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Dow Jones

  1. company town
    The Return of Imus?MEDIA • CBS Radio employees are hinting that Don Imus may be back in the fall. [NYP] • Former Intermix head Brad Greenspan, who once owned MySpace, has made his own bid for Dow Jones. [NYT] • Universal Music has canceled its contract with iTunes and will now sell music through Apple at will. [NYT]
  2. in other news
    ‘WSJ’ Editorial Deal Reached: Umpteenth Verse, Same As the First So Rupert Murdoch made a bid for Dow Jones. And he said he’d create an independent oversight board for The Wall Street Journal like he did for the London Times when he bought it, which can veto News Corp.’s top-level hiring decisions. And the Bancrofts were miffed about that. The London board wasn’t strong enough. It couldn’t protect their paper enough. Hell, it couldn’t even protect Harry Evans. They wanted a strong, all-powerful board. They wanted Murdoch’s money, but they didn’t want him hurting their newspaper. Murdoch, however, rejected their proposal. He didn’t want an all-powerful outside board. He didn’t even offer a board as powerful as London’s. “They can’t sell their company and still control it — that’s not how it works,” he said to Time magazine. “I’m sorry!” And now today the Times reports a deal has been reached on an oversight board. It will, after all that, be much like London’s. Still Another View of Role of Panel Proposed for Wall St. Journal [NYT]
  3. company town
    Liz Claiborne, 78FASHION • Sportswear pioneer Liz Claiborne died yesterday of abdominal cancer at age 78. [WWD] • VH1 plans a new reality series called America the Ugly in which normal people get berated by the Wilhelmina executive from The Agency. [Flypaper] • The new face of Versace is a 16-year-old boy. [French Vogue via Fashionista]
  4. company town
    Murdoch Waits on BancroftsMEDIA • Rupert Murdoch reaches a deal with Dow Jones and gives the Bancrofts three weeks to take it or leave it. [Reuters] • Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker’s Washington correspondent, defected for a top role at The Atlantic. [WWD] • Secret passageway from Sardi’s to the Times building no longer a secret, or useful. [NYO]
  5. it just happened
    Dow Jones, Murdoch Reach Deal (Sort of, Probably) Dow Jones and News Corporation have reached a deal on editorial independence! Huzzah! Now the deal can go forward, and the Bancrofts can get their money, and Murdoch can get his newspaper, and the august traditions of the Wall Street Journal can be protected! So how did it all happen? Um, dunno. It’s the top story on the Journal’s site and one of the top stories on Times’ site, but, actually, no one knows what the deal was — Murdoch dismissed the last Bancroft proposal — whether it’s got more teeth than Murdoch’s London Times deal, whether the Bancrofts will actually accept it, whether Murdoch will sweeten his bid, or, well, just about anything else. But, hey, let’s not get caught up in such trivialities. Congrats, Rupert. Dow Jones, News Corp. Agree on Set of Editorial Protections [WSJ] Tentative Accord Reached on Dow Jones Control [NYT]
  6. company town
    Bedbugs Infest Cadwalader, Wickersham & TaftLAW • Bedbugs infest Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s New York office, but the person who “brought the insects into the firm … is no longer associated with the firm.” [Above the Law] • Wannabe law students are looking to blogs and independent rankings for information about prospective schools. [WSJ] • Two partners at Chadbourne & Parke are drafting a lawsuit to force the New York State Legislature to raise judicial pay. [New York Law Journal]
  7. in other news
    Rejected Proposal Shows Bancrofts Really, Really, Really Hate Rupert Murdoch So how much exactly does the Bancroft family dislike, distrust, and generally feel icky about Rupert Murdoch? Last week the family’s lawyers drafted a proposal to protect the paper’s editorial independence in the event of a sale, and the family rejected it as insufficiently strong. Tim Rutten at the L.A. Times got his hands on the plan, which he calls “an extraordinary document — unusual in the severity of its prescriptions; stunning in its unspoken assumption of Murdoch’s reflexive bad faith.” So what were the proposals? A few statements of principle — “the clear separation of news and opinion,” “the freedom to report the news free from fear or favor and to express opinions critical of governmental agencies, interest groups, management, customers and others with a stake in the success of the company,” and the like — combined with a board-of-directors subcommittee called the “Special Committee on Editorial and Journalistic Independence and Integrity,” basically charged with protecting those principles.
