By Geoff Colvin and Ryan Derousseau
July 1, 2016

Much news of power and leadership as we head into the Independence Day weekend:

-The biggest story is Boris Johnson’s surprise withdrawal from the race to succeed David Cameron as prime minister. We mentioned it yesterday as the news broke, and far deeper coverage is now available. You can read all about the betrayals, base motivations, and secret alliances behind the decision of Johnson’s intended campaign manager, Michael Gove, to announce his own candidacy just three hours before Johnson was to announce his, and the calculations driving the three other candidates. If you come across an article about it in U.S. media that doesn’t mention House of Cards or Game of Thrones, please let me know.

The larger question may be how anyone could possibly succeed at leading Britain through two years of negotiations with the EU that are virtually guaranteed to disappoint the electorate, a period when the costs of Brexit will almost certainly outweigh any eventual benefits. Voters may wonder if anyone crazy enough to want this job should actually have it.

-Mondelez International’s bid for Hershey pits two headstrong and successful CEOs against one another. Mondelez’s Irene Rosenfeld turned around Kraft, from which Mondelez was spun off in 2012; its stock has almost doubled since then. Hershey’s John Bilbrey rescued that company after becoming CEO in 2011, and its stock also has nearly doubled. Hershey promptly rejected Mondelez’s offer yesterday, which by itself means little; that’s a standard bargaining tactic. But Bilbrey has never struck me as a CEO who’s eager to hand over his work-in-progress to someone else, and Rosenfeld does not shy from a fight, as she demonstrated when activist investors Nelson Peltz and Bill Ackman targeted her at Kraft. A further complication: A charitable trust controls 81% of Hershey’s shareholder votes and has rejected takeover bids in the past. This drama is worth watching.

Marissa Mayer presided over Yahoo’s annual meeting yesterday, and it was snore-worthy for its entire, brief, 45-minute duration. There’s nothing left to say. As she has done for months, she spoke in a strange, other-worldly way about Yahoo’s “compelling products” and business model when all anyone cares about is how much the company will get as it sells those internet operations. I suppose she wants to keep talking up the businesses in order to encourage higher bids, but I suspect Verizon and the other bidders have already made up their minds about the business’s value.

-Lawyers argued in a Massachusetts courtroom over Sumner Redstone’s mental capacity in a case we described yesterday. Nothing new of significance came out. The most compelling factoid: More than 40 lawyers were in the courtroom. This mess will get worse before it gets better.

We’ll be back on Tuesday. If you’re in the U.S., enjoy the long weekend.

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