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22 июля, 01:01

Lobbying revenues rise despite congressional gridlock

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans’ inability to shepherd major legislation through Congress doesn’t seem to be hurting the swamp.Most of Washington’s top lobbying firms saw their revenue rise in the second quarter, after fears among some corporations and lobbyists — and hopes among some Trump supporters — that the president’s election in 2016 would curb Washington’s influence industry. “Despite the difficulty of getting major legislation done, this is probably one of the most active periods in recent years that I’ve seen,” said Darrell Conner, a lobbyist at K&L Gates, which saw its lobbying revenue rise to $4.6 million in the second quarter from $4.3 million in the first quarter and $4.4 in the second quarter of 2016.Akin Gump, the top-grossing firm in D.C., raked in $9.7 million in the second quarter, according to newly filed disclosures. That’s up from $9.4 million in the first quarter, and it matches the amount Akin Gump's revenue in the second quarter of 2016. Brownstein Hyatt, the second-place firm, brought in $6.9 million in revenue, up from $6.7 million in the first quarter and in the same period last year.Corporate America is still anxious that an errant presidential tweet could batter their businesses, though that feeling has calmed down in recent months. And companies still don’t know what Trump’s administration will do on health care, taxes, trade and a host of other issues — but they are spending heavily to influence the outcome in the meantime.“There’s still a high level of uncertainty,” said Elizabeth Gore, chairwoman of Brownstein Hyatt’s government relations practice.So companies continue to shell out on lobbyists to make sure they have a voice in Trump’s Washington. With Congress largely gridlocked on big-ticket issues, much of the action is taking place in the executive branch.“We are still doing a lot of work on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Gore said, as Trump’s Cabinet agencies reshape regulations and the White House continues to keep executive orders coming.John Raffaelli, founding partner of Capitol Counsel, which represents blue-chip clients including AT&T, ExxonMobil and JPMorgan Chase, said he expected lobbying firms would see larger bumps in business later this year. “The appropriations process is going to be going full speed, taxes are going to be going full speed,” he said.Some firms — including those with former Trump campaign staffers on board — have already seen big leaps in business.BGR Group, a leading Republican-leaning firm co-founded by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, brought in $5.7 million in the second quarter, up from $5 million in the first quarter and $4.5 million in the second quarter of 2016.Dave Urban, an early Trump supporter who helped him carry Pennsylvania, is a top lobbyist at American Continental Group. The firm raked in $3.3 million in the second quarter — up nearly 40 percent since the first quarter, and close to twice as much as it brought in during the second quarter of 2016. Urban has signed clients including Comcast, Raytheon and the National Retail Federation this year amid persistent rumors that he’ll join the White House, potentially as chief of staff if Reince Priebus leaves.The most successful former Trump campaign hand on K Street may be Brian Ballard. A longtime Florida lobbyist, Ballard served as a top fundraiser for Trump during the campaign and opened a Washington office after he won. The firm, Ballard Partners, took in $2.3 million, outdoing many more established lobbying powerhouses as its brought on clients like Amazon, Uber and American Airlines.Even Avenue Strategies, the firm started after the election by Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s controversy-prone former campaign manager, and another Trump campaign hand, Barry Bennett, has defied skeptics by posting solid numbers. The firm took in $450,000 in lobbying revenue in the second quarter.Not every firm is enjoying a surge in business.The Podesta Group, which had been seen as close to President Barack Obama’s administration, saw its revenue drop to $5.2 million in the second quarter compared with $5.5 million in the first quarter and $5.9 million in the second quarter of 2016, although the firm’s revenue remains one of the highest in town.David Marin, managing principal of Podesta’s public relations practice, said any decline in lobbying revenue was made up for by an increase in the firm’s communications work. “We’re much more than a quote-unquote lobbying firm,” Marin said. “We’re a strategic communications firm.”Subject Matter, a well-known Democratic-leaning firm, has taken a hit, too. The firm brought in $2.1 million last quarter, down from $2.5 million in the second quarter of 2016.“In 2016, we were an all-Democratic firm in an environment in which I think people were expecting Democrats to win the presidency, if not the Senate as well,” said Steve Elmendorf, the plugged-in lobbyist who’s one of Subject Matter’s co-founders.Since the election, the firm has brought on three Republicans and is looking to hire more. “Our goal is to be fully bipartisan,” Elmendorf said.Still, he doesn’t expect the firm’s revenue to return to its previous level until next year — although anything could happen. “There’s never been an environment quite like this, because there’s never been a president quite like this,” Elmendorf said.

