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Josh Kushner and Karlie Kloss Plan to Revive Life Magazine

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Life, the iconic photography-focused chronicler of the 20th century, has taken on many forms, including a weekly magazine, a website and the occasional special issue.

Now, it is set to resume regular print publication, thanks to a deal between Barry Diller’s IAC and Josh Kushner, the venture capitalist whose Thrive Capital is one of the biggest investors in OpenAI, and his wife, the entrepreneur and model Karlie Kloss.

Kushner and Kloss are buying the publication rights to Life from Dotdash Meredith, the print and digital publisher. The deal is being done through Bedford Media, the media start-up that Kloss leads as C.E.O. (The price wasn’t disclosed.)

Life was once a central part of American culture, featuring the work of renowned photographers like Robert Capa and writing by top authors. (Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” first appeared in its pages.).

But its popularity plunged after the 1970s, with the magazine largely being reduced to light reading and celebrity news. In 2008, it became an online archive with occasional newsstand editions.

The backstory: Kushner approached Diller about resurrecting Life about eight months ago, DealBook hears. His pitch was that the magazine could be resurrected in print and online — as well as in newer iterations like events and collaborations with brands and major studios.

“Life’s legacy lies in its ability to blend culture, current events and everyday life — highlighting the triumphs, challenges and unique perspectives that define us,” Kushner said in a statement.

Dotdash Meredith will remain involved: It owns the rights to Life’s vast photo and content archive, and will continue to publish special single-topic print editions.

It’s the latest high-profile effort to resurrect a legacy publication during a tough time for the media industry. Old-school publishers like Condé Nast and newer ones like Vox and Vice have struggled amid a downturn in advertising.

But Kushner, who will serve as Life’s publisher, and Kloss are betting that they have a more focused approach that will succeed. “We see Life as an uplifting and unifying voice in a chaotic media landscape,” Kloss said.

The two have already purchased other famous titles. When Bedford was formed last year, it bought the style magazine i-D from Vice. And in 2020, Kloss organized an investor consortium to buy the high-end fashion magazine W.

What’s next: Bedford will begin hiring senior editorial staff for Life, which is tentatively set to resume regular publishing early next year.

Disney ends its legal fight with Ron DeSantis over its Florida special tax district. The entertainment giant and the state’s governor agreed to cooperate on new growth plans for the 25,000-acre area that encompasses Walt Disney World. It was a surprising end to a bitter fight that saw DeSantis and his allies take over the district and Disney fight back with quiet efforts to lock in its own development plans.

Amazon invests $2.75 billion more into Anthropic. The funding brings the tech giant’s total stake in Anthropic, a buzzy artificial intelligence start-up, to $4 billion. It’s the latest sign of tech giants’ eagerness to pour money into promising A.I. technology. Meanwhile, Salesforce reportedly paid more than $20 million to license Albert Einstein’s image to promote its A.I. efforts.

Deal making roars back in the first quarter. About $690.2 billion worth of mergers were announced in the first three months, up 30 percent from the same time last year, according to LSEG. But that growth was driven largely by mega transactions like Capital One’s $35 billion bid for Discover Financial Services: The number of announced deals was down 31 percent year on year.

Sam Bankman-Fried is set to be sentenced today, with prosecutors requesting that the FTX founder spend decades in prison and defense lawyers arguing for just a few years.

The 32-year-old’s fate will hinge on how Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York weighs how much damage he caused to investors and customers, and how many of them will get their money back.

Prosecutors want Bankman-Fried to serve up to 50 years. The onetime poster child of the crypto industry was found guilty in November of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy after being charged with stealing billions of dollars to fund a lavish lifestyle and his own investments.

In a court filing this month, prosecutors called the fraud “historic,” pointing to the magnitude of losses and the tens of thousands of potential victims, including unsophisticated retail investors.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers are calling for leniency. They have asked for a sentence of no more than six and a half years and accused the government of pursuing a “medieval” punishment of an “exceptionally brilliant” young man with much to offer society.

They have also pointed to claims by FTX’s lawyers that customers would eventually be repaid. The net harm to customers, lenders and investors, they said, is “zero.”

FTX’s current leader blasted those claims. John Ray told Judge Kaplan this month that recovering the money wasn’t guaranteed and would take work by his team. It was “categorically, callously, and demonstrably false” to say that no harm was caused, he added.

