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Aggressive restrictions notably slow coronavirus in California tech hub By Reuters



© Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in San Francisco

By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – California’s Santa Clara County, the technology hub hit hard by some of the first American cases of the coronavirus, dramatically slowed the illness with early and aggressive shelter-at-home rules, public health officer Sara Cody said on Tuesday.

The county of about 2 million people, located south of San Francisco, was initially on track to develop an estimated 50,000 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus ravaging communities across the globe, by May 1. It now may have just 2,500 to 12,000, Cody told a meeting of the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors.

The number of cases has gone from doubling every three days in early March, to now doubling approximately every two weeks, she said.

“The trend is exactly what we want to see,” Cody said. “We are slowing things down.”

Pushed by Cody, six San Francisco Bay Area counties on March 16 ordered residents to stay home for all but essential needs. Three days later, California Governor Gavin Newsom imposed a similar order statewide.

Those actions, the most restrictive clamp-down up to that point in the United States, helped slow the virus’ progress in the most populous U.S. state, giving hospitals and medical teams time to prepare for an expected onslaught of sick patients needing hospital beds, intensive care and ventilators to help them breathe.

CURVE RISING MORE SLOWLY

The few extra days that residents of Santa Clara — which is home to the headquarters of Apple (NASDAQ:), Google (NASDAQ:) and Facebook (NASDAQ:), among others — and the other San Francisco Bay Area counties had to shelter in place may help explain why the virus’ onslaught in the heavily populated region appears to have slowed earlier than in hard-hit Los Angeles County in Southern (NYSE:) California.

By Tuesday morning, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the four other Bay Area counties reported 3,532 cases of COVID-19 in a population of about 6.7 million, or about one in every 1,900 people. In Los Angeles County, with a population of about 10 million, 6,391 people have tested positive for the disease, about one in every 1,600 people.

The disease has progressed more slowly in California than in New York state, where 140,086 infections have been confirmed even as the steep rise in cases appeared to plateau on Tuesday.

In California, 15,865 people had tested positive for COVID-19 by Tuesday morning, a 10.7% increase over the previous day. But the number of people who were hospitalized increased just 4.1% from the prior day to 2,611, and the number in intensive care increased just 2.1% to 1,108.

“The curve continues to rise but now it is slower,” Newsom said.

Cody said it would take more than an apparent slowing of cases to persuade public health officials it was time to ease social restrictions.

Before that can happen, hospitals across the county would need to have enough beds and ventilators for all patients. Testing and public health tracking needs to be broadly available. And the number of new cases has to decline steadily over a period of at least two weeks, she said.





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Airbnb gets a $1 billion lifeline


This is the web version of Term Sheet, Fortune’s newsletter about deals and dealmakers. Sign up here.

Dear unicorn: Is Silver Lake your coronavirus-era Warren Buffett?

Airbnb has found some relief after reeling from the coronavirus’s brutal impact on the travel industry.

On Monday, the company announced that it had raised $1 billion in debt and equity from private equity shop Silver Lake and investment firm Sixth Street Partners. Airbnb reportedly cut its valuation internally from $31 billion to $26 billion as consumers cancelled reservations.

One name that jumps out: Silver Lake co-CEO Egon Durban. In roughly the last month alone, the investor jumped into two companies that were under pressure. Twitter, dogged by activist investors, and Waymo, a moonshot for Alphabet.

Oh right, he’s also here in the Airbnb announcement: “While the current environment is clearly a difficult one for the hospitality industry, the desire to travel and have authentic experiences is fundamental and enduring.”

As Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky puts it: “In the financial crisis of 2008-09, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway was here, there, and everywhere, providing capital to stressed but otherwise sound companies…Today, Egon Durban’s private-equity fund Silver Lake seems to be playing a similar role.”

Private equity firms at large are sitting on a record amount of undeployed cash, and are now actively looking for deals in sectors hit by the coronavirus outbreak—sectors that will ostensibly bounce back once the pandemic is resolved.

So, dear unicorns and public tech companies…who’s next?

Separately, the Airbnb deal raises a lot of questions: 

The valuation. While it’s been reported that the company had lowered its valuation from $31 billion to $26 billion internally, Airbnb has declined to comment on the terms of the most recent deal.

Airbnb’s plans to go public. The company had planned to go public this year. Airbnb was said to be considering either an IPO or a direct listing—a way of going public that doesn’t issue new shares or raise new capital. Those plans are in murkier waters now.

Employee equity. There’s another reason why Airbnb felt the need to go public this year. Airbnb reportedly meted out two tranches of employee stock options—one of which expires November 2020. That equity will reportedly become worthless should the company still be private by then.