22 июля, 00:58

Snap Stock Dips to New All-Time Low... Again

Shares of Snap Inc. (SNAP) slumped again on Friday, closing about 2.75% lower and touching a new all-time low during afternoon trading hours. The struggling social media stock is now nearly 15% below its IPO price.

21 июля, 01:09

Snapchat (SNAP) Launches 'Stay Tuned' Newscast with NBC

Snap Inc. (SNAP) is partnering with NBC News to produce 'Stay Tuned', a twice-daily news to be broadcast on its Snapchat app, starting Wednesday, targeting young, mobile audience.

19 июля, 16:42

Cable TV Stocks' Q2 Earnings to Watch on Jul 20: RCI, DISH

We wait to see the second-quarter 2017 earnings releases of two cable companies - Rogers Communications (RCI) and DISH Network (DISH) on Jul 20, 2017.

19 июля, 00:47

Distressing Time for U.S. Pay-TV as Customer Churn Soars

In the U.S. cable TV operators command over 50% of pay-TV market share. They are followed by satellite TV (nearly 33%), IPTV (6%) and OTT (2%).

18 июля, 21:56

White House's Sanders slams Democrats, pledges health care action at off-camera briefing

The White House reeled on Tuesday from the sudden collapse of the Senate’s push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and President Donald Trump acknowledged he was "very disappointed" with the latest blow to his stalled legislative agenda.Principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed reporters off camera Tuesday afternoon at the White House as Republicans on Capitol Hill scrambled to map the path forward.The White House has not held a televised briefing since June 29.Here are the key moments.• Even as health care reform languishes, the White House continues to express confidence in the prospect of tax reform, Sanders said, after taking the podium about a half-hour after the 2 pm scheduled start time.Trump intends to engage in “ongoing, regular, consistent contact with members of Congress” as the process moves forward, Sanders said. “Ideally some Democrats will want to participate.”• Democrats' refusal to help repeal President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement is “unacceptable,” Sanders declared, and she echoed Trump in saying she hoped they would come to the table if the law collapses.“Congress needs to do their job,” she added. “Every day that they don’t, we go further into collapsing Obamacare.” Asked what she would say to Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Shelley Moore Capito, Republicans who supported repeal two years ago but are withholding support now, Sanders said simply: “Do your job.” • Sanders would not say whether the administration will continue to funding key cost-sharing subsidies that help stabilize insurance markets, or whether the White House will take other steps to try and harm the Affordable Care Act.“I don’t think that the White House has to take any actions for Obamacare to collapse,” Sanders said.

18 июля, 17:20

Rogers Communications (RCI) Q2 Earnings: A Beat in Store?

Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI) is scheduled to report second-quarter 2017 results on Jul 20, before the market opens.

18 июля, 16:23

Alphabet (GOOGL) Owned Google Fiber CEO McCray Steps Down

Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) trouble continues, as Google Fiber's CEO, Gregory McCray steps down within five months of appointment.

17 июля, 19:01

Tech body asks FCC to rethink plans

A group representing major technology firms including Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc yesterday urged the US Federal Communications Commission to abandon plans to reverse the landmark 2015 rules barring

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17 июля, 16:47

Can Disney's Impressive Movie Line-up Drive Stock Higher?

In the last couple of years, The Walt Disney Company (DIS) has struck gold with almost every movie release.

