Disney Buys 21st Century Fox.
In a historic Hollywood merger, Disney announced Thursday it reached a $52.4B deal to buy most of the assets of industry rival 21st Century Fox. The deal values 21st Century's assets at $66.1B, and Disney will take on $13.7B in debt. The move does not include Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News, Fox Sports, and a few other assets - those will be spun off into a new company with revenues of about $10B annually. The deal is viewed as a big bet by Disney on the future of its streaming business, and will gain 21st Century Fox's stake in Hulu, giving it majority ownership. While it won't gain Fox Sports, Disney will add Fox's 22 regional sports networks to ESPN, bolstering its roll out of streaming sports coverage via ESPN Plus, set to launch in Spring 2018

Congress to Release Joint Tax Plan Today.
Congressional leaders are expected to unveil a near-final version of tax reform today (some details have emerged already), the product of a joint conference to hammer out differences between House and Senate versions. The updated version must now be voted on again by both chambers before heading to President Trump for signature. The Senate hit a snag yesterday with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) saying he would vote no unless $1,100 of the Child Tax Credit was made refundable - meaning taxpayers receive it even if no taxes are paid. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who supports Rubio on the CTC push, said he was undecided. Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes (where key Senators stand). Votes are expected early next week in an attempt to sign the bill before Christmas. 

States File Suit to Block Net Neutrality Decision.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he would file a multi-state suit challenging the FCC's recent reversal of net neutrality rules. As we discussed yesterday, the commission voted 3-2 to remove a prohibition on internet service providers to offer different pricing and speeds for different sites - for example, Verizon could choose to charge customers more to access sites like YouTube. Washington and Pennsylvania joined New York, and it is expected more will follow suit, as 18 states signed a letter asking the FCC to delay the vote earlier in the week. In parallel, the Internet Association, a trade group that represents Facebook and Alphabet (Google's parent company), opposed the rules change and is considering legal action. 
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> Oprah Winfrey to receive DeMille Award at Golden Globes for her impact on entertainment (More)
> Russell Simmons under investigation for rape allegations by NYPD (More)
> A.G. Sulzberger takes over for father as first new publisher at New York Times since 1992 (More)

Science & Technology.

> Out-of-sync brain waves during sleep may explain why we get forgetful as we age (More)
> Researchers show deadly heart rhythm condition can be halted by radiation therapy (More)
> NASA and Google AI spot 8th planet in solar system similar to ours (More)

Business & Markets.

> Student loan crisis reaches new high as 4.6M student loans are in default in Q3, 13% of all outstanding loans (More)
> Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals to cut dividend and 25% of workforce - 14k jobs (More)
> Shervin Pishevar - early Uber investor - resigns from VC firm due to sexual harassment allegations (More)

Politics & World Affairs.

> US accuses Iran of supplying weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, violating UN sanctions (More)
> Suspect who drove vehicle into crowd of protesters in Charlottesville faces first degree murder charge (More)
> Rep. Blake Farenthold (R, TX-27) to retire from Congress amid harassment allegations (More)

The Problem with Muzak. 

The Baffler | Liz Pelly. In an industry where artists need to sell their work in a digital economy with increasingly centralized interests, Spotify is definitely not the answer (argues the author). (Read)

The Plot to Bomb Garden City, Kansas. 

New York Magazine | Jessica Pressler. A small town with an egalitarian history welcomed hundreds of Somali refugees with a plan for assimilation, until a private militia decided to go “ISIS hunting.” (Read)

How a Dorm Room Scam Brought Down The Internet. 

Wired | Garret Graff. The masterminds behind one of the most powerful pieces of malware ever invented, that swept across the globe last year? Three college students trying make money of the internet video game Minecraft. (Read)

It's Time for a ‘Rooney Rule’ for Teachers. 

Brookings | CC DuBois and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. Making a case for instituting a rule for teacher hiring based on the NFL. Instead of requiring quotas in hiring, require quotas for including minorities in the candidate pool. (Read)

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Addiction. 

Vogue | Adam Green. Mimi O'Donnell, the long-time girlfriend (and co-parent of three) of the deceased actor, reflects on the loss of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and his ultimate inability to escape his demons. (Read
Five times the Internet was actually fun in 2017.

MIT researchers want you to stop tailgating when you drive.

What James Earl Jones thought when he found out he was Luke Skywalker's father.

Some of the best images of this week's Geminid meteor shower

Researchers had an AI bot write a new Harry Potter chapter and it was terrifying

Drugs use down among US teens, except pot and vaping

RIP AIM, AOL Instant Messenger's last day is today

Robots: This cuddly robot will lull you to sleep

Step inside the US' new $1 billion embassy in London.

Historybook: Nero born (37); Bill of Rights ratified, becomes law (1791); HBD Gustave Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower) (1832); Sitting Bull killed (1890); RIP Walt Disney (1966);
-Walt Disney
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