Sienna Miller turns 28 today. Denzel Washington is turning 55. John Legend is 31. Gayle King turns 55. Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers is turning 36. Judge Alvin Hellerstein is 76. Media tycoon Phil Anschutz is 70. Former AOL exec turned new media investor Bob Pittman is turning 56. Artist Robert Storr is 60. South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson is turning 63. And American Idol runner-up David Archuleta is 19 today.
• Rupert Murdoch and John Malone are "interested" in a deal with NBC Universal, but have yet to pick up the phone and do anything about it. [THR]
• Condé Nast cut sales staff at W and Vanity Fair today and proved that no one is safe by dismissing the wife of a Newhouse family member. Some good news: magazines are reporting that automotive advertising is way up, so maybe the auto industry will end up saving print media! Crazier things have happened.
• The Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger is running into trouble in DC. [WSJ]
• The Fox News-White House brouhaha continues, not surprisingly. [THR]
• Fox Reality, which is going off the air next year, will be replaced by a new channel called Nat Geo Wild. Think less Cesar Millan, more Jeff Corwin. [NYT]
• Were you dismayed that yesterday's little balloon incident generated so much cable news coverage? Wait till you see what's in store next week! [CJR]
• Chris DeWolfe is out as the CEO of News Corp.-owned MySpace. [CNN]
• More on Peter Kaplan's split from Jared Kushner's Observer, and the rumor Kaplan is now heading to Condé Nast Traveler. [NYT, WWD, DHD]
• ABC has renewed 12 series, including Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor, Grey's Anatomy, and Desperate Housewives. [THR]
• Viacom, the parent company BET, is planning to start up a new cable TV channel for middle-aged African-Americans. [NYT]
• Barry Diller is looking to shed his email newsletter Very Short List. Bob Pittman and Jared Kushner have taken a look; co-founders Kurt Andersen and Michael Jackson are considering a management buyout. [NYP]
• The New York Times Co. foundation is suspending its grants and no longer matching employees' charitable donations. [Gawker]
• Further evidence CNN's Jon Klein should start polishing his resume: The network continues to trail Fox News, MSNBC, and Headline News. [Portfolio]
• Obama's performance on The Tonight Show will keep people talking for awhile (and not in a good way, clearly), but the ratings were huge. [Time, THR]
• The April issue of Portfolio is the slimmest in Condé Nast's history. [NYP]
• Charla Lawhon is stepping down as managing editor of In Style. [WWD]
• Your prayers have been answered: VH1 is reviving Behind the Music. [NYP]
• Bob Pittman says the ad industry should get a bailout, too. [Fortune]
• Fox News's Greta Van Susteren is denying her husband is a paid adviser to Sarah Palin, but she admits that he gives her advice and "helps" her. [HP]
• SpiralFrog, the glitzy music site that launched in 2006, has gone bust. [PC]
• Broadway dimmed the lights last night in honor of Natasha Richardson. [THR]
Author/humorist David Sedaris turns 52 today. Jared Leto is 37. CNN's Candy Crowley is 60. AOL chief Randy Falco is 55. Senator Evan Bayh is 53. America's Most Wanted's John Walsh is 63. Chris Daughtry is 29. And record producer (and possible murderer) Phil Spector celebrates his 68th today. Weekend birthdays after the jump.
No one will shed tears for Dany Levy. The Daily Candy founder made close to $25 million, by our calculations, on the sale of her email shopping newsletter to Comcast. But former AOL honcho Bob Pittman's Pilot Group took the lion's share of the $125 million windfall, after paying Levy and her family investors just $3.5 million for the privilege five years ago. Pittman's incredible return on investment has helped rehabilitate his tarnished image. But, despite her cheery public pronouncements, Levy must lose some sleep wondering whether she could have driven a harder bargain in the dark post-dot-com days of 2003. Perhaps, one tipster wonders, her thoughts turn to Andy Russell, Pittman's junior partner at Pilot Group, and the "close family friend of Dany since childhood" who is said to have advised her on the $3.5 million valuation.
Selling DailyCandy to Comcast for $125 million, Bob Pittman earned a 36x return on his 2003 $3.5 million acquisition of the company. Pretty sweet. But investors who bought into the company during its last funding round in 2006, and any employees who joined the the email newsletter for women since then, didn't do nearly so well. As VentureBeat reminds us, that round set DailyCandy's value as high as $140 million. Any shareholders who bought in then are going to lose money on the deal, unless they had a liquidation preference which allowed them to get their money back. That money, in turn, would have come out of the hide of employees, whose common shares would be diluted by shares issued to make the investors whole. So while DailyCandy's sale will renew respect for the one-time, one-eyed AOL boss Bob Pittman's dealmaking abilities — we heard Comcast wanted to pay just $75 million — working for him seems to be a suckers' bet.