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17 июля, 16:41

KKR Names Successors To Co-Founders Henry Kravis, George Roberts

Iconic Private Equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts i.e., KKR, has appointed two executives to succeed co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts, in what the FT dubs is a "rare move for an industry where succession plans have not been set out publicly." KKR announced on Monday that it had named Joseph Y. Bae and Scott C. Nuttall, long rumoured to be favourites to fill the founders’ shoes, as its co-presidents and co-chief operating officers. The appointments will task Nuttall, 44, and Bae, 45, with essentially running the $137 billion firm on a day-to-day basis.  Kravis and Roberts, both of whom are in their early 70s, will continue to lead the group as co-chairmen and co-chief executive officers. This is the first time KKR has openly indicated clear successors to the founders. “Today’s announcement is about the future and ensuring we have the right team and leadership structure to serve our clients and partners for decades to come,” Mr. Kravis and Mr. Roberts said in a statement.Continue reading the main story. In naming their successors, Kravis and Roberts are joining other buyout titans in preparing for the not too distant day when they step away from the business. Kravis and Roberts said: “Having joined the firm together over 20 years ago, Joe and Scott have a strong foundation of trust, professional respect and personal friendship that is critical for success. Henry R. Kravis, right, and George R. Roberts in 2001 “They think and act globally, they embody KKR’s core values, and they are two of our most accomplished business leaders, with proven track records of managing large teams, building new businesses and driving value for our fund investors and our public unit holders.” As the NYT reports, other PE firms have already laid out their succession plans: Blackstone has long had an heir apparent in its real estate chief, Jonathan D. Gray, a lifer at the investment giant. Warburg Pincus long ago named Joseph P. Landy and Charles R. Kaye as its chief executives., taking over from the co-founders Lionel I. Pincus and John Vogelstein. Preparing for succession is not always an easy task. Carlyle hired Adena T. Friedman from Nasdaq in 2011 as its chief financial officer, setting off speculation that she would one day lead the private equity titan. But she left three years later to return to Nasdaq, where she finally took over as chief executive in November. And it had hired Michael Cavanagh, a much-lauded executive at JPMorgan Chase, only for him to leave the firm for Comcast a year later. The FT adds that "the move will add pressure to other buyout groups, whose founders are reluctant to relinquish power, to outline their own succession plans." Private equity investors have grown increasingly concerned about succession with just 12 per cent of funds set to close in less than a decade. The worry has intensified as limited partners — pension plans and other institutions that lock up their capital in private equity vehicles for years — cut back on under-performing managers. But for Kravis and Roberts, the anointment of potential successors is perhaps more notable than for most. The men, cousins who co-founded Kohlberg Kravis 41 years ago, helped put private equity on the map. The pair led the firm’s pursuit of RJR Nabisco and earned the immortal sobriquet “barbarians at the gate.” Since then, the private equity industry has largely shed its reputation as uncouth raiders and become an enormous industry, with some $820 billion in uninvested capital as of Dec. 31, according to Prequin. In recent years, the two men have praised the firm’s growing bench, with Mr. Kravis once saying that any of 15 executives could lead the firm should he and his cousin retire. As for the new KKR executives, they will have different areas of primary responsibility, KKR said: Nuttall will concentrate on corporate and real estate credit, capital markets, hedge fund and capital raising businesses together with the corporate development, balance sheet and strategic growth initiatives. Bae will focus on global private equity businesses and real asset platforms across energy, infrastructure and real estate private equity. Of the four major private equity titans that are publicly listed: K.K.R., Blackstone, Carlyle and Apollo Global Management, the share price of K.K.R. has performed second-best, rising almost 50% over the past 12 months.

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16 июля, 19:01

Now you can live in ‘a galaxy far away’

AN immersive “Star Wars” hotel, a new “Ratatouille” attraction and the first ever Mickey Mouse ride are just some of the high-profile features coming soon to Walt Disney Co’s theme parks. Walt Disney

15 июля, 01:10

Sprint (S) Rallies after Reports of Potential Investment from Buffett and Malone

Shares of Sprint (S) rallied in afternoon trading on Friday, closing the day up 4.27% to $8.55 a share after reports that Sprint executives have engaged Warren Buffett and John Malone about possible investments in the telecommunications company.

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14 июля, 18:53

Prime Day, Emmy Nominees, and Netflix Earnings Preview

On today's episode of the Zacks Friday Finish Line, Content Writer Ryan McQueeney and Editor Maddy Johnson take on this week's biggest stories, including the results of Amazon Prime Day, video streaming giants dominating the Emmy nominations, and a preview of Netflix's upcoming earnings report.

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12 июля, 09:31

Правозащитники: WhatsApp и Twitter хуже всех защищают данные от властей

Правозащитная организация Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) опубликовала ежегодный отчет Who Has Your Back?, в котором оценивается готовность крупных IT-компаний защищать пользовательские данные. Низких оценок удостоились WhatsApp, Amazon и Twitter, тогда как Adobe и Dropbox заслужили пять "звезд" из пяти по методике расчета EFF.

12 июля, 09:09

Правозащитники: WhatsApp и Twitter хуже всех защищают данные от властей

Правозащитная организация Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) опубликовала ежегодный отчет Who Has Your Back?, в котором оценивается бережность отношения крупных IT-компаний к пользовательским данным. Низких оценок удостоились WhatsApp, Amazon и Twitter, тогда как Adobe и Dropbox заслужили пять "звезд" из пяти по методике расчета EFF.

