The Chrysler giveaway: And we thought Bev Hills billionaire Kirk Kerkorian was low-balling in his $4.5 billion offer for the automaker - an offer that wasn't even considered by Daimler-Chrysler. The so-called $7.4 billion sale to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, just announced this morning, is looking like a close-out sale. The WSJ's Dennis Berman, writing in Deal Journal, figures that the sale is actually going to cost Daimler about $650 million, which is not the greatest outcome considering that the German automaker spent $36 billion on the Chrysler purchase about nine years ago.
Network lineups: This is the week when next fall's prime time lineup gets announced, and there are all kinds of subplots. Today, it's NBC's turn and the big news is that all three legs of the "Law & Order" juggernaut will be back next season, but that new episodes of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" will first be seen on USA and then be aired as a rerun on NBC. Normally, it works just the other way. It sounds a little strange, but remember that USA is the top-rated cable network. The original "Law & Order," about to begin its 18th season, was considered in some quarters to be on life support, but executive producer Dick Wolf is a tough guy to bring down. And the "Law & Order" franchise happens to generate more than $1 billion in ad and syndication sales a year. Marketwatch NBC lineup: Here's the rundown on the network's fall roster.
Burkle buys media company: After missing out on Knight-Ridder and Tribune, the L.A. billionaire - that is, a company controlled by the L.A. billionaire - is buying about 70 magazines from Primedia for $1.2 billion in cash. The sale to Source Interlink includes Motor Trend, Hot Rod and Surfer, as well as 90 Web sites. Primedia, controlled by private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., put its magazine group on the block earlier this year. Bloomberg
Subprime boiler rooms: This morning's NPR report on the down-and-dirty details of selling subprime loans has a chilling nugget: At a Florida office of OC-based Ameriquest, one of the training videos shown to new employees was the movie "Boiler Room," where the basic sales message is to promise anything – so long as you cut the deal. Former employees say they were encouraged to conceal rate terms and even boosted income information on the application form (the original numbers were whited-out). Ameriquest wound up closing most of its offices and came to a $325 million settlement with 30 states' Attorneys General over deceptive marketing and lending tactics.
Unloading properties: Mortgage lenders tried to unload about 100 foreclosed homes in San Diego over the weekend and found that they had to accept huge discounts. A similar sale is planned for L.A. on May 19. Houses and condos were typically going for about 30 percent below the previous sale or appraisal prices - and a few went for around 50 percent. From the WSJ:
A four-bedroom home in Oceanside, Calif., attracted a high bid of $495,000 at the auction, 33% below the sale price recorded in November 2005 for the property. One condo in San Diego sold for $120,000, less than half of its previous value. Jeffrey Frieden, chief executive officer of REDC, called the auction a success. About 90% of the homes offered were sold, he said. Some deals fell through because buyers couldn't qualify for financing. He estimated that 1,000 bidders attended the sale in San Diego's Convention Center, where REDC workers in tuxedos shouted and whooped in the aisles to fire up bidders. But Ramsey Su, a San Diego investor and former real-estate broker specializing in foreclosed properties, said prices were surprisingly low on some homes and the auction showed that "demand is not that strong."
Wallstrip going to CBS News?: That's the Web parody of Wall Street that features Lindsay Campbell. Even though there’s no revenue coming in, the spoofs have gained a loyal following (guess Katie Couric and the downtrodden CBS evening news would be off the table). The NY media blog Jossip says that the purchase price would be about $5 million. An announcement is expected early this week.