How media companies are returning to the office

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Fred Ryan washington post
Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan speaks during a 2019 Pulitzer Prize announcement ceremony in the Post office.

Media companies including Bloomberg, The Washington Post, and ViacomCBS detail their return-to-office plans as workers push for flexibility after the pandemic

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Showtime insiders worry it will struggle against big-spending rivals like Netflix if it doesn’t broaden its appeal or shake up its strategy

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IPG Phillipe Krakowsky

How a quiet, behind-the-scenes fixer became CEO of the fourth-biggest advertising company – and how he plans to keep its momentum going

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More stories we’re reading:

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Read the original article on Business Insider

Nuance leaps 18% on Microsoft’s deal to acquire the AI speech-technology software maker

Satya Nadella

  • Nuance Communications shares shot up 18% on Monday on a deal by Microsoft to buy the company in a $19.7 billion deal.
  • Microsoft plans to buy the speech-recognition software maker for $56 a share and the deal will include Nuance’s net debt.
  • Microsoft shares were slightly higher as the new trading week got underway.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Nuance Communications shares surged 18% during Monday’s session following a deal under which Microsoft will purchase the AI speech-recognition software maker for $19.7 billion in cash, with the price to include Nuance’s net debt.

Microsoft, in a joint statement, said it will buy Nuance for $56 a share, which is a 23% premium to Nuance’s closing price on Friday at $45.58. Bloomberg reported late Sunday that the two companies were in talks, citing sources who asked not to be identified. An agreement with Nuance would be Microsoft’s largest since it purchased professional networking site LinkedIn in 2016.

Nuance climbed 18% to $53.93 as regular-session trading got underway. The stock during pre-market trade climbed by as much as 31%. Meanwhile, Microsoft shares edged up 0.1% to $255.97 as Wall Street’s new trading week kicked off.

Nuance and Microsoft have been working together since 2019, focusing on Nuance’s products that allow clinicians to capture patient discussions and integrate them into electronic health records. Microsoft said the deal will double its total addressable market in the healthcare provider space to nearly $500 billion.

“AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the statement.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the calendar year 2021 and has been unanimously approved by the boards of both Nuance and Microsoft. Nuance’s CEO Mark Benjamin will remain in his role.

“For Nadella & Co., this is the right acquisition at the right time with Microsoft doubling down on its healthcare initiatives over the coming years,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives in a Monday note in which he called the Nuance deal a “strategic no brainer” for Microsoft. Wedbush lowered its 12-month price target on Nuance to $56 from $65 to reflect the deal but maintained its outperform rating.

Read the original article on Business Insider

New York City home-buying has begun to rebound after a year of exodus during the COVID-19 pandemic

manhattan new york
Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

  • People are moving back to Manhattan and taking advantage of lower prices in the process.
  • Manhattan home-buying increased 2.1% in the first quarter this year from the same time last year.
  • Prices remain lower than before the pandemic, new data show.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

People are buying up real estate in Manhattan once again after leaving en masse amid the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the city hard.

For the first time since the beginning of 2020, the number of sales topped the year-ago total, according to a report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate brokerage that was first covered by Bloomberg.

Apartment sales in the borough increased 2.1% in the first three months this year as compared to the same time last year when the pandemic struck the city, the report said.

The rebound in March alone was the strongest since 2007, as about 1,500 homes in Manhattan were under contract for sale, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal that cited real-estate analytics firm UrbanDigs.

Buyers are taking advantage of the lower prices, too, with most of those sales closing at or below the asking price. The median rate was $780,000, which was a 3.8% drop from the same quarter a year ago, the Douglas Elliman report said.

Read more: Brooklyn is winning the pandemic. Eager homebuyers are propelling a real-estate surge as Manhattan lags far behind.

The west and east side of Manhattan, as well as downtown, had the strongest sales compared with last year, as upper Manhattan and Midtown had fewer deals, the WSJ said.

Six months into the pandemic, real-estate experts had estimated lower prices and higher vacancies could be the new normal for the city, even if it wasn’t as drastic as during 2020.

With businesses allowing employees to work from home during the pandemic, many people were able to move to outer boroughs for more space and lower prices. Brooklyn proved resilient amid the pandemic, as its sales began bouncing back in the last three months of 2020.

Many others during the pandemic fled to the suburbs, and might stay as companies begin to offer long-term work-from-home options.

Read the original article on Business Insider

TikTok owner ByteDance may be worth more than Twitter and Coca-Cola as a public company

An iPhone user looks at the TikTok app on the Apple App Store in January 2021. Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • TikTok owner ByteDance is trading on the secondary market for $250 billion, Bloomberg reports.
  • Investor confidence in the company has increased as it weighs an initial public offering.
  • ByteDance was valued at $200 billion just a month ago and $140 billion in 2017.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

ByteDance, the Chinese owner of video app TikTok, may be worth $250 billion – a valuation that beats Coca-Cola and far outranks Twitter, Bloomberg reports.

Coca-Cola is valued at $228 billion, and Twitter is $48.8 billion, according to Markets Insider data. Just last month, ByteDance was trading at a valuation of $200 billion on the secondary market, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

In April 2017, the Beijing-based startup was valued at $140 billion, according to CB Insights. Shares have risen as the company considers an initial public offering and investor confidence increases, Bloomberg said, citing the sources.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read more: China’s tech giants are exploring a way around Apple’s privacy changes, and the move could have major implications for Apple’s relationship with a crucial market

ByteDance’s app TikTok has come under scrutiny in Western countries for potentially sharing user data with the Chinese government, but the company has denied the claims.

