cityfile · 11/20/09 03:50PM

• Oprah got all teary today when she announced she'll end her talk show two years from now. Meanwhile her upstart cable network announced it'll launch in January 2011, eight months before her talk show goes off the air. [EW, THR]
• Oprah isn't the only one planning her goodbyes. Bill Moyers announced today that he's retiring and will wrap up his weekly PBS show in April 2010. [NYT]
• Former NY1 anchor Dominic Carter was found guilty of misdemeanor attempted assault today for roughing up his wife last year. [NYDN]
• Last night's season finale of Project Runway was the highest-rated episode of the season; meanwhile, winner Irina Shabayeva describes what's next for her.
• The new Twilight sequel, New Moon, isn't just causing excitable teens to pass out in droves. It's also on track to break a few box office records. [AFP, AP]
• More on the bloodshed at BusinessWeek the past few days. [FBNY]
Tina Brown has herself a new right-hand man at The Daily Beast. [NYP]
• Yet another book by reality TV star Lauren Conrad is on the way. [NYDN]
Phil Falcone's Harbinger has cut his stake in the Times once again. [Reuters]
• The scariest news ever: Lou Dobbs has left open the possibility that he'll make a run for the White House in 2012. And he wasn't kidding. [Reuters]

Letterman's Ratings, Rather's Suit & The Post Parody

cityfile · 09/22/09 02:28PM

• Barack Obama's appearance on David Letterman's show last night helped the Late Night host score his second-highest ratings ever. [NYT, WP]
Dan Rather scored a couple of victories in his suit against CBS: A motion by the network to dismiss the case was denied by a judge; and Rather's lawyers will be permitted to question Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone. [Reuters]
• Yesterday, activists handing out fake copies of the Post outside its offices were detained by cops. Today, the paper says it was "flattered" by it. [NYP]
• Book deals: Jenny Sanford, the estranged wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, is writing "inspirational memoir" for Random House. And Andrew Young, an aide to former Senator John Edwards, has landed a deal with St. Martin's Press' Thomas Dunne Books to publish his tell-all memoir.
• In an effort to keep more viewers tuned in, ABC plans to reduce—yes, reduce—the number of commercials in the premieres of its new shows. [LAT]
• Fox won the opening night of the fall season, a first for the network. [THR]

The Real Housewife and the Gray Lady

cityfile · 05/21/09 12:53PM

Reports surfaced recently that media mogul David Geffen had expressed an interest in buying a piece of the New York Times. As the story goes, Geffen had offered to buy Harbinger Capital Partners' 20 percent stake in the paper; but Harbinger, the hedge fund operated by Phil Falcone, had rejected the overture because it had been hoping for a higher price. Much was made of Geffen's attempt to snag a piece of the esteemed paper, what his true intentions were, and whether the DreamWorks co-founder had been hoping to shape the paper's coverage of Washington and Hollywood. It doesn't matter much now, since the deal doesn't appear to be moving ahead. In the meantime, though, let's all be thankful that Falcone's wife, Lisa, hasn't been making any efforts to influence the Times's fashion coverage. Click on the photo above to see Lisa at the NYCB spring gala the other night in all her glittery glory.

Newsday, The Times & The Gloomiest Cannes Ever

cityfile · 05/12/09 11:13AM

Jim Dolan's Cablevision says that Newsday is not for sale, which is good since there isn't a company on the planet that wants to buy it. [E&P]
• David Geffen made an offer to acquire the stake in the New York Times Co. controlled by Phil Falcone's Harbinger fund; Harbinger passed. [Fortune]
• The mood isn't too upbeat at the Cannes Film Festival, unsurprisingly. [THR]
60 Minutes' segment on Anna Wintour should air this Sunday. [Gawker]
• As of the publishing biz didn't have enough to worry about, "web pirates" are now posting copies of books on the Internet. [NYT]
Anderson Cooper's ratings have been on the decline all year. [LAT]
OK! appears to be dissolving into chaos. [ASSME, Gawker]

Wall Street: Tuesday Morning

cityfile · 05/12/09 05:56AM

• Bank of America sold off a $7.3 billion stake in China Construction Bank as it seeks to raise cash. Good news: only $26.6 billion to go! [DB]
Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce that Hank Morris has pleaded guilty in the pension fund probe and will be cooperating with the investigation. [WSJ]
• Citigroup has lent out the same amount it's taken from Washington ($45 billion), a sign that Vikram may have a heart, after all. [AP, Dealbreaker]
• AIG's Ed Liddy will defend his company's rep in front of a Congressional panel today. At the very least, he can report the busted insurance giant is $1.2 billion richer now that it's sold off its Tokyo headquarters. [WSJ, DB]

