Comcast has increased its offer for British pay-TV company Sky PLC to $34 billion (£25.9 billion), roughly $2 billion higher than Fox’s most recent offer.
Earlier on Wednesday, Fox raised its own offer for the media giant to $32.5 billion (£24.5 billion). Comcast said that its increased offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.
Comcast’s new all-cash offer translates to £14.75 a share, which is roughly five percent higher than Fox’s £14 a share bid.
“Comcast has long admired Sky and believes it is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast,” the company said in its release about the new offer. “Today’s announcement further underscores Comcast’s belief and its commitment to owning Sky.”
The move by Comcast is the latest volley between CEO Brian Roberts and Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch over who gets the keys to Sky, which counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.
In the U.S., Comcast is still battling with Disney to buy the film and TV assets from Fox. Fox’s stake in Sky is part of its proposed merger with Disney, though the deal was not contingent on that. Fox has set a July 27 shareholder meeting to formally vote on the Disney sale, which has already received approval from the Department of Justice.
Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. For Fox, Sky is a bit of a passion project for Rupert Murdoch, who founded the satellite broadcaster in 1990, and already owns 39 percent of the company and has had his eye on gaining full control for years.
The UK government had already approved Comcast earlier offer in June, with Matt Hancock, then-secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, who said at the time that “the proposed merger does not raise public interest concerns.”
However, Fox was given the go-ahead to continue efforts to purchase Sky as well, on the condition that Fox sells off Sky’s 24-hour news channel to Disney in the planned sale of certain Fox film and television assets to the Mouse House. Disney has pledged a 15-year, $2 billion commitment to fund Sky News if it acquires the channel in the Fox deal.
Hancock, meanwhile, resigned amid a British cabinet shakeup this week and has been replaced in his role by Jeremy Wright.
According to Bloomberg, the British government has already signaled willingness to approve Fox’s offer, with its final decision due Thursday.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/11/18
Radu Jude’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” won the Grand Prix Crystal Globe, the top jury prize at the 2018 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
The international competition winner tells of an artist who reenacts a real-life ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Romanian army in 1941, this time as an artistic installation.
The movie is a coproduction of six countries, led by Romania. In 2015, Jude won Berlin’s Silver Bear for best director for his film “Aferim!”
The festival at Karlovy Vary, nestled in a spa town outside Prague, Czech Republic, also awarded a special jury prize to Ana Katz’s “Sueño Florianópolis,” and awarded a best director prize to Olmo Omerzu for “Winter Flies.” Mercedes Morán (“Sueño Florianópolis”) and Moshe Folkenflik (“Redemption”) won best actress and best actor, respectively.
Vitaly Mansky’s “Putin’s Witnesses,” which featured a trove of unaired, potentially damning footage from the early days of the Russian president’s rule, took best documentary. The jury also gave special mention to Ivan I. Tverdovskiy’s “Jumpman,” about a peculiar orphan who can’t feel physical pain until his estranged mother resurfaces.
Actor and director Tim Robbins joined a long line of American stars like Robert De Niro and Casey Affleck in receiving a special prize for his contributions to world cinema, TheWrap previously reported.
“Good Time” star Robert Pattinson was also handed this year’ President’s Award.
Read the complete list of winners:
GRAND PRIX – CRYSTAL GLOBE (25 000 USD)
“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians”
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (15 000 USD)
BEST DIRECTOR AWARD
Olmo Omerzu for the film “Winter Flies”
BEST ACTRESS AWARD
Mercedes Morán for her role in the film “Sueño Florianópolis”
BEST ACTOR AWARD
Moshe Folkenflik for his role in the film “Redemption”
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“History of Love”
EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION
EAST OF THE WEST GRAND PRIX (15 000 USD)
EAST OF THE WEST SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (10 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY FILMS – COMPETITION
DOCUMENTARY FILMS JURY
GRAND PRIX FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM (5 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/7/18
It's time! Today's the big day. By the end of the night, we'll know which movies are taking home the golden statue at the 90th Academy Awards. To get everyone in the mood, and remind you that all the films that don't win are still worth watching, here's one final Oscars supercut video montage. This video is made by a trailer production company from Vienna, Austria called Passionsfruit. They've edited footage from 30 of the films nominated at the Oscars this year into a two-and-a-half minute video, to make you excited and remind you how wonderful cinema is. It's fun to see footage from Kong: Skull Island and War for the Planet of the Apes and Star Wars in the midst of all these series nominees, but that's just because I love good sci-fi. Found on Vimeo: "30 movies, 220 cuts and 39 disputes between the editors. We are pleased to present this special promo montage for Gartenbaukino's 90th Annual Academy ...
