The media mogul seems gleeful about life (and also his wife!) in a 'Newsweek' profile, Bank of America's CEO is startled by losses, a fifth-grade graduation ceremony gets ugly, and a hedge-funder pays $801,000 for a literal closet in today's collection of media, finance, law, and real-estate news.
Turns out it's not just Rupert Murdoch who's interested in buying Newsday; Mort Zuckerman, the real-estate magnate who owns the Daily News, and James Dolan, whose family owns Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, and the Knicks, are making bids as well.
According to Crain's, Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. might be plotting to buy Long Island tabloid Newsday. The news comes shortly after the release of the quarterly results of the Tribune Company (Newsday's owner), which showed an $78 million loss in its continuing operations at the end of 2007.
We were just tipped off to GQ's list of "the twenty-five most emasculated, disempowered, henpecked husbands on the planet" by Portfolio'sJeff Bercovici. He was fascinated by the fact that Wendi Deng, our best friend, pushed Rupert Murdoch around so much. Well, yeah. Doesn't everyone know that it's the powerful men who love to be dominated? But what other New York men did GQ out as submissives? Despite the obvious and frankly just-for-show sexism (because everyone knows that all dudes who work for GQ are either gay or Sensitive) we clicked over, and we were not disappointed.
How humiliating is it to be dropped off Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires? Just ask Jimmy Cayne and Lehman Brothers' Richard Fuld. Cayne, who stepped down from Bear Stearns earlier this year, and Fuld, who it was just announced raked in a paltry $40 million in 2007, were notably absent from this year's list, which was released yesterday. Does this mean they will be turned away from Steve Schwarzman's next birthday party? Will it be like, I'm sorry, sirs. Only billionaires are allowed here? If that's the case, it's going to be a pretty small crowd, unless Schwarzie plans to hold his fiesta in Moscow. This year, the Russian capital eclipsed New York in the amount of billionaires per capita: We have only 71, with an average net worth of $3.3 billion each, whereas in Russia, 74 billionaires, with an average net worth of $5.9 billion each, are whooping it up with the caviar blini. So other than deadbeats Fuld and Cayne, who else is keeping us down?
• You know how the stories in The Wall Street Journal have gotten punchier and shorter? Yeah, well, apparently it is not the great soft hand of Rupert Murdoch making these changes. The journalists are cleaving to him of their own free will. "Our people are doing this in advance, I think, to make him happy," a reporter told the Washington Post. [WP]
• "Is the Hillary Clinton campaign staffed with morons or do they just not care anymore? It is unbelievable that on the night before the Texas and Ohio (and Vermont and Rhode Island) primaries they would set up an impromptu press room in a freaking men's bathroom, complete with urinals." [HuffPo]
• Fox and CNN to go head-to-head. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• The Wall Street Journal wants a cut in its reporters' book deals. Also, they fired their longtime First Amendment lawyer Stuart Karle. "We're pissed," one reporter says. [NYO, Ad Age]
• Former Condé Nast execs James Truman and Mitch Fox are collaborating on a project that will combine "a green market and eco-technology with a Cirque du Soleil-like performance series." [WWD]
• Lawyers everywhere are crossing their fingers for a Michael Clayton Oscar win. "In 80 years, only 10 legal movies or actors playing members of the legal community have taken home gold," a columnist sighs. Awwwwww. Wait a second. We didn't do the math, but isn't that more than like, every other profession? How many people playing bloggers have won Oscars, for instance? Slickster lawyers. Always trying to trick us with their fancy talk. [Law.com]
• Could John Edwards be our next attorney general? [The American]
• The Sean Bell "50-shot" case is set to go to trial on Monday. [NYT]
With pieces donated by Banksy, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, and many more art heavyweights, the Sotheby's (AUCTION)Red at the auction house tonight is gearing up to be a collector's scrum. Christy Turlington, Dennis Hopper, and Mario Batali are all slated to attend, as is Michael Stipe, who already knows what he wants to buy. "I'll tell you, the Ed Ruscha is so beautiful" he gushed to New York's Fiona Byrne at Tuesday's Edun party at the Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea "I think it's a 2007, but it's brought what he does full circle, which is part of the reason I am drawn to it. I am tempted to bid; I may well." Elsewhere at the party, Josh Hartnett told us he's watching the pennies after a recent large purchase. "I have to find out if I have any money left," he said, not ruling out the prospect of picking something up from the auction, which will go to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. "I just bought a new place and totally redid it and put in new furniture, but I have to get something for the walls!" Last night at a Gagosian Gallery preview, celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi, Anna Wintour, Donna Karan, Tory Burch, Russell Simmons, and Ivanka Trump were more hushed about what they wanted. But we think we can guess which painting caught Rupert Murdoch's fancy. He spent the entire night standing in front of Damien Hirst's Where There's a Will, There's a Way. It's expected to fetch between $5 and $7 million tonight. Which, for Rupert, is probably a small price to pay for a piece of contemporary art that embodies your life philosophy.
