D.C. Soap Opera with Wall St. Flair, Rite-Aid and Albertsons Call of Merger as well as Sinclair and Tribune, Willow Creek Church Officials Resign and Tesla’s Three Worries

Good Thursday Morning,

Daylight – Tesla’s has three worries this morning, and no, the SEC is not on the list. Musk’s tweet on going private – short sellers lost a billion dollars, but they are holding firm and not bailing. Tweet didn’t blow them out of the bunker. Shorts hold.

Next, Tesla is running out of cash and SoftBank said no to a loan yesterday.  

Third, Musk needs to rethink his tweet from a couple months ago when he said he did not have the necessary time allocation of 10 hours per week for a girlfriend. Here is the deal – both sides agree to a no-tweet zone and get the time allocation down to five hours and put some romance in Musk’s life. He has been off the rails since that tweet.

M&A – Tribune Media this morning terminated its merger agreement with rival TV-station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group and sued the company for failing to make sufficient efforts to get the $3.9 billion deal approved by regulators.

Rite Aid, Albertsons call off merger. Rite Aid and Albertsons have called off their planned merger, a surprise decision in the face of mounting concern from investors.

The American Medical Association yesterday afternoon came out against the CVS-Aetna deal – too late, megadeal will be signed.  

Investcorp and PSP Investments acquired a minority stake in United Talent Agency, a talent and literary agency.

Style – Changes are coming to next year’s Oscars. With the audience plummeting annually, the organization that runs the awards announced it would add a new category, “outstanding achievement in popular film,” and trim the telecast to three hours. They are not getting it – can we make it an hour and have Jon Stewart host – it will never happen because TV execs don’t like his “total creative control” in all contracts.  

And in 2020, the Oscars will move the ceremony to earlier in the year, to shorten Hollywood’s overall awards season. Next year’s awards are Feb. 24.

Economics – Mott & Bow t-shirt brand boasts to offer the “softest and most stylish on the internet” just added five new and unique t-shirt colors to their portfolio. $30.

Buzzard’s Roost – Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to lay out President Trump’s plan to establish the first new branch of the military in more than 70 years: Space Force. Do they believe in space?

Magic Leap augmented reality headsets raised $2.3 billion and their demo shows where about $230 of it went – overhyped and won’t ever get past early adopters with this technology. B2C is a fantasy – B2B is where the action is.

Hot – More than a weekender – a NASA spacecraft called the Parker Solar Probe is embarking on a journey toward the Sun this weekend where it will endeavor to solve some solar scientific mysteries. It will get within four million miles of the star, closer than any spacecraft before it, where temperatures reach three million degrees Fahrenheit. No worry, dry heat.

The year’s final major in men’s golf, the PGA Championship, begins today at Bellerive in St. Louis. Louis Brown please call me – got an insider on Bubba Watson.

Science – Note from Millennial Matt – Clouds and wildfires may spoil the plans of fellow stargazers to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower this weekend, especially when it is supposed to happen at the start of a new moon, which would be perfect viewing conditions. Best place to see the shower would be in the northern Midwest around Michigan and Minnesota.

Live Rounds – More from Millennial Matt – Washington Soap opera with a Wall Street flair. New York Congressman Chris Collins was arrested and charged yesterday for insider trading. His son, Cameron along with future father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky, were also indicted. Collins was the first Congressman to publicly endorse Trump’s campaign.

Collins serves on the board of a biotech firm that recently had a major trial failure, plummeting their stocks. But somehow Collins, Cameron and company got out relatively unscathed. Because he texted Cammy to sell, sell, sell before the drop, who then told his fiancee and apparently half his college group chat. By the way, the fateful text was sent to his son while Congressman Collins was on the White House lawn, allegedly.

Culture – Church officials resign in harassment case. I think a lot of this goes back to preachers wearing boat shoes and polos.

The lead pastor and the entire board of elders resigned on Wednesday from Willow Creek Community Church, one of the nation’s most influential evangelical congregations. They said they had made a mistake by failing to believe the women who accused the Rev. Bill Hybels, the church’s founding pastor, of sexual harassment.

Investment Banking – Optimal Investment Group acquired USA Dawgs, a branded footwear distributor.

Hedge Funds – Run-of-the-mill stuff.

IPO – Leave it up to the NYC Council to screw it up on both ends – destroy entry level jobs and an Uber IPO – they passed legislation that pauses licensing of most new ride-hailing cars for a year. Immigrants from countries like Ethiopia find Uber a great starting job when they first enter the country – Earth to NYC – Entrepreneurs poach a lot of drivers. If other cities follow – put a fork in the Uber IPO.

China Tower, the telecom operator, raised $6.9 billion in a Hong Kong IPO valuing the firm at $28 billion.

Venture Capital – Slack, a team communication platform, is raising $400 million.

Actifio, an enterprise Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) software provider, raised $100 million.

RiskRecon, a provider of risk management cybersecurity services, raised $25 million.

Even Financial, a fintech company, raised $18.8 million.

Scale, a business working on self-driving vehicles accelerate their AI development, raised $18 million.

Spruce, a national title insurance and escrow company, raised $15.6 million.

Libra, a provider of middle and back office technology and data services for the crypto asset ecosystem, raised $15 million.

SPARK Neuro, a company focused on evaluating audience engagement in advertising and entertainment, raised $13.5 million.

Spotlight – DoctorPreneur Briefing

September 21 – Starting at 1:00 p.m.

Dinner at 7:00 p.m.

September 22 – 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Register Here. Contact events@oxfordcenter.com for more info.

And that’s what’s ahead, Cliff