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Tech wrap: Zuckerberg for prez?; selling Angie's List; SpaceX spy satellite launch (+ video); SF-Airbnb deal; new bladder cancer drug


May, 2 2017, 6:31 AM

In today's Bulldog wrapup of science and technology news:

The details:

An Ohio family that hosted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for dinner says he made it clear he wasn't planning to run for president in 2020.

Zuckerberg dined Friday at the Moore family home in Newton Falls during his mission to visit all 50 states. His trips have fueled speculation about his political aspirations on social media and the "Today" show.

The Moore family members are Democrats who voted for Republican Donald Trump for president. They say they talked to Zuckerberg about the decline of manufacturing and other challenges facing their town.

Zuckerberg told Buzzfeed in January he wasn't planning to run for president when he announced his trip. A representative says his intention was to learn about the different U.S. communities that use Facebook.

Zuckerberg visited a Wisconsin farm Sunday and posted photos of himself driving a tractor.

Media and internet company IAC/InterActiveCorp on Monday said it is buying Angie's List Inc. with the aim of melding the consumer reviews company with its HomeAdvisor business and creating a new publicly traded enterprise.

The combined company will be called ANGI Homeservices Inc. and will keep both the Angie's List and HomeAdvisor brands.

Founded by Angie Hicks in 1995, Angie's List lets users research, shop for and rate local plumbers, home cleaners and other service providers. HomeAdvisor.com offers resources for home repair and improvement projects, such as helping find the average project cost across the country and finding professionals for the work.

It's a merger IAC first proposed in 2015, which Angie's List rejected, saying the per-share offer of $8.75 was too low. But sales at Angie's List have been sliding, and in November it said it was exploring "strategic alternatives."

Under the deal announced Monday, Angie's List stockholders will get either one share of ANGI Homeservices Inc., or $8.50 in cash, for each share of Angie's List they own. The cash portion of the deal is capped at $130 million.

At $8.50 a share, the deal values Angie's list at about $505 million.

SpaceX launched a top-secret spy satellite for the U.S. government Monday morning and then successfully landed the booster for recycling.

The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from its NASA-leased pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

[VIDEO: Watch the launch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzQpkQ1etdA ]

It was SpaceX's first mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. No details were divulged about the newly launched NRO satellite. Instead, SpaceX focused its webcast on the successful touchdown of the first-stage booster.

The leftover booster — its job done — landed next door at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station several minutes after liftoff. Sonic booms rattled the area, serving as a Monday morning wake-up call. Across the country, cheers erupted at SpaceX Mission Control at company headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

SpaceX strives to return most of its boosters for reuse. The company's first recycled rocket flew last month.

This was the fourth SpaceX booster landing at Cape Canaveral; even more have landed on ocean platforms.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said via Twitter that both the launch and landing were good. But the upper-level wind at liftoff was "unusually high."

"Tough call, as high altitude wind shear was at 98.6 percent of the theoretical load limit," he said in a tweet. Earlier in the morning, he noted about the wind, "Worrying, but not a showstopper."

San Francisco and Airbnb reached a deal Monday in a lawsuit stemming from San Francisco's efforts to try to prevent the short-term rental website from including housing units that violate city rules restricting who can list properties and for how long.

Critics complain Airbnb's business model encourages landlords to take already scarce rentals off the market. Supporters say they couldn't live in San Francisco without the extra money made in rentals.

City officials responded by allowing owners and tenants to rent out their places for short periods, but under strict conditions aimed at protecting the city's housing supply. And they required residents to register their units to help officials monitor their compliance.

Monday's settlement came in a lawsuit filed by Airbnb that sought to block a city ordinance that threatened the company with fines up to $1,000 for every booking it completed for a unit not registered with the city.

Under the deal, residents will have to provide their registration number in order to list a rental on the website.

U.S. regulators have approved a new drug that harnesses the immune system to treat bladder cancer that has spread after chemotherapy or surgery.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Imfinzi for advanced bladder cancer, along with a companion diagnostic test for identifying which patients are most likely to benefit from it.

Imfinzi, also known as durvalumab, is part of a new generation of drugs that stimulate the immune system to help fight cancer. British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC, which developed the drug, is testing it for several other cancers.

The average monthly list price for Imfinzi is roughly $15,000, but varies with the patient's weight, according to AstraZeneca. It's given by IV, usually every two weeks.

Imfinizi works by binding to a protein, found in varying levels on tumor cells, that blocks immune system cells from attacking the tumor.