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Posts Tagged ‘Carl Icahn’

Morning Media Newsfeed: Gregory Out, Todd in at MTP | Journalists Face Backlash in MO

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It’s Official: Chuck Todd Named Host of Meet The Press (TVNewser)
As expected, NBC News has announced that Chuck Todd will be the next moderator of Meet The Press. CNNMoney The announcement confirmed widespread speculation that David Gregory, the moderator of the Sunday morning public affairs program for the past six years, would be replaced by Todd, the NBC News political director. FishbowlDC Turness also confirmed that after 20 years with NBC News, Gregory bids farewell, which he announced earlier in the day on Twitter. Todd will take reigns of the program on Sept. 7. Andrea Mitchell will moderate this weekend. FishbowlDC Gregory tweeted, “I leave NBC as I came – humbled and grateful. I love journalism and serving as moderator of MTP was the highest honor there is.” TVNewser Gregory, who joined NBC News in 1995, has hosted Meet The Press for six years, since the death of Tim Russert in 2008. During Gregory’s tenure, the show slipped in the ratings, first losing ground to CBS’ Face The Nation, and, more recently, frequently placing third behind FTN and ABC’s This Week. No word yet on what is next for Gregory, who was recently spotted meeting with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker.

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Remembering New York Owner Bruce Wasserstein

nymag best of cover.jpgDealmaker, Lazard Ltd. CEO and New York magazine owner Bruce Wasserstein died yesterday at age 61. News of his untimely death filtered through the media world yesterday afternoon, resulting in many tributes and remembrances from those on the media beat.

Not surprisingly, New York magazine’s Daily Intel blog had the most touching tribute to Wasserstein, saluting his commitment to journalism and his love of the publication that he took ownership of in 2004:

“Unlike the private investors who often buy publications like New York, Bruce had no interest in using the magazine to advance a personal agenda. On the contrary, he had a journalist’s curiosity and took pleasure in the provocative. At monthly meetings with the magazine brain trust, he wanted to talk as much about the latest news, or politics, or shifting currents of all kinds as he did about New York itself.”

Over at The New York Times‘ blog Media Decoder, David Carr reflected on Wasserstein’s New York deal:

“Many of the bidders thought they had the magazine in the bag, but then Mr. Wasserstein, as was his habit, came swinging in out of nowhere and took the prize off the table. None of the bidders knew more about the use of leverage and muscle than Bruce Wasserstein, so it was assumed that it would become one more accessory used to personal ends.

It became a great magazine instead.”

The New York Observer has gathered some reactions from Wassersteins former associates and friends, including Carl Icahn:

“It’s sad, it’s a sad thing. He was a good friend and he was one of the few real bright guys on Wall Street. I always respected his views.”

The Observer also asks what will happen to New York following Wasserstein’s death. The paper reports that the magazine was owned by a family trust, so New York will be passed along to his wife and children. Will one of them become the magazine’s new owner, or will they sell the property?

Related: Editorial Independence, Bruce Wasserstein-Style

Yahoo’s Jerry Yang Steps Down as CEO

JerryYang.jpgLooks like at least one chapter of the long Yahoo soap opera has drawn to a close. Jerry Yang, who co-founded Yahoo back in 1995 announced yesterday that he was stepping down from his position as CEO. The move comes after many, many months of wrangling, proxy battling, and failed takeover and merger attempts — most notably Yang turned down a unsolicited offer of $31 a share in cash and stock from Microsoft — and more recently a failed move to strike a search-advertising partnership with Google.

Yang took over as CEO in June of 2007 amidst “high hopes” but quickly became the object of shareholder frustration and criticism after turning down the Microsoft offer amidst plummeting stock shares. Proxy battler Carl Icahn had promised to replace Yang if he was successful in his bid this past spring, but in the end the two managed to strike a truce, which kept Yang in is position. That said, apparently Yang has been considering stepping down for months. Wired says Yang is “out of the company he cofounded looking anything but a visionary, but instead as yet another high tech entrepreneur…who didn’t realized that time had passed him by.” On the upside Yang’s return to a figurehead position (Chief Yahoo) may pave the way for another deal with Microsoft. As for who might fill Yang’s shoes?

