company town

Fannie and Freddie Get Some Good News

• Even though Lehman Brothers hasn’t decided to officially sell its asset-management arm, KKR, Hellman & Friedman, and Bain Capital are the top bidders in line to buy it. Blackstone and Carlyle were eliminated from the auction. [FT]
• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are seeing the biggest profits on new investments in a decade. [Bloomberg]
• The government has long been wary of private funds financing public infrastructure projects, but the tide may be turning as investment firms such as KKR, the Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse step up to the plate to pay for rebuilding roads, cleaning up roadkill, and maintaining runways. [NYT]

• It comes as no surprise, really: The New York Times Company announced that ad revenue in its news group declined 17.9 percent in July. What is shocking, however, is that the media company’s Internet ad revenue grew an anemic one percent. Meanwhile, vagilante Scott Galloway and partner Philip Falcone upped their stake in the company. [Ad Age, WSJ]
• American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer and Star magazine, is attempting to refinance itself with a cash tender offer to buy out holders of $570 million of the company’s debt. [NYP]
• As Arianna Huffington prepares to get another round of capital to finance the Huffington Post — this time between $10 million and $20 million — journalist James Rainey asks, will the Website’s content ever live up to its hype? [LAT]

• Here’s a real-estate story that will warm your heart: Billionaire and Blackstone co-founder Pete Peterson bought a $3 million pad for pal Leslie Gelb and his family. “It’s perfect for them,” Peterson said. “It’s not a large apartment — has kind of a small dinning [sic] room and a small living room, and I don’t know whether there are two bedrooms or three but they’re rather small … What I really like is that they like it.” [NYO]
• Do hedge-funders Steven Cohen and David Shaw, who own a combined 14.3 percent of the Orient-Express Hotels (properties include the ‘21’ Club, the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, and the Orient-Express train), want to push the company into putting itself up for sale? Maybe so. They called for shareholders to vote to collapse the company’s dual-class ownership structure, which is a step in the for-sale-sign direction. [NYP]
• Meanwhile, hedge funds are now providing cash to help finance purchases of office towers, retail stores, hotels, and other commercial real-estate investments. [WSJ]

• Lawyers, rev up your engines. If Mayor Bloomberg moves forward with building a garbage-truck garage near the Holland Tunnel, Soho residents might sue. [NYS]
U.S. News & World Report is considering retooling its ranking system so that schools jockeying for top positions can’t discount low-scoring applications whom they funnel into part-time programs. [WSJ]
• The American Bar Association thinks it’s A-okay to outsource legal work to India, saying the trend is a “salutary one for our globalized economy.” []

Fannie and Freddie Get Some Good News