GE Fakes Out Comcast Best Financial Head Fake $GE $CMCSA $TRI

Comcast (Nasdaq:CMCSA) decided to buy out GE’s (NYSE:GE) 49% and make it final. NBC and associated parts including CNBC are going to Comcast for $16.7 Billion. Everyone thought it would eventually break this way but Comcast put the hurry up on. Clearly it was a chess game and lets look at some of the strategists who influenced the outcome.

Comcast of course is off the opinion that owning content and delivery is the right way to go. GE is of the opinion that $16.7 Billion takes it all away.

On the Comcast side you have

Brian Roberts 52 who controls some 33% of voting control and has his fingerprints and family jewels on the deal. Wonder who got impatient with the corporate culture clash?

Drilling down to independent directors you have

Kenneth J Bacon 57 retired from Fannie Mae. Not exactly a case history of financial success.

Joseph J Collins 67 who was Chair and CEO of Time Warner followed by a short stint as Chair and CEO of AOL Time Warner Interactive Video. This basically is the worst merger of all times. He cannot be screaming in board meetings “don’t do it”

Jonathan Rodgers 66 President and CEO of TV One, former president for six years of Discovery Network. Prior to that a career CBS man who became president of CBS television stations division. This man’s DNA screams network and control.

So you can see why Comcast wants it. These guys are network oriented.

On the GE side

I’m sure it’s unanimous that selling something for a cash amount equal to about 7% of market cap sounds pretty good. Here are a few personality issues for GE independent directors.

W Geoffrey Beattie 51 President of Woodbridge. He is a quiet Canadian power player for a quiet Canadian billionaire who controls Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI). So he signed off and waved good-bye to CNBC and other media assets. He would have some uniquely accurate perspective on valuations in this business.

Andrea Jung 53 Chair and CEO of Avon is also co-lead independent director for Apple. She must have a few insights into the future of media and technology (like maybe Apple TV and other stuff). The Apple DNA with smart phones, tablets and iTunes is to disrupt existing networks not acquire them.

The GE board is very heavy with high-powered Chairman and CEO’s who look closely at the numbers. NBC Universal was a discard from way back when. No one was trying to reverse the process.

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. Follow him on twitter@financialskepti or follow his evil twin brother who is writing a Wall Street Murder thriller at twitter@georgegutowski

Surprising Twitter Power of Financial News $YHOO $NWSA $TWIT #IR #corpgov

If you are a serious investor you are also a serious business news junkie. The blood sport known as investing is an information seeking culture to the extreme. So lets look at the power of various business news outlets and their supposed power grading in the twitter world. You may be surprised to learn that CNBC does not get a top billing.

So a few words about the power ratings. Followers count big time. You need followers to outnumber following by quantum amounts. Your followers are also graded and if they have more followers than following that’s very powerful. The more often you are retweeted the better.

The power rankings are out of 13.1 million. That’s how many twitter users actually count and register. So here are the results in order of power.

  1. twitter@businessinsider 144K followers. Power rank 298
  2. twitter@cnnmoney 445K followers. Power rank 1035
  3. twitter@yahoofinance 158K followers. Power rank 1690
  4. twitter@foxbusiness 116K followers. Power rank 2361
  5. twitter@ft 709K followers. Power rank 2672
  6. twitter@forbes 1108k followers. Power rank 3721
  7. twitter@bloombergnow 186K followers. Power Rank 4202
  8. twitter@cnbc 932K followers. Power Rank 4839
  9. twitter@bw  156K followers. Power Rank 5739
  10. twitter@fortunemagazine 691K Followers. Power Rank 6821

This is not taking into account the power rankings of individual journalists and editors who are the real hard-working heroes getting the stories. But if you’re an investor relations pro trying to work the social media angles the twitter power rankings do not match up to the usual mind share that some of these news organizations normally have.

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. Follow him on twitter@financialskepti where he has a power rank of 1.1 million.


Inside the Mind of John Dowd – Rajarantnam’s Very Defeated Lawyer

Raj Rajaratnam was 100% convicted of insider trading. None of the charges were dismissed. The message to white collar criminals. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. The deterent effect will sweep over the financial community. So where does John Dowd come off making rude gestures on CNBC cameras and making injudicious comments to a live microphone.