www.firstshowing.net | 3/4/18
The year 2018 represents a tipping point for the Internet and its governance. Internet governance risks being consumed by inertia. Policy decisions are needed if we want to prevent the Internet from fragmenting into numerous national and commercial Internet(s).
Geopolitical shifts, in particular, will affect how the Internet is governed. The Internet is made vulnerable by the fragmentation of global society, which is likely to accelerate in response to the ongoing crisis of multilateralism. If this crisis leads to further restrictions in the movement of people, capital, and goods across national borders, the same is likely to happen with the digital economy, including the cross-border flow of data and services.
Filling policy gaps
The first sign of a crisis in multilateralism in digital policy was the failure of the 5th UN Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) to reach consensus on a final report. Towards the end of 2017, the World Trade Organization (WTO) failed to agree on any mandate for e-commerce negotiations during the WTO Ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires.
The gaps in global rules are increasingly being filled by bilateral and regional arrangements, in particular on cybersecurity and e-commerce. Plurilateral digital trade arrangements are being considered as an alternative to the shortcomings of the WTO e-commerce negotiations.
In 2018, national legislation and courts will have a major impact on the global Internet. The main regulation with global impact will be the entry into force of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation on 25 May, which will determine how data is governed beyond the shores of Europe.
Using divergences to reach convergences
There are a few elements on which to build constructive solutions and some optimism.
First, interests in digital policy are now more clearly defined than a few years ago, when digital ideologies focused only on blue-sky thinking and an 'unstoppable march into a bright digital future'. Governments need to deliver prosperity, stability, and security as part of their social contracts with citizens. The industry needs to make a profit, whether it is by selling services online or by monetizing data. Citizens have a strong interest in having their dignity and core human rights protected online as they should be offline. A common thread binds them all: actors have a strong interest in preserving a safe, stable, and unified Internet.
A clear delineation of the interests of all actors, a healthy interdependence, and complementarity between those actors is a good basis for negotiations, compromise, and ideally, consensus, on how the Internet should further develop as a technological enabler of a stable and prosperous society.
Secondly, the diversity of the Internet is reflected in the diversity of interests and, ultimately, negotiating positions in digital geo-politics. While the USA, China, and Russia disagreed on the future of cybersecurity regulation within the UN GGE, they did agree about the need for digital commerce regulation in the WTO. All three countries are part of the WTO plurilateral negotiations on digital commerce. This variable geometry in the positions of the main actors in digital policy could create more space for potential trade-offs and compromise.
The 2018 forecast of the 10 main digital policy developments is set against this broad backdrop that makes progress and retreat equally possible. It draws on continuous monitoring of digital policy carried out through the GIP Digital Watch observatory and further discussed during the GIP's monthly briefings.
For a more in-depth analysis, read the full article.
* * *
1. GDPR: Data in the centre of digital politics – Data will dominate digital policy in 2018. Entering into effect on 25 May, the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will reshape the way companies, and institutions handle data in Europe and beyond. Its main impact will be on the Internet industry's business model, which is based on data monetization. More broadly, data will also move to a higher place on the agendas of international organizations dealing with health, humanitarian, and development issues, among others.
2. Cybersecurity geopolitics: The search for new governance mechanisms – 2017 ended with increasing cybersecurity risks and a lack of multilateral solutions to deal with them after the failure of the UN GGE. In 2018, the search for new policy mechanisms will intensify. The following solutions are being considered: a 6th UN GGE with a specific mandate, a UN Open-ended Working Group, a Conference on Disarmament, a Committee on the Peaceful Uses of ICT, or an Expert Group on International Telecommunication Regulation.
