Here are three things you must know at midday on Thursday, Dec. 14:
1. -- The big media deal that everyone knew was coming was finally announced on Thursday: Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS) blockbuster $52.4 billion bid for most of the entertainment assets of Twenty-First Century Inc. (FOXA) will bring together two of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world.
The deal also could shake up the sports news media market, according to columnist Ken Doctor. The big question is who will own, and operate, Sports Illustrated. Doctor also asked how much will the start-up, The Athletic, change local sports coverage?
There is no question, however, about who will be leading the merger of the two companies: Disney's long-time CEO, Bob Iger, extended his contract as chairman and CEO through the end of 2021.
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Disney rose 1.8% midday on Thursday, while shares of Fox jumped 4.2%.
2. -- The Federal Communications Commission will vote Thursday on a plan to roll back net neutrality rules established under the Obama administration, rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet.
The proposal would roll back restrictions that keep broadband providers like Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) , Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and AT&T Inc. (T) from blocking or collecting tolls from services they don't like and would bar states from imposing their own rules.
Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet; Apple Inc. (AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak; and celebrities from Alyssa Milano to William Shatner have exhorted the FCC to maintain net neutrality.
"Celebrity talk about the end of the internet as we know it is nothing more than 'hysteria,'" said FCC Chairman Ajit PaiPai, who has the votes, 3 to 2, to pass the rewrite.
3. -- Litecoin, the digital currency that has long stood in the shadow of more preeminent crypto assets such as bitcoin and ethereum, has tumbled on Thursday. After the cryptocurrency jumped tremendously over the last four days to an all-time high of $420, it has reversed course and has come back down to earth, trading at around $286, down close to 10% for the day.
Trading volumes also have halved, noted website TrustNodes.
Litecoin was on a stellar run, coming on strong right after bitcoin futures opened on Cboe. The reason for its tumble is unclear but there has been a noticeable thawing in the excitement over cryptocurrencies -- bitcoin was trading at $16,439 on Thursday, after rising to near $18,000 earlier in the week.
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