Monthly Archives: December 2009

John Gapper

Tiger Woods’ personal crisis shows little signs of receding – fresh revelations about his “transgressions” keep on being published and his mother-in-law was briefly taken to hospital on Tuesday. So it is not surprising that there are hints of his sponsors’ support wavering.

Although companies that have affiliated themselves with the golfer’s name – including Nike, EA Sports, Gillette and NetJets – insist they still have faith in him, PepsiCo has dropped a Gatorade drink named after him. Read more

John Gapper

Richard Branson is an ambitious man. Ask him about the potential for his Virgin Galactic business – as I did at the unveiling of his space capsule in the Mojave desert in California on Monday – and he does not hold back.

Virgin Galactic has ordered five vehicles that can take six passengers into sub-orbital flight about 110km above the earth’s surface at a time. But Sir Richard thinks that, in 10 years’ time, it could have 40 of the six-passenger craft flying twice a day each. Read more

John Gapper

The suggested use of the Troubled Asset Relief Programme to support US job creation rather than simply  to address the financial crisis strikes me as morally hazardous.

As the FT reports, some Democratic members of Congress are pressing for some of the $700bn Tarp fund to be used for tax relief for job creation, or for state spending programmes. Read more

John Gapper

This way partnership lies.

Goldman Sachs is pushed toward awarding annual bonuses to its senior managing directors (its so-called partners) in shares that vest over several years rather than partly in cash and partly in shares. Read more

John Gapper

The Rupert Murdoch we all know and love (or love to hate) is an aggressive, insurgent media tycoon who prefers to fight against entrenched media forces and insult them while doing so.

The Rupert Murdoch we have seen in the past couple of years is a humble pussycat who says nice things about how News Corp has to learn to play nicely with the digital generation. Read more

John Gapper

Ingram Pinn illustration

My FT column on Comcast taking control of NBC can be read here.

John Gapper

Good luck to the search committee of General Motors in finding a new chief executive.

The abrupt departure of Fritz Henderson from the job this afternoon under pressure from Ed Whitacre, GM’s chairman (and temporary replacement as chief executive) leaves the company looking for someone to take his place. Read more

John Gapper

Bethany McLean’s long article about Goldman Sachs in Vanity Fair does not produce a smoking gun against her former employer but it is worth reading for its dissection of the gap between what Goldman thinks about itself and what others do.

That conflict is most concrete in the feelings of hedge fund managers whom she interviewed, who resent the bank while feeling compelled to do business with it. Read more

John Gapper

For those who misssed it, I recommend Henny Sender’s story in the FT today about a Kuwaiti conglomerate taking legal action against Carlyle Group, the US private equity group.

The dispute is over the collapse of Carlyle Capital Corp, a publicly-listed fund which imploded after investing in triple-A rated mortgage-backed securities. It follows an acrimonious meeting between David Rubenstein, a co-founder of Carlyle, and Saad Al Saad, the head of National Industries Group. Read more

John Gapper

The global financial crisis seems to have taken the place of hurricanes for the reinsurance industry.

Despite fears that Hurricane Katrina, the most disastrous storm of the 2005 US hurricane season, would usher in further disasters on the Gulf Coast of the US, it has been calm at sea this year. Read more