DealBook Briefing: How Mark Zuckerberg Is Cramming for His Congressional Hearings

Good Monday morning. Deutsche Bank’s new C.E.O. must figure out how to shrink the firm to make it grow. Byron Trott gets into tequila. And DealBook readers can get discounted tickets to Corner Office’s live interview of the Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya. Some links require subscriptions.

Mark Zuckerberg in the hot seat

His appearances on Capitol Hill this week, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, will be one of the Facebook mogul’s most public challenges to date. His grilling starts today in private meetings.

Here’s what to expect, according to Kevin Roose, Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel of the NYT:

Mr. Zuckerberg has prepared for his testimony with a crash course in charm and humility. The goal is to look humble and forthright — and definitely not like the “S.N.L.” parody of him. (“S.N.L.”-Zuckerberg on user data: “It’s mine — you gave it to me, no backsies.”)

Facebook has suspended another data analytics company for misleading users. It will start notifying users today about what data was shared with Cambridge Analytica. (Some affected users contacted by the NYT were angry.) The company will require political ad buyers to verify their identities and locations. What Facebook’s tightening of its privacy controls to a new European standard means for you. And Facebook’s viral stars want a bigger cut of ad revenue.

Tim Cook of Apple took a shot at Facebook’s business model in an MSNBC/Recode interview: “We’re not going to traffic in your personal life. I think it’s an invasion of privacy.”

Elsewhere in data privacy: Consumer advocacy groups are expected to complain to federal regulators that YouTube is violating a children’s privacy law. And India’s plans to connect residents’ fingerprints, eyes and faces to everything from welfare benefits to mobile phones has horrified civil libertarians.

DealBook readers, Andrew wants to know if you’ve deleted or cut back on Facebook because of the Cambridge Analytica news. Tweet your responses at him, @andrewrsorkin.


Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in New York, and Michael J. de la Merced and Amie Tsang in London.


What lies ahead for Deutsche Bank’s new C.E.O.?

Meet Christian Sewing, a Deutsche Bank lifer who most recently oversaw the firm’s retail operations. Mr. Sewing’s biggest priorities include:

• Deciding how to scale back international banking and trading ambitions (though focusing on the overcrowded German retail market has issues, too)

• Convincing investors and regulators that the firm would shed risk

• Calming the waters at a firm troubled by internal squabbles, while also making deep cuts

More on Mr. Sewing: He apprenticed with the bank and gradually added responsibilities like overseeing an internal money-laundering inquiry into the Russia unit. But Gadfly warns that it isn’t clear how much institutional support Mr. Sewing will have.

Peter Eavis’s take: A resolute plan to shrink Deutsche Bank’s huge but unexceptional Wall Street businesses makes sense. But downsizing could mean lost revenue, executive departures and even surprise losses. If the next C.E.O. plays down the pain of such an adjustment, be skeptical.

Who was responsible for the messy tariff rollout?

Trump administration officials sought on Sunday to play down the prospect of a trade war with China, with President Trump tweeting that he and President Xi Jinping “will always be friends.” But behind the scenes, White House officials are reportedly fighting over who is to blame for the situation.

More from Jonathan Swan of Axios:

Meanwhile, Europe is caught in the middle of the U.S.-China fight, as its own steel producers worry about the pending imported metals tariffs.

The political flyaround

• President Trump wants to rescind parts of the spending bill that he signed into law last month. He wants $60 billion worth of cuts, but Republican lawmakers may agree to less than that.

• Has Scott Pruitt really been good at rolling back E.P.A. regulations? Not quite.

• Was a flawed Citigroup research report behind Mr. Trump’s attacks on Amazon? (Business Insider)

• A fire broke out at Trump Tower on Saturday, killing a 67-year-old art collector.

• The Justice Department will appoint a U.S. attorney to speed up document production for a congressional inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email management. (NYT)

• Michael Anton, the National Security Council spokesman and a defender of the president’s “America First” foreign policy, will leave the White House. (Politico)

How can the Kushners buy the rest of 666 Fifth Ave.?