3. Digital trade and the Internet economy – The growth of e-commerce worldwide has not been matched with the development of policy frameworks. In the aftermath of the failure of the WTO Ministerial Conference to initiate e-commerce negotiations, some countries will develop plurilateral regimes. One of the main challenges will be to delineate core trade from other digital policy issues that affect trade, such as cybersecurity and data protection. The Internet economy will also be impacted by data protection, taxation, and labor regulations worldwide.
4. Courts: Active maker of digital rules – In the search for solutions to their digital problems, Internet users and organizations will increasingly refer to courts. Judges could become de facto rule-makers in the field of digital policy, as was the case with the right to be forgotten. The CJEU ruled that Uber is a transportation (not information) company with far-reaching consequences for Uber and the sharing economy. Courts in Canada, Australia, Austria, France, and other countries are following this trend in shaping global digital policy rules.
5. Artificial intelligence: Between philosophical considerations and practical applications – Artificial intelligence (AI) features highly in public debates, with a wide range of views put forward, from being 'the best or worst thing to ever happen to humanity'. This debate involving entrepreneurs, philosophers, politicians, and the general public will continue in 2018. On a digital policy level, AI will be addressed in the interplay with big data and the IoT. Other questions will include the automation and future of jobs, robot tax, privacy protection, and regulation of the use of lethal autonomous weapons.
6. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies: Between boom and bust – The fast growth of cryptocurrencies opened many regulatory questions. Is this growth inflating a bubble that may soon burst? What should be the role of financial regulators in preventing a potential bust? In 2018, governments will focus on initial coin offerings and the risk of misusing cryptocurrencies for money laundering, tax avoidance, and illegal financial transactions.
7. Content policy: Fake news and violent extremism online – 'Fake news' was the word of the year in 2017. It will remain high on policy agendas in 2018 together with other content policy issues. France would like to introduce a new law against fake news in election time. Other countries are considering similar proposals. The main criticism is that fake news regulations may open possibilities for censorship and reduce freedom of expression. Researchers in civil society advise that a regulatory approach should be used only as an exception, while the focus should be on building a digital culture and critical thinking among citizens.
8. Net neutrality: Global impact of new US regulation – The US decision to end net neutrality triggered debate in December which spilled over to the new year. The main issues are how net neutrality will be protected in the USA, and since content transits mostly through the USA, and whether this will affect other countries worldwide. Net neutrality and zero rating will also remain high on agendas in some developing countries, while platform or data neutrality may move higher.
9. Encryption: More pressure on backdoor access – In 2018, governments worldwide will continue to put legal and policy pressure on Internet companies to provide backdoor access to users' data, or reduce levels of encryption. Users' data is the Internet companies' main commodity, and losing users' trust could endanger their business model. They will try to find a predictable regulatory framework for sharing data with law enforcement agencies, which would shield them from political and ad hoc pressure by governments.
10. ICANN: Online identities, jurisdiction, and governance – ICANN is likely to remain outside the policy limelight in 2018. Two issues that may resurface are related to broader online identities and jurisdiction. In a time when politics focuses on identities and symbolism, online identity may resurface as a major political issue. In particular, it could happen around the question of .amazon. While it is unlikely that there will be further impactful discussions or decisions on the US jurisdiction of ICANN, we might see more focused debate on the topic of 'limited, partial, relative or tailored immunity for ICANN'.
* * *
Based on the original article, A tipping point for the Internet: 10 predictions for 2018, published on 11 January 2018. Read the full article.
Written by Jovan Kurbalija, Director of DiploFoundation & Head of Geneva Internet Platform
www.circleid.com | 1/13/18
Hedy Lamarr’s early life was the stuff of movies: As a teenage starlet, she became the face of “Ecstasy,” one of the most controversial films of its day. By 18, she was the Jewish trophy wife of a munitions manufacturer who became the third-richest man in Austria by selling arms to the Nazis.
