Disney acquires Marvel: The comic book company is being purchased in a cash and stock deal valued at $4 billion. That means the Mouse House can lay claim to Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and the X-Men. (NYT)
Mt. Wilson threat unclear: A decade or two ago, the fires threatening Mt. Wilson transmission towers might have wiped out much of L.A. TV programming. But since many of us get cable or satellite, the potential problems are less clear. Also, cell phone service is vulnerable. (LAT)
Stocks are sliding: More worries about the global economy. Dow is down about 80 points in early trading.
Commercial foreclosures: There's $700 billion worth of commercial-mortgage-backed securities outstanding, and U.S. officials are worried about much of them taking a hit. WSJ lays out two problems:
One is simply the result of bad underwriting. In the era of looser credit, Wall Street's CMBS machine lent owners money on the assumption that occupancy and rents of their office buildings, hotels, stores or other commercial property would keep rising. In fact, the opposite has happened. The result is that a growing number of properties aren't generating enough cash to make principal and interest payments. The other kind of hurt is coming from the inability of property owners to refinance loans bundled into CMBS when these loans mature.
What about OC Register?: Parent company Freedom Communications is expected to file for bankruptcy this week under a plan that will hand over the Register and 30 other newspapers to its lenders. From the NYT:
Freedom's bankruptcy will probably wipe out the 45 percent equity stake held by two big private equity firms, the Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners .That outcome could mirror what is expected in Tribune, whose expected reorganization plan will probably wipe out the equity stake of the billionaire investor Samuel Zell, who took the company private in 2007.
Will Zell stay on?: For weeks, media reports have strongly suggested that the Tribune CEO will soon be out of the picture as creditors appear poised to take over the big media company. But perhaps not. NYT reports that the major creditors have not given a clear indication whether they want to keep Zell on in some capacity.
Nor has Mr. Zell said clearly whether he wants to go, though he is used to being the man in charge, and his authority would be diminished under new owners. "I think the jury is out on Sam," one of them said. "That is going to be a point of discussion."
Apple under investigation?: The SEC is looking into the trading of the company's stock, financial columnist Dan Dorfman is reporting on the Huff Post. Questions apparently are being raised about the possible use of inside information involving three particular Apple-related developments. There are lots of anonymous sources and speculation, so let the reader beware.