Dear readers: As we all try to understand who is eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, I wonder, are any venture capital firms thinking about waiving certain governance rights, so that their startup may qualify? Let me know if you’ve got tips.



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VW plans to partially reopen plant in Spain’s Navarra on April 20


FILE PHOTO: The logo of Volkswagen is pictured at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) – German carmaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) hopes to partially reopen its plant in Spain’s Navarra region on April 20 after its closure in mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesman for the plant said on Tuesday.

The plant in northern Spain should reopen with one of its three daily shifts operating during four days in the first week, and the goal is to extend it to two shifts the following week, depending on how well the supply chain works, the spokesman added.

All workers would wear masks and gloves, and the plant’s disinfection would be intensified, he added. The plant has around 4,800 workers and produces the Polo and T-Cross models.

Reporting by Joan Faus, editing by Andrei Khalip



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Mainland China posts drop in new imported coronavirus cases By Reuters



© Reuters. People wearing face masks are seen at a shopping area in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) – Mainland China reported on Tuesday a decline in imported coronavirus cases, after closing its borders to virtually all foreigners, while increasing vigilance on infected people who show no symptoms but can still pass on the virus.

Mainland China had 32 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Monday, down from 39 cases a day earlier, the National Health Commission said.

All of the 32 confirmed cases involved travellers arriving from overseas, compared with 38 imported cases a day earlier. The overall number of imported infections so far stands at 983, the health authority said.

Imported cases and asymptomatic patients have become China’s chief concern after draconian containment measures succeeded in slashing the overall infection rate.

China has shut its borders to foreigners as the virus spread globally, though most imported cases have involved Chinese nationals returning from overseas. International flights have been slashed to around 3,000 a day in April from the tens of thousands previously.

It has also started testing all international arrivals for the virus this month.

The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China stood at 81,740 as of Monday, according to the authority.

China reported 30 new asymptomatic cases on Monday, nine of which involved incoming travellers. Of the new asymptomatic cases, 18 were in central Hubei province.

As of Monday, 1,033 asymptomatic patients were under medical observation.

The National Health Commission reported no new deaths in Wuhan, capital of Hubei and epicentre of the outbreak in China, for the first time since the outbreak started.

Wuhan is due to allow people to leave the city on Wednesday for the first time since it was locked down on Jan. 23 to curb the spread of the epidemic.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Global markets climb as coronavirus fears ease


This is the web version of the Bull Sheet, Fortune’s no-BS daily newsletter on the markets. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.

Good morning, Bull Sheeters. We’re looking at a positive start to this trade-shortened week.

Let’s see where investors are putting their money.

Markets update

We begin in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei is soaring, up 4% in afternoon trade, and Hong Kong’s Hang Sang is having its best day in a week. (Chinese markets are closed today.) The markets are climbing on hopes we’re turning a corner in the fight against coronavirus after some promising figures from over the weekend. In a sign of investor confidence, the benchmark KOSPI of South Korea, a model country in fighting the outbreak, is up 23% since its March 19 low.

***

There are green screens across Europe at the open as well. Hotspot-countries Italy, Spain and France all recorded declines in the coronavirus death toll in recent days. Now the focus in on Britain where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized on Sunday as his coronavirus symptoms persist. The British pound sunk 0.4% initially on the news, but has since rebounded.

***

The U.S. futures are set to pop at the open. The Dow looks to add 800 points, as I type, and the S&P 500 is on pace to gain close to 4% at the opening bell, which would push it well above 2,500.

That’s an important number to keep in mind as JPMorgan Chase recalculates a bottom for this market. In its analysis of the VIX, the volatility index, plus coronavirus death statistics, it sees S&P stocks plumbing no lower than 2,100, and probably no higher than 2,850.

***

Elsewhere, the dollar is flat. Gold is up, and oil is down after an OPEC+ virtual meeting, scheduled for today, was canceled. Brent crude prices fell as much as 12% in early Asia trading, but have since recovered some on hopes the oil producing powers can eventually reach some kind of accord on the ongoing price war.

***

To gauge how bad things could get, economists are increasingly focusing in on one big metric: jobs. The International Labor Organization, for one, has warned the coronavirus outbreak could wipe out nearly 25 million jobs worldwide if countries fail to manage the pandemic properly.

A significant number of those lost jobs could be in the United States. While several European countries are stepping in to pay most of the wages of impacted workers, the U.S. appears more content to let companies slash payrolls, and then extend unemployment benefits to the legions of laid-off.

