Explaining Southern California's economy

Was outgoing Hulu CEO Jason Kilar fed up with Big Content?

Hulu is one of those companies that stands squarely between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. CEO Jason Kilar stepped down on Friday.

Brian Stelter and Amy Chozick make the case on the New York Times' Media Decoder blog that Jason Kilar's exit from Hulu had a lot to do with the suits who own TV networks:

Mr. Kilar’s announcement did not come as a complete surprise. At times during his tenure he has clashed with the owners on Hulu, exemplifying the divide between new, disruptive modes of distribution like the Internet and the more traditional operations at major media companies. As the owners pulled back on the amount of ABC, Fox and NBC programming it provided to Hulu, the Web site invested in original, made-for-the-Web programming to fill the gaps and attract attention.

The last time it looked as if Kilar would exit Hulu, it was when Yahoo was coming off an executive scandal, with activist shareholder Dan Loeb of the hedge fund Third Point agitating for both board-level and CEO changes. 

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Could Rupert Murdoch buy both the LA Times and the Financial Times?

Rupert Murdoch Delivers Keynote At The National Summit On Education Reform

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch at the National Summit on Education Reform on Oct. 14, 2011 in San Francisco. Could he buy both the Wall Street Journal of England and the L.A. Times?

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Financial Times — the Wall Street Journal of England — was being put up for sale, with a price tag of $1.6 billion. The way things are going for newspapers these days, that was an eye-popping number and immediately set off speculation about who might have the deep enough pockets to buy the FT (but not its sister publication in its corporate stable, The Economist). 

Given that News Corp. just reported great quarterly earnings and has $10 billion in cash on hand, Rupert Murdoch's name rose to the top of the list. Murdoch already controls the Wall Street Journal and has been talked about as a buyer for the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, both owned by Tribune Co.

Tribune is in the process of emerging from bankruptcy and it's expected that the new owners, a group of private-equity funds and investors including L.A.-based Oaktree Capital Management, will want to sell off the newspapers along with their challenged, although not necessarily desperate, economics and concentrate on broadcast operations.

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Dodgers sale: No sneaky pre-deal with Time Warner by new owners

Dodger Stadium

Grant Slater/KPCC

It doesn't say Time Warner Cable.

I caught wind of some rumors about a week ago that the Dodgers' new owners, Guggenheim Baseball Partners, led by Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter, might have done a sort of pre-deal with...somebody for the team's future broadcast rights. It appears that the rumor was just that. Here's Bill Shaikin from the L.A. Times (note than Fox has the current broadcast deal):

Under its settlement with the Dodgers, Fox had the right to challenge any sale in which rival Time Warner Cable was involved. The Dodgers already had told the court that TWC was not involved, but Fox asked for assurances from the new owners.

According to Thursday's filing, the new owners would state for the court record that TWC is not directly or indirectly funding the purchase of the Dodgers and that no "formal or informal agreements have been reached with TWC to telecast [Dodgers] games for the 2014 MLB season or beyond." U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross would then include that language in his order approving the sale.

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Dodgers bidding begins today!

LAPD Takes Over Security At Dodgers Games After Attack On Giants Fan

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

There's been plenty of speculation about who might buy the Dodgers out of bankruptcy. But today's the day that the bids are going to start coming in. This is a "soft" deadline, meaning that yet another rich guy who wants to buy the team could still put in a bid. But at this point we have a fair idea of who the major players are likely to be.

The Dodgers could sell for anywhere from $800 billion to $2 billion, based on reported speculation. At the LATimes, Bill Shaikin does the math and concludes that Dodgers owners Frank McCourt is on the hook to various creditors and his impending ex-wife for just north of $1 billion. So a we're probably talking about a sale price of around $1.5 billion. 

Here's how the sale process will work. McCourt and Blackstone Advisory Partners will take the initial bids. They expect 20, and Major League Baseball says it will consider 10. However, given that there's only a few months between now and April 1, when it's anticipated that McCourt will announce a winning buyers, there probably won't be that many.

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Reportings: Kindling the Fire; Solyndra; Fox fights Dodgers; credit checks and gettin' a job

Meet the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire: “What we are doing is offering premium products at non-premium prices,” [Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos says. Other tablet contenders “have not been competitive on price” and “have just sold a piece of hardware. We don’t think of the Kindle Fire as a tablet. We think of it as a service.” (Bloomberg)

 

Megan McArdle on the investment structure of Solyndra: "…I am distinctly prejudiced against plowing half a billion dollars worth of government funds into a company to see whether they can finally get their manufacturing process to work." (The Atlantic)

 

Fox goes to court to prevent the Dodgers from selling TV rights: "The suit asks that the court reject any such sale except in accordance with the current contract, under which Fox retains exclusive negotiating rights through November 2012 as well as the right to match any other offer." (LAT)

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