STLR Link Roundup – October 14, 2016

Video Game Gambling Faces Regulatory Scrutiny

Last week, the Washington State Gambling Commission sent a letter to Bellevue, Washington-based Valve Corporation, the owner and operator of the Steam PC-gaming platform, demanding it provide evidence by Oct. 14 that it isn’t facilitating illegal gambling via online video gaming. Failure to comply could result in civil or criminal charges against Valve employees, according to the letter.

In the case of Valve’s “Counter-Strike,” decorative “skins” are being wagered like currency and Valve facilitates it by letting people use their Steam accounts to log into some third-party gambling sites. The regulator’s action comes after a Bloomberg Businessweek article in April shook up the competitive-gaming community, saying widespread betting of digital loot was turning teenagers into serious gamblers.

Ride-Share Apps in China Still Face an Uphill Battle

China’s homegrown Uber, Didi Chixing, is under tougher scrutiny from domestic regulators after being legalized by the Chinese government in July. Multiple major cities issued proposed industry regulations in recent days that would restrict the vehicles types and the drivers, potentially harming a large chunk of Didi’s business. Moreover, the country’s antitrust regulators continued to investigate Didi’s deal to acquire U.S.-based Uber’s China unit.

Didi issued a forcefully worded protest over the weekend against the draft regulations from Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and at least three other major cities. The company said the rules, if adopted in their current form, would force “the vast majority” of its drivers and cars off the road.

Alibaba Pictures Buys Stake in Spielberg’s Amblin

Hollywood’s highest-grossing director, Steven Speilberg, is teaming up with Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in a comprehensive strategic partnership that will help Mr. Spielberg’s Amblin Partners produce, finance and distribute movies for global and Chinese audiences. Alibaba Pictures will take a minority equity stake in Amblin and gain a seat on its board. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms of the deal.

The partnership is the first in China for Amblin, formerly DreamWorks Studios, which will also gain access to Alibaba’s large trove of data on Chinese consumers.

Verizon Pumps the Brakes On Yahoo Acquisition

Verizon showed that it may demand to renegotiate its $4.8 billion deal for Yahoo after the Yahoo’s recent disclosure of a data breach that affected more than 500 million accounts. The breach occurred two years ago, but was discovered after the merger deal was signed in July.

After a meeting at Verizon this week, Verizon’s General Counsel Craig Silliman said it was “reasonable” to believe that the breach represented a material event that could allow Verizon to alter the terms of the takeover. He said the burden is on Yahoo to prove the full impact of the data leak and prove it wasn’t material.

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