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Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call: Apple's Secret Stash. Plus, the Ad That Fox News Viewers Hate

By Published on .

Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital-related news. What people are talking about today: There's a chance the Walt Disney Co., already huge, could get even huger. CNBC reports that Disney had talks to buy a big piece of 21st Century Fox's entertainment business, a deal that would reshape the media world. Follow-up reports make it look more unlikely: Bloomberg News proclaims the talks "dead," while The Wall Street Journal says they hit an impasse and "cooled substantially." In any case, when a mouse chases a fox, something is up. Disney is planning to launch its own Netflix-type streaming service, and getting access to more content probably couldn't hurt.

Paradise found
"We don't stash money on some Caribbean island," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in 2013, answering questions about whether the company avoids taxes. After that, Apple found a tax haven in the English Channel, as The New York Times reports. Apple has over $128 billion in profits offshore, the Times says. That's among the findings of the Paradise Papers, a leaked stash of millions of documents revealing who's hiding what in tax havens. Apple issued a lengthy statement defending itself, saying it "pays every dollar it owes in every country around the world."

A story in The Guardian, meanwhile, focuses on how Nike keeps "one step ahead of the taxman." "For the companies that know how to work the system, this is sensible and legal," the report notes, though activists hate the practice. Oxfam just made a truly terrifying video arguing that corporate tax avoidance isn't a victimless crime.
Also: Watch "The Paradise Papers Explained in 120 Seconds."

Uber & pop culture
Uber has faced many crises this year, from sexual harassment to allegations of deceptive practices, but the company's isn't addressing them with campaigns. As Uber's first chief brand officer, Bozoma Saint John, tells Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz, "It's such a serious matter that it's very important that it be addressed internally, as a process shift, not a marketing shift. This cannot be a marketing ploy." Uber's new marketing focuses on pop culture and sports instead. Read the interview here.

Trump's 'safe space'
Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer made an ad calling for President Trump's impeachment, and Fox News ran it. But Fox says it no longer will take Steyer's money, because viewers had a "strong negative reaction" to the spot, as Politico writes. (Trump had a strong reaction too, calling Steyer "wacky & totally unhinged.") Now Steyer is accusing Fox News of breach of contract, as Politico writes. Shout-out to Vanity Fair for its amusing headline on this topic: "Fox News confirms it's a safe space for Trump."

Just briefly:
Next up: Ad Age Next is happening next week in New York – it's the evolution of what we used to call the Digital Conference. And there are a limited number of day passes available for readers; read more here.

The beauty of Birkenstocks: The homely footwear brand is having a fashion moment, and it's embracing marketing for the first time, as Ad Age's Adrianne Pasquarelli reports. The brand is no longer a "has-been, a relic of a decade when tossing a hacky sack was regarded as a sport," she writes. Plus, it's making hand and foot cream.

Humongous: Broadcom is bidding $105 billion for Qualcomm and it's willing to go hostile, Bloomberg News reports.

Oh snap: Snapchat was down for at least four hours on Monday, as Fortune writes.

The voice: Will.i.am's tech startup has raised $117 million in venture funding, Reuters says. The company has been at work on a customer service voice assistant.

Gilded cage: Saudi Arabia converted a Ritz-Carlton hotel into a prison for royals and prominent figures who were arrested during a crackdown on corruption, The New York Times says.

Oprah: The media mogul bought 10 percent of Weight Watchers in 2015; The New York Post says her investment has spiked 617 percent in 25 months.

Disney boycott: Several film critics are banding together to boycott press screenings of Disney films, an act of solidarity with the Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter says. Disney has shut the Times out of screenings because it was unhappy with an investigation by the paper.

Parting thought: Tweet of the day, by ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes :

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