What is it about the summer months that has everyone going a bit crazy? Now that Memorial Day is behind us, we have several months of sunshine and barbeques to look forward to. We also have the usual shenanigans of our favorite billionaires to keep us entertained. This week, a tech billionaire may be swooping in to save Gawker from his nemesis's attack, a Chinese billionaire is betting big on education, and China's richest man is intent on taking Disney down. Let's get right down to it…
Is eBay Going To Rescue Gawker?
Billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar may be swooping in to rescue Gawker from the financial troubles caused by his arch-rival Peter Thiel. Thiel is the man bankrolling the lawsuits Nick Denton's suite of websites is facing. Omidyar would do this through his First Look Media arm. According to the media company's website, "First Look is dedicated to protecting the First Amendment — and the critical freedoms it provides all Americans." First Look was created in October 2013 after the Edward Snowden leaks.
The history between Omidyar and Thiel goes back more than a decade, to when eBay first bought Thiel's PayPal. First Look is reportedly reaching out to other media organizations to help Gawker fund the appeal of the $140 million payout in the Thiel funded Hulk Hogan lawsuit.
Chinese Billionaire Creates Huge Education Prize
A Chinese Internet billionaire is betting big on education. Charles Chen Yidan has created the world's biggest education prize, worth $7.3 million. Called the Yidan Prize, it will honor outstanding individuals, such as teachers, and provide them with capital to fund their projects. Yidan is looking to make this award the Nobel Prize for education.
The prize money will be divided into two categories: the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development.
Yidan co-founded Tencent, one of the world's largest websites.
Wang Jianlin's Anti-Disney Crusade
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, is on a mission to stop Disney in its tracks. His conglomerate, Wanda, opened its first theme park in China just weeks before Disneyland's Shanghai outpost opens. Wanda City is in south-eastern Nanchang and contains a giant mall and theme park, which has "the highest and longest roller coaster and the highest drop tower in China", according to a statement by the group. The project cost $4.7 billion to build. The Wanda Mall has an indoor ocean park, film, park, and children's zone. Wanda City also has a 14 screen, 3,000 seat movie theatre, 50 restaurants, retail stores, and nightclubs.
Wang Jianlin sees Disney's foray into China as an invasion of foreign cultures and wants to put a stop to that. Jianlin plans to open six more theme parks in China over the next three years. He plans to have 15 open by 2020. His goal is to make sure that Disney is unable to make a profit in China for between 10 and 20 years.