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Cage Fights, Spice and Everything Nice
Friday, June 23rd, 2023
1. Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg's Twitter Beef
Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg's Twitter beef has escalated into a cage match. Elon Musk has responded to a report about Meta's Twitter rival, and he's up for a cage match if Zuckerberg is. Zuckerberg has been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu for around a year now, and his efforts have been well-documented. The proposed venue for the fight? The UFC Octagon in Las Vegas. Imagine the check that would be cashed if they broadcasted the event as pay-to-view live streams on both Twitter and Facebook... gun to our head, our money is on Musk, but we don't have much faith in either of them.
2. Netflix's $2.5 Billion Korean Investment
Netflix's co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, has assured that the company's substantial investment in South Korean content will prioritize local talent and not be exploitative. That assurance is akin to your first date assuring you they're not a serial killer... like "sure thanks, I wasn't thinking that until now but okay". South Korea has been responsible for some of Netflix's most successful shows, representing the country's thriving cultural exports on a global scale. In a commitment to fairness, Netflix guarantees equitable compensation for creators and producers, while also nurturing emerging talent. Over the period from 2022 to 2025, a significant portion of their titles, one in five, will be sourced from first-time writers or directors. To further support young individuals, Netflix is collaborating with the Korea Radio Promotion Association to provide valuable production experience. And if all goes well, maybe they'll even introduce a "Netflix and Kimchi" category for spicy entertainment cravings.
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3. Robinhood Acquires Credit Card Startup X1
Robinhood has successfully acquired X1, a fee-free credit card startup, through a $95 million cash deal. We get it, who doesn't love fee-free? Since its establishment in 2020, X1 has raised a total of $62 million in venture-backed funding from notable investors such as Soma Capital, FPV, Craft Ventures, and Spark Capital. In December, the company announced a recent funding round of $15 million, accompanied by a substantial 50% increase in valuation. This acquisition represents a significant move for Robinhood, as it expands its product offerings and strengthens its relationship with current customers. By entering the credit card market, Robinhood not only gains access to interchange fees but also positions itself for further growth in this sector.
4. Microsoft-Activision Hearing
The lawsuit initiated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to halt Microsoft's $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard has commenced, marking a significant test for the Biden administration's more assertive approach to antitrust enforcement. The FTC is seeking an injunction to prevent the closure of the deal between Microsoft and Activision, which, if successful, would temporarily halt their merger and potentially jeopardize the entire transaction. Microsoft's lawyer, Beth Wilkinson, argued in the hearing that the acquisition would enhance competition by expanding the availability of Activision's popular Call of Duty games to platforms like Nintendo's Switch console. The court's decision will determine the fate of the acquisition, as the FTC's internal court process, set to commence in August, could extend over several years. Additionally, Microsoft has made commitments to ensure equal accessibility to Activision games for rival console makers and cloud-gaming companies.
5. TikTok's COO's Farewell Tour
V Pappas, COO of TikTok, has revealed their intention to step down from their executive position after almost five years at the company. With prior experience as the global head of creative insights and audience development at YouTube, Pappas believes that now is the opportune moment to pursue their entrepreneurial interests. We agree it'd be opportune for all of us to pursue our interests… like mimosa-drinking and yachting but alas we're not quite there yet. Anyway, on the same day of Pappas' announcement, TikTok introduced Zenia Mucha, a renowned spokesperson known for her two-decade tenure at Disney, where she defended the company and shaped its messaging. Joining TikTok as the chief brand and communications officer, Mucha's appointment is crucial amid TikTok's ongoing engagement with U.S. regulators. Pappas, who recently shared their nonbinary identity and uses she and they pronouns, intends to remain at TikTok in an advisory capacity to support the company during this transitional period.