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The 10-Point: A Guide to the Day's Top News

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
Media Melee
Eager to ride the Justice Department’s loss in the AT&T-Time Warner case to its own deal victory, Comcast surprised no one with a fast, aggressive bid for the assets that 21st Century Fox has agreed to sell to Disney. The Journal reports that Disney is lining up financing in the event it chooses to counter Comcast’s offer with new terms that include cash. Comcast’s bid comes after this week’s federal court ruling that approved AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. A major challenge for the telecom titan will be integrating a staid phone company with an entertainment behemoth filled with larger-than-life personalities. Comcast’s $65 billion bid for the Fox assets is a doozy, Heard on the Street reporter Elizabeth Winkler writes, aimed not only at wooing the Murdochs away from Disney but also at distracting from the regulatory risks that would come with a Comcast deal.

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Barriers for Beijing
The Journal reports that the Trump administration is preparing to levy tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods in the coming week, perhaps as early as Friday—a step that is likely to spark heavy retaliation from Beijing. Senior trade officials in the White House, the Commerce and Treasury departments and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office— who discussed the matter before President Trump left for a summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations last week—agreed that the U.S. should proceed. The decision awaits Mr. Trump’s final approval. In April the administration initially planned tariffs on $50 billion of goods but the amount could change as the list is refined, with some products removed and others added following a public-comment period. The White House had set Friday as a deadline for a list of products that would be covered under a new tariff regime.
Cash Heavy
Animal spirits are returning to the leveraged-buyout business, and that is helping fuel a historic rise in merger activity. At $156 billion, this year is on pace to have the highest dollar volume of LBOs since 2007 and is about 44% above last year’s comparable level, according to Dealogic. A recent series of deals in the double-digit billions by Blackstone, Carlyle Group and others recall—at least in terms of size—buyouts struck on the eve of the 2008 global financial crisis. The firms are collectively sitting on more than $1 trillion of cash they must invest to collect lucrative fees from their investors. The pace of private-equity fundraising has led to concern about their ability to spend all that cash profitably, Journal reporter Miriam Gottfried writes, especially with equity valuations running near all-time highs.
First-Class Filching
Airlines to passengers: If you don’t mind, please stop stealing our stuff. The more extravagant the amenities, the harder it is for carriers to stop passengers walking off with duvets, memory-foam pillows and silverware. So some airlines have started dropping gentle hints, Journal reporters Alison Sider and Andrew Tangel write. United Airlines’ in-flight menus advise passengers which items are free to take and steer them to an online store where they can buy everything else. But others accept that as a cost of doing business, sometimes with a wink. Years ago, American Airlines produced ashtrays whose backs read: “Formerly the property of American Airlines.” Most of the 1,700 lightweight blankets that Virgin Atlantic started offering this year in upper class on its A330-200 aircraft have gone missing.
TODAY'S VIDEO
Enthusiasm Edge
That Was Painless
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that Democrats are showing more interest than Republicans in the midterm elections. Our Gerald F. Seib looks at what these findings might mean for Republicans.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

White House Seeks to Block Senate Bid to Kill ZTE Deal

House GOP Leadership Gets Support on Immigration Vote Plan
WORLD

Gulf Forces Lead Attack in Yemen

Immigration Standoff Shakes Merkel’s Fragile Government
BUSINESS

Apple Tests Feature That Could Hamper Investigators’ Access to iPhones

China’s Surveillance State Will Soon Track Cars
MARKETS

SoftBank Eyes Bigger Investment in WeWork

Why It’s So Hard to Build a Banking Giant
NUMBER OF THE DAY
4
The total interest-rate increases that Federal Reserve officials have penciled in for 2018, up from a projection of three at their March meeting. Central bank officials voted unanimously Wednesday to raise borrowing costs, their second rate rise this year.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
We’re hopeful that we can achieve that [disarming North Korea] in the [next] 2½ years.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the U.S.’s seeking to achieve “major disarmament” of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal during President Trump’s first term in office.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Going back to our story above, what are your thoughts on the U.S. preparing to proceed with tariffs on Chinese goods? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Jessica Menton
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un beginning a new phase of diplomacy, Rebecca Marsnik of Pennsylvania weighed in: “I am always happy with diplomacy over intimidation or force. Do I think it will work? I have no idea. Do I prefer this to what has been done in the past? Absolutely. It’s time we stop using our military to solve all of our problems.” Daniel Souza of Connecticut said: “The biggest winner in this saga will be China. As and when Kim reveals his demands, they will undoubtedly include the winding down of U.S. troops in South Korea—something the president has already indicated he is willing to do—and reduction in our naval presence in the South China Sea, leaving the door wide open for China to cement its military dominance in the region.” And Maura Kehoe Davis of Virginia wrote: “President Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore is the 2018 sequel to President Nixon’s meeting with the People’s Republic of China’s Mao Zedong in 1972.”

This daily briefing is named “The 10-Point” after the nickname conferred by the editors of The Wall Street Journal on the lead column of the legendary “What’s News” digest of top stories. Technically, “10-point” referred to the size of the typeface. The type is smaller now but the name lives on.

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