12 июля, 00:58

Internet giants launch 'day of action' on net neutrality

The biggest U.S. internet companies aim to marshal their millions of users Wednesday in the fight to preserve net-neutrality rules — a summon-the-masses strategy that successfully killed Hollywood-backed anti-piracy legislation five years ago but which may carry less power in today's GOP-dominated Washington.Google, Facebook, Amazon and Snapchat, along with an array of other websites and apps taking part in the “day of action,” believe a firehose of internet users can convince President Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission to abandon its plan to gut the rules. The tactic mirrors the web "blackout" deployed in early 2012 to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, which lawmakers dropped after receiving a flood of phone calls and emails.But the political winds in Washington have shifted. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has vowed to roll back the rules requiring internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to treat all web traffic equally, and he has the commission votes he needs, along with the support of congressional Republicans and Trump. For an internet industry that until recently enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Obama administration, the odds of moving the needle are more daunting this time.Still, activists organizing the Wednesday protest hope to make an impact.“It was clear to us as we headed into this fight that we're going to need one of these big moments,” said Evan Greer, campaign director at digital-rights group Fight for the Future. "It is a strategy that can make change even against what seems like insurmountable odds."The number of high-profile websites taking part in the effort continues to expand. Amazon and Reddit were among the first household names to sign up. They’ve since been joined by Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as an eclectic mix of sites ranging from Yelp and Spotify to PornHub and Chess.com. Collectively, they touch millions of Americans every day. Many of the participants will display messages saying that without net-neutrality protections, ISPs could block certain websites, throttle internet speeds or charge people to access websites. They’ll then direct people to submit comments to the FCC and Congress demanding the existing rules be kept in place. “Our message reminds our members of their rights, and how the destruction of net neutrality would take away their freedom to choose what they do and see online,” said Elie Seidman, CEO of online dating site OkCupid. The approach comes directly from Fight for the Future's 2012 playbook, when the group helped lead a mass online protest against anti-piracy bills that enjoyed bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Websites like Google warned the measures could spark online censorship and Wikipedia blacked out its content to demonstrate the potential impact of the bills, dubbed SOPA and PIPA. The protest sparked a deluge of angry emails and phone calls to congressional offices, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle withdrew their support within days. Many political observers considered that campaign a triumph for online grassroots activism and an example of what can happen when the often-fragmented internet harnesses a collective voice. But five years ago, the internet industry had the implicit support of the Obama White House and the element of surprise in mounting a web campaign that Washington had never experienced before. This time, Republicans, who control all branches of government in Washington and are fully behind Pai's net-neutrality plans, won't be as easily moved."It's somewhere between SOPA-PIPA and much ado about nothing," one Republican lobbyist said of Wednesday's campaign. "It’s hard to imagine this gets a whole lot of political traction." "I think it maybe will get some attention, but in the end, I hope the argument is that we need a legislative solution," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who has repeatedly sought to get Democrats to the table on a net-neutrality bill. Democrats and activists fear Republicans want to enshrine into law a weaker set of protections than what currently exists in the FCC's rules. The major ISPs are preparing their own messaging to counter activists who say they are amassing too much power. AT&T is even planning to join the "day of action," saying it supports the principles of an open internet even as it backs Pai's efforts to roll back the Democratic-era net-neutrality rules. The telecom giant says it simply disagrees with the FCC's earlier decision to adopt utility-like regulation of internet providers, but Fight for the Future called AT&T's participation in the protest "laughable" and an "outrageous and a blatant attempt to confuse the public."In a sign of the rising tensions ahead of Wednesday's protest, AT&T complained that people couldn't share a link to its "day of action" statement on Twitter, pointing to a warning that pops up saying the material has been flagged as "potentially harmful" or violating its terms of service. Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.The internet action is aimed in large part at the FCC, which is accepting public comment on Pai's proposal and is seen as "where we will have the greatest impact," said Althea Erickson, Etsy’s head of global public policy. But organizers said they also plan to pressure members of Congress on the issue — and they're getting a friendly assist from Democrats.“We know what Mr. Pai is going to try and do, but our job is still the same, which is to create a citizen’s juggernaut to make sure that people understand that this concept known as net neutrality means that after you pay your internet access fee, you get to go where you want, when you want, how you want ,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) appeared less certain of Wednesday's impact. But if the pro-net neutrality campaign can capture the same fervor as the anti-piracy five years ago, he said, “fasten your seat belt.” Ashley Gold, Li Zhou and Margaret Harding McGill contributed to this report.