There’s much debate about which policy is best to boost recovery. But there’s plenty of consensus on one thing: the layoffs number is about to get much worse, as Friday’s U.S. jobs report made clear. Let’s take a closer at the significance of the March numbers, the subject of today’s chart.

***

End of an era

The headline figure is the 701,000 jobs lost. But we know from the 10 million jobless claims filed in the previous two weeks that Friday’s figure is a gross under-count of the U.S. unemployment picture.

The unemployment rate has now jumped to 4.4%, but it’s expected to soar in April and May. How high could it go? The St. Louis Fed predicted the unemployment rate could hit as high as 42%. Things would have to go really wrong to hit that number, but that’s the forecast being held out there as the worst-case that everyone is trying to avoid.

Postscript

Pizza. To Italians, it’s a serious dish. Italians don’t agree on a lot of things, but they’re convinced the further you venture from Rome or Naples the worse the pizza is. The deep-dish Chicago pizza? The pizzeria/nudelhaus you find in parts of Germany? These are crimes against humanity, I’ve heard my Roman friends say. They might be right.

I’m not aware of any wars having been fought over pizza, but I have witnessed Romans bicker heatedly over which pizzeria makes the best Roman pizza.

You see, Roman pizza is very different from what you’ll find in Naples, home to the original pizza margherita. Roman pizza is thin-crusted. And there’s only so many places that do it well. Da Remo in Testaccio is top of most people’s list.

During the lockdown it’s getting harder to satisfy that pizza fix. Roman pizza doesn’t travel well, making it a poor meal option for home-delivery. So a lot of Romans are doing DIY pizza, in their kitchens (which, as Bull Sheet readers may recall, is causing a run on flour and yeast at the supermarkets).

We’re entering week five of lockdown, which means we’ve now done pizza night at home over the past four Saturday evenings. My wife is an exacting cook. She works the dough, and lays down the law on which ingredients are permitted together: si! to mozzarella and basil, no! to mozzarella and oregano; prosciutto should be added at a late stage, etc. The kids handle the toppings. I’m the pizzaiolo, wielding the palate, spinning the pizzas on the slab and sneaking bites of unattended slices.

Over the first three weeks, we’ve been really frustrated with the results. We have a conventional oven, so already we’re at a disadvantage. We recently upgraded to a 15-euro stone slab that we chuck in the oven to recreate the stone-oven texture and taste. But it’d been hit or miss. If the stone surface isn’t just right, the top and bottom of the pizza will cook unevenly, leaving crisped toppings, singed crusts and a spongy center. “Fa schifo!” as the Italians say.

We fired up the oven on Saturday night and, this time, let the stone slab sit in the heat for over an hour. By the time the dough was ready, the stone was at the perfect temperature. The pizzas were hitting the slab, cooking evenly in 2-3 minutes. You could see the edges browning and the mozzarella softening in unison. When they came out, they were fabulous. They were cracker-thin in the middle, and crunched sublimely as you munched from the center to the edges.

Pizza margherita, “fatta a casa di Warner.”

Holding a piece aloft, my wife proclaimed, “We’ve hacked it.”

There was flour everywhere, the kitchen was a mess, but we felt as if we’d just about mastered an important lockdown survival skill: cooking Roman pizza in a Roman kitchen with a conventional Roman oven.

We promptly sent a photo to friends who live in the neighborhood. Originally from down south in Campania, in pizza country, they’ve become reliable tipsters on where to find pizza vera in the area. They too were making pizza, turns out. Pizza napolitana. Gianni, our friend, had recently bought a special oven for DIY pizza. It’s quite literally the Ferrari of pizza ovens. And this is what theirs looked like:

We exchanged compliments, but the sight of his creations got me thinking about how we could still up our game. I figure we have another month at least to perfect our DIY pizzas before facing the ultimate test: letting our Roman friends be the judge.

There’s bound to be disagreement.

Have a good day, everyone. Stay safe and sane. I’ll see you here tomorrow.

Bernhard Warner
@BernhardWarner
Bernhard.Warner@Fortune.com

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Tesla engineers show ventilator prototype on YouTube


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Engineers at Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) showed a prototype for a ventilator on Sunday evening in a video published on the company’s YouTube channel, as hospitals around the country overwhelmed by coronavirus patients face device shortages.

FILE PHOTO: The view of Tesla Inc’s U.S. vehicle factory which was open for business on March 18, despite an order by the Alameda county’s sheriff’s office to comply with a three-week lockdown in the San Francisco Bay Area, in order to rein in the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID), in Fremont, California, U.S., March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

The design for the ventilators relies heavily on Tesla car parts, one of the engineers said, enabling the company to redeploy existing stock and produce the devices quickly.

