PACIFIC • Dog Days of M&A Summer

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What's Next: The Dog Days of M&A Summer. Maybe Peter Kafka was right: Maybe there won't be a media merger frenzy. Sun Valley has come to an end and so far there's no evidence it fostered major deals beyond those already in motion: AT&T-Time Warner (bound for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals) and the Disney-Comcast fight for Fox, coupled with the Fox-Comcast fight for Sky.

Why?: Big tech has shown little appetite for media acquisitions. As we wrote one month ago, Apple, Amazon and other tech giants may decide to forgo buying media companies altogether and instead simply poach the best showrunners and talent. Disney and Comcast are tied up with Fox and Sky. That leaves small fish like CBS, Viacom and Discovery waiting.

Bob Iger, Brian Roberts and the Murdochs still have to keep their eye on the ball -- Sky is still in play, and Fox shareholders will vote on Disney's acquisition later this month -- but the rest of the C-Suite is bound for their yachts and vacation homes. You may not see them until the end of August.



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The Sky Wars: What Comcast is thinking

Little has changed on the Disney-Comcast front since last week:

• Brian Roberts still has his sights on Sky (latest offer: $34 billion) and is open to dropping his bid for the 21st Century Fox assets entirely, per a source familiar.

• That could change if Rupert Murdoch continues to pursue Sky as well. The latest we've heard is that the Murdochs do plan to increase their bid for Sky, which may force Roberts to launch another bid for Fox.

• Fox shareholders will vote on Disney's $71.3 billion takeover offer on July 27 in New York.


2020 Watch: Why execs don't run

Remember when Oprah, Bob Iger and Mark Zuckeberg were going to run for President? That was the buzz until Oprah told InStyle it wasn't going to happen and Iger essentially told Vogue the same. A Zuck run has always been implausible.

There is one notable executive who may make a bid: Starbucks' Howard Schultz. But his trial balloon highlights the perils that likely keep tech and media moguls out of the race.

Politico's Ben Schreckinger reports:

• "Wall Street analysts are wary, and company leadership is nervous, about the effect a Democratic bid by its chairman emeritus could have on Starbucks' business, given its bipartisan customer base."

• "As Schultz takes the summer off to contemplate a presidential campaign, the world is giving him a lot of downside to ponder, according to conversations with a dozen former Starbucks executives, equities analysts and others with insight into the coffee mogul, his former business and his recent moves."

The Big Picture: "Chief among the risks of a Schultz run is that it could harm the business he spent decades building into a global powerhouse."


Launching Tonight

Facebook Watch's first slate of news shows from CNN, Fox News, ABC News and others launches on the platform tonight. Variety's Brian Steinberg notes that Anderson Cooper, whose show premieres at 3:25 p.m. PT, "will not sit behind a desk for his newest show."


The Laugh Factory: Why Netflix likes comics

Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada tells Fortune why Netflix signs comedians with big social media followings, instead of smaller comics who are trying to break through:

• "According to Masada, who said he's met with Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, the directive to pursue comedians who are active on social media comes from the top."

• "'He told me he wants to get comedians with good followings,' Masada said. 'He would put them on Netflix and their followers would come.'"

• "Netflix just didn't decide 'oh I'm going to give a break to comics because we like comics,' said Masada who claims Netflix frequently sends talent scouts to his club ... 'It's their social media part of it. It brings in millions and millions of dollars to Netflix."

Bonus: Netflix has released the first photo from the upcoming season (Emmy nominated) of "The Crown," with Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II.


Talk of Tinseltown: Sacha Baron Cohen's flop

Sacha Baron Cohen's new Showtime comedy "Who Is America?", which features the impersonator duping the likes of Bernie Sanders, Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney, debuted last night to muted fanfare.

THR's Daniel Fienberg explains why Cohen's time may have passed:

• "It's hard to be outrageous in a world where ideologies that used to be concealed are now proudly public."

• "Back in 2000, when Da Ali G Show premiered, people still had a modicum of shame. ... [But] it's 2018 and shame is dead. The proudly deplorable parade through the street in their hateful finery and tweet their slurs and ignorance with pride ..."

• "The disappointing reality of 'Who Is America?' is that Cohen hasn't really gotten anybody to espouse any ideology that they wouldn't and haven't advocated proudly without the subterfuge."

The Big Picture: "We live in a world in which barriers between public brand and private ideology have essentially been erased."


What Next: Road Trips. Eater's Essential Guide to Eating California, plus 12 more restaurants that nearly made the list.

See you tomorrow.

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