Vornado says it has a handshake agreement for Kushner Companies to buy its 49.5 percent stake in the troubled Manhattan skyscraper. If that’s true, where is the money coming from, given that the Kushners have unsuccessfully traveled the world — from China to Qatar — in search of new backers? And what would the price of the deal be?

Is something else going on? Bloomberg speculates that Vornado’s statement may have been meant to catch the Kushners off guard.

Breaking: Warren Buffett’s favorite banker gets into tequila

The investment firm of Byron D. Trott, BDT Capital Partners, announced this morning that it would buy a majority stake in Casa Dragones, the high-end tequila producer. (A bottle of the Joven would set you back almost $300.) It’s the latest sign of growing interest in the Mexican spirit.

The back story: The Casa Dragones co-founder Bertha González Nieves, got to know BDT over the past year, and began negotiating a deal last fall. “To have a partner that believes in entrepreneurship and is a long-term investor enables us to continue write our growth chapter,” she said. Mr. Trott told Michael, “Bertha is just one of these great, passionate visionary entrepreneurs.”

The context: Casamigos sold to Diageo for as much as $1 billion, but both Ms. Gonzalez and Mr. Trott said that wasn’t a factor in striking this deal.

The deals flyaround

• Novartis agreed to buy AveXis, a drug maker focused on treating an experimental gene therapy, for $8.7 billion. (Bloomberg)

• Bill Gates has sold $679 million worth of stock in Berkshire Hathaway for tax reasons, taking his stake below 5 percent. (Barron’s)

• How planned mergers like CVS-Aetna are reshaping U.S. health care by muscling out doctors. (NYT)

• Toshiba’s lenders are pushing the troubled company to stick with a plan to sell its memory-chip unit to a group led by Bain Capital despite pressure from an activist investor. (FT)

• Alibaba and other investors have pushed the valuation of the Chinese A.I. start-up SenseTime to $3 billion. (Bloomberg)

• The biggest investor in Santos, an Australian energy company, said it would consider the $10.3 billion takeover bid from Harbour Energy. (Bloomberg)

Come watch Corner Office interview Chobani’s founder live

On April 14 at 5 p.m., hear from Chobani’s founder and C.E.O., Hamdi Ulukaya, who has resurrected economies in two communities and made headlines for his leadership practices. He’ll be interviewed by David Gelles for a live version of the Corner Office column.

DealBook readers, get $10 off tickets.

Revolving door

• Perella Weinberg Partners has hired Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, most recently of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Matthew Smith, who led the U.K. corporate finance team for Barclays, as London-based partners. It has also hired Michael Hatchard, who retired recently from the law firm Skadden, as a senior adviser in London, and Louis Susman, a former U.S. ambassador to Britain, as an adviser in Chicago. (FT)

• Lucy Peng, who was appointed to lead Lazada, will step down as executive chairman at Ant Financial. Eric Jing, the C.E.O., will take on the executive chairman role. (FT)

Quote of the day

— Anthony Scaramucci, in a, shall we say, readable Lunch with the FT

The speed read

• Angry and frustrated journalists at The Denver Post are in open revolt against the paper’s hedge fund owner. (NYT)

• Two popular Chinese video platforms disappeared from app stores this week after the state broadcaster accused them of promoting teenage pregnancy. (NYT)

•Nordstrom is opening its first full-line store in Manhattan, even as Wall Street has grown wary of brick-and-mortar retail. (NYT)

• American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa will stop requiring signatures to complete card transactions. (NYT)

• HSBC will start using A.I. software to help it spot financial crimes. Investment funds are also racing to use A.I. to improve their stock-picking and save money.

• As law firms try to poach superstars, top lawyers are able to command the kind of salaries usually associated with leading investment bankers and hedge fund managers. (FT)

• Women who have their first child before 25 or after 35 eventually close the salary divide with their husbands. The years in between are most problematic, research shows. (NYT)

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