(Bloomberg) — Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok-parent company ByteDance Ltd., is showing Donald Trump he knows something about dealmaking too.
In his proposal to partner with Oracle Corp. to address U.S. security concerns about the hit video app, the Chinese entrepreneur is offering Trump something the president has already declared unacceptable. The question now is whether Trump rejects the proposal, acquiesces or, perhaps most likely for the man behind the ‘Art of the Deal,’ opens negotiations for a compromise.
The president has said that TikTok must be sold to an American owner — or shut down. What Zhang has proposed instead is a partnership with Oracle that would allow ByteDance to retain majority ownership of the business, while the U.S. software giant becomes its “trusted technology provider” to protect user data. Trump said Tuesday a decision would come “soon,” and a security panel met to review the proposal.
Final details are in flux, but ByteDance’s venture investors may also take equity stakes in the TikTok business. It’s also possible the Chinese parent will try to keep full ownership of the unit, according to one person familiar with the discussions.
China hawks quickly declared the offer dead on arrival. Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, wrote a letter to the U.S. Treasury Secretary saying that the administration should “promptly reject” the partnership and press the Chinese parent to work out a “more acceptable solution.”
Zhang’s opening gambit may simply be aimed at buying himself more time as he tries to survive the clash of the world’s two superpowers. He is starting from a tough stance to open negotiations and avoid an immediate TikTok shutdown. It’s a lesson that could have been taken directly from Trump’s memoir on his days in real estate.
“The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it,” the president wrote in his best-selling autobiography with Tony Schwartz. “That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”
Zhang is offering a few things likely to resonate with Trump. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday ByteDance’s proposal would create 20,000 jobs and bring to the U.S. the headquarters for “TikTok Global,” presumably the video app’s entire international operation. Trump has made bringing jobs to the country a cornerstone of his campaign as he heads toward November’s presidential election.
Zhang has also aligned himself with Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, a fervent supporter of the president who appears to have his trust. That alliance may persuade Trump to accept a deal from Oracle he wouldn’t from another company.
Trump called Ellison “a tremendous guy” in August and praised him again on Tuesday.
“I have a high respect for Larry Ellison,” the president said. “He’s somebody I know, he’s been really a terrific guy for a long time.”
Oracle’s proposal lacks a payment to the U.S. government that the president has insisted be the condition of any deal, according to two people familiar with the plan.
Trump has made TikTok the central example of his campaign to get tough on China. He signed an executive order that bans the app in the U.S. on Sept. 20, and, in addition, ruled that ByteDance must sell the video app’s U.S. assets by mid-November under an order from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS.
QuickTake: All About Cfius, Trump’s Watchdog on China Dealmaking
Heading into the last weekend of August, Zhang had been leaning toward a proposal from Microsoft Corp., where he had briefly worked. The agreement called for a full buyout of TikTok U.S. by the software giant and partner Walmart Inc.
But the Chinese government intervened at the last minute with a new set of restrictions on the export of artificial intelligence technologies, including those used in the app. Beijing insisted its regulators must also approve any asset sales by ByteDance.
China’s move was seen as an effort to give Zhang more leverage. He couldn’t give away too much to the Trump administration or Beijing wouldn’t sign off.
Instead, Zhang turned to Ellison and Oracle. Best known for its corporate software, the Redwood City, Calif.-based company has a growing cloud computing business that could be used to host videos and strong technical capabilities for securing user data. Ellison is also known for his fierce combativeness. When Hewlett Packard fired its CEO for an alleged inappropriate relationship, Ellison called it — publicly — “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs.”
What Zhang and Ellison crafted is nothing like the deal that the Trump administration had anticipated. Instead of buying the business outright, Oracle would make an investment in a newly restructured TikTok, people familiar with the proposal said. At least two shareholders in TikTok’s Chinese parent company, General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, would take stakes in the new business, said one of the people, all of whom asked not to be identified because the terms aren’t finalized.
“Based on the information that we have at the moment about the Oracle deal, I can’t say that I’m hugely reassured,” Fergus Ryan, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told Bloomberg Television. “ByteDance is essentially under the thumb of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Yet Mnuchin made it sound like the proposal is worthy of serious consideration.
“We need to make sure that the code is, one, secure, Americans’ data is secure, phones are secure, and we’ll be looking to have discussions with Oracle over the next few days with our technical team,” Mnuchin told CNBC during an interview early Monday.
