Amazon has acquired Facebook’s team of more than a dozen satellite internet experts, The Information reported Tuesday and spokespeople for the two companies confirmed.
The deal bolsters Amazon’s $10 billion effort to develop low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites capable of delivering high-speed broadband internet around the globe, while marking the end of Facebook’s ultimately unsuccessful efforts to do the same.
Facebook’s team, which joined Amazon’s existing 500-person operation in April, included physicists as well as hardware and software engineers who have experience working on aeronautical and wireless systems, according to The Information.
The talent acquisition deal included some intellectual property developed by the team, as well as equipment and facilities, Facebook told Insider. Other terms were not disclosed.
Amazon received approval in July 2020 from the Federal Communications Commission to launch 3,236 LEO satellites in an effort called Project Kuiper, with the company saying it plans to bring its satellite-based internet service online after 578 satellites are in orbit.
Facebook’s efforts to develop its own satellite-based internet service, which began as early as 2015, have encountered multiple hurdles. The company told The Information it no longer plans to launch its own network, and told Insider it instead plans to continue working with partner companies like Eutelsat and pursuing its other efforts to expand internet access.
Grubhub disclosed in a regulatory filing Thursday that it’s facing 14 lawsuits from investors who say the company misled them about its plans to be acquired by Dutch food delivery giant Just Eat Takeaway.
The investors alleged that Grubhub executives and board members failed to disclose key financial details and massive payouts that they stood to receive as part of the merger, and that they failed to secure the highest possible price for Grubhub’s public shareholders, harming them financially as a result.
Frank Ferreiro, the lead plaintiff in the case, said in a lawsuit filed in New York last month that when Grubhub publicly announced the proposed merger, it withheld underlying financial data it had used to make assumptions about the companies’ future performance, as well as well as “golden parachutes,” job offers, and other lucrative perks guaranteed to Grubhub executives and directors.
Ferreiro’s lawsuit alleged that investors like himself – who would get roughly 0.67 share of Just Eat stock for each of their Grubhub shares regardless of either company’s stock price when the merger closes – lack the information to determine whether they’re getting a raw deal.
“Grubhub insiders are the primary beneficiaries of the Proposed Transaction, not the Company’s public stockholders,” the lawsuit stated.
Ferrerio also said that GrubHub didn’t try hard enough to get the best deal for public investors.
His lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the proposed merger agreement and force Grubhub to seek the “highest possible price” for any sale.
And as streaming services continue to gain favor over traditional TV, media firms are likely happy to oblige, helping further industry consolidation. Film studios without their own streaming service are especially keen on finding a way to get eyeballs on – and monetize – their libraries.
Here are some of the biggest mergers, acquisitions, and deals amongst tech platforms and traditional film companies that have set the stage for the streaming wars.
Disney and 21st Century Fox
Disney bought the film company 21st Century Fox and its decades-old 20th Century Studios subsidiary, in a $71 billion sale that closed in 2019. Disney’s streaming platform, Disney+, launched in December of that year with films like “Never Been Kissed” and “Ever After” available to watch.
Those 21st Century Fox films will join Disney’s already attractive library it built with past acquisitions of LucasFilm -home to “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” – and Marvel.
The Fox deal also gave Disney control of Hulu
Hulu has always had a complicated ownership setup, but Disney now owns a majority of the company and maintains full operations of the streaming platform.
Disney even offers a $13.99 bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.
Netflix announced a deal with Sony in April
The agreement will allow Netflix to offer Sony’s future 2022 films in the US, including installments of the “Spider-Man” franchise with Tom Holland. Other potential future Sony releases could include “Jumanji” and “Ghostbusters.”
After Sony’s movies are released in theatres in 2022, they’ll first go to pay-per-view and then hit Netflix.
As Insider’s Travis Clark reported, the deal gives Sony – which doesn’t have its own streaming platform – an avenue to showcase its films. And it gives Netflix even more theatrical releases to entice paying customers.
Disney will also have Sony movies after Netflix has its turn
The agreement means that future “Spider-Man” movies could eventually call Disney+ home alongside Disney-owned Marvel’s film franchise, which Holland appears in as well.
Sony and Disney ran into a snag in the past over Sony’s movie rights to hundreds of Marvel characters and Disney’s Marvel productions. The solution was for Disney and Sony to agree on the Spider-Man character being allowed to appear in one more standalone film and another Marvel Cinematic Universe installment.
AT&T’s massive WarnerMedia-Discovery merger will create a new streaming giant
The communications giant announced last week that it was spinning off its WarnerMedia content arm, which includes HBO and Warner Bros., both of which AT&T acquired when it bought then-Time Warner for $81 billion in 2018. AT&T plans to merge WarnerMedia with the media company Discovery.
That means content from the two companies’ 100-plus brands, including HGTV and Discovery, would all exist under one umbrella. Such a service could give Netflix, the reigning streaming champ, a run for its money. The deal is expected to close in mid-2022.