John Dowd represents the delusional side of the legal community which is so confident in their ability to get clients off they expect judges and juries to fold like cheap suits. John Dowd made enough miscalculations to actually delude himself. When he was faced with the cold harsh reality of defeat he just lost it. So great was his contempt for the law and legal process. So great was his shock with reality. So great was his poor judgement in giving CNBC a look into his inner psyche.

While the financial community got the big message, the legal community received a bigger one. The message was stillborn in the juries verdict. You cannot get your clients off. The value of a lawyer to a white collar criminal is now much dimished. My lawyer can get me off type of thinking is now suicidal. To John Dowd that is a huge revealation.

Jim Cramer Should Publish Investment Dictionary

Mad Money

Image by Tulane Public Relations via Flickr

For those of you who follow CNBC and Jim Cramer you cannot help but notice how extensive Jim Cramer’s vocabulary is. His high energy style is driven by buzz words and trading slang. Nothing wrong with it. With his depth of knowledge and brand recognition why not publish an up to date lexicography in an e-book version. Profits to a charitable trust.

The most interesting use would be in court as lawyers spar over the meaning of hip investor talk that juries may not understand.

Just thinking out loud. OK I’m going back to reading another annual report.

Disclosure: “George Gutowski” writes from a “caveat emptor perspective”. I hold no positions in stocks mentioned in this post. I have no plans to initiate new positions within the next 72 hours.

New York Times & CNBC

Andrew Ross Sorkin at the 2009 Texas Book Fest...

Image via Wikipedia

Just some out loud speculation about New York Times (NYT) and CNBC which is still owned by GE (GE). Andrew Ross Sorkin seems to be a regular on an incredibly early morning called Squawk Box. CNBC  may or may not be so cozy with the Wall St Journal now that Rupert Murdoch News Corp (NEWS) owes them.

Reading the tea leaves and trying to predict the future is always difficult. Will Andrew Ross Sorkin leverage his brand and use Deal Book as a platform? Will NY Times be able to tap into news gathering from CNBC? NY Times as a print operation will eventually crash and burn. Are they fumbling toward a digital solution? Who is on first?

Disclosure: George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. I hold no positions in stocks mentioned in this post. 

CNBC Ford/GM Arbitrage

CNBC logo derived from the 1986 NBC Peacock logo

Image via Wikipedia

CNBC you got to love them. GM (Stock symbol pending) is coming out with the long-awaited Obama validating IPO. Ford (F) is coming out looking like a successful American Car company. Did that sound right “Successful American Car Company”

Tonight CNBC airs the one hour special “Rebuilding an American Icon”. They just interviewed Chairman Ford on “Power Lunch

The GM IPO will get lots of media attention of course. GM just by happenstance reported a whopping $2 Billion of profits led in a politically correct fashion by operations in North America. Even Robert Lutz vice chairman has chimed in claiming the earnings are on target.

Investments are relative. This is becoming a stock pickers market. Which car company do you favour?  Investor Relations and Public Relations are girding for a major battle. Expect lots of sound and fury.

Investors just remember this. The automotive sector is cyclical.

Disclosure: George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. I hold no positions in stocks mentioned in this post.

Special Disclosure: I probably will not be buying into the GM IPO.

Hoku Disclosure Challenges

Hoku (HOKU) a solar power company was just interviewed on CNBC. Jane Wells a CNBC correspondent who holds down the West Coast beat spoke with Scott Paul CEO & President. As she drills down to pertinent questions Scott Paul suddenly says well we are in a quiet period because we will be issuing earnings in a few weeks. Then he continues to answer the question.

Scott if you cannot talk about it what are you doing on live TV? Scott if you cannot talk about it why are you talking about it? Scott if you cannot talk about it you cannot talk about it. You are at a big solar industry conference talking about it. specifically you are at Solar Power International 2010 or SPI 10. Readers should check out

Scott you need to have a long talk with the lawyers. Jane Wells and CNBC, good interview. To hear the interview go to type in HOKU under stock symbols and have a listen.

Disclosure: I write from a caveat emptor perspective. I hold no positions in stocks mentioned in this post.