TikTok, which has more than 100 million active users in the US and about the same in Europe, previously had a spat with the US government, which was planning to ban the app under former President Donald Trump.

The company is now reportedly creating a Clubhouse-like app for China, as the exclusive audio platform sees success in the US and was blocked in China in February.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Layoffs hit HuffPost

Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where we track the big stories in media and advertising.

Remember you can sign up to get this newsletter daily here.

This week:

Jonah Peretti
Jonah Peretti

HuffPost layoffs

Layoffs are hitting HuffPost, just weeks after the publisher was acquired by digital rival BuzzFeed, Steven Perlberg reports.

The layoffs involve nearly 50 in the US and fulfill fears of staffers when the two companies combined to get profitable and surmount business challenges wrought by the pandemic.

BuzzFeed is trying to get HuffPost to break even after it lost more than $20 million last year, CEO Jonah Peretti said.

Read more: BuzzFeed is making layoffs at HuffPost weeks after it acquired the company

Jeremi Gorman CBO Snap

How Snap came back

Just a few years ago, people were ready to write Snap’s obituary. User growth had plateaued and it started to look like just another social platform as rivals copied its features.

But Snap looks pretty different now from platforms like Facebook and TikTok that are enmeshed in privacy controversies. And as Tanya Dua, Lara O’Reilly, and Dan Whateley report, it’s providing the service demanded by advertisers that was missing from its early days.

“Snap is on the consideration set again,” said Amanda Grant, global head of social at WPP’s GroupM.

Of course, there are threats around every corner, like Apple’s clampdown on ad targeting on its devices, TikTok, and maybe a new platform that hasn’t even launched yet.

But for now, Snap is enjoying the spotlight.

Read their full story: Snap is on a growth tear. Here’s how the once flailing company got advertisers to fall in love with it and reversed a sales slump.

clubhouse app
A user of the social media app Clubhouse shows her smartphone with the logo of the audio application.

Media startups to watch

Just a couple years ago, investors were obsessed with media startups centered on sports, subscription payments, and in-person events.

The global pandemic has transformed how people live in many ways – as evidenced by new high-flying media startups like audio app Clubhouse and Fable, a social-reading app.

The pandemic’s impact is also informing the kinds of media startups in vogue now.

VCs told Ashley Rodriguez and Dan Whateley they’re betting on startups that mix media with commerce, focus on social issues or mental wellness, facilitate sports betting, and bring in-person experiences online.

Read more: 19 media startups that VCs say are poised to take off in 2021, as trends like newsletters and sports betting surge

Other stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

– Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk increased their wealth by $217 billion in 2020. For this amount, over 100 million Americans could get $2,000 checks.

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

  • Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk alone increased their net worth by $217 billion last year, according to Bloomberg. 
  • For this amount, more than 100 million Americans can receive $2,000 checks. 
  • Collectively, the net worth of the world’s 500 richest people rose to about $1.8 trillion, a 31% increase that represents the largest annual gain in the eight years that Bloomberg has tracked these figures.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

While many Americans were economically upended by the coronavirus pandemic, and now await a decision from Congress on whether they’ll receive a $2,000 stimulus check soon, the world’s richest people had raked in record gains in 2020. 

Last year, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk collectively increased their net worth by $217 billion last year, an amount that could cut $2,000 checks for more than 100 million Americans. 

The world’s richest person, Amazon CEO Bezos, is now worth about $190 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. And Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk took second place with about $170 billion, surpassing Microsoft’s Bill Gates. 

Musk’s net worth, in particular, grew the fastest in 2020, Bloomberg reported. His net worth is primarily made up of Tesla shares, of which he owns about 75%, according to Bloomberg. 

These figures come as millions of people in the United States remain jobless because of the economic devastation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Congress in March passed the first coronavirus stimulus package, which included $1,200 in direct payments to Americans. It was an attempt to offset the financial ruin after small businesses nationwide were shuttered to curtail the spread of the virus. 

Americans waited nine months to receive a second stimulus check. In December, Congress finally reached a deal on the second stimulus relief package, an agreement that included $600 checks to taxpayers. 

But the House and the Senate are once again at odds as House Democrats are pushing for $2,000 checks to go out. Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have repeatedly struck down the effort.

Meanwhile, employment rates have been steadily rising in the US. But the November jobs report from the Labor Department said about 15 million people did not work that month because of the pandemic. 

Globally, the outlook is much grimmer. 

In a report released last year, the World Bank predicted that global poverty would rise in 2020 for the first time in more than two decades because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The newest and most immediate threat to poverty reduction, COVID-19, has unleashed a worldwide economic disaster whose shock waves continue to spread,” an overview from the World Bank reads. “Without an adequate global response, the cumulative effects of the pandemic and its economic fallout, armed conflict, and climate change will exact high human and economic costs well into the future.”

Collectively, the net worth of the world’s 500 richest people grew about $1.8 trillion last year, according to Bloomberg. It’s a 31% increase that represents the largest annual gain in the eight years that Bloomberg has tracked these figures. 

Read the original article on Business Insider