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Lions Gate Trying To Play In The Big Leagues — Let’s Lay Off

Lions Gate Entertainment, which is enjoying a wild ride with its “Saw” franchise and its Emmys for “Mad Men,” announced Friday that it was laying off 8% of its workstaff across the board,including production, television, home entertainment, business affairs and legal.lionsgate.jpg

Out of a workforce of 550, the Santa Monica-based studio eliminated 41 positions. The layoffs should save the company some $10 million annually, out of its $140 million overhead.

The moves may come as a treat to corporate raider Carl Icahn, who recently bought about 9% of the company, which many on Wall Street felt as an overture to an corporate raid on the company. Icahn has said he thought Lions Gate was undervalued and could perform better.

The Los Angeles Times take from reporter Claudia Eller on Lions Gate’s woes is below:

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Icahn Forsakes Yahoo Shareholder’s High Noon Throwdown

highnoon.gifThis is no fun at all. After months of stirring up trouble and headlines (and blog posts) proxy battler Carl Icahn will not be attending the Yahoo‘s long anticipated annual shareholders meeting today. Per Icahn’s blog:

I will not be attending. The proxy fight is over and it will not do shareholders or Yahoo any good to have the annual meeting turn into a media event for no purpose.
Ha! As if media events need a purpose, this is an election year after all. Ichan goes on to say that the reason he’s been on the DL these past two weeks is because he saw the writing on the wall and decided there was “no point in spending the final two weeks in a debilitating fight.”

Anyway, the end result is that Yahoo head Jerry Yang will be flying solo today when he faces shareholders, though with Icahn’s absence and a zero deal with Microsoft the mood feels a tiny bit more conciliatory than it did a few months ago, and certainly (sadly for us, we admit) will result in less fireworks. That’s not to say Yahoo doesn’t face a uphill battle, stock prices plunged after Yang turned down the Microsoft deal back in May, and have yet to recover.

Is That All There Is? Microsoft Calls it a Day on Yahoo Bid

White-Flag-Small.jpgAlas. It looks like maybe, finally, Microsoft has thrown in the Yahoo towel. The last straw in the months long we-love-you, we-love-you-not dealings may have been this week’s announcement that proxy-battler Carl Icahn had apparently jumped ship and made amends with Yahoo head Jerry Yang, accepting three board seats in the process. This following a Icahn, Microsoft offer that Yahoo termed “stupid.” Yesterday, chief financial officer Chris Liddell told a group of Microsoft investors that the chance of deal was “so small as to be essentially negligible,” and Microsoft head followed up saying that he hoped Liddell’s comments “had removed any ‘specter’ of uncertainty.”

So what’s the next step for Microsoft? Well they have just announced a deal to bring “its Web search and search ads to social-networking site Facebook Inc.” After all this, we imagine they will need as many friends as they can get.

Icahn Boomerangs Back to Yang, Gets Three Board Seats for His Troubles

hansavestheday.jpgWe can’t decide whether this is like the time gun-for-hire Han Solo reconsidered his selfish ways at the last minute and zoomed in to save Luke from Darth Vader. Regardless, with ten days to go until the Yahoo stock holder meeting we will bet this isn’t the last plot twist to come. The New York Post is reporting that proxy battler Carl Icahn has made good with Yahoo head Jerry Yang and in the process acquired three of the eleven seats on Yahoo’s board. You may recall how last week Icahn’s “stupid” joint bid with Microsoft to take over Yahoo completely failed. The Post calls the weekend reunion a “face-saving settlement” that came about after Icahn realized Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was talking a bigger game than he was willing to play.

