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Disney’s long-awaited and controversial live-action film Mulan hit theaters in Hong Kong on Thursday after a disappointing debut in mainland China on Sept. 11.

The film generated $23.2 million in its opening weekend at the mainland China box office, sinking below analysts’ estimates that it would rake in $30 million to $40 million. Early indications suggest the movie’s reception in Hong Kong will be underwhelming too.

The film’s mainland China debut was considered a failure not just because it missed analysts’ expectations, but also because Disney had poured five years and $200 million into the film, in part, to ensure it appealed to a Chinese audience. Disney cast actors popular in China, hired Chinese consultants, shared the script with Chinese authorities, and cut scenes that Chinese … Read the rest

(Bloomberg) — Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. plan an minority investment in TikTok Global, giving companies that have little experience in social media a stake in a fast growing music and video-sharing app that became the focal point of a trade standoff between the U.S. and China.Oracle and Walmart together could end up with as much as 20% of the entity, purchased in a round of financing that would precede an initial public offering, the companies said Saturday. Sequoia Capital and General Altantic, current investors in TikTok parent ByteDance Ltd., could also pursue stakes in the fundraising round, a person with knowledge of the matter said. ByteDance will retain majority control.ByteDance commenced a search for investors in TikTok’s U.S. operations after Trump proclaimed that TikTok was a threat to U.S. national security, and ordered the app be sold to an American business or shut down by Sept. 20. The president … Read the rest

Ministers are considering a half-term lockdown as they scramble for a plan to stem rising infection rates.

Boris Johnson has been told that he has little more than a week to find a plan B if the “rule of six” does not bring the epidemic under control. He has accepted advice from the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, that rising case numbers must be reversed in the coming weeks but has not decided how to do this.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, this morning refused to rule out a second national lockdown, saying that it was “the last line of defence” but one that was proven to work.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies is understood to have modelled a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown to break chains of infection and prevent a return to rapid exponential growth.

It came as further restrictions are due to be announced across the North … Read the rest

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The reception area at the Aston Martin Red Bull Formula 1 Racing team’s headquarters in the English city of Milton Keynes, a commuter-belt town about 55 miles north of London, features a soaring two-story display case packed with silver, gold, and glittering glass cups, tombstones, and trophies—a visual, in-your-face reminder of the team’s prowess since the energy-drinks company took over the team in late 2004.

Last season, the team’s top driver, the brash 22-year-old Dutchman Max Verstappen, finished third overall, behind Mercedes’s two drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton—who, for most of the past decade, has dominated his sport the way Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods once dominated theirs.

The Red Bull team thought they were coming into this season with a shot at displacing Mercedes … Read the rest

There has been lots of talk this year of the COVID-19 benefits reaped by streaming services. As a result of the stay-at-home culture, OTT leader Roku (ROKU) has been a prime beneficiary, experiencing large account growth.But according to Rosenblatt analyst Mark Zgutowicz, Roku is particularly well placed to benefit from another trend: the move from linear to connected TV (CTV).Following discussions within OTT/CTV programmatic venues, the 5-star analyst notes there is clear indication “the demand picture for Roku will soon climb to new heights.” Zgutowicz believes the big 5 Ad agencies are “making a concerted effort to negotiate volume commitments for OTT/CTV inventory.”Importantly, Zgutowicz adds, the budgets for these advertising needs will come from “long-standing linear spend.”In other words, the agencies are realizing the untapped potential of CTV, as consumers move from the “decades old model” of linear TV to more flexible CTV services. This is great for CTV services … Read the rest

Some of Britain’s biggest travel and leisure companies retreated sharply this morning as the government confirmed that it was considering a second national lockdown.

The number of new coronavirus cases is doubling every seven to eight days, and Boris Johnson and his team are mulling the reintroduction of tougher restrictions. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said that the government would do “whatever is necessary to keep people safe”.

Travel and leisure companies bore the brunt of the first lockdown, with many starved of income for months. Investors, wary of a repeat, were quick to ditch airlines, pubs groups and restaurant owners this morning.

IAG, the British Airways owner, dropped 12¾p, or 9.9 per cent, to 116¾p; shares in Restaurant Group, Wagamama’s parent, fell 3½p, or 6.2 per cent, to 52½p; and JD Wetherspoon, the no-frills pub chain, was marked down 39p, or 4.5 per cent, to 822½p.

Banking stocks … Read the rest

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Happy Friday, everyone. Can stocks stage a comeback to avert another down week? It’s not looking promising.

Asia is higher, Europe is mixed and Nasdaq futures are off their lows. That’s good news, particularly for tech bulls, as the Nasdaq flirts with a new correction and some FAAMG stocks even threaten to fall into bear territory.

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update

Asia

  • The major indexes are solidly in the green with Shanghai leading the way, up 2%.
  • President Trump has yet to give the green-light (nor has Beijing, for that matter) to the OracleTikTok tie-up, but there’s already talk of an IPO as early as next year.
  • Coronavirus hit a grim toll in the past day, topping 30
Read the rest

Shares of Dave & Buster’s Entertainment tumbled over 26.1% on Thursday, after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company might have to file for bankruptcy if it fails to strike a deal with a lender.Meanwhile, shares of the dining and entertainment company rose 4.8% in the extended trading session as Truist Financial said that investors are overreacting to the news.According to the Wall Street Journal report, Dave & Buster's (PLAY) is planning to layoff about 1,300 employees across seven US states in a move to cut costs.Truist Financial analyst Jake Bartlett called the share plunge during the regular trading session a "severe overreaction". Bartlett said that the Wall Street Journal referred to the company's disclosure made in its 2Q 10-Q filing that if it is not in compliance with debt covenants, it may file a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.Bartlett continues to believe that the company's lenders will … Read the rest

Business owners have been the target of a new email phishing scam purporting to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The scam, which was uncovered by accountancy outsourcing specialists Lanop Outsourcing, uses official HMRC branding and graphics to convince victims that their VAT deferral application has been rejected. At least 100 company owners have reported receiving the realistic scam email through Lanop Outsourcing clients.

To aid struggling businesses during Covid-19, HMRC allowed payments of VAT between March 2020 and June 2020 to be deferred until 31st March 2021. Cyber criminals have used the scheme to trick business owners into revealing sensitive information, such as account names, passwords and payment details.

The phishing email begins: “Dear customers, Your request for a deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19) has been rejected… Summary of reject justification: ‘the claimant is in arrears.”

The email then attempts to convince the recipient of … Read the rest

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered a warning to Boris Johnson, ruling out any U.K.-U.S. trade deal if the prime minister’s plan to renege on parts of the Brexit agreement threatens peace in Northern Ireland.

“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden said on Twitter. “Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

Johnson has long touted a free-trade accord with the U.S. as one of the key prizes of Brexit. However, Biden’s intervention underscores how the prime minister is struggling to contain the political fallout from his plan to unilaterally rewrite the divorce treaty he signed with the European Union less than a year ago.

By overriding parts of the accord that deal with Northern Ireland, Johnson is … Read the rest