DealBook Briefing: Facebook Starts Suffering for Its Scandals

DealBook Briefing: Facebook Starts Suffering for Its Scandals

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Facebook isn’t bulletproof after all

The latest earnings report suggests its scandals are finally starting to hurt. Growth in users and advertising has slowed, and the company doesn’t expect its figures to improve quickly, especially as it spends more on privacy and security.

Facebook’s stock tumbled more than 23 percent in after-hours trading. That wiped $120 billion off the company’s market value — and $17 billion off Mark Zuckerberg’s.

The earnings conference call was dramatic, too, Barron’s reports. Particularly when one of the analysts on the line — Ross Sandler of Barclays — translated a forecast of revenue growth declining “by high-single-digit percentages from prior quarters sequentially” into a drop to “around 20 percent by the fourth quarter of this year.”

“I just wanted to clarify, is that what you actually said?” asked Mr. Sandler.

Daniel Ives of GBH Insights counsels calm:

So far the fundamental damage to the Facebook platform has been “very contained” in our opinion and is generally better than feared from the white knuckle period a few months ago.

Shira Ovide at Bloomberg Opinion doesn’t agree:

The company’s financial results, and especially its glimpse into a more pessimistic financial future, were utter disaster for investors. If what the company predicts comes to pass, the internet’s best combination of fast revenue growth and plump profit margins is dead.

Nor does Dan Gallagher at Heard on the Street:

Facebook may be a hard habit to break, but more are finally giving it a shot.

Elsewhere in technology: Facebook faces more Senate questioning in September over foreign interference, the WSJ reports, alongside Google and Twitter. And the NYT’s Farhad Manjoo predicts a rough ride as these companies start to take greater responsibility for content.


Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Stephen Grocer in New York, and Amie Tsang and Prashant S. Rao in London.


The U.S. and Europe want trade peace. For now.

President Trump and the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said after a meeting yesterday that they would work toward lowering tariffs and other barriers. The Europeans also agreed to buy more American soybeans and natural gas.

But Mark Landler and Ana Swanson say the respite may be brief:

Twice, Mr. Trump’s aides have negotiated potential deals with China, only to have him reject them and impose further tariffs. Cutting these trade barriers to zero would be an extraordinarily complex political challenge on both sides of the Atlantic.

And there’s still cause for concern, Peter Eavis writes:

The trade war’s impact on some companies is causing their stocks to crater. So far, the hit is largely coming from the tariffs on steel and aluminum, which have pushed up the prices many firms pay for the metals.

U.S. Automakers in the United States are already smarting from rising commodities costs, and Qualcomm canceled its $44 billion deal to buy NXP Semiconductors after Chinese regulators withheld their approval.

Chinese officials said that wasn’t a trade-war issue, but Eswar Prasad, a Cornell University economist, described it to the WSJ as “a strong signal that China is going to use every available lever” in the confrontation.

The deficit takes a running jump

Federal corporate tax revenues plunged in the first six months of the year, pushing up the budget deficit much faster than economists had predicted. The timing isn’t great for the president, notes the NYT’s Jim Tankersley:

The current spending bill that Mr. Trump signed earlier this year expires at the end of September, the end of the current fiscal year. Congress is unlikely to pass another comprehensive spending bill before then. Instead, Republican leaders will have to press for a stopgap spending bill if they want to prevent a government shutdown a month before the midterm elections.

Old-school media unites in Australia

The Australian broadcaster Nine Entertainment agreed to buy Fairfax Media for $1.6 billion, to create a company that will combine print, television, radio and a streaming service that competes locally with Netflix. (Australia relaxed its laws on cross-media ownership last year.)

In Australia’s The Monthly, Paddy Manning mourned for a famous name:

The death of Fairfax has been pronounced so many times that we are nearly numb to it. But today’s announced Nine takeover, if it completes, really will mark the end of a 177-year history, and is a heavy blow for quality, independent journalism and for media diversity in this country.

Elsewhere in media: Rupert Murdoch and Robert Iger won’t attend shareholder votes on the deal between 21st Century Fox and Disney.

ICYMI: Blackstone got its infrastructure cash

It’s not nearly as much as once suggested, but Blackstone raised $4.6 billion as of June 30 so far for its infrastructure fund, Kate Kelly tells us. Half came from an earlier matching commitment from Saudi Arabia — so other outside investors put in $2.3 billion.

While Blackstone missed self-imposed deadlines, that was quick progress from the $550 million it had as of April 4, when we reported on the fund’s teething troubles. Based on its earnings discussion last week, it now has a total of $5 billion.

Revolving door

Hearst Magazines, which publishes Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar, has named Troy Young, a digital media specialist, as its president. (NYT)

The chief executive of Gilead Sciences, John Milligan, will step down at the end of the year. (WSJ)

Macquarie Group has named its first female chief executive: Shemara Wikramanayake. (FT)

The White House’s top ethics compliance lawyer, Stefan Passantino, reportedly plans to leave by the end of the summer. (Politico)

The speed read


• Arconic is reportedly considering at least two private-equity takeover bids. (WSJ)

• GlaxoSmithKline is buying a $300 million stake in 23andMe. (FT)

• The Economist Group plans to sell CQ Roll Call to FiscalNote, a data start-up. (Politico)

Politics and policy

• A lawsuit arguing that President Trump’s hotel interests violate the Constitution has cleared a critical hurdle. (NYT)

• Visa restrictions on Chinese students have alarmed many people in U.S. higher education. (NYT)

• British officials are contemplating a contentious compromise on Brexit and Northern Ireland. (Bloomberg)


• Waymo will offer short driverless rides in Phoenix via Walmart, Avis and others. (NYT)

• China is getting richer, but it loves an app-driven bargain. (NYT)

Best of the rest

• Wages are now rising in Europe. Economists don’t know why. (NYT)

• How trading has changed since the massive sell-off earlier this year. (Bloomberg)

• A deep dive into Goop — and a portrait of Gwyneth Paltrow as a mogul. (NYT)

• Debt cannot grow faster than an economy forever. So how will China’s boom end? (FT)

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