Ballmer basically played Icahn like a fiddle here,” said one Yahoo shareholder. “He told Icahn that he was still interested in Yahoo but refused to put a price out there that would have convinced shareholders to take a chance with his slate.
The end result is that Yang wins (for the moment, and who saw that coming?) and Icahn is left in the red for all that Yahoo stock he bought last spring: Yahoo stock dropped 3.5% yesterday.

Jerry Yang Speaks, er, Writes!

150biopic.gifIn recent weeks most of the talk about the operatic ins and outs of the Yahoo and Microsoft relationship have centered around what proxy battler Carl Icahn and Microsoft head Steve Ballmer have been up to, and the different ways Yahoo is finding to escape their evil clutches. But the August 1 shareholder deadline is fast approaching and that led us to wonder: wherefore Jerry Yang?

Well (via Radar) we found our answer. He’s writing a book! Kidding, he’s merely penning long memos detailing why Icahn is a carpet-bagging, n’er do well “corporate agitator!” who has involved himself in a marriage of convenience with Microsoft.

The recently-formed Carl Icahn-Microsoft alliance continues to make misleading statements about their plans for Yahoo. Your Board of Directors believes strongly that the Icahn-Microsoft agenda…will destroy stockholder value at Yahoo, serving only their very narrow special interests, clearly not your interests.
That said, Yang is willing to deal, at $33 a share as long as it provides “real value to our stockholders.” Also, and we imagine he’s going to be stressing this point in the coming weeks since it was the basis for Icahn’s involvement in the first place, he want shareholders to know “your Board takes seriously its obligation to examine all value-creating steps it could take and continues to actively examine many of these now.” Read the whole shebang here.

Is Carl Icahn Just a Pawn in Microsoft’s Pursuit of Yahoo?

billiebohope.jpgAt the rate this is going we may have to move on to soap opera metaphors. As you may recall all the buzz this week-end was about the “stupid” takeover deal Carl Icahn and Microsoft presented Yahoo with (go here for a refresher), which they immediately, and loudly, turned down. However, some people are now wondering whether Microsoft head Steve Ballmer is actually intentionally playing stupid and using Icahn as a (unknowing?) pawn in his larger takeover game. Says the NYPost:

Sources close to the Microsoft-Yahoo deal talks, as well as some Yahoo shareholders, believe Ballmer is intentionally making offers that he knows Yahoo will reject — and using Carl Icahn to do it — as part of his longer-term plan to either buy Yahoo on the cheap or permanently hobble it as a competitor.
Crafty! Meanwhile, Icahn is crying foul on Yahoo’s version of the deal saying they mischaracterized it to the press and that it “did not include changes to Yahoo’s governance.” Yahoo says that’s just cause they turned it down before they got that far on the list of requirements. Like sands through the hourglass…

Icahn and Microsoft Fail to Charm Yahoo, Again

watergun2.jpgIt’s back off-again. Over the week-end Yahoo rejected Carl Icahn and Microsoft‘s “take it or leave it” proposal, which required Yahoo to sell its search business to Microsoft, throw out its board and management, and hand control of the rest of the company to Carl Icahn. Not surprisingly even the analysts and shareholders who had previously criticized Yahoo for letting takeover talks with Microsoft collapse earlier this year referred to the “stupid” offer as a stunt. But don’t despair, all is not lost! Yahoo chairman/CEO Roy Bostock says the company is more than happy to consider a sale and has “emphatically” told Ballmer that Yahoo would be “willing to sell to Microsoft at $33 a share or to negotiate a search deal after the proxy fight.”

Meanwhile over at AdAge Simon Dumenco says the whole “on-again, off-again, full-frontal, roundabout, all-or-nothing, piecemeal” relationship is bad for Microsoft’s image and that this entire deal (or non-deal) is evidence that Microsoft head Steve Ballmer is running “amok” now that Bill Gates has effectively left the building. But that doesn’t mean we want all this “pouncing and striking” and “ducking and weaving” to end! Oh no, we have to agree with Dumenco that as far as media “dramedies” go it’s too much fun. The only thing missing now is some Rupe.

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