• NBC golden boy Ben Silverman sells his production company, Reveille, to
Rupert Murdoch's daughter, Elizabeth. [LAT]
• CNN producer Chez Pazienza is forced to pack his bags after blogging for the Huffington Post. [TVNewser/Mediabistro]
• Us Weekly reports that OK! magazine "sensationalized" Grey's Anatomy star Eric Dane's battle with cancer in a cover story. (Actually, he only had some malignant cells on his lip frozen off in a doctor's office.) "This isn't the first time OK! has been wrong," they note. But is Us really crusading against yellow journalism? Or are they just annoyed they didn't get the scoop? [Us Weekly]
In last week's earnings call, Rupert Murdoch was asked about the talks he'd had with Yahoo about combining it with MySpace, a News Corp. property. "I think that day has passed," he said, "but you never know." Indeed! Today, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is reporting that its parent company, along with a private-equity group, is in talks to combine MySpace and other News Corp. properties with Yahoo. This new round of discussions, the Journal tells us, are aimed at "helping Yahoo fend off Microsoft Corp's unsolicited" $44.6 billion offer to buy the company. Under the deal being discussed, News Corp. would get a 20 percent stake in Yahoo, but, more importantly, "they’d be the largest single stockholder and effectively in control of the combined Yahoo/FIM entity and their nearly 150 billion monthly page views (which would be second only to Google)," according to TechCrunch. Which basically means, we think, that Murdoch would own at least a 65 percent stake in, like, our brains.
News Corp. Enters Yahoo Fray [WSJ]
• Now that Yahoo rejected Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid, it's up to Microsoft's self-described "gatekeeper of funding" Christopher P. Liddell to plot the company's next chess move. [DealBook/NYT]
• Fearful that 90 percent of TheStreet.com's franchise revolves around Jim Cramer, today the finance-driven Website launched Mainstreet.com, which will revolve around celebrities and personal finance. You think Britney's psychological drama is intense? Wait until you hear about her bond portfolio. [NYP]
• France's rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel might have had an accomplice. How did police find out? By sifting through 2,000 pages of instant-message traffic. Bet that was a gr8 time. [NYT]
Amy Fisher is unbothered that the bullet she fired into the head of Mary Joe Buttafuoco is still lodged in her brain. "I feel no sympathy for Mary Jo," she said. "I still have silicone in my boobs, and you don't hear me complaining. She can't feel her bullet, and I can't feel my silicone." Gwyneth Paltrow said that she and hubby Chris Martin are open to adopting a baby but that they'd likely get it from Brooklyn instead of Africa. Don't you know? It's CNN that is biased! They're the ones who have a problem with letting Fox News anchors appear on their shows, despite the fact that Fox News lets CNN anchors appear on its programs, the Rupert Murdoch–owned Post tells us. They're probably just scared. Pussies.
• Wall Street hopes Hillary has a super Super Tuesday, but private equity is standing by one of its own. Fourth-quarter campaign-financing reports show Senator Clinton taking in the lion’s share of donations from the Street’s top ten financial firms. Meanwhile, Bain Capital co-founder Mitt Romney is still tops among the PE crowd. [NYT/Dealbook]
• So, what’s it gonna be, boy? Stuck between Microsoft’s rock and Google’s hard place, Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang has limited options for saving his company at his disposal. [NYP]
• If you believe the latest hype, Citadel is paving the way for an IPO after all. Ken Griffin’s asset-management firm has split its proprietary hedge-fund business from its client-based options-making business. “Legally, it makes it cleaner,” said Josh Galper in an interview. [Bloomberg]
Today in the Daily News, Rush & Molloy attempt to make the case that News Corp. overlord Rupert Murdoch is still on Team Hillary, despite the fact that his New York Postendorsed Barack Obama last week and trashed her in the process. "When it comes to putting money down, Murdoch poured $2,300 – the maximum allowed for a primary race – into her campaign six months ago," the husband-and-wife duo point out. "He gave Obama nothing." But the key phrase in that sentence seems to be "six months ago." Public statements of editorial independence aside, the Post simply doesn't do anything that Rupert Murdoch doesn't want it to do. The official policy of loathing Senator Clinton was reiterated even today, with a masthead editorial attacking both her and her husband. David Carr, in today's Times, seems to see the issue more clearly:
[Clinton] never once appeared before [the Post's editorial board — a customary act of tribute by local politicians — and her lack of deference was duly noted by the paper’s leadership