Alan Greenspan Regrets RienIn light of the recent barrage of criticism of him, and in light of the fact that Greenspan is 82, the former Fed chairman tries to defend himself against all the bad things people are saying about him.
Buyout Exodus at ‘Newsweek’A dating blogger seeks a book deal, trading desks think recession, and Jean Nouvel wins the Pritzker in our daily roundup of media, finance, law, and real-estate news.
Katie Couric Must Really Hate GoldfishMEDIA
• Katie Couric’s YouTube channel provides real service journalism: While chitchatting with Joe Biden, the CBS anchor recommends viewers tune into her favorite viral video — the one where a little girl watches her goldfish get flushed down the toilet. [HuffPo]
• The New York Times op-ed columnists can’t endorse political candidates. This “isn’t a problem” for Maureen Dowd because she doesn’t “do a partisan column.” [NYO]
• Vegas, take note: Big Apple broadsheets are front-runners in the race for the Pulitzers. [E&P]
white men with money
John Paulson Acquires an Alan Greenspan
For sub-prime sufferers who blame Alan Greenspan for setting off the collapse with his low-interest-rate policy, today’s announcement that the former Federal Reserve chairman has joined up with John Paulson, the Queens native and hedge-fund manager who famously made billions of dollars betting against the mortgage market, must especially sting. Paulson & Company, which has assets of $28 billion, have hired Greenspan to be their own personal Nostradamus — they’re the only hedge fund he will advise on the direction of the economy and for whom he will assess, according to the Financial Times, “the potential for and severity of a US recession,” so that next time there’s a giant bust (credit cards! Auto loans!), they can roll around in piles of filthy lucre while the rest of us rubes wail and tear our garments in the streets. Although not if we’re canny. According to the Journal, Paulson, who recently gave a presentation titled “The Worst Is Yet to Come,” has been known to tell investors “it’s still not too late” to bet on economic troubles.
Trader Made Billions On Subprime [WSJ]
Greenspan Joins NY Hedge Fund [FT]
John Mayer Has Another Girlfriend Today John
Mayer and Cameron Diaz canoodled at the Bowery Hotel. Protesters are hanging around Viacom head Phillippe Dauman and buyout artist Henry Kravis’s respective homes. An assistant of Annie Leibovitz was involved in a bad Vespa accident but is expected to recover. Eli Wallach, the star of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, just turned 92 but is still acting. Morgan Spurlock may or may not have found Osama bin Laden in this latest documentary. Donald Trump says he did not leave a waiter a $10,000 tip, despite what was reported by the restaurant.
Amy Sacco, Battling Love’s Velvet Rope?A Long Island woman Michael Lohan met in family court is pissed off because he has another girlfriend. An item claims there’s “trouble in paradise” between Amy Sacco and fiancé Luigi Di Carolis but doesn’t specify what it is. Bill Clinton threw Chelsea’s ex Ian Klaus a book party at Tabla. A number of people invited to the In Touch party at Tenjune never made it inside because the doormen let in their personal friends instead of invited guests. Denise Rich plans to take her 6,000-foot yacht, now docked at the Battery Park Marina, to the Caribbean for Thanksgiving. Gillian Hearst-Shaw and Christian Simonds are getting married tomorrow at the Pierre Hotel, with Lydia set to be her sister’s maid of honor.
Topshop Signs a Lease in NYC?FASHION
• Breaking rumor alert: After months of hinting, Topshop has possibly, maybe signed a New York lease. Anglophiles and Kate Moss–ophiles, rejoice! [Fashionista]
• First he’s out as the designer of Dior Homme. Now, Hedi Slimane’s been replaced by none other than BFF Karl Lagerfeld as the photographer of the ad campaigns. Oh, cruel fashion world! [WWD]
• Giorgio Armani’s raking in the dough. The designer sold back a 5 percent stake in his company to Giorgio Armani SpA for about $110 million. [British Vogue]
Walters Says Greenspan Always Gave Bad AdviceFINANCE
• Alan Greenspan’s old flame Barbara Walters complained the G-man never gave good advice, insisting back in the seventies that she avoid an apartment on Fifth Avenue because it was a “bad investment.” [NYP]
• Henry Kravis got a little egg on his face thanks to the collapse of the $8 billion Harman buyout. Steve Schwarzman gets bragging rights or an excuse to back out of his own impossibly huge deals. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• With computers taking over, the NYSE plans to cut the trading floor down by half from its historic high. The famous Main Room and “the Garage,” opened in 1903 and 1922 respectively, will remain open. [NYT]
The Plaza Turns 100The Plaza Hotel turns 100 on October 1, and she’s having a birthday party. MTV nixed having the stars of The Hills go to the Gossip Girl premiere party at Tenjune. On NY1’s Wiseguys, Ed Koch and Al D’Amato berated lefty Mark Green over MoveOn.org’s “General Betray Us” ad. Alina Shriver, sister-in-law of Maria and wife of Anthony Kennedy, just debuted a clothing line. A Pontiac had to be removed from the stage of 50 Cent’s concert at Hammerstein Ballroom because it had gas in the tank. Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, and Violet played in Sheep Meadow. Eartha Kitt, better known as Catwoman, says she’s 80 but still “burning.”