Lamarr fled her controlling first husband by drugging her own maid and sneaking out of her own house in a servant’s uniform with her jewelry sewn into the lining. She turned down Louis B. Mayer during one of the MGM chief’s scouting trips to Paris, where he scooped up actresses (desperate to flee Hitler) on the cheap. He’d only offered her $125 a week. Lamarr then booked herself a modest room on the same ship that took Mayer back to Hollywood and made sure every eyeball was fixated on her in the dining hall by dressing up in couture gowns and her last remaining jewels. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, she spoke virtually no English, but she was to start at MGM for a weekly salary of $500.
Lamarr died in 2000, but the exoticized star — best known for 1938’s “Algiers,” 1941’s “Ziegfeld Girl,” and 1942’s “White Cargo” – has been making headlines again for her contributions to a wireless communication system that have made our current wi-fi, cell phone, GPS, Bluetooth, and satellite technologies possible. The new documentary “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” from first-time director Alexandra Dean, is too sympathetic toward its subject to serve as a satisfying biography of the actress-inventor. But it’s a totally serviceable, if disappointingly uncinematic, film about a singular celebrity.
The centerpiece of “Bombshell” is Lamarr’s own voice, heard through a lengthy 1990 audio interview that had been lost until last year. The documentary is pieced together through family photos, film clips, and talking-head interviews with the actress’s family and cinema scholars. Lamarr’s daring bids for freedom and success are simply narrated; we’ll have to wait for the inevitable biopic to watch that midnight run from her first husband and the show-stopping performance for Mayer.
The film doesn’t flinch from Lamarr’s later years, which were marred by a series of bad decisions: brief marriages, fallouts with relatives, big bets as a producer that didn’t pay off, shoplifting, experimental plastic surgery, and, possibly, a drug addiction left over from the days when the studios routinely supplied its performers with uppers and downers to get them to work 12-hour days six days a week.
But the greatest tragedy of Lamarr’s life was that she was too beautiful — or so “Bombshell” would have you believe. It’s altogether credible that Lamarr was hurt that neither the men in her life nor the fans who paid to see her on screen were interested in who she really was. It’s also completely plausible that few people took her self-taught smarts seriously because MGM marketed her as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” and the idea that brains and beauty can’t exist in the same package is a pestilence still around today. The plastic surgery she felt pressured to undertake from her forties on left her a disfigured recluse, even from her own family.
But beauty was also Lamarr’s power, albeit one that faded over time. How else could she have become famous enough to have garnered an audition with Mayer in the first place? To have landed a job on the way to America? To become a cinematic sensation, at least for a little while, enough to marry a few more rich men and thus support herself, her two children, and her mother without ever pursuing an education or another line of work?
That Dean herself is entranced by Lamarr’s beauty is clear from the closing image of “Bombshell,” an excerpt from “Ziegfeld Girl” that showcases the actress at her most gorgeously otherworldly. Before watching “Bombshell,” I’d read and heard of Lamarr’s contributions to wireless communications (with her friend, the composer and pianist George Antheil) several times, but never really understood it. Through charming pencil-doodle animation, the documentary explains Lamarr’s invention as clearly as I’ve ever seen it.
Even more delightful are the tales of the actress’s other inventions: a nature-inspired wing shape for Howard Hughes’ planes, Coca-Cola in a cube (for easier transport during wartime), and plastic-surgery techniques later copied by other actresses. Lamarr’s creations suggest a brilliant dilettantism. There’s no doubt she should have been taken more seriously by others — but by herself, too.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 11/21/17
[Lesotho Times] LITERATURE organisation, Ba re e ne re, recently made a presentation on the history of Lesotho's literature at the Intertwining Hi/Stories Arts Education Festival workshops which took place in Vienna, Austria.
allafrica.com | 10/13/17
on the territory of what is today Austria can be traced back to around 1050 B.C. with the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures. However, a culture of Austria as we know it today began to take shape when the Austrian lands were part of the Holy Roman Empire, with the Privilegium Minus of 1156, which elevated Austria to the status of a Duchy, marking an important step in its development. Austrian culture has largely been influenced by its past and present neighbors: Italy, Poland, Germany, Hungary and Bohemia.