  8. company town
    Another Buyer Interested in Dow JonesMEDIA • Brian Tierney, the ad executive who bought the Philadelphia Inquirer, is interested in bidding on Dow Jones. [DealBook/NYT] • Women’s Wear Daily is the latest paper to sell ads on its front page; the crass commercialism doesn’t seem to bother anyone these days. [NYT] • The Newspaper Guild of New York (representing Time, Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Money, People, and Sports Illustrated) accuses Time Inc. of bargaining in bad faith. [Romenesko]
  9. in other news
    William Safire to Monitor Murdoch’s Grammar?The biggest sticking point in the Bancroft-Murdoch dialogue about the fate of Dow Jones is seeming to be the Wall Street Journal’s storied editorial independence. The Bancrofts want Murdoch’s cash, but they don’t want him mucking with their newsroom. The solution? To create an outside board with the power to hire and fire top editors. This leads to intriguing idle amusement for the rest of us: Who will sit on the WSJ board? Today’s Times gamely speculates. An ideal candidate would be a big-name journalist at the sunset of his or her career with no Dow Jones ties. Ben Bradlee, Joe Lelyveld, and even William Safire are suggested. For its own part, the Journal’s editorial page got into the act yesterday, with a unique screed touting its own integrity: “Our owners have allowed us to speak our mind.” Which is particularly easy in cases like this, no doubt, in which they all agree. Independence Still the Issue at Dow Jones [NYT] Earlier: Rupert Murdoch, Constructivist?
  10. in other news
    Rupert Murdoch, Constructivist “Constructive” was the word coming out of yesterday’s meeting between Rupert Murdoch and the Bancroft family. In such cases, “constructive” usually means the sides haven’t agreed on a single thing but will talk again. We know that the conversation ran far longer than expected, about four hours (good news for Murdoch), and stalled over the issue of editorial independence (good news for wary Wall Street Journal writers). See, the Bancrofts want the Journal’s staff to report to a family-run board completely outside the News Corp. structure. Murdoch finds the idea unworkable and counterproposed an “independent” governing board like the one he set up for the London Times when he bought it in 1981. Of course, upon buying the Times, Rupe wasted no time before muscling out its editor, board or no board.
  11. company town
    If You’ve Been Injured by a Man With Tuberculosis …LAW • So the guy with the dangerous strain of tuberculosis (now quarantined in Colorado) is, naturally, a personal-injury lawyer. [Law Blog/WSJ] • An in-house lawyer at G.E. sued the company for gender discrimination but worries she won’t find many plaintiffs to join her in a class action. [NYT] • Though William Lerach was never indicted as part of the Millberg Weiss kickback case, he is considering leaving his own securities firm. [NYT]
  12. the morning line
    Murdoch’s Meeting • Now, finally, inevitably, the Bancroft family has announced it would “consider” selling Dow Jones. The rest is hemming and hedging, but do click through for the most ridiculously villainous photo of Murdoch the Times has ever run. [NYT] • Leroy Comria, a city councilman, has been issued police protection after another councilman’s aide kinda sorta threatened to assassinate him. Why? Because Comria wouldn’t vote to rename a street in honor of Black Nationalist Sonny Carson. [NYP] • While Bloomberg wants to increase the city’s real-estate tax cut from 5 to 8.5 percent, renters are screwed again — looks like the Christine Quinn–proposed $300 refund to the city tenants won’t happen. [NYDN] • Columbia University, squeezed by the AG’s office over an alleged violation of student-loan laws, denies any wrongdoing — but agrees to pay up to a million dollars nonetheless. [amNY] • And, in a possible first, the Hotel Chelsea Blog has inspired a documentary, Living With Legends. The last outpost of bohemia, gentrification, whither New York, blah blah. [WNBC]
  13. company town