In selling DailyCandy to Comcast for $125 million, Bob Pittman has notched a 36x return on the email newsletter he bought in 2003 for $3.5 million. We had heard that Comcast was trying to get it for $75 million, marking sharp dealmanship by Pittman to get the higher price. The long-rumored deal has done much to restore Pittman's reputation as a businessman after the disastrous AOL-Time Warner merger. [Silicon Alley Insider}
It is one of the wonders of America, that business celebrities like junk-bond salesman Michael Milken can be disgraced and then redeemed, often within the span of a decade. Tarnished former media mogul and social climber, Bob Pittman, has secured the first big payday of his new career as an internet investor: his Daily Candy, the email newsletter for women who buy handbags, has sold to cable giant Comcast for $125m, according to Silicon Alley Insider. That's more than had been rumored, and way more than Pittman in 2003 paid for his stake: $3.5m.
Former AOL boss Bob Pittman's Pilot Group Ventures is rumored to have sold its popular email list DailyCandy to Comcast for $75 million. We're not so sure. DailyCandy is for sale — we hear Pittman's lieutenants have acted like absentee landlords during site's redesign — but that if sold, "it would be for much much more." Gossips have also suggested Yahoo as a potential buyer — all of which may well be noise issuing from the Pittman camp, meant to extract a higher price from Comcast.
We heard last week that Daily Candy, the email newsletter for lady shopaholics, was about to be sold. Now digital PR man Adam Isserlis is floating the name of the rumored acquirer: Comcast, one of the two consumer-unfriendliest companies in America! The rumored price is $75 million, a bit below the $100 million+ controlling shareholder and former AOL second-in-command Bob Pittman has been seeking since 2006. But that's still not bad for an email list. The question is: Why Comcast? What the hell is a cable company doing buying a content play? Shouldn't the very presence of Bob Pittman, spectre of the darkest days of the failed AOL-Time Warner merger, remind Comcast of how ill-advised this sort of vertical empire building can be? Meh, Comast is on a roll and doesn't want to hear it.
The House of Mouse has swallowed San Francisco-based tips-for-living-green site IdealBite for $15 million. Heather Stephenson and Jennifer Boulden founded the site in 2005 and later took funding from former AOL exec Bob Pittman, who's also known for backing email lists Daily Candy and Thrillist. Expect more similarly small acquisitions from Disney going forward. After its $350 million Club Penguin purchase last year, Disney said it planned to acquire 20 startups in 24 months.
Will one-time AOL exec Bob Pittman sell email newsletter DailyCandy to Yahoo? That's what DailyCandy execs are said to have discussed over dinner last week at the Village Restaurant in New York. Ben Lerer, publisher of Thrillist, another online publication backed by Pittman, told us he's heard no talk of a sale. But, tellingly, he was very curious to know what we've heard. That's because while Yahoo might be a surprise suitor, Pittman's desire to sell DailyCandy is no secret. In 2006, the WSJ reported Pittman had put DailyCandy on the block, hoping to sell his $3.5 million investment for more than $100 million. If the dinner happened, it's surprising Pittman didn't clue Lerer in. Ben's dad Ken, a cofounder of the Huffington Post, was a close ally of Pittman at AOL.
When new AOL ad boss Lynda Clarizio replaced Curt Viebranz, his head was the sixth to roll at AOL since 2001. Viebranz followed Myer Berlow, Robert Friedman, Robert Sherman, Lisa Brown and Michael Kelly. Three lasted less than a year. None of them succeeded, according to Bits, because AOL's reputation on Madison Avenue remains tattered from the pre-merger days when Berlow and former AOL CEO Bob Pittman would spurn agencies to work directly with marketers, locking them into long-term deals at inflated prices. Take heed, Google's Tim Armstrong. (Photo by macloo)
The first gold-rush miners to make any money during the 1840s were the ones who stopped digging and started selling shovels, according to Timesman Brad Stone. Today a similar operation from Mark Pincus, Tribe.net founder and early Facebook investor, announced $10 million in funding from Union Square Ventures, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, and Bob Pittman.