Phil Falcone Likes 'Total Control'

cityfile · 02/25/09 12:45PM

It looks like it's been a good year thus far for Phil Falcone, the hedge fund kingpin who resides in the ornate Guccione mansion, is the owner of a pet pig named Pickles, and made a fortune last fall betting against the British bank HBOS. (He also controls a big chunk of the New York Times, which probably won't go down as his best investment of the year.) Hedge Fund Alert reports that Falcone is now buying out Harbert Management, the firm that provided him with $25 million in start-up capital in 2001, a figure that blossomed into many billions before later crashing back to earth. Falcone is buying back the stake for an undisclosed sum and the deal will give him "100 percent control of the firm," which is precisely what "greedy pig billionaires" very much like. Or so we've heard. [NYT/Dealbook, previously]

Citi and Morgan Stanley Close In on a Deal

cityfile · 01/12/09 07:37AM

• Talks between Citigroup and Morgan Stanley continue as the two banks discuss a plan to combine Citi's Smith Barney unit with Morgan Stanley's brokerage division in a joint venture worth $20 billion. [FT, Bloomberg, WSJ]
• It remains unclear if Vikram Pandit will be able to hang on as Citigroup's CEO, especially amid rumors the bank will report a $10 billion loss for the fourth quarter. In the meantime, banking regulators are pushing for the removal of Citi's chairman, Win Bischoff. [NYT, WSJ]
• The man who will likely lead the Citi-Morgan Stanley joint venture, James Gorman, is now considered the frontrunner to take over for Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack when he retires next year. [Bloomberg]
Phil Falcone's Harbinger is the latest hedge fund to limit redemptions. [DB]
• The board of the Federal Reserve of New York met with candidates over the weekend as part of their effort to find a replacement for Tim Geithner. [NYT]

No Bailout for Detroit Yet, New Lows All Around

cityfile · 11/20/08 06:26AM

♦ The effort by U.S. automakers to secure a bailout hit a major roadblock after execs from the Big Three were sent home by Congress empty-handed. The behind-the-scenes negotiations continue. [WSJ, Bloomberg]
♦ Shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America are at multi-year lows as the Dow hovers at a six-year low of its own. [DB, DB]
♦ GMAC, controlled by Steve Feinberg's Cerberus Capital, says it's applied to become a bank holding company so it will be eligible for bailout cash. [DB]
♦ GE has turned to China and Singapore as it looks to raise cash. [Bloomberg]
♦ Harbinger's Phil Falcone is pulling back on his media investments. He's reduced his exposure to the New York Times and Media General, just months after fighting for board representation. [WSJ]
♦ Deutsche Bank plans to cut 900 more jobs. [NYP]
♦ Weekly jobless claims have reached a 16-year high. [MW]

'Greedy Pig' Gets Richer

cityfile · 09/18/08 06:53AM

If you're a vulture investor and you're profiting from the current market turmoil, it's only expected that you'll generate a bit of negative press. When you make your big bets in England, though, you get to see yourself described as a "greedy pig" in the headline. The Mirror reports today that New York's very own Phil Falcone—the hockey-loving billionaire mogul who purchased the Guccione mansion last year for $49 million, has a giant stake in the New York Times, is the proud owner of a pet pig named Pickles, and is married to the plastic surgery-lovin' Lisa Falcone—may have earned "hundreds of millions" by betting that the price of Britain's HBOS would fall.

Street Talk

cityfile · 09/08/08 05:07AM
  • The seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by the federal government over the weekend has sent global stocks up sharply this morning. [Bloomberg]

Street Talk

cityfile · 08/22/08 05:19AM
  • An analyst suggests Lehman may be a hostile takeover candidate; a WSJ reporter explains why that's unlikely; and another points out the difficulty involved in selling off its asset management business. [NYP, WSJ, WSJ]

Street Talk

cityfile · 08/15/08 05:05AM
  • Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners has taken a 4.9 percent stake in Cablevision. [NYP]

Winners & Losers

cityfile · 07/22/08 09:12AM

The Wall Street Journal has the skinny on the hedge funders who are "defying skeptics who questioned whether they could keep their runs going." John Paulson's fund is up 20 percent through the end of June; Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners I is up 42 percent; and Daniel Arbess, who oversees Perella Weinberg's Xerion fund, posted a 25 percent gain. What about Lehman short-seller David Einhorn, who earned such breathless coverage from New York a few weeks ago? "Up only a few percentage points through June." [WSJ]

Silicon Valley launches a takeover of the New York Times

Owen Thomas · 01/28/08 09:06PM

The digital barbarians are at the gate. Harbinger Capital Partners, a private-equity fund which owns 4.9 percent of the New York Times, has written a letter to the newspaper's management suggesting that it buy more "digital assets." Scott Galloway of Firebrand Partners, an affiliated investment firm, is proposing an alternate slate of directors for the next board election. The newcomers include Galloway himself, a founder of RedEnvelope and aprofessor at NYU who graduated with an MBA from UC-Berkeley; Gregory Shove, a former AOL executive; and Allen Morgan, a venture capitalist at the Mayfield Fund. Since the Sulzberger family controls the Times through a two-class stock structure, it's unlikely that Harbinger's efforts will succeed. But even the notion of the Times having its Internet strategy dictated to it by technocractic outsiders has to be galling.