Murdoch Mulls the Liberation of WSJ.comMEDIA
• Murdoch is hinting heavily that he’ll take WSJ.com free, but Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino doesn’t think it’s such a great idea. [WSJ]
• Well, we’ll be — Portfolio pulling down pretty good ad pages. [NYP]
• Roger Ailes, former CNBC president now with Fox Business Network, making many CNBCers interested in switching teams. It may be many things, but it won’t be boring! [NYO]
Greenspan to Wife: Be Nice, or the Economy SuffersLast night, only hours after the Federal Reserve made its first big interest-rate cut in four years in an attempt to stanch the leaking housing and credit bubble, iconic former Fed chief Alan Greenspan had something to say. On the occasion of his new memoir topping the best-seller list, the finance gnome was grilled at the 92nd Street Y before a packed house — by none other than his wife, veteran NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell. “I’m torn between proving my objective journalistic values and wanting to save my marriage,” Mitchell confessed early on. She seemed to favor the former impulse by dogging 81-year-old Greenspan, twenty years her senior, on whether he helped set up the current bust by repeatedly lowering interest rates post-9/11. “Guilty or not guilty?” she asked him. When Greenspan pleaded the latter, she reminded him that other experts had warned that super-low rates might fuel a backfire. “If you had some inkling, why were you so bullish about adjustable-rate mortgages?” she persisted. (Greenspan said that he’d only promoted ARMs on prime mortgages, not forseeing the subprime implosion that’s driven the current chill.) Mitchell concluded by asking her owlishly visaged old hub a question submitted from the audience: How do you deal with stress? “Have your wife talk to you nicely and pleasantly,” the Oracular One grumbled.
‘Journal’ Union Unhappy With Contract?MEDIA
• Dow Jones may not be any good at negotiating with Murdoch, but they just pulled a coup with their union. Jim Browning, a Journal reporter and union representative, sent off a bulk e-mail: “This is not the best contract that we could have gotten.” [Media Mob/NYO]
• Jill Ishkanian, the former West Coast bureau chief for US Weekly, filed a $55 million lawsuit against the mag, and the details, including an attempt to seduce a nanny, are beyond juicy. [NYP]
• Did Erin Burnett’s agent start the “feud” with Maria Bartiromo just to raise her profile? Or did Bartiromo’s agent plant this claim to get back at Burnett? [NYDN]
Greg Larkin Was the Al Gore of the Subprime MessFINANCE
• Alan Greenspan was giddy when old buds Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney took over the White House. But it turned out they were bad boys and not his friends at all. Check out this and more in Greenspan’s new bio. [
Alan Greenspan: ‘Not My Fault’FINANCE
• Alan Greenspan says don’t blame him for the credit crisis. He may not have understood the dangers until recently, but the former Fed chief claims there’s nothing he could have done. [NYP]
• Who needs Wall Street 2 when Gordon Gekko is already back in the guise of Steve Schwarzman? The Blackstone founder just bought a big stake in a firm called BlueStar, the same name as the central company in the original Wall Street. [DealBook/NYT]
• Big surprise: Funds that invest in Vice typically do far better than those that insist on Virtue. [NYT]
Valentino Resigns, Greenspan BlogsFASHION
• Valentino is set to stop designing. He’ll announce today that he’ll do two more shows, and then call it quits. You know, to catch up on all that missed tanning. [WWD]
• Pierre Hardy to be the latest big name designer to work with the Gap. [British Vogue]
• Instead of bowing at Fashion Week, former Trovata designers Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos will debut their new menswear line online at men.style.com. That should save everyone a little headache and VitaminWater. WWD]
Anna Wintour Puts Friends Before Fashion. Really.FINANCE
• Here come the job cuts: Lehman Brothers will shutter its subprime unit, leaving 1,200 employees out of work. [NYT]
• A new study suggests raising taxes on private equity wouldn’t make any difference because Steve Schwarzman and friends would just find new ways to wriggle out of them. After all, taxes are for the little people, right? [Bloomberg]
• Alan Greenspan supposedly told his new bosses at Deutsche that he would have lowered rates by now, though he denies it. [WSJ]
Alan Greenspan Gets a Job, Richard Branson Goes BananasFINANCE:
• After touring the lecture circuit for the last year, Alan Greenspan finally got a real job advising Deutsche Bank’s securities division. [Bloomberg]
• Which heads will roll when all the dust from subprime settles? Some say John Mack, the CEO of Morgan Stanley, others Chuck Prince of Citigroup, but the biggest danger may be for Goldman Sachs’ “It” boy Lloyd Blankfein, who bet more than anyone else. [NYT]
• Time for another party? Steve Schwarzman’s Blackstone group tripled its quarterly profits, sending stock back up. [CNN and NYT]
in other news
It’s Greenspan’s Fault!
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 400 points yesterday, or 3.3 percent. Did you hear? Of course you did. But what was lost amid the hysterical headlines and panic selling — and this is kind of what defines panic selling — was any overarching reason for the sellers to be selling. Was it China? Proximately, yes, because it was Tuesday’s 9 percent decline in Shanghai that got the ball rolling. Was it the greater-than-expected drop in U.S. durable-goods orders, a leading indicator for U.S. consumption? Might have been that, too, because the trading community has been on tenterhooks for weeks, nervously awaiting something, anything, that would snap the markets out of their hypnotic complacency. But we prefer to think it had more to do with the man whose mouth could move mountains in the nineties: former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan.