NBC's Sale, BusinessWeek's Deal & Fury at Fox News

cityfile · 10/13/09 02:41PM

• There may be other suitors for NBC in addition to Comcast. Like News Corp. And Liberty Media. And Time Warner. Or maybe not. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, for one, says he isn't interested. [THR, DHD, Gawker, AdAge]
• More on the sale of BusinessWeek: "Knowledgeable sources" say Bloomberg is paying $2-$5 million in cash for the mag. And another source reports the mag will be changing its name to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Naturally. [BW, NYT]
• The war between the White House and Fox News goes on. [NYDN, ABC, CJR]
• If you notice TV commercials seem more upbeat than usual, it's because the advertising world has decided to be cheerful and optimistic again. [NYT]
The Atlantic has determined that NBC CEO Jeff Zucker and New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. are "Brave Thinkers," for some reason. [NYO]

Jackson, Conan, Twitter & Capitalism

cityfile · 07/09/09 11:52AM

• More data about the Biggest Television Event Ever™: Some 31 million people tuned into the Jackson memorial on TV, and video sites report that they delivered more than 10 million live streams on Tuesday. [THR, VB]
• One TV person not pleased with all the Jackson coverage: Conan O'Brien, whose new Tonight Show has seen ratings drop as a result. [NYT]
• News Corp. has paid more than $1.6 million to settle court cases involving reporters in Britain who hacked into public figures' cell phones. [Guardian]
• Is Liberty Media going to bail out Harvey Weinstein? Let's hope so. [NYP]
• None of the major media companies appear keen on buying Twitter. [LAT]
• Comedy Central has ordered up a sitcom starring Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder, which will be produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. [B&C]
• The title of Michael Moore's new movie: Capitalism: A Love Story. [NYDN]

Ad Pages Fall, Bristol Palin Speaks

cityfile · 02/17/09 12:36PM

• Ad pages for monthly magazines in March dropped by 26 percent. [Crains]
• Sirius XM has reached a deal with Liberty Media to avoid bankruptcy. [NYT]
• What Bristol Palin had to say in her interview with Greta Van Susteren. [ABC]
• Not surprisingly, local news stations covered A-Rod's press conference today in lieu of President Obama's signing of the stimulus bill. [THR]
• A look at Politico and "the brave new world of post-print journalism." [TNR]
Barbara Walters at a breakfast this morning with 60 Minutes's Steve Kroft and Ken Auletta: "I think the only programs that will still be there as they are now in 10 years are the morning shows." How convenient. [Portfolio]
• Thanks to the popularity of Slumdog Millionaire, ABC is thinking about reviving Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? during primetime. [NYT]

Viacom Loses, Vibe Cuts, Sirius Looks for an Exit

cityfile · 02/12/09 11:52AM

• Viacom reported a 69 percent drop in its fourth-quarter profit today. [NYT]
Vibe is cutting back to 10 issues a year and merging its print and digital operations. It's also slashing pay and adopting a four-day workweek. [AdAge]
• Sirius XM is looking to sell the company to Liberty Media in order to fend off a takeover by satellite entrepreneur Charles Ergen. [WSJ, NYT]
• Paul Allen's Charter Communications may file Chapter 11 by April. [THR]
• Scene from Domino's death party last night. [Gawker]
• Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds will hit theaters this August. [RB]

Liberty Media ready to pay $1.42 billion for AOL dialup business

Nicholas Carlson · 09/29/08 10:00AM

Liberty Media CEO John Malone told the Financial Times his company is ready to swap its $1.42 billion stake in Time Warner in order to acquire AOL's dialup business. There's just one holdup. "Time Warner still needs to divide the business," Malone complained to the FT. Though it's been more than two years since Time Warner decided to turn AOL into an online advertising concern and abandon the Internet service provider business, AOL won't be completely split until early 2009. Malone isn't the only exec impatient for Time Warner's book keepers to hurry it up. AOL CEO Randy Falco was overheard last week griping: "When is New York going to sell us?"

Liberty Media: We'd take AOL's access business

Nicholas Carlson · 08/12/08 09:40AM

During a conference call to reports Liberty Media's second-quarter earnings, CEO John Malone told analysts the company was open to exchanging its stake in Time Warner for AOL's online access business. Liberty owns 103 million Time Warner shares, or about 2.8 percent of the company. Such a swap would value AOL's access business at around $1.6 billion, lower than the $2 billion to $3 billion analysts say its worth. A swap would lower Time Warner's tax burden, however, possibly making the deal more attractive. Earlier this year, Liberty performed a similar swap with News Corp., trading its stake in the company for control over DirecTV.

Street Talk

cityfile · 08/12/08 05:24AM
  • Morgan Stanley has offered to buy back about $4.5 billion in auction-rate securities from clients, following a similar offer by Merrill Lynch last week. The move came after Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office sent out another round of letters to banks, including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, and Wachovia. [Bloomberg, WSJ]

IAC's Summer Explosion

Ryan Tate · 05/01/08 04:09AM

"IAC/InterActiveCorp boss Barry Diller is pushing ahead with plans to break up his company into five separate businesses, and downplaying talk about a possible asset swap with Liberty Media...Diller said he hopes to complete the spin-offs by August." [Post]

Barry Diller, John Malone May Kiss And Make Up

Ryan Tate · 04/28/08 05:47AM

"Fresh off his legal victory over Liberty Media, IAC/InterActiveCorp boss Barry Diller is expected to meet with his board this week to restart the process of breaking up his company into five separate pieces, The Post has learned. At the same time, sources said Diller and Liberty Media Chairman John Malone are continuing to talk about a deal that would trade one or more of IAC's assets for Liberty's ownership stake in IAC." [Post]

Barry Diller Chooses Grandpa Font

Nick Denton · 03/31/08 08:48AM

So internet mogul Barry Diller won the struggle for control of IAC, the ungainly conglomerate which owns sites such as Ticketmaster and College Humor. Here's his celebratory announcement to employees. It's rather clunkier than one expects of the highly quotable IAC boss. Presumably Diller means, in the last line, that employees can have more confidence in the future; wishing IAC colleagues instead more surefootedness implies that IAC's missteps were somehow their fault. And some graphically-aware assistant really should help the 66-year-old former studio boss change his default email font.

Barry Diller Does Not Appreciate Your Speaking Badly Of IAC

Ryan Tate · 03/14/08 05:02AM

Barry Diller is still pissed at Greg Maffei, the Liberty Media executive who broke up his close relationship with Liberty Chairman John Malone. Here is how Diller began testimony in his court battle to retain control of IAC: "Mr. Maffei, 47 years old, was an 'irresponsible executive,' Mr. Diller testified in Delaware Chancery Court. 'For over a year and a half, he has spoken badly about our businesses and our managers,' said Mr. Diller, who is scheduled to continue his testimony today." [WSJ]

Barry Diller: I could be gone in a week

Nicholas Carlson · 03/05/08 11:53AM

Barry Diller's battle with Liberty Media head John Malone for control over IAC could be over in a week, Diller told a crowd at a Variety event yesterday. "It's very odd that two people who don't want to give up control of anything are giving control to a judge in Delaware," he said. "The wonderful thing about Delaware is they do it quickly. They make a decision quickly." Some shareholders might wish for the same alacrity from Diller.

What the Liberty fight reveals: Diller's no entrepreneur

Owen Thomas · 01/29/08 01:55PM

Having borrowed his empire, Barry Diller is now living on borrowed time. Former cable baron John Malone's Liberty Media is trying to break the sophisticated financial arrangements which give Diller control over IAC, his online conglomerate. Diller calls the effort "insane," "hogwash." But here's the reality: Diller owns 28 percent of the company, while Liberty owns 24 percent, according to the company's most recent proxy statement. Liberty, however, controls nearly 60 percent of the company's voting stock. Diller, in turn, has the right to vote Liberty's shares. This complicated entanglement is what Liberty and Diller are fighting about. Far more interesting than the legalisms is what it shows about Diller — and why Diller's so unhappy about it.

Did Bill Miller sell out Barry Diller?

Owen Thomas · 01/12/08 06:55PM

Word now comes that Liberty, former cable baron John Malone's company, has opportunistically paid $340 million for 14 million shares in Barry Diller's IAC, raising its stake to 30 percent. IAC, too, repurchased 6 million shares at the same time. That means that Diller must have begrudgingly consented to the sale; at the same time, he reached an agreement that prevented Malone from taking a bigger stake in the online conglomerate. But who was the seller?

Everybody's Scared Of Somebody

Nick Denton · 01/12/08 06:46PM

What's the meaning of the terse statement that billionaire John Malone has increased his stake in IAC to 30%? IAC's Barry Diller is pretty menacing, in a killer queen fashion. But Malone is the one tycoon that all the others, including Diller and even Rupert Murdoch, are scared by. His dealmaking ruthlessness is such that the Liberty Media boss was nicknamed 'Darth Vader' by his peers in the cable industry, in which he made his first fortune. In October, Malone bluntly told the Wall Street Journal he thought Barry Diller was no longer bringing value to Ticketmaster,, College Humor and the other sites IAC owns. "The hook is set. It is our company," he said of IAC. "Barry ain't going to be able to spit the hook." By dropping the news on a Friday evening, Barry Diller may minimize his public humiliation. But that doesn't alter the reality: he's bent to Darth Vader's will.