company town

Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts Expand Their Real-Estate Horizons

• Twenty-five Brooklyn hotel projects are in the pipeline, but more than half of those will likely never see the light of day. “Unfortunately the capital market treats the hotel industry very reciprocally, and it seems like our run of good fortune has come to a halt and that it’ll probably be a while before we see a new project funded and moving forward again,” says one hotel consulting executive. [NYP]
• Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts are changing plans — they’ve relisted their two apartments at the unfinished One Madison Park and instead will be moving into a $10 million four-bedroom palace in the complex’s annex. [WSJ]
• A multi-million-dollar Bridgehampton house designed by Peter Cook, Christy Brinkley’s ex, has been sitting on the market for two years. The price has dropped from $27 million to $20 million. [NYP]

• After Citigroup announced yesterday morning that it was going to buy back $7.3 billion of auction-rate securities, Merrill Lynch, UBS, and Morgan Stanley followed suit. But that might not be all. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JPMorgan Chase, and Wachovia are all under scrutiny by regulators, meaning they might have to pony up as well. [DealBook/NYT]
• Fannie Mae lost $2.3 billion in the last quarter, which was $2.54 per share. That’s a lot worse than the 72 cent per share loss that analysts were expecting. [Bloomberg]
• Merrill Lynch head honcho John Thain is beefing up his management team: He poached Chris Augustin from Citigroup’s ranks and named him chief investment officer. [Deal]

NBC is airing 3,600 hours of Olympic coverage, which the Peacock Network chief Jeff Zucker calls “the most ambitious broadcasting event ever attempted.” But the Games will be more than just an assumed ratings boost for NBC — it will also be an experiment with online content distribution, as thousands of hours of footage will be streamed live on the Internet. [CNBC]
• Magazine newsstand sales are on a decline (surprise, surprise!). Whether the change has to do with the economy or consumer behavior depends on whom you ask, but editors and publishers would rather it be the former. “I don’t think newsstand softness is systemic to magazines, but rather systemic to the economy,” said O publisher Jill Seelig. [WWD]
• Marvel Comics won an $80 million settlement from Ron Perelman. Nobody beats Wolverine, Ron. Nobody. [WSJ]

• Jeffrey Schmidt, the antitrust chief at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, is leaving to join New York’s Linklaters law firm. It was “the right time for me to return to private practice,” he said in a statement. [NYT]
• A study of civil lawsuits finds that plaintiffs who settle end up getting more of a payout than if they go to trial. [NYT]
• Speaking of payouts, now everyone’s being paid like a New York lawyer. As New York law-firm salaries remained mostly flat this year, healthy pay increases happened elsewhere. []

Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts Expand Their Real-Estate Horizons