Victim restitution won’t guarantee a lighter sentence. “It’s a crime to defraud people,” Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, told DealBook. “And the sheer scale of the fraud here was large.” He expects a sentence of 20 to 30 years.

Mark Kornfeld of the law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney agreed that Bankman-Fried’s role in victims regaining their money may not matter much. “He’s not the one making them whole,” he told The Financial Times.


As the S&P 500 heads into the last trading day of the quarter, the index is closing in on a fifth straight monthly gain. Driving that are hopes that the Fed will start cutting interest rates as early as June.

But new inflation data could still derail that momentum. The Commerce Department is scheduled to release the Personal Consumption Expenditures index, which is closely watched in Washington, tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

Economists expect another hot number. The question is, how hot? Especially strong data could prod the Fed to delay lowering borrowing costs, and affect the number of cuts this year.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Headline P.C.E. for February is expected to show a 2.5 percent year-on-year gain, a slight increase from the January report.

  • Core P.C.E., which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, is forecast to come in at 2.8 percent on an annualized basis, roughly in line with the previous month.

  • Analysts will watch for signs that services inflation — spending on things like airfare, health care and rent — has begun to ease. Consumer spending in these areas has remained high in recent months.

Fed hawks are weighing in ahead of the report. Christopher Waller, a Fed governor, said in a speech yesterday that the central bank should hold off on cutting rates until he sees “at least a couple months of better inflation data.” (The title of his talk: “There’s Still No Rush.”)

Investors sold off Treasury notes after Waller’s comments. But the futures market this morning is still penciling in three rate cuts this year, more or less in line with the Fed’s most recent forecast.


Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates. In a lengthy post on LinkedIn, the hedge fund billionaire agreed with President Xi Jinping of China about an imminent century of extraordinary change and offered suggestions to help Beijing deal with its economic problems.


As policymakers try to figure out how to regulate the fast-growing artificial intelligence industry, Silicon Valley has ramped up its lobbying efforts to shape the debate.

Its latest tactic? Tapping into growing worries about China.

The Biden administration is doubling down on China’s tech threat. That’s evident by recent moves, such as signaling its support for legislation that could see TikTok banned in the U.S.

China is producing more top researchers, though the U.S. has a big lead on investments and breakthroughs.

Silicon Valley is trying to capitalize on the mood. On May 1, tech leaders — including Palantir’s Alex Karp, Sequoia Capital’s Roelof Botha and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures — are expected to attend a conference in Washington with dozens of lawmakers, like Speaker Mike Johnson, Republican of Louisiana.

Jacob Helberg, an adviser to Palantir and a member of a congressional commission on China’s threats to national security, is organizing the event.

For tech companies, Washington’s focus on China could be good for business. “The other side of slowing down China is minimal friction and regulation for U.S. companies,” Amba Kak, a former senior adviser on A.I. to the F.T.C., told The Times.

The event comes as the industry is ramping up its lobbying efforts. More than 350 organizations reported lobbying the federal government on A.I. issues during the first nine months of 2023, spending a total of $569 million on the effort, according to OpenSecrets.

But a Facebook co-founder is reportedly making a different case. Dustin Moskovitz, a major Democratic donor, met with President Biden last month to share his own arguments about A.I. safety, according to Puck.

Moskovitz and others have warned that “mitigating the risk of extinction from A.I. should be a global priority.” His nonprofit group, Open Philanthropy, has advocated regulations like software export controls and licensing requirements for certain A.I. models.

Deals

  • The British hedge fund mogul Chris Hohn led Institutional Investor’s latest Rich List with a $2.9 billion haul last year, followed by Millennium’s Izzy Englander and Citadel’s Ken Griffin. (II)

  • Liberty Media, the owner of Formula One, is reportedly in talks to buy the parent company of MotoGP, the motorcycle racing competition, for more than 4 billion euros (about $4.3 billion). (FT)

  • Josh Harris and David Blitzer, whose company owns the Philadelphia 76ers, have formed Unrivaled Sports to invest in youth-focused sports, with backing from the Chernin Group. (Unrivaled Sports)

Policy

  • A member of Qatar’s royal family invested roughly $50 million in Newsmax during the Trump administration. Staff at the conservative news publication were reportedly told to soften coverage of the country before and after the deal. (WaPo)

  • Joe Lieberman, the longtime Democratic senator and vice-presidential nominee who most recently helped lead the independent political group No Labels, died yesterday. He was 82. (NYT)

Best of the rest

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