Archive for November 2006

Write-Offs: 11.30.06

$$$ A “nice, normal girl” needs a date, would like to mention that “if you’re an investment banker, that’s hot, but please don’t be one who spends ALL his money on coke,” some, okay. [Craigslist]
$$$ Long Licenses to Kill [Long Or Short Capital]
$$$Peter Rojas, ‘Stripped by Lindsay Campbell [WallStrip]

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  • 30 Nov 2006 at 5:23 PM
  • News Corp

Was Ross Levinsohn Fired For Raising His Own Fund?

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Everything we’ve heard until now about the departure of Ross Levinsohn, from News Corp implied that the man who put together the deal to scoop up MySpace left voluntarily, to pursue other interests—perhaps to go work at a start-up of some sort. Sure his resignation was sudden and unexpected. But there was no indication of anything but good will on everyone’s part. In fact, Business Week’s story, “Why Ross Levinsohn left” reported “The company bid Ross Levinsohn a warm farewell and even suggested that a partnership with his new venture may be possible.”
This interview at D7TV with Red Herring‘sTony Perkins, however, has us looking to Levinsohn’s departure in a new light. According to Perkins, Levinsohn was forced out when News Corp discovered that Levinsohn was raising money to start his own venture fund.
Here’s what Perkins tells the D7TV interviewer: “He got raising money for another deal. So the chief operating officer Peter Chernin, who works for Rupert as his right hand man—when his kids aren’t running the place, called Ross into his office and said, ‘Is this true, that you’re raising this half a billion dollar roll-up fund?…And he [Chernin] goes, ‘Are you either in or your out?’ And he [Levinsohn] said, ‘Well, I guess I’m out.”
Now the interview takes place at a party, and is very informal, so maybe we shouldn’t take it too seriously. But Perkins seems very confident with his statement.
Perkins Interview [D7TV.com via Paul Kedrosky]

Planespotting: This All Looks Pretty Legit. Or Does It?

planespotting.jpgBarry Diller: Princess Juliana Int’l to Francis S Gabreski on his Raytheon Hawker 800
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Donald Trump: La Guardia to Los Angeles Int’l on his Boeing 727-100
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Warren Buffett: Naples Municipal to Point Salines Int’l on his Cessna 560 Citation 5
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Wall Street Warriors, Episode 5: Postmortem

christianslater.jpgClairvoyance can be all fun and games but lest we run wild with our powers (“I knew you were going to say that!”), it’s important to remember that it often comes at a cost. During last week’s fireside chat per Episode 4, I wondered aloud, “How the producers are going to keep you and I hooked for the rest of the season after shooting their wad on this one, I have no idea but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” Friends—that bridge is upon us. Episode five—what can I say? It was okay; but it doesn’t hold a candle to episode four. Godfather I versus III, if you catch my drift. (Or Douglas as Gordon Gekko versus Douglas as Steve Tobias, if you’re more comfortable with that analogy and I have a hunch many of you are). Watched E4 on Sunday, as usual, and have been sitting on this run-down ever since. Do it? Don’t do it? Five little words—one ghastly dilemma. I put off dealing with it for a while—as people who embrace the ‘ignore the problem and it’ll go away’ tactic are wont to do—but something from deep inside has been saying “Do episode 5, Bess. Do it now,” since I woke up this morning (but conceivably that could be last night’s bad Chinese talking). Despite its suspicious provenance, despite—nay, because of—the questionable spring rolls, I’ve decided, “I WILL do this, and now.” Also, because Tim Sykes says, “I feel it’s my duty to be the Godfather of throwing parties.”

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  • 30 Nov 2006 at 3:38 PM
  • GM

There’s No Intelligent Life At GM, Scotty. Beam Me Up!

kirkkerkorian.jpg13D Tracker has the (maybe, probably) scoop:

Reports circulating that Kirk Kerkorian has sold his remaining 4.95% interest in General Motors (NYSE: GM). A large block of shares traded recently which is believed to be from Kerkorian. However, owning less than 5%, he doesn’t have to file any public information on his trading activity in the stock.
In an earlier 13D filing, Kerkorian disclosed they agreed to sell 14,000,000 shares which brought his stake to 28 million shares. It just so happens that a 28 million share block trade crossed the tape at 2:41PM at $29.25 per share.

Reports Circulating Kirk Kerkorian Sold his Remaining 4.95% Interest in General Motors

Open Questions: Who Wrecked This Car?

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We’re still searching for the identity of the “wealthy businessman” who reportedly crashed this Carrera GT after the owner let his friend take it for a test spin during a party in Port Chester, NY last Saurday. Because of the reported location–very near Greenwich, Connecticut–and the amount of disposable wealth involved–the driver bought his friend a new Carrera GT the very next day–we suspect that the driver or its owner might be a DealBreaker sort of guy.
So we’re on the hunt for the identities of the people involved. But we need your help! Send your thoughts to tips(at) dealbreaker (dot) com, with the subject line “Car Wreck.” Here’s a hint: the driver broke his foot. So look around the office and let us know which bigshots are limping today! Thanks.
Update: Autoblog, our source for this story, takes it all back! So maybe the reason we can’t find anything about the parties involved is that, uhm, it may not have happened.
The Carrera GT crash in NY: What you didn’t know [Autoblog]

  • 30 Nov 2006 at 1:05 PM
  • Citicorp

The Return of Salomon Brothers?

Near the end of the New York Post’s big business section article discussing the advice of some analysts that Citigroup break-off its investment banking business and concentrate on lending and retail, CreditSights analyst David Hendler advocates the revival of the storied name: Salomon Brothers.

“It’s too big and management needs to realize that they have the skills and disposition to manage a lending and retail operation, not an investment bank,” said Hendler. “If they did a spin-off and IPO, calling it Salomon Brothers, they’d get a huge multiple from the market. Plus, people might think they were really light on their feet for the first time.”

You can almost see Sandy Weill spinning in his grave. Except for the part about not being dead yet.
The Lost Citi [New York Post]