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4:10 PM ET, May 26, 2021


 Top News: 
Annie Palmer / CNBC:
Amazon says it will acquire MGM Studios for $8.45B  —  - Amazon is buying MGM Studios, the companies announced, marking Amazon's most ambitious move yet into the entertainment business.  — The acquisition is Amazon's second-largest acquisition since it paid $13.7 billion for Whole Foods in 2017.
Peter Kafka / Vox:
With its MGM acquisition, Amazon doesn't want to compete with streamers like Netflix but reduce Prime subscriber churn by providing enough blockbuster content  —  Amazon isn't competing with Netflix, but it is spending billions trying to figure out Hollywood.  Maybe 007 can help.
Robert Channick / Chicago Tribune:
SEC filing: Alden took out two loans, totaling $278M, in the Tribune Publishing deal and removed CEO Terry Jimenez; Tribune was debt-free  —  It didn't take long for Alden Global Capital to put its imprint — and significant debt — on Tribune Publishing, after closing its $633 million acquisition …
David Folkenflik / @davidfolkenflik:
[Thread] Union members at multiple Tribune newspapers say they have been told that Alden Global Capital intends to seek voluntary buyouts company-wide
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Facebook and Instagram now give users options to hide Like counts across all posts and to hide their own public Like counts from others  —  Facebook this week will begin to publicly roll out the option to hide Likes on posts across both Facebook and Instagram, following earlier tests beginning in 2019.
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
Emily Wilder was wronged by AP editors, who were less concerned with work product than about “appearances”, defined by groups like Stanford College Republicans  —  On May 18, the Associated Press reported on the arrest of an arson suspect over a Los Angeles wildfire …
Katie Robertson / New York Times:
Over 200 academics, journalists, and sports figures including UNC alumni sign a letter criticizing UNC's failure to give Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure  —  More than 200 writers and cultural figures signed a letter opposing the University of North Carolina's failure to give the Times Magazine correspondent tenure with her position there.
Mark Stenberg / Adweek:
Axios says its Local program now has 350,000+ subscribers and is on pace to generate between $4M and $5M by the end of 2021  —  Led by Axios, local is going national.  The “smart brevity” news publisher announced Monday that it planned to expand the number of cities it serves as part …
Mark Sweney / The Guardian:
Amazon partners with UK's National Theatre to stream four high-profile stage shows, including Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag, available in the UK and Ireland  —  Cumberbatch and McKellen among big names to appears in live-recorded stage shows to feature on Prime
Steven Strom / Fanbyte:
Sources: IGN staffers say morale is at an all-time low after Ziff Davis' president characterized a dispute over a post takedown as purely an editorial issue  —  “Our morale has never been this low,” IGN employees say a week after confronting their parent company.  At stake: editorial independence.
Chinese gaming company NetEase's music streaming arm files for an IPO in Hong Kong, that source says could raise ~$1B; filing shows it had 180M+ MAUs in 2020  —  - CICC, Credit Suisse and BofA are working on the offering  — Co. has secured licensing deals with Universal Music, Sony
Jake Rudnitsky / Bloomberg:, Russia's most popular video streaming service, raises $250M from VTB Group, Roman Abramovich, and others, after pausing IPO plans earlier this year  —  - New investors contributed about 70% to Ivi funding round  — Ivi delayed IPO after proposal to limit foreign ownership
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 Featured Newsletter: 
Appetite for ad-free publisher subscriptions could be growing  —  Consumers say their distaste for advertising within publishers' subscription products is growing, suggesting appetites for ad-free experiences could be growing too.
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 More News: 
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Instagram launches a new shopping section called Drops, helping users find limited supply products, and will temporarily waive fees due to COVID-19
Ray Schultz / MediaPost:
The Economist launches its first online course, on politics, business, and tech, for £1,475, or $2,087, with experts including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Sarah Rappaport / Bloomberg:
How London theaters have adapted to lockdowns, quickly expanding streaming offerings; over 100,000 people in 90 countries paid up to $90 for an Old Vic show
Chris Willman / Variety:
OneOf, a music-focused NFT marketplace backed by Quincy Jones, raises $63M in seed, says its Tezos blockchain protocol uses less energy to mint NFTs than others
 Earlier Picks: 
Canadian Press:
Facebook has signed deals with 14 Canadian publishers to pay for the ability to link to their news stories that are not already posted on its platform
Sara Fischer / Axios:
AP and FanDuel sign an agreement to make FanDuel the exclusive provider of sports odds across the AP's global sports report
Sara Fischer / Axios:
Sources: NYT is looking into a full acquisition of The Athletic, not a merger or a joint venture
David McCabe / New York Times:
A new Florida law regulates how Twitter, YouTube, and others moderate speech, with fines for banning candidates; the law exempts companies that own theme parks

From Techmeme:

Allison Johnson / The Verge:
Google says RCS in Google Messages now has over 1B MAUs, and adds Photomoji, Voice Moods, Screen Effects, Custom Bubbles, Animated Emoji, and other features

Sergiu Gatlan / BleepingComputer:
Apple releases emergency security updates for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS to fix two zero-days that may have been exploited, reaching 20 zero-days patched in 2023

Wall Street Journal:
Sources: Meta plans to launch Threads in Europe in December, the largest expansion since its July debut, offering a choice of using Threads without a profile

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