Trump’s media company faces acquisition issues

Welcome to the Digiday DealBook. Our goal is to create a quick and easy overview of deals, acquisitions, and hires that took place in the past week. The goal is to get you informed and updated on the latest industry happenings at the top of your inbox every Monday. —Carly Weihe

— Special-purpose acquisition company Digital World Acquisition Corp. is working on the acquisition of Donald Trump’s media company Trump Media & Technology Group, which was subpoenaed by a grand jury last Monday. The deal was launched in October, as Trump hoped to take Trump Media public in partnership with Digital World. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Digital World whether the company was in conversation with Trump Media, which operates the Truth Social platform, before it officially began selling its shares to the public. The investigation extends Trump’s efforts to get his media company off the ground following the Jan. 6 insurrection hearings.

— Meta announced that Meta Pay, formerly known as Facebook Pay, has been redesigned for use across all Meta platforms. The digital payment method will allow users to purchase items on all Meta-owned platforms and will enable easier proof of ownership, making it more accessible to purchase virtual items in the Metaverse. This announcement follows a similar announcement made by Apple a few weeks ago about its Apple Pay Later service, which allows users to pay for items in installments without interest or fees.

– Netflix has reportedly been in talks with NBCUniversal and Google about an ad-supported subscription model. The move follows Netflix’s announcement that first-quarter earnings fell short of expectations. The streaming service reportedly laid off 150 employees in May, followed by 300 in June, before the looming recession. Netflix’s co-CEOs didn’t share details on what the company’s advertising model would look like, but they did go public that they were considering the option of an ad-based subscription tier.

In other news…

  • F1 has renewed its deal with ESPN from 2025, with ESPN securing the offer on Amazon and Comcast. The deal is valued at between $75 million and $90 million a year, a big increase from the roughly $5 million deal ESPN currently has with the motor racing league.
  • Elon Musk has been granted access to Twitter’s “firehose” of Tweets – the stream of all tweets on the site in real time. This decision gives Musk the opportunity to assess the number of bots on the site.
  • Disney’s board of directors has unanimously decided to extend CEO Bob Chapek’s contract for three years. The announcement drew attention due to Chapek’s response to the anti-LGBTQ bill passed in Florida, where Disney employees staged a walkout in March.
  • Google and Wikipedia have reached an agreement in which Google will pay Wikipedia to inform its search engine Google. The partnership is specifically with Wikimedia Enterprise, a commercial digital service launched by the Wikimedia Foundation a year ago.
  • CAA eventually acquired ICM in a deal that continues to shrink the number of major agency players in Hollywood. As part of the $750 million deal, the two companies will combine their employees into a workforce of 3,200.
  • media consulting agency Audience Precision has announced the new Precise 360 ​​technology platform. The platform is a comprehensive media strategy platform that also includes consumer behavioral analytics and will give users insight into engagement across all platforms .
  • WPP has acquired marketing technology company Bower House Digital. Bower House specializes in Salesforce Marketing Cloud and enables WPP to drive growth and expand digital experience capabilities.

Additionally, below is a list of industry leading hires

  • Pinterest has hired Bill Ready as CEO, following Ben Silbermann’s announcement of his resignation
    • Ready was previously president of commerce, payments and the next billion users at Google.
  • Reuters has hired Paul Bascobert as president of Reuters News
    • He was previously CEO of Blue Ocean Acquisition Group
  • Aristocrat Gaming has hired Oriana Branon as Vice President of Communications and Corporate Affairs
    • She was previously Director of Corporate Communications at Bill.com
  • Power Digital has hired Stephanie Feldman as CMO
    • She was previously Head of Digital Services Marketing at PwC
  • Don’t Tell Comedy has hired Brett Kushner as COO
    • He was previously Vice President of New Initiatives and Executive Producer at Vox Media/Group Nine.

Digiday DealBook: Trump’s media company hits acquisition snags, Meta launches Meta Pay, Netflix makes inroads on ad-based subscriptions and more

Cathy W. Howerton