    Bonus Season, Already?FINANCE • Investment bankers’ bonuses could break records again, with one recruiting firm predicting 10 to 15 percent increases. [DealBook/NYT] • Ben Weston, the chief of Merrill Lynch’s hedge-fund development group, stepped down after two years with the firm. [Bloomberg] • Is “back pain” the new euphemism for buyout deal? The CFO of Palm might know. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
  14. in other news
    Rupert Loves an Underperformer “Executives at Dow Jones declined to comment for this article” is probably the least surprising sentence to be found in today’s Times. The article in question is devoted entirely to guessing if, and by how much, the Wall Street Journal is in the black. The answer is stark: “barely, and maybe not for long.” As a whole, WSJ’s parent Dow Jones just about breaks even; so does its iconic media property, which, despite a weekday circulation of two million, suffers from a bad case of advertiser flight. (The Website fares better, of course.) So far, WSJ’s 2007 ad figures are about 10 percent off the already none-too-rosy projections. The moderately juicy inside-baseball part, buried in the last few paragraphs of the Times piece, blames the musical chairs at the top of the Journal’s ad division, specifically the loss of exec Judy Barry to a squabble with Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino. Needless to say, Murdoch’s ghostly visage hovers over the story’s every downbeat sentence: make the rupees, or face the Rupe. At Journal, Slim Margins Open Door to Murdoch [NYT]
  15. company town
    Of Course Gordon Gekko Is a Hedge-Fund ManagerFINANCE • Gordon Gekko is back! Michael Douglas will reprise his Oscar-winning Wall Street role, only this time as a hedge-fund magnate. [NYT] • James Simons tops a list of Wall Street’s highest earners. [Forbes] • Two of Rudy Giuliani’s firms represented both a creditor and a debtor in a bankruptcy case, a possible conflict of interest that was not disclosed to the judge. [WSJ]
  16. company town
    Hedge-Fund Managers Can’t Get Over AerosmithFINANCE • At this year’s 2007 Robin Hood benefit, philanthropic hedge funders paid $400,000 to sing a song with Aerosmith, and $1.3 million for dinner with Mario Batali. [NYT] • Hafiz Naseem, a junior investment banker at Credit Suisse, was charged with insider trading after he tipped off associates in Pakistan about deals, including the TXU buyout, before they were made public. [NYT] • Google is the No.1 preferred employer for MBA students, with more traditional companies McKinsey and Goldman taking the next two slots. [Fortune via CNNMoney]
  17. in other news
    Murdoch Won’t Meddle With ‘Journal’ Edit — But Wants Shorter Articles, More D.C. Coverage, and Is Flummoxed By Walt MossbergRupert Murdoch has today gone to — of all places — the Times to make a very public case for his Wall Street Journal bid. We were sold on the story by its photo alone, of Rupe luxuriating on a white couch — sorry, a “taupe sofa,” according to Richard Siklos and Andrew Ross Sorkin’s account — but it got even better as we read on. The mogul makes a number of specific points about how he’d improve the paper. He’s bored by some long articles and wants to take the Saturday Journal glossy to compete with the Times Magazine. He’d like to see more coverage of Washington. He reads but doesn’t quite “get” tech columnist Walt Mossberg. Then there are the Rupert classics: globalize and synergize. Television! India! China! (The Great Wall Street Journal?) Those ideas of change aside, Murdoch swears that he “won’t meddle” with the editorial side or cut staff. Unless he will: “I’m not saying it’s going to be a holiday camp for everybody,” he says. The paper’s union rep is already organizing an e-mail drive asking the Bancrofts to stay strong. Murdoch on Owning the Wall Street Journal [NYT]
  18. company town
    Welcome, Hedge-Fund Backlash!FINANCE • Not all hedge funds are profitable. UBS is closing its fund, Dillon Read Capital Management, after a loss of $124 million in the first quarter. [Reuters via NYT] • Ken Moelis, who is leaving as UBS’s investment banking president in June, is trying to staff his boutique investment bank with former colleagues like Navid Mahmoodzadegan and Warren Woo. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • The New York Fed warns that the current hedge-fund climate puts the economy at risk for a Long Term Capital–esque crisis. [DealBook/NYT]
