Breakfast Briefing, 1.19.2017: Alibaba strikes Olympic sponsorship deal

Burson-Marsteller has a new U.S. crisis and public affairs leader in the U.S.; The public's view of Obamacare has turned positive at the last minute.

New this morning: Burson-Marsteller has named Helaine Klasky as its public affairs and crisis chair for the U.S., reporting to newly minted U.S. CEO Mike Fernandez; A Clermont Partners study found frustration among investor relations officers about investor sentiment and shareholder activism; The French government picked the Hoffman Agency to promote its tech sector.

Poll: Public’s view of Obamacare turns positive at the last minute. Amid widespread uncertainty about Republican plans to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act, the public’s opinion on the healthcare-reform law has turned slightly positive at the 11th hour, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Thursday morning. Republican governors are urging caution among GOP members of Congress about repealing the law without a replacement.

Alibaba to become major Olympic sponsor. The Chinese e-commerce company said Thursday that it has struck a deal estimated at $600 million to become an Olympic sponsor through 2028. The company will provide e-commerce and cloud services to the Games and bolster its Olympics Channel internet streaming service.

From Davos: U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May tried to ease Brexit concerns Thursday morning at the World Economic Forum, saying her country will be a proponent of globalism despite leaving the European Union. Business and political elites in Davos are saying they're ready to fight income inequality and urging peers to use local supply chains.

Keep one eye on…Former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for treasury secretary, is set to appear before the Senate on Thursday. The markets will be watching the testimony closely for policy clues about the dollar and taxes.

No arrest warrant for Samsung heir apparent. A South Korean court denied a request for an arrest warrant for Samsung executive Lee Yae-yong, who is tied up in a public corruption scandal involving the country’s impeached president. Prosecutors had asked the court to issue a warrant on bribery charges.

Fake news watch. BuzzFeed explores how a Scottish man got Infowars to publish an article about secret (and fake) recordings of Trump that have been shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook. Making the problem worse: A CBS affiliate in Atlanta ran an "investigation" into the debunked "Pizzagate" fake news story citing emails from Wikileaks and repeating conspiracy theories.

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