Joseph Lewis Doesn't Play Bridge

FINANCE
• Henry Kravis failed to come to terms with top banks on financing for his all-important $26 billion buyout of First Data, the first in over $300 billion worth of LBOs that the banks need to get off their books. Negotiations will be pushed back another week, but it's not looking good. [DealBook/NYT]
• The new rumor on the Street is that Joseph Lewis, the billionaire British currency speculator, bought into Bear Stearns on the advice of longtime Bear broker Kurt Butenhoff. The previous rumor, that Lewis got the idea from CEO Jimmy Cayne while playing bridge, seems unlikely since Lewis doesn't even play bridge. [CNBC]
• Thanks to their friends at NASA, the CEOs of Google can park their three private jets — including a huge Boeing 767 — just seven minutes away from the tech-giants headquarters. Something tells us no Manhattan CEO's helicopter perks will beat that. [NYT]

MEDIA
• Murdoch made his first visit to the Wall Street Journal's newsroom and apparently got a kick out of his new minions' signs. What tyrant doesn't enjoy a little levity from his subjects before crushing them like a bug? [Gawker & Reuters]
• James Frey got a book deal; everyone's going apeshit. [NYT, WSJ, Gawker]
• An analyst at Lehman Brothers says there's "no bottom in sight" for the newspaper sector, and the Times will soon be worth only half of its already depreciated value. [MarketBeat/WSJ]

LAW
• Details on the judges' suit for higher wages: They demand a 26 percent salary increase, together with retroactive pay back to 2000, claiming that the constitution guarantees their salaries will not drop but they have received no cost-of-living increases. [New York Law Journal]
• Looks like Ted Olson is no longer the front-runner for Attorney General after Senate majority leader Harry Reid threatened to block the nomination. Though with this crazy White House, who knows? [Law Blog/WSJ]
• Private equity, tired of wasting time and money with outside firms, have taken to hiring their own legal aces. [National Law Journal]