teva

nonetheless higher by 10 percent today to $17.30.


CNBC says snack company Snyder`s Lance (NASDAQ:LNCE) is considering a

potential sale to Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB (NYSE:CPF)).  Snyder`s which owns

brands like Cape Cod Potato Chips and Pop Secret Popcorn has reportedly

hired an investment bank to weigh the sale.  Campbell already owns the

beverage farm brand.


Snyder`s rose 5 percent to $44.42.  Campbell fell more than – well, more

than, what is it — about 1.5 percent or thereabouts to $48.56.


Costco (NASDAQ:COST) reported earnings that beat analysts` estimates after

the bell.  The wholesale retailer said net sales rose more than 13 percent

year over year.  Shares of Costco (NASDAQ:COST) were volatile after hours

and during regular session were off about 1 percent to $186.53.


Also after the bell, Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) reported second quarter profits

that beat analysts` estimates.  The software company said a 44 percent

growth in cloud revenue drove results.  But that still wasn`t enough for

some expectations and that sent Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) initially lower after

hours, as you see there.  Shares were up a fraction in at it regular

session to $50.19.


The devastating opioid epidemic hasn`t gone unnoticed by Silicon Valley.

Some startups and venture capitalists are taking a uniquely tech approach

to the crisis.  Josh Lipton has the story from San Francisco.




TRUMP:  Families, communities and citizens across our country are currently

dealing with the worst drug crisis in American history.



recently declared opioid e a national public health emergency.  Since 2000,

more than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving these drugs.

Now, tech entrepreneurs and investors are pouring money into the space and

attacking the problem in multiple ways.


Take a startup called Pear Therapeutics which recently raised $20 million

from investors and has created an app called reSET-O to analyze opioid

addiction.  Here`s how it works, patients receive a prescription and pass

code from their health care providers.  They tell the app the strength of

their cravings and use a ratings system to monitor their feelings of anger,

pain, and loneliness.


The data is meant to offer addicts greater insight about their addiction

when they are most likely to abuse opioids and what triggers their

cravings.  Pear hopes to launch reSET-O in 2018.


Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of health services research for Cedar Sinai

Health System, has a different approach, giving patients an alternative to

opioids by using virtual reality.


Spiegel conducted multiple clinical trials to test whether virtual reality

goggles can reduce pain.  In a recent study of 120 hospitalized patients,

Spiegel gave half VR videos to watch in 10-minute increments three times a

day, while the other watch videos on TV.  Those exposed to VR reported a

more than 50 percent reduction in pain, four times greater than the others.



amazing about it is it doesn`t just work during the VR treatment.  It seems

to continue, like the brain has been nudged in a new direction or even

temporarily inoculated against pain, even after we remove the VR headsets.


LIPTON:  VCs and entrepreneurs know that modern technology can be leveraged

in new ways to fight opioid addiction.  The stakes are high.  Only time

will tell if we ever see solutions.


For NIGTHLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton in San Francisco.




MATHISEN:  Coming up, Santa`s elves are driving trucks.





in the Bronx.  Trucks like this one are filled with packages destined for

doorsteps.  It`s crunch time ahead of Christmas.  I`ll tell you how FedEx

(NYSE:FDX) is handling the surge.  That`s coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS







MATHISEN:  UPS says deliveries are back to normal after an online shopping

surge that caused some delays.  Keeping things running smoothly is no easy

feat for UPS or rival FedEx (NYSE:FDX) during what`s expected to be a

record demand for deliveries.


Morgan Brennan is at a busy FedEx (NYSE:FDX) facility in the Bronx.




BRENNAN:  Rosemary Carty has been delivering FedEx (NYSE:FDX) packages to

homes for 12 years.  She fills in for different routes as needed each day.

This time of year, that means more shifts and longer hours.


ROSEMARY CARTY, COURIER SWING DRIVER:  I actually love it.  It`s just a go,

go, go, go time of the year for me.  A lot more hours than normal.  But

it`s great.  It`s great.


BRENNAN:  With just eight delivery days until Christmas, it`s crunch time

for the parcel carriers.  FedEx (NYSE:FDX) like rival UPS has invested

billions into its network, opening new hubs and adding new aircraft.


What examples of resources that come on line to expand capacity during peak




Seasonal workers, extra equipment, rental vehicles that that we have to

bring on.


BRENNAN: You can see some of those right here.




BRENNAN:  Nanette Malebranche is FedEx (NYSE:FDX) express managing director

for the Big Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) district.  She makes sure all of the

packages destined for doorsteps in the New York area get there on time.


MALEBRANCHE:  We`re anticipating that obviously with a few more days to go

in the holiday season, that we`re going to go, you know, get a little bit

busier as the days go on.  But we`re ready for it.


BRENNAN:  Like UPS and the Postal Service, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) expects another

record peak holiday season.  It expects to deliver 380 million to 400

million packages like these between Thanksgiving and year`s end.  It`s

getting creative with how some shipments reach recipients.  Earlier this

year, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) partnered with Walgreen`s, so consumers can pick up

and drop off packages at the retailer`s locations.  For FedEx (NYSE:FDX),

it eliminates delivery reattempts and cuts cost and time.  For consumers,

packages are safe from porch pirates.  And for Walgreen`s, it`s way to

drive foot traffic to stores.


It`s a trend sure to expand.  UPS has been taking similar steps.  Amazon

(NASDAQ:AMZN) is expected to use Whole Foods in the same way.  All part of

a multipronged delivery approach as e-commerce continues to surge.



continue to modify their networks, by expanding where they see bottlenecks

in the system.  Both companies invested a lot of money in the last few



BRENNAN:  Right now, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) isn`t planning to delivery any

packages on Christmas or Christmas Eve, because it falls on Sunday.  But if

last minute demand spikes, that could always change.


Do you think you`re going to have to work this Christmas?


CARTY:  I`m hoping I don`t have to, but if I do, I don`t have a problem

with it.  Santa`s little helpers, that`s what we are.


BRENNAN:  For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan in the Bronx, New





MATHISEN:  And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.  I`m Tyler

Mathisen.  Thanks so much for joining us.  Have a great evening, everybody,

and we will see you right back here tomorrow.





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