Even if TikTok’s data is stored by Oracle in the U.S., ByteDance could keep some control over the app’s algorithms, the computer code behind what the service uses to pick and choose which videos are shown to which users. If TikTok’s algorithms remain in the hands of ByteDance, they run the risk of being manipulated by Beijing.
“The CCP has enormous leverage over this company and that means it would be trivially easy for the CCP to force ByteDance to very subtly nudge up or promote content that would be preferential to one presidential candidate, for instance,” said Ryan.
Ultimately, Zhang circled back to proposing a transaction similar to what he originally offered to address American scrutiny. ByteDance had been willing to set up a global headquarters for TikTok with a separate board, although he always wanted to keep his ownership.
Perhaps in the end, the Chinese entrepreneur decided he could live with the dire consequences of a ban. Trump may be able to shutter TikTok in the U.S., but Zhang would maintain full ownership elsewhere — and perhaps return to the country in the future if the political environment changes.
It’s a mindset Trump may be able to comprehend.
“It’s been said that I believe in the power of positive thinking. In fact, I believe in the power of negative thinking,” the president wrote in his book. “If you plan for the worst — if you can live with the worst — the good will always take care of itself.”
(Updates with Trump comments on timing of decision)
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‘Miracle on the Hudson’ pilot Sully Sullenberger said he’ll only fly with airlines that block the middle seat during the pandemic
Airlines have been divided over whether blocking middle seats on airplanes during the coronavirus pandemic is worthwhile, and whether it really makes flying safer.
Now, one of the most authoritative figures in aviation safety has weighed in — and he doesn’t want anyone sitting next to him.
Captain Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III, the pilot famous for landing a damaged plane on the Hudson River with no fatalities in 2009, said that he only plans to fly aboard airlines that block off middle seats during the pandemic.
Sullenberger revealed his preference in an interview with Eric Schmidt on the former Google CEO’s podcast, “Reimagine with Eric Schmidt.”
Sullenberger cited a study from MIT that found that leaving the middle seat empty roughly halves the risk of catching the novel coronavirus during a flight.
“And I’ll tell you, I’m going to fly on an airplane where the middle seats are kept empty, knowing that my chances of catching COVID are half that if middle seat were filled,” Sullenberger said.
Sullenberger compared the approach to coronavirus risk mitigation to the rules and practices that govern commercial flight safety.
“Air travel has become ultra safe, something I wouldn’t have thought possible 35 or 40 years ago,” he said. “Airline accidents now are very rare. But we must keep on making investments to keep it either that safe or getting safer investments in people, in systems, in technology. “
Sullenberger also faulted the federal government for not developing standardized practices to be employed nationwide during the pandemic.
“One of the biggest failure so far in terms of our air transportation system is that in this country we have never had a federal face covering mandate in spite of the fact that many have been calling for that,” Sullenberger said. “And that would have been one of the most effective things that we could do.”
“Instead, individual airlines are having to come up with their own policies and procedures,” he added. “And to try to encourage the flight attendants to be the cop on the beat and to enforce these requirements that are really very basic.”
The retired pilot also criticized the politicization of standard COVID-19 risk mitigation efforts.
“It really disturbs me greatly the extent to which for this whole episode, unlike any other crisis we’ve had in our nation’s history, these basic safety requirements have become so extremely politicized and an extension of an ongoing cultural war,” Sullenberger said. “And that has done and continues to do great harm.”
“We have acquired the data to know what works and what doesn’t, where the relative risks are and began to take effective steps to mitigate each part of the process,” he added. “You see, there’s not one silver bullet that will solve the whole problem. Instead, we must rely upon a whole panoply of individual actions that, in aggregate, can make us all safer.”
Schmidt also spoke with former Airbus CEO Tom Enders during the podcast episode. Enders similarly called for standardized regulations to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 on planes, as well as to reassure passengers.
“For the international air traffic to function seamlessly, as it did almost before COVID-19, it’s wildly important we have the same rules all over the place,” Enders said.
Enders also noted the irony of the fact that commercial aviation is, statistically, among the safest ways to travel, but has been so badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“A simple statistic is that it’s more dangerous to drive to the airport than it is to fly from the airport,” Enders said. “So it seems totally unfair to the airline industry and the aircraft industry to have to deal with us. But nevertheless, here we are.”
The podcast episode was released on Tuesday. You can find the full 40-minute episode here.
Read the original article on Business Insider
Fire TV Edition models are on sale at Amazon
Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.
Why wait until Amazon Prime Day? You can save right now with these Prime exclusive TV deals.
Amazon just announced the dates for its annual mega-shopping event—October 13 and 14, mark your calendars!—but the retail giant also dropped new early Prime Day deals to tide you over.
There are massive discounts on select Fire TV Edition TVs in sizes big and small. Here’s your chance to save up to 36 percent with prices starting at just $180.
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Amazon has the Toshiba 43-inch Smart HD TV—Fire TV Edition on sale for $180, down from $280, for Prime members only. That’s a $100 savings and the all-time lowest price we’ve ever seen on this model. With a Full HD resolution of 1080p, this TV is the perfect size for a small space. And it lets you stream movies and shows from Netflix, SlingTV, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Acorn TV, BritBox and much more. This model is so popular that it has earned an impressive five-star rating from more than 900 reviewers.
“This is the perfect TV and perfect to use with Fire Stick. It all works together. Easy to set up. Clear picture with excellent quality,” shared a satisfied shopper. “The remote works with the Fire Stick so you don’t need two remotes. I am so happy and in love with this TV.”
Step up to 4K with Amazon’s No. 1 best-seller in LED and LCD TVs: The Insignia 50-inch Smart 4K UHD—Fire TV Edition is on sale for $250, or $100 off. That’s the lowest price we’ve ever seen for this 4K model, which is a considerable upgrade from the 43-inch HD TV model listed above. The TV has a brilliant 4K resolution at 2160p; it comes with Fire TV built-in and is ready to stream popular video apps including Netflix, Crackle, Prime Video, Disney+, CNN, HBO Now and Starz. Over 850 shoppers love this TV so much that they gave it a flawless five-star rating.
“This TV is great for the size and quality of picture. I love that it has all the streaming sites already programmed. I’m not one to know a lot about all of this online stuff but it was very easy to start watching immediately without an antenna. I love it,” raved a five-star reviewer.
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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‘Fast Money’ Traders Share Their Thoughts On AT&T, Coca-Cola
Oppenheimer: These 2 Stocks Are Poised to Surge by Over 100%
When it comes to the market’s wild swings, is the glass half empty or half full? Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus is taking the latter view.Despite the volatility that has ruled the market over the last few weeks, Stoltzfus actually likes what he’s witnessing in both the market and the economy. In particular, he points to U.S. companies that have been outperforming most other markets around the world as exciting plays, with the innovation in the U.S. reflecting a key component of his bullish thesis.“The U.S. is outperforming most of the markets around the world — whether it’s developed markets or emerging markets… We’ve taken out the froth that had come into the market in certain [mega cap] names. It may be a good opportunity to pick up some really good, high quality growth stories that are on sale right now,” Stoltzfus noted.Additionally, the strategist believes the S&P 500 could climb back to its September 2 high point, based on improving economic data. The approval of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as an election outcome that is “friendly to the domestic economy, business, job growth and the taxpayer” could also push the index higher.Turning Stoltzfus’ outlook into tangible recommendations, Oppenheimer analysts are pounding the table on two stocks, with these pros seeing over 100% upside potential in store. Running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out exactly what makes them so compelling.Brickell Biotech (BBI)Focused on the development of innovative and differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of skin diseases, Brickell Biotech wants to improve the lives of patients everywhere. Given the potential of the company’s lead candidate and its $0.82 share price, Oppenheimer thinks that now is the time to pull the trigger.Sofpironium bromide (SB), a prescription treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis (AH, or excessive underarm sweating), is entering U.S. Phase 3 trials. This program will consist of two identical six-week studies, and will evaluate its ability to improve the condition per the objective (gravimetric sweat production) and subjective (HDSM-Ax) co-primary endpoints. Each is expected to last 12 months, and the first will kick off next quarter.Roughly 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from AH, with this condition interfering with daily social and professional activities. Currently, only 2.3 million receive prescription treatment, and some resort to invasive or permanent interventions like Botox, MiraDry or surgery.Oppenheimer’s Leland Gershell argues that more conservative approaches could be used to meet these medical