The video comes two weeks after Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tesla planned to reopen its New York factory to produce ventilators.

The timeline for production was not specified in the video.

“There’s still a lot of work to do,” said one of the engineers, “but we’re giving it our best effort.”

Governments globally have appealed to automakers and aerospace companies to help procure or make ventilators and other medical equipment amid the increasing number of coronavirus infections.

More than a million people have been infected worldwide by the coronavirus, while over 65,000 have been killed. The United States has the most number of cases at above 300,000.

On March 30, Ford Motor Co (F.N) said it would produce 50,000 ventilators in the following 100 days at a plant in Michigan in cooperation with General Electric’s (GE.N) healthcare unit, and could then build 30,000 per month as needed.

Musk said on March 31 that Tesla planned to supply FDA-approved ventilators free of cost to hospitals within regions where the electric carmaker delivers.

The Financial Times has reported that the devices donated by Musk to some New York City hospitals were not the type of ventilators that have been in demand for use in intensive-care units. Rather, they were Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machines, typically used to treat sleep apnea but recently approved by the FDA as an alternative in the event of a ventilator shortage.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Kate Duguid; Editing by Himani Sarkar



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China reports increase in new coronavirus cases on April 5; one death By Reuters



© Reuters. Man wearing a face mask salutes during a ceremony where the Chinese national flag is positioned at half-mast, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) – Mainland China reported 39 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, all but one of them imported from abroad, up from the 30 reported a day earlier, as the number of asymptomatic cases also surged.

The National Health Commission said in a statement on Monday that 78 new asymptomatic cases had been identified as of the end of the day on Sunday, compared with 47 the day before. Only one new death was recorded on April 5, the new data showed.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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U.S. banks to defend dividend payments in stress tests: FT


FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Federal Reserve Building is pictured in Washington, March 18, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. banks are expected to defend their dividend payments when they submit their annual capital plans to the Federal Reserve on Monday for the upcoming stress tests, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the situation.

U.S. lenders face growing pressure to follow their European counterparts and non-financial companies and cut dividends, as the coronavirus crisis puts a record number of people out of work, which could make it harder for borrowers to repay loans. Banks may need cash to cover those losses, critics argue.

But over the past week, executives from Citigroup Inc (C.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) have defended their plans to continue paying dividends to shareholders, saying their banks are well-capitalized enough to do so.

Wall street analysts, who initially thought it was impossible banks would cut dividends, are now saying it is more likely that banks, particularly those with large credit card businesses, will cut dividends later this year.

On March 27, the European Central Bank told its lenders to skip dividends and share buy backs until at least October, estimating they could save 30 billion euros by doing so.

Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by Daniel Wallis



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Latest on the spread of the coronavirus around the world By Reuters



© Reuters. Palm Sunday during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Catania

(Reuters) – Global cases of the new coronavirus have passed 1 million and more than 64,000 people have died, a Reuters tally showed on Sunday, in a pandemic that has hammered the world economy.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Reuters tally of reported cases and deaths.

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

* U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.

ASIA

* Mainland China reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 19 a day earlier as the number of cases involving travelers from abroad as well as local transmissions increased, highlighting the difficulty in stamping out the outbreak.

* India is restricting the export of most diagnostic testing kits, as coronavirus cases topped 3,350 on Sunday. The country has imposed a three-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the disease.

* Australian health officials said they were cautiously optimistic about the slowing spread of the coronavirus but warned social distancing restrictions are to stay in place for months.

EUROPE

* The total number of deaths from the coronavirus in France reached a new high – 7,560 – on Saturday as the government included more previously unreported deaths in nursing homes.

* Queen Elizabeth will call on Britons to take on the challenge and disruption caused by the outbreak with good-humored resolve when she makes an extremely rare address to rally the nation on Sunday.

* Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday he would ask parliament to extend lockdown measures by 15 days until April 26, as the rate of new coronavirus infections and deaths slowed again in one of the world’s worst-hit countries.

AMERICAS

* President Donald Trump told Americans to brace for a big spike in coronavirus fatalities in the coming days, as the country faces what he called the toughest two weeks of the pandemic.

* More than 306,000 people have tested positive in the United States and over 8,300 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

* The number of crew on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier who have tested positive for the coronavirus has risen 13% in the past 24 hours to 155, the Navy said on Saturday, in the wake of the firing of the carrier’s captain.