Movies include “Silence of the Lambs” starring Anthony Hopkins, “Rocky,” and the extensive James Bond film catalog. Although as Insider’s Travis Clark reported, MGM owns just half of the rights to Bond, with the rest belonging to producers that handle the creative direction of the franchise. That means that it could get tricky if Amazon ever wanted to, say, produce a TV series starring the famous character.
Viacom merged with CBS in 2019 with Paramount already under its belt
Viacom’s acquisition of Paramount may have closed in 1994, but the move set the company up well for what would become the 21st-century streaming wars. So did Viacom’s merger with CBS in 2019.
Amazon just dropped $8.45 billion to buy MGM Studios, the decades-old film studio that owns rights to some of the biggest movies and TV shows in the world.
In the press release announcing the deal, Amazon pointed to the “vast catalog” of “more than 4,000 films” and “17,000 TV shows” as the reason for the purchase – assuredly intended to bolster Amazon’s Prime video streaming service.
So, what’s Amazon getting for nearly $8.5 billion?
The decades-long catalog of James Bond films is among the “more than 4,000” films Amazon is buying, in addition to classic movies like “12 Angry Men,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Midnight Cowboy,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Dances with Wolves,” and “Raging Bull.”
Another major franchise Amazon gets in the deal: “Rocky,” as well as the more recent “Creed” films.
And that’s just movies.
In terms of television, Amazon’s getting more recent classics, like “Fargo,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Vikings.”
Beyond the titles specifically noted by Amazon, there are countless others that belong to the MGM Holdings catalog – though it’s not completely clear which movies and TV shows have rights split up between several companies.
MGM Holdings includes MGM Television, for instance, which counts “The Real Housewives” franchise among its titles. An MGM rep confirmed that “The Real Housewives” franchise is part of the deal, as well as “The Voice,” “Shark Tank,” and “Survivor.”
What we know for sure isn’t included in the deal is the vast library of MGM films from prior to 1986, which are controlled by Turner Entertainment Company.
Beyond what’s listed above, Amazon’s press release included “Basic Instinct,” “Legally Blonde,” “Moonstruck,” “Poltergeist,” “Stargate,” “Tomb Raider,” The Magnificent Seven,” The Pink Panther,” and “The Thomas Crown Affair” among the movie rights it acquired in the deal.
Amazon and MGM representatives were unable to clarify the full list of acquired movie and TV rights in the deal.
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The founder of a company acquired by WeWork described the lessons from a whirlwind process of joining Adam Neumann’s startup in a Twitter thread on Wednesday.
Dave Fano worked at WeWork for nearly four years after his architecture and planning company, CASE, was acquired in 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile. But it almost didn’t happen.
“We spent 7 years building an amazing culture of trust and transparency, and in a span of 24 hours, almost lost it all,” Fano wrote. “Caught up in trying to get the deal done, we lost sight of how this process would make everyone feel.”
Fano said CASE told its workers of the WeWork acquisition and asked them to return signed documents within 24 hours. The entire process took less than a month from when a verbal agreement was reached to when the deal officially closed.
The transaction put many of the firm’s employees in a tailspin, Fano said. CASE was given less than two weeks after the letter of intent was signed to officially close the deal by informing employees and getting the workers to review WeWork’s employment agreement.
According to data from Forbes, most mergers and acquisitions take about four to six months, but can also encompass a period of several years. Even at that rate, many employees choose to leave companies after mergers and acquisitions. Data from the MIT Sloan Management School found that within the first year of a company’s acquisition 33% of workers leave the company as compared to the standard rate of 12%.
“That was one of the worst business decisions I’ve been a part of in all my career,” Fano, who’s now the CEO of career planning company Teal, said in his Twitter thread.
Eventually, Fano said, he asked for more time from CEO Adam Neumann, who agreed to give the team several extra weeks.
Despite the extra time, he said the company still lost many employees as a result of the acquisition. But he does not regret his decision to join WeWork.
Fano said the situation opened his eyes to the importance of company values. By asking employees to make a 24-hour decision, he felt he violated a culture of trust and dependency.
“As intense as that moment was, I would not trade it for the following 4 years at WeWork,” he wrote. “Everyone experienced incredible career growth. WeWork enabled people to explore new career paths, take on new responsibilities, and build relationships that will stay with them forever.”
Shares of Box surged as much as 10% on Monday after reports from Reuters and CNBC said the company is exploring a sale amid pressure from hedge fund and activist investor Starboard Value LP.
The news comes after Reuters reported last month that Starboard was preparing to launch a board challenge against Box unless major changes were made at the cloud storage company.
Reports say Starboard has been upset with Box’s inability to capitalize on the work-from-home trend during the pandemic. Starboard currently owns 10.9 million shares of Box, worth some $246 million as of March 19’s closing price.
Despite the pressure from Starboard, Box stock is up roughly 100% over the past year. However, even after Monday’s move higher, the Redwood City, California-based firm is down 13% from its May, 2018 record highs.