Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Little of The Old In And Out

In: Hulu. Hulu's quest for world domination continues apace (The site is the third most popular on the web). Just last week we were talking to Michaels' General Manager Steve Millington about Hulu's excellence (Steve's kids like to watch cartoons on the site), and, quite frankly, almost everyone we know drops by the site at least once a week. Their content library, already delicious, is now increasing. From Paidcontent:

"The serious talks between The Walt Disney Company and Hulu we first reported a month ago finally have resulted in a deal making the company a partner with News Corp., NBC Universal and Providence Equity Partners in the video portal and distributor. The deal, which has yet to close, adds ABC’s prime time shows to Hulu as well as its daytime soaps and programming from ABC Family, Disney Channel and SOAPnet.

"For Hulu, this is about more than getting ABC and Disney cable programming. To get ABC Disney on board, paidContent was told News Corp. and NBCU—whose exclusive deals with the JV were set to expire late this year—agreed to a two-year extension that matches Disney’s term and gives Hulu some breathing space as it continues to build out.

"Disney gets three seats on the Hulu board that will be filled by Bob Iger; Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group; and Kevin Mayer, executive vice president, Corporate Strategy, Business Development & Technology."

More here.

(image via FT)

Out: The Chrystler LLC Lenders, Hedge Funds It is rare when President Obama seems truly peeved. There was that episode with Vice President Joe Biden's straying off message. And there was today's presser when the President seemed genuinely rankled by the investors and hedge funders who nearly put the kibosh on the Fiat-Chrystler alliance that will save an iconic brand and American jobs across the heartland. From Bloomberg:

"'I don’t stand with those who held out when everyone else is making sacrifices,' Obama said today in Washington where he announced that Chrysler would proceed with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to reorganize into a more viable carmaker in a partnership with Italy’s Fiat SpA.

Obama said that while many of the stakeholders worked constructively, others did not. 'In particular, a group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout,' he said.

"'They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices and they would have to make none,' Obama said. 'Some demanded twice the return that other lenders were getting.'

"A dissident group of 20 investment firms and other lenders turned down administration loan reduction proposals, leading to a breakdown in talks last night. The firms include OppenheimerFunds Inc., Perella Weinberg Capital Management LP and Stairway Capital Advisors, a person representing the group said, asking not to be identified. The companies were part of a steering group that led Chrysler restructuring negotiations with the Treasury Department.

"Dan Arbess, a spokesman for New York-based Perella, didn’t return calls for comment. Jack Brown, a spokesman for New York- based Oppenheimer, declined to comment. Stairway spokesman John Rijo said the Uniondale, New York-based fund would be issuing a statement later today."

Also: a source tells Reuters that the U.S. House Financial Services Committee plans to hold a hearing to examine the regulation of the $1.3 trillion hedge fund industry.

In: Ms. Natalie Portman was mentioned in today's Page Six as one of Sean Penn's flings, but she also has a new site out that gets some favorable mention from EW:

"The site is still brand new, so it isn't exactly overflowing with content. But what it does have -- a chat with Ron Howard about Angels & Demons, a discussion with Whatever Works casting director Juliet Taylor -- is impressively in-depth. And unlike many star-centric sites, Portman's presence here is minimal, save for a company bio and an interview under the 'Actors' heading."

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