* Brazil’s lower house of Congress approved a constitutional amendment for a “war budget” to separate coronavirus-related spending from the government’s main budget and shield the economy as the country surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Dubai imposed a two-week lockdown and Saudi Arabia sealed off parts of the Red Sea city of Jeddah as Gulf states tightened measures in big cities to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

* Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi postponed the launch of mega-projects including the Grand Egyptian Museum and moving civil servants to a planned new capital city to 2021 from 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the presidency said.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* The job losses suffered in March as the U.S. economy shut down were widespread but still were disproportionately felt in a handful of employment sectors and by women, the young and the less educated.

* The pandemic has brought the global economy to a standstill and plunged the world into a recession that will be “way worse” than the global financial crisis a decade ago, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Friday.

* Global stock markets sank on Friday following more signs that the pandemic would take a massive toll on economic growth. [MKTS/GLOB]





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WarnerMedia’s new CEO hire is both logical and unexpected


In 2011 Jason Kilar, the founding chief executive of streaming darling Hulu, wrote a blog post on the company’s website offering thoughts on the state of conventional television. In traditional TV, he wrote, there were too many ads, programming was too inconvenient to watch when you wanted, and shows were ultimately at the mercy—in ways good and bad—of viewers empowered by social media.

Hollywood observers swiftly interpreted it as a scathing critique of his big media partner-owners, rather than a reflection of changing viewing habits. How much of a stir did Kilar cause? Enough to justify next-day news coverage asking, “Is Jason Kilar Trying to Get Fired?” (He wasn’t.)

It would be difficult to imagine, then, that Kilar would end up working for the big-media giant behind the cable networks CNN, TBS, and TNT. But that’s exactly what happened nine years later. On Wednesday, WarnerMedia—the AT&T-owned successor company to Time Warner, a former Hulu big media partner-owner—named him CEO. Kilar replaces John Stankey, who was promoted to AT&T president and chief operating officer.

It’s not difficult to see why AT&T tapped the onetime media “bad boy.” In time, Kilar’s views about the future of the TV were largely proven right. In 2020 on-demand streaming services dominate the entertainment landscape, cord-cutting is rampant, and the most popular video subscription service—Hulu’s longtime nemesis Netflix—is ad-free. Today’s big media companies aspire to be more like Hulu than their old selves.

WarnerMedia’s HBO, for example, is gearing up to launch a streaming service of its own called HBO Max that will offer premium content from HBO, The CW, and other WarnerMedia brands, along with exclusively licensed series like Friends and The Big Bang Theory—both of which were originally co-produced by Warner Bros. Television. Given the intense competitive landscape before it, who else better to lead such efforts than the former streaming boss who argued nearly a decade ago that “rapid innovation, low margins, and customer obsession” would define the winners of paid television?

The only lingering question is why Kilar, 48, joined a media conglomerate after spending so many years fighting what they stood for. In a brief exchange, he offered longtime industry observer Peter Kafka a mere clue: that WarnerMedia was “a good place to operate” given the instability of the broader media industry. (Neither Kilar nor his new employer responded to Fortune requests for comment.) No kidding: In only a few weeks’ time, the novel coronavirus pandemic has brought film and television production to a halt and strained the pockets of consumers who will need to be convinced to subscribe to yet another streaming service.

“I think there’s only reason he took the job: He’s got buy-in from management to create a long-term strategy, rather than relying on legacy thinking,” says Rich Greenfield, a partner at media and technology research firm LightShed. “He was the one who wanted things to be shaken up far more at Hulu. The three-headed monster [of News Corp., Disney, and Comcast] refused to let him, and he left.”

Kilar, it’s worth noting, will have veteran leaders by his side as he enters the picture. Robert Greenblatt, a former chairman of NBC Entertainment who now heads up entertainment at WarnerMedia, and Jeff Zucker, the CNN president tasked with overseeing all live programming and sports, will report to him. Both were viewed as leading internal candidates for Kilar’s job.

“They have people who have media experience from different aspects, so now you have the pieces reset as a media company that’s part of a larger mobile phone company,” says media analyst Bruce Leichtman. “The new leadership needs to think how to get all these segments to fit together.”

Integration issues aside, Greenfield believes Kilar’s arrival at WarnerMedia reflects positively for AT&T, which drew fire last year from investor Elliott Management Corp. for “confusion over strategy and a growing sense that AT&T doesn’t have a plan” for its $85 billion prize. (The parties came to agreement in October.)

“This is AT&T thinking out of the box,” Greenfield says of Kilar’s hire. “This is an admission that the media world is changing, that we need to have someone who truly lives at the intersection of media and technology.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—How COVID-19 is changing the business of Hollywood
—Why streaming media consumption is on the rise
—Jesse Eisenberg weighs in on World War II biopic ‘Resistance’
—How musicians are upending the substance abuse narrative
—How the Emmy awards are reacting to a global pandemic





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