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Why Tencent Is Poised to Profit From Fortnite Mania

By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky May 17, 2018

Now you see me. There were some clues this week about the two tech giants searching for second headquarters sites. Apple was said to be talking to officials in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill areas of North Carolina as well as exploring the Northern Virginia region. Amazon has visited all 20 cities on its list of finalists, including both of Apple’s possible targets, suggesting a final decision could be coming soon. While Jeff Bezos’ company continues the HQ2 hunt, another Amazon search is not going so well. The company’s joint venture on health care with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase is having trouble finding a CEO, CNBC reported.

Running in place. Amazon’s biggest e-commerce competitor, Walmart, is doing better but still falling behind. The retail giant said its online sales jumped 33% in its most recent quarter, accelerating from a 23% rate of growth in the fourth quarter of last year. Amazon’s first quarter revenue, however, jumped 43%. Overall revenue at Walmart, including sales from its 12,000 stores, grew 4% to $122.7 billion. Another Amazon target, grocery chain Kroger, said it was partnering with British online grocer Ocado to expand its home delivery business.

Running in place, part two. As expected, all 49 Democratic members of the Senate plus three Republicans voted to stop the Federal Communications Commission from repealing its 2015 net neutrality rules. But the move is unlikely to pass the House or be signed by President Trump, so the next battle over net neutrality will likely occur in federal court after the June 11 repeal takes effect.

Leaping ahead. Bain Capital Ventures hired its first female partner, Sarah Smith, a former executive at Facebook and Quora. Based in San Francisco, Smith will focus on early-stage investments in business and consumer technologies and marketplaces. Most recently, Smith was as an investor at Graph Ventures, where she funded more than 20 seed and Series A investments, including BetterUp, Winnie, Motion, OhmniLabs, Heartbeat, Strive, and Twine.

Ha ha. The jokesters at the Securities and Exchange Commission hammed it up with a parody web site meant to focus attention on the dangers of investing in digital currencies and initial coin offerings. The agency’s fake HoweyCoins promotional web site is said to be an homage to a famous 1946 Supreme Court decision, SEC v W.J. Howey, which helped define some financial transactions as securities subject to SEC oversight.

Going up. Online training software developer PluralSight went public at $15 a share and starts trading on Thursday under the symbol “PS.” The offering, which raised $357 million, was massively oversubscribed, so the shares are likely to experience a significant pop later today.

First learn stand, then learn fly. YouTube Red’s video series Cobra Kai, a spinoff of the Karate Kid films, was the most watched streaming show last week, beating Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and Arrested Development, according to data from Parrot Analytics obtained by Variety. Meanwhile, Google is shaking up its pay video service, renaming it YouTube Premium, and switching around its music service, as well. CNet has the details.

Less expensive. Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus unveiled its newest flagship. The OnePlus 6 has a 6.3-inch high-definition screen and other top-end specs, but will only cost $529 when it goes on sale worldwide next week.

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