  19. company town
    Bancroft Family Divided Over Dow Jones BidMEDIA • A Bancroft spokesman said family members who hold slightly more than 50 percent of voting shares will oppose News Corp.’s bid for Dow Jones. [NYT] • Don Imus hired a top-notch First Amendment attorney to see that he gets the $40 million left on his contract. [Fortune/CNNMoney] • Former Newsweek Interactive head Mark Whitaker will oversee TV programming and Web content at NBC News. [WWD]
  20. company town
    Murdoch Makes a Move on Dow JonesMEDIA • News Corp. made an unsolicited offer of $60 a share for Dow Jones today, sending the share price up 58 percent on the news before trading was suspended. [CNBC] • GQ auctioned off a one-month internship in its marketing department on eBay. The winner paid $30,200 — likely more than a marketing assistant makes in a year. [eBay via Media Mob/NYO] • Contrarian Christopher Hitchens called the Virginia Tech shootings a “non-story” at the annual ASME board meeting yesterday. [Fishbowl NY/Mediabistro]
  21. company town
    Kate Moss Gets a Font and Handicapped ParkingFASHION • Kate Moss gets her own typeface and her own wheelchair for a foot infection. [Fashionista] • Gareth Pugh’s music muse is eighties diva Annie Lennox. [British Vogue] • Tuleh’s Bryan Bradley is designing a line for Lord & Taylor. Charles Nolan is reportedly next in line for the stuffy department store. [Second City Style]
  22. the morning line
    But How Does He Feel About Trans Fats? • In the no-brainer firing of the year, the Health Department has divested itself of the inspector who gave a passing grade to the famously ratty KFC–Taco Bell. The shuttered place, meanwhile, became a locus for some fun public art. [NYT] • Underreported amid the possible culprits of yesterday’s Wall Street carnage — China, Cheney — were horrendously timed technical glitches at the NYSE: At some point, trades were done via paper tickets. [NYP] • Add a federal investigation to the list of JetBlue’s headaches: The U.S. Transportation Secretary is calling for an official look-see into the recent snowstorm stranding of passengers on the JFK tarmac. American Airlines will get its own probe for a similar incident in Austin. [amNY] • The Thurmond-Sharpton Roots-on-acid miniseries continues to play out: The senator’s biracial daughter, Essie Mae Washington Williams, is reprimanding the reverend for “overreacting,” saying “[my father] did many wonderful things for black people.” [NYDN] • And meet Gerard Mortier, new director of the New York City Opera, whose farewell production on his previous job was a staging of Die Fledermaus with cocaine, incest, suicide, and Nazis. Welcome!!! [CBS News]
  23. company town
    Goldman Bonuses Depress AllFINANCE • Goldman lieutenants score $52.5 million bonuses, take home more than most Wall Street CEOs. [NYT] • Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman calls making a $36 billion real-estate deal “an out-of-body experience.” [Knowledge@Wharton via DealBreaker] • Are public companies going private just so the CEO can make more money? [DealBook/NYT]
  24. company town
    Sullivan & Cromwell Bleeds AssociatesLAW • Sullivan & Cromwell lost about 30 percent of its associates in 2004 and 2005. It might take more than a raise to fix that. [WSJ] • Don’t despair, associates! Where Simpson Thacher goes, Milbank Tweed, Sullivan & Cromwell, Paul Weiss, Cleary Gottlieb, and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft are sure to follow. [Above the Law] • Long Island lawyer Gary Berenholtz, who once exposed a corrupt Brooklyn judge, stole money from clients and his partner’s widow to fund fine dining and finer vacations. [NYP] FINANCE • The New York Stock Exchange will trade almost exclusively electronically by the end of today; investment firms will continue to lay off floor traders. [WSJ] • The New York City employees’ pension fund is the lead plaintiff in a suit against Apple Computer Inc. for overcompensating executives with illegal stock options. [Reuters]