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John Malone: Liberty Media To Become “As Complicated As We Need” To Be

Investors seemed to like what they heard at today’s annual confab for John Malone’s Liberty Media. Shares of the hodge-podge of companies it either owns or controls were up on a day when the market was shaken by new fears that the European debt crisis will widen. Liberty Starz ended the day +1% and Liberty Capital was +0.5% after their parent said it will combine the two tracking stocks into a single asset-based security. But Live Nation was +6.7%, Barnes & Noble was +5%, and Sirius XM  was +4.8% following CEO presentations to the Street.

Malone was more subdued than usual. But the executive who became a billionaire on the back of his devilishly complex deals — often to help him avoid paying taxes — got a chuckle in his response to a question about whether the changes in his tracking stocks will make their businesses confusing for investors. “We’ll get as complicated as we need to get to highlight value.” he said.

Sirius XM’s Mel Karmazin won the biggest laughs, though, with Read More »

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Borders Chapter 11 Filing Another Blow To Brick And Mortar Set

By | Wednesday February 16, 2011 @ 7:00am PST
Mike Fleming

In what seemed an inevitable move once it fell behind on vendor payments, the brick and mortar bookseller Borders officially filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy today as management attempts to figure out a way to keep afloat the Borders and Waldenbook chains. Its first move will be to close 30% of its stores. It doesn’t seem that different from woes of Blockbuster, another retail system eclipsed by upstart rivals like Netflix and Redbox that embraced technological changes that have hobbled businesses that require real estate and manpower costs. Apple’s announcement that it will streamline digital subscriptions of print magazines to its iPad and other devices seems another step toward rendering the traditional newsstand an anachronism, eventually removing another staple of bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble. While the Apple deal still has to be figured out–the company is demanding 30% of subscription revenue, magazine publishers are howling about it and consumers are going to want an e-book level discount for a product cheaper to produce because of no paper costs–the walls are closing in on brick and mortar set. Even to a paper purist like myself, the notion of lugging around a heavy copy of Keith Richards’ Life, or the Vanity Fair Hollywood issue when both can exist on the same lightweight gizmo has made me reconsider, the way many drivers stopped driving stick shift when automatic transmissions became commonplace.

Here is the official word which Borders has posted on its … Read More »

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In Other New Year’s Eve News…

In a tough blow for the brick and mortar bookstores coming out of the holidays and heading into the new year, Borders has acknowledged that it delayed payments to vendors. In a statement released yesterday to PublishersMarketplace.com, Borders claimed restructuring its vendor financing was part of an ongoing potential refinancing of its existing credit facilities. Without such a move, the company faces a liquidity shortfall. The Wall Street Journal reports that the retailer doesn’t know it new funding will materialize and it is unclear whether publishers will be understanding enough to send fresh product. Borders and rival Barnes & Noble have been weathering a worsening storm of customers opting for online shopping and e-books, trading the charm of browsing bookshelves for discounted wares…

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s landing at conservative site Newsmax is causing a bit of a stir. Miller, who also contributes to  the conservative-leaning Fox News, will always be known for controversy over  whether her pre-Iraq invasion reports about possible weapons of mass destruction was used by the Bush Administration build momentum toward the subsequent invasion. She also spent 85 days in jail after refusing to disclose that Scooter Libby, the former aide to vice president Dick Cheney, had disclosed to her that Valerie Plame was in the CIA. Miller recently used her experience on that topic to debunk the Plame pic Fair Game in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, calling the film well acted, but a “gross distortion of a complicated political saga.” Firing back in an essay for Columbia Journalism Review, Liman wrote: “Judith Miller demonstrated in her recent WSJ story about my film, Fair Game, the same cavalier attitude towards the facts that led to her departure from The New York Times in disgrace. And we should never forget that Scooter Libby outed Valerie Plame to Miller in June 2003—more than two weeks before Richard Armitage outed Plame to Novak. Somehow Miller neglected to mention that in her op-ed piece. But she also forgot about that before—in her early grand jury testimony—until she was forced to come clean about it in a subsequent grand jury appearance and under oath at Libby’s trial. Miller’s belated testimony helped convict her “source” Libby, but not until she did everything she could, as a forceful proponent of the war in Iraq, to avoid telling the truth to the American public. And so here we go again.” Moviegoers didn’t seem to care much about the controversy, based on ticket sales. The $22 million budget Fair Game grossed less then $10 million domestic, and less than $19 million worldwide…

The producers of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark have officially acknowledged that Natalie Mendoza is leaving her role of Arachne, Read More »

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