DealBook Briefing: The New Scotus Pick Could Be a Boon for Business

DealBook Briefing: The New Scotus Pick Could Be a Boon for Business

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Trump’s Supreme Court pick loves deregulation

President Trump named Brett Kavanaugh yesterday as his pick for Anthony Kennedy’s Supreme Court seat, setting up an epic confirmation battle.

What would Mr. Kavanaugh mean for business? Here’s how he ruled recently on some key issues:

Climate change: Judge Kavanaugh favored reining in the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to cut carbon emissions, on the basis that Congress, not the courts, should set such rules.

Financial oversight: He wrote a 2016 opinion, later overruled, declaring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure “unconstitutional.”

Net neutrality: It violates internet service providers’ First Amendment rights, he argued last year.

How Judge Kavanaugh would actually rule if confirmed remains an open question. The NYT and Axios appear to disagree on just how conservative he is, but no one disputes that he would be a reliable conservative vote for years to come.


Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Michael J. de la Merced and Jamie Condliffe in London.


Uber’s scooter trip has an ambitious destination

The ride-hailing company is investing in Lime, a start-up best known for offering rides on those surprisingly popular electric scooters. Uber didn’t disclose how much it was putting in, but the deal is part of a $335 million fund-raising round that values Lime at $1.1 billion.

Despite appearances, this is not a novelty acquisition. It’s the latest of a series of moves by Uber and its rival Lyft to take control of city transportation. Each wants its app to be the only thing urbanites need to get around, offering cars, bikes, scooters and public transit (and some day maybe flying taxis).

But given Uber’s track record, will cities welcome these ambitions?

Business moguls return to Sun Valley

Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos are expected in the Idaho resort this week. So too are Rupert Murdoch and John Malone, the cable mogul and the serial deal maker. It can only mean one thing: Allen & Company’s annual media conference is about to begin.

The gathering, which starts today, has been the birthplace of many deals, from Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal to Mr. Bezos’s takeover of The Washington Post. And with the media industry braced for a wave of consolidation, we can expect plenty of potentially important hushed conversations at the Sun Valley Lodge or on the resort’s patio.

Awkward pairings: Disney’s Bob Iger and Comcast’s Brian Roberts, battling for control of 21st Century Fox, were both invited. So too were Les Moonves of CBS and his boss, Shari Redstone, who are fighting each other for boardroom control.

McKinsey has stopped working for I.C.E.

The NYT reports that the consulting giant will no longer work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement after former partners became alarmed about ties to the agency given its role in separating immigrant children from their parents. (What the consultancy did for I.C.E. was unclear.)

McKinsey didn’t end the contract as soon as it heard concerns — three days after the NYT ran an investigation, the consulting firm merely modified the terms. But the disclosure that McKinsey was working with I.C.E. “caused a lot of discussions and alumni reactions,” according to one former partner.

In other government contract news: Activists marched outside the headquarters of Salesforce to protest its work with Customs and Border Protection.

The trade war’s other fight: soybeans vs. economic history

The WSJ’s Greg Ip has a nice explanation of how imposing tariffs on imported goods can act as a tax on exports:

Exports and imports tend to rise and fall together, proof that the underlying relationship still holds. If the U.S., for any reason, cuts its imports from a trading partner, that country’s economy and currency both weaken, so it buys less from U.S. companies.

But in the U.S.-China trade war, one product could test that theory: soybeans. Beijing imposed a 25 percent tariff on American soybeans last week in retaliation to Trump administration levies. But Raymond Zhong of the NYT explains that China bought $14 billion worth of the crop from America last year, and while it is pushing its farmers to grow more — 90 percent of the soybeans it consumed last year were imported — its homegrown supply probably can’t keep up.

Until China expands its soy acreage or finances cultivation elsewhere, American soy exports look safe.

Revolving door

JPMorgan Chase has appointed Carsten Woehrn as head of infrastructure M.&A. in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a new position.

Uber is hiring a manager for I.P.O. readiness, in case you weren’t aware that it intends to go public. (Uber)

The speed read


• Twenty-First Century Fox is said to be working on a higher bid for the European satellite broadcaster Sky. (FT)

• SoftBank plans to spin off its telecom business — a deal meant to highlight its value, when all anyone wants to talk about is the Vision Fund. (FT)

• Martin Sorrell has beaten his old firm, WPP, in the fight for a Dutch ad company. (Guardian)

Politics and policy

• Boris Johnson resigned as Britain’s foreign secretary, further weakening Prime Minister Theresa May’s government. (NYT)

• The casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is backing a Nevada ballot initiative on choice of power provider. On the other side: Warren Buffett, whose NV Energy is the state’s biggest utility operator. (Reno Gazette Journal)

• President Trump attacked Pfizer for its drug prices, but its shares ultimately shook off the tweet. (FT)


• Privacy and consumer groups are railing against Facebook’s facial recognition push. Lawmakers want answers from Alphabet over Gmail privacy and Apple and Alphabet about smartphone privacy.

• YouTube says it is fighting misinformation with “authoritative” context and links to reputable sources. Twitter is cracking down on fake accounts, but that raises questions about its recent growth.

• China is producing AMD-licensed chips almost identical to those made by the American firm, raising trade war and national security concerns. (Ars Technica)

Best of the rest

• The Dow and S.&P. 500 enjoyed their biggest gains in over a month yesterday. Thank the banks. (NYT)

• The U.S. economy might be growing faster than the government says. (WSJ)

• China’s economic reform might not be going as well as you might think. (CNBC)

You can find live updates throughout the day at

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