needs. He also believes the recent entry of Eli Lilly’s competing product, Qbrexza, represents a significant step forward. That said, there’s “room for improvement” with this anti-cholinergic approach.Looking at a U.S. Phase 2b trial, the highest dose of BBI’s SB gel (15%) demonstrated 46% greater sweat reduction per gravimetric analysis compared to the placebo, with significant reductions in a validated patient-reported outcome instrument seen at all doses. Based on the trial data, efficacy is over 50% better than Qbrexza per label, despite higher baseline severity. In addition, their safety profiles were relatively similar.It should be noted that BBI will market the drug to U.S. dermatologists through a specialty salesforce of 120 representatives. According to Gershell’s estimates, uptake by 110,000 patients per year (just 5% of the currently treated AH population) translates to $200 million in gross sales. The analyst adds that patent issuance could extend market exclusivity to 2040.Adding to the good news, on September 25, BBI announced that Kaken Pharmaceutical, its development partner, got the green light to manufacture SB in Japan for the treatment of AH. Japan is the first country to approve the candidate, with the launch expected later this year.To sum it all up, Gershell stated, “By virtue of its efficacy, tolerability, and antiperspirant-like application, we believe SB offers an attractive profile in a market that offers much room for improved solutions. We encourage risk-tolerant investors to build a position ahead of upcoming newsflow.”To this end, Gershell rates BBI an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $5 price target. This target conveys the analyst’s confidence in BBI’s ability to surge 502% from current levels. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been published in the last three months. As a result, BBI gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The $5 average price target is identical to Gershell’s. (See BBI stock analysis on TipRanks)Aldeyra Therapeutics (ALDX)As for Oppenheimer’s other pick, Aldeyra Therapeutics works to bring new treatment options for immune-related diseases to market. Based on the solid progress of its pipeline, the firm has high hopes for this healthcare name.Representing Oppenheimer, analyst Justin Kim points out that he came away from a recent conversation with the CEO even more confident in ALDX’s long-term growth prospects. Pivotal studies on reactive aldehyde species (RASP) are slated for Q4 2020, evaluating the action of reproxalap, Aldeyra’s lead therapy designed to clamp down on overactive inflammation, on tear levels of RASP over a period ranging from 1-2 days to 28 days. “Based on Phase 2a results, we are confident in the ability to replicate results in Q4 2020,” Kim stated.Given the potential of dry eye disease (DED) in the near-term, the analyst expects significant investor focus to land on clinical trial execution (Phase 3 RASP studies and safety study), which would support a potential NDA filing by the end of 2021, in Kim’s opinion. “Despite some volatility in the shares, we see a solid setup emerging as the company initiates its Phase 3 RASP studies in dry eye disease (DED),” he said.Speaking to the potential of RASP as an accepted dry eye endpoint, ALDX has experienced “a watershed moment,” with it facilitating an expedited path to registration (from traditional sign endpoints) and greater likelihood of clinical trial success, based on reproxalap’s mechanism of action (MoA) as a RASP-trap, according to Kim.He added, “Moreover, agreement on RASP could have broader implications for a commercial launch in dry eye, a market that we believe will see segmentation as more therapies with targeted MoAs become incorporated into the armamentarium.”“We continue to be impressed by the progress in achieving a potential concurrent filing for dry eye and allergic conjunctivitis (AC), appreciating the importance of a differentiated dry eye agent with action also in AC. As the dry eye therapeutic landscape increases its options, we expect greater segmentation of the heterogeneous patient population potentially beginning with reproxalap’s positioning in ‘allergic dry eye’,” the analyst concluded. For the rest of 2020, focus is likely to stay on Phase 3 study designs (assay work/development), execution and the potential readout in DED, which could set the stage for a commercial launch in DED and AC in 2022.If that wasn’t enough, based on the broader pipeline of candidates targeting PVR, inflammatory conditions and COVID-19, Kim sees “a rich environment of catalysts for the shares over the coming 12-18 months.”It should come as no surprise, then, that Kim stayed with the bulls. To this end, he kept an Outperform rating and $15 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 110%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Kim’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? Only Buy ratings, 2 to be exact, have been issued in the last three months. So, the consensus rating is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $23.50 average price target suggests 227% upside potential from current levels. (See ALDX stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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