Time Warner, CBS Settle Dispute, End Blackout

Sep 3, 2013 8:19am

Morning Money Memo….

Cable TV subscribers may have to put up with more blackouts in the future during disputes over fees paid to broadcast programming. CBS and the second-largest US provider Time Warner Cable ended a month-long dispute yesterday, and resumed service in millions of homes that had been blacked out. The companies were in dispute over how much Time Warner would pay for network programs owned by CBS. Terms weren’t disclosed. Both sides faced pressure to make a deal with the fall season ramping up, including NFL and college football broadcasts. Time Warner is battling a decline in subscriptions as more cable customers are reluctant to put up with rising bills and more content is streamed over the Internet. CBS and other broadcasters have been raising their demands for fees as they face more competitive pressure.

While most of America was on vacation, corporate deal makers were busy over the Labor Day holiday. Microsoft has struck a deal to buy Nokia’s cellphone and services business, paying $7.2 billion. The deal is a bold attempt by Microsoft to join the front ranks of the global smartphone industry, now dominated by Samsung and Apple. “I think it gives Microsoft a very good opportunity to push its Windows phone more into the public eye,” says Matt Smith, associate editor of the tech website Engadget. Nokia was already Microsoft’s closest partner in smartphones, but its share of the market has sharply declined in recent years. The share price of Finnish phone maker Nokia shot up 40 percent this morning on word that Microsoft would take over much of its business.

America’s largest cellphone provider is now 100 percent American owned. In one of the largest corporate deals ever, Verizon is spending $130 billion to acquire the 45 percent in the wireless company now owned by the British telecom company Vodafone.

Jeff Bezos visits the Washington Post today for the first time since he paid $250 million for one of America’s greatest newspapers. In an interview with the Post, Amazon’s founder and CEO spoke about his business philosophy. “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient,” he said. “If you replace ‘customer’ with ‘reader,’ that approach, that point of view, can be successful at The Post, too.”

Wall Street trading re-opens this morning after the three-day Labor Day weekend. Investors are hoping September will be a better month than August. It was the market’s worst month in more than a year, with the S&P 500 index closing at a loss of 3.1 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average falling 4.4 percent. Futures are higher this morning. Asian stocks closed up overnight after the likelihood of an imminent U.S.-led attack against Syria faded and manufacturing rebounded in China and parts of Europe. Oil prices have retreated from last week’s highs. West Texas crude topped $107 on futures markets.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc

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