The Walt Disney Company (DIS) may be thriving in the majority of its businesses, but there is one segment that has been plaguing the House of Mouse and weighing on its stock price for the past two years, ESPN.
Concerns about subscriber loss at ESPN have been dogging Disney, even as the company's movies top the box office, and it makes investments in its theme parks.
Disney is set to start contract talks with cable operator Altice USA (ATUS) , which expires this fall, the Wall Street Journal reports. The deal would be the first in a series of new contracts that Disney will negotiate with pay-TV providers in order to offset its ESPN subscriber decline.
The issue for Disney and ESPN is that more consumers are leaving traditional pay-TV models for skinny bundles or simply cutting the cord all together. Disney can offset the decline spurred by this trend by hiking its annual price increases and using provisions in its contracts that stipulate which TV packages ESPN must appear on and what part of pay-TV subscribers must receive it, the Journal noted.
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In a July 6 trademark application, Amazon subsidiary Amazon Technologies Inc. revealed it's planning "prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or and [sic] vegetables...ready for cooking and assembly as a meal," as well as primarily grain-based offerings.
The product's tagline: "We do the prep. You be the chef." Amazon already sells other companies' meal kits, including Tyson Foods Inc.'s (TSN) Tyson Tastemakers. Martha Stewart is even offering meal kits on Amazon Fresh, the company's grocery delivery service. But, this may be the first hint of something bigger for Amazon, which would put it in direct competition with newly minted IPO Blue Apron APRN .
Speaking at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island on Saturday, Musk reiterated that shares of Tesla are trading at a level "higher than we have any right to deserve" based on optimism about the company's future.
"Those expectations sometimes get out of control," Musk added. Meanwhile, TheStreet reports Tesla could be at risk of a nasty surprise soon: the end of tax credits for electric cars in the U.S.
Procter & Gamble under siege: Peltz's Trian Fund Management plans to launch a fight for a board seat at Procter & Gamble (PG) , making it the largest company to face a proxy battle, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Trian, which owns about $3.3 billion of P&G stock, is said to be seeking a single board seat for Peltz at the company's annual meeting that could take place in October. P&G have reportedly been in talks for five months, but the company is said to have rejected to name Peltz as a director last week.
Sales at P&G -- and its stock price -- have stalled due to pricing pressure and competition.
As TheStreet's Ron Orol reported in June, look for the consumer packaged goods company to announce plans for spin-offs, sales or even a swap out of business units. If major M&A doesn't come soon, a Trian director-battle or white paper chock full of activist demands could be next.
And Trian likely will demand significant M&A activity. Spinoffs and other major deals often follow when the activist investor acquires a large stake. Trian and other activist fund managers often push to have large companies break themselves up with the goal of extracting value by focusing the market on various parts of a business that might be hiding inside confusing conglomerate structures.
Here is what Orol is currently reporting.
Behind the scenes: TheStreet's Tracy Byrnes has a great talk with Carly Fiorina for our new web series "Alpha Rising." Fiorina was the first woman to head a Fortune 500 company when she became CEO and president of Hewlett-Packard HPQ and she was the first female officer at AT&T T . Must watch stuff.
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