5.16.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, May 16, and we're covering a baseball bat attack on a Virginia congressman's staffers, a bankruptcy filing for a digital media company, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Attack on Congressional Staffers 

Two staff members who work for Rep. Gerry Connolly (D, VA-11) were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries yesterday after a person wielding what appeared to be a metal baseball bat walked into the congressman's northern Virginia office and struck the staffers. 

 

The suspect, identified as 49-year-old Xuan Kha Tran Pham and a constituent of Connolly, is in police custody. He faces charges of aggravated malicious wounding and malicious wounding. He had entered the Fairfax, Virginia, district office yesterday morning, asking for Connolly, who was not there. A senior aide and an intern were hit in the head and side, respectively, according to authorities. A motive for the attack is unknown. 

 

The attack follows a series of threats against lawmakers, their families, and associates. Last year, the US Capitol Police recorded more than 9,000 threats, up 400% in the past six years, and investigated 7,501 cases, including the intruder attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-11). See a report here.

 

EU Clears Microsoft Gaming Bid

European regulators approved Microsoft's $69B takeover of gaming giant Activision Blizzard yesterday, removing a hurdle for the American company's yearslong bid to buy the producer of hits such as "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft." The decision comes three weeks after British regulators blocked the deal, saying it would stifle competition in the cloud gaming market.

 

The commission acknowledged the deal would benefit Microsoft's market share, expressing concern over its possible dominance of cloud gaming, a developing technology where gamers play on remote servers instead of physical consoles (see 101). However, Microsoft made a series of commitments to bolster competition, which satisfied EU officials, including making licenses for its games available to competitors for at least 10 years. 

 

The EU's decision complicates the bid's outlook ahead of the US Federal Trade Commission's hearing on the deal in August. If successful, the acquisition would be Microsoft's largest-ever and one of the 30 biggest deals in history (see list). 

 

Vice Files for Bankruptcy 

Vice Media Group officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, according to court documents. A group of its creditors, including Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management, and Monroe Capital, submitted a conditional $225M credit bid to secure most of the company's assets and would assume significant liabilities.

 

Once valued at $5.7B, the digital media publisher estimates its assets and liabilities to be valued between $500M and $1B. The lenders have also agreed to lend an additional $20M to keep the publisher operational while it works to find a buyer, which could be completed within two to three months.

 

The bankruptcy comes after declining profits and missing 2022 revenue projections by $100M, leading to layoffs and the cancellation of "Vice News Tonight." Vice is known for its stunt journalism, including famously accompanying Dennis Rodman to North Korea for a basketball game in 2013.

 

Separately, Luminar Technologies CEO Austin Russell will purchase a majority stake in media company Forbes from Integrated Whale, an investment firm based in Hong Kong, valuing the company at approximately $800M.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> NBA Western Conference Finals begin tonight (8:30 pm ET, ESPN) with the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Denver Nuggets (More) | Dallas Stars edge Seattle Kraken 2-1 in Game 7 to reach NHL Western Conference Final (More)

> Oakland Athletics reach deal with Bally's to build a $1.5B stadium along the Las Vegas Strip; A's could make move to Las Vegas in 2025 (More)

> Two forgotten Rembrandt portraits that were kept in a private collection for 200 years to be put up for auction in July and expected to sell for $6M-$10M (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Researchers identify second known person to have a genetic mutation preventing the onset of an inherited form of Alzheimer's disease; early results suggest mutation may reduce levels of a deformed protein known as tau tangles (More)

> Wavy-shaped wounds heal up to five times faster than straight wounds due to the swirling motion of healing cells arriving at the damage site; findings may allow for quicker healing surgical incisions (More)

> Scientists create lab-grown monkey embryos viable to 25 days after fertilization; study provides insight into the 3D development of organs during early fetal development (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with LiquidPiston

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.3%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq +0.7%) as debt ceiling negotiations are scheduled to resume (More)

> Fanatics to acquire US assets of sports betting platform PointsBet for $150M, will expand the sports e-commerce giant’s gambling operations to 12 additional states (More)

> Total US consumer debt passes new record high $17T in Q1 (More)

From our partners: Introducing the XTS-210 engine. LiquidPiston has unveiled a 25-horsepower, 210cc supercharged, liquid-cooled rotary engine that's up to 80% smaller and lighter than comparable engines, while maintaining similar power output. The US Army awarded LiquidPiston a $9M development contract for the XTS-210. LiquidPiston is profitable and growing rapidly. Don’t miss your last chance to invest at their current valuation.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham releases final report on Trump-era probe examining the origins of the FBI's 2016 investigation into Russian election interference, criticizes FBI for rushing its investigation (More) | Read the report (More)

> Supreme Court agrees to hear case examining whether South Carolina's congressional map is discriminatory after a lower court found the state's 1st Congressional District was a racial gerrymander (More) | What is gerrymandering? (More

> Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy makes unannounced visit to the UK to meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak; the UK and France pledge military aid to Ukraine (More) | China sentences 78-year-old US citizen to life in prison on espionage charges (More)

 

In-Depth

> A Mother's Grief

Texas Monthly | Skip Hollandsworth. One year later, a mother shares her emotional story of the moment she learned of an active shooter targeting her daughter's fourth-grade class in Uvalde, Texas, and how she has transformed her pain to advocate for change. (Read)

 

> A Story of Two Chrises

WashPo | Kent Babb. A look at former Harvard football players—Chris Eitzmann and Chris Nowinski—one who died from alcohol poisoning and later was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and the other a leading proponent for increased research and measures to safeguard athletes from CTE. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

The best (and worst) states to start a career.

 

... and visualizing the American workforce as 100 people.

 

Club soda, seltzer, and sparkling water: What's the difference?

 

Human DNA can be pulled from water, sand, and even air.

 

The most anticipated albums of summer 2023.

 

Martha Stewart lands Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover at 81

 

Bobi, the world's oldest dog, turns 31.

 

Watch a tiger shark ram a fisherman on a kayak in Hawaii

 

Clickbait: Dr. Deep Sea sets record for living underwater

 

Historybook: First Academy Awards hosted (1929); Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends (1943); Janet Jackson born (1966); Comedian Andy Kaufman dies (1984); "Muppets" creator Jim Henson dies (1990).

"Laughter helps you put everything into perspective."

- Jim Henson

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