January 12, 2007

Family Advertising Data 2006

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/12/2007 12:23:00 PM
MyFamily.com Made Most Impressions on 14 Million Women in One December Week

A deeper drill-down into Online advertisers, visitors and ad types for Family Resource destinations in December

Top 5 Online Family Resources Destinations (Week ending December 17, 2006 US, Home and Work)

Unique Audience (000)

Active Reach (%)

Kaboose & BabyZone Network









About.com Parenting & Family






Source: Nielsen//NetRatings NetView

Demographic Data for Family Resources Category (Month of November 2006 US, Home and Work)



Unique Audience (000)

Audience Composition (%)











2 - 11



12 - 17



18 - 24



25 - 34



35 - 49












HH Income

$ 0 - 24999



$ 25000 - 49999



$ 50000 - 74999



$ 75000 - 99999



$ 100000 - 149999



$ 150000+



No Response



Source: Nielsen//NetRatings NetView

Data on the Web Media Industry, Family Segment (Week ending December 17, 2006 US, Home and Work)

Top 20 Advertisers

Impressions (000)

Share of all Impressions

MyFamily.com, Inc.



Search Institute






Johnson & Johnson






A&E Television Networks



Babies Online, LLC



Nestle USA, Inc.



Coincide Media, LLC









Growing Family Inc.






Source: Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance

Top Ad Sizes


Impressions (000)

Share of all Impressions





Wide Skyscraper




Medium Rectangle




Full Banner




Button #1












Button #2




Non-Standard Dimension



Micro Bar




Vertical Banner




Half Banner







Source: Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance

Ad Delivery Types

Impressions (000)

Share of all Impressions
















Source: Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance

Note: Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance reporting data reflects advertising activity served on pages accessible via the World Wide Web and not within AOL's proprietary service.

How to Drop a $200 Million Brand

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/12/2007 12:17:00 PM
It's not every day that you drop a $200 million dollar brand for one that is well - so uncool.

SBC spent a reported $1 billion on its branding campaign following the AT&T acquisition last year to drop the nearly unknown SBC acronym for the better known AT&T. Analysts wonder if this time around the trade off is worth it, since Cingular has better brand equity than a name that recalls the poor customer service of the old AT&T Wireless. Indeed, when Cingular Wireless first launched in 2000 as an umbrella brand for 11 regional wireless carriers, parent companies BellSouth and SBC said the "C" in Cingular stood for "customers."

Why is AT&T reviving the AT&T brand that is so out of touch with the brands of Web 2.0 companies? Beats me.

"Cingular Wireless" was picked from 6,000 other possible names after five rounds of research, global trademark searches, meetings with 18 focus groups and the consumption of 60 pizzas. Back then, apparently, it was edgy to use a misspelled word as a brand (Qwest), but times have apparently changed. The original advertising blitz for Cingular cost $200 million as the orange "Jack" logo started expressing himself between sitcoms with the tagline: "What do you have to say?" What do we have to say? R.I.P., Cingular.

I like Cingular better. After all, how many of you still get phone service from AT&T?

Private Equity Guru: Would You Buy Ameriquest?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/12/2007 01:52:00 AM
Rumor mongers are saying that a hedge fund could soon own sub-prime mortgage lender Ameriquest.

Privately held Ameriquest engaged JP Morgan Securities to attempt to find a possible buyer. The New York Post identified Ellington Capital as interested in the company.

Greenwich, Conn.-based Ellington has about $4.5 billion in assets under management, with the majority of that dedicated to mortgage bonds. Since the fund has expertise on high-risk debt, it is already familiar with Ameriquest's business.

Buying a subprime lender past the peak of the cycle counts in my book as either the best way to succeed unconventionally or to fail spectacularly. Plus, Ameriquest doesn't exactly draw rave reviews from its customers - err, victims.

Ameriquest recently paid $295 million to settle charges by regulators it had engaged in predatory lending. The entire sub-prime industry has had to cut mortgage fees and rates, and concerns persist that overburdened consumers could soon start to default at increased rates.

I'd bet there is alot more skeletons in the closet than meets the eye. Anyone say Refco?

Does MySpace Have a Shot at Mixi?

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/12/2007 01:47:00 AM
Mixi, it's Japanese for social networking. MySpace is launching in Japan and Mixi thinks that MySpace doesn't have a shot.

Mixi starts targeting Japan's baby boomers to expand its user base, whose 80% is now constituted of subscribers aged between 20 and 34.

It's betting that septogenerians will join and start blogging. Are you kidding?

About 6.8m Japanese will celebrate their 60th birthdays over the next three years. Mixi thinks newly retired people will become active members of its network by uploading travel pictures and writing "blog-style" diaries and participating or organizing online communities that can range from "sky watching" to "love of sleep" interests.

I don't buy it.

January 11, 2007

Holiday Ecommerce Spending +26% in 2006. Plus the Top 12 Days of E-Commerce 2006

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/11/2007 10:34:00 AM
comScore Networks released a report on consumer online retail spending at U.S. sites during 2006, including the holiday season. For the full year 2006, online retail spending reached $102.1 billion, marking a 24-percent increase versus 2005. Online holiday e-commerce was up 26 percent versus last year.

E-Commerce Retail Spending Summary (2006 vs. 2005 Non-Travel Billion $)

E-Commerce Retail Spending Summary (2006 vs. 2005 Non-Travel Billion $)



Pct Change

Full Year (Jan. 1 - Dec.31)




Holiday Season (Nov. 1 - Dec. 31)




Source: comScore Networks, January 2007

Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore Networks, said "The online holiday shopping season... played a vital role in the year's success, as spending accelerated during the final two months of the year...")

Online retail spending saw several strong individual spending days during 2006, with 12 days during the November/December holiday season surpassing the $600 million mark. In comparison, just six days in 2005 reached $500 million in online sales, with the top day registering $556 million (Monday, December 12, 2005).

Wednesday, December 13 marked the heaviest online spending day of 2006 with $667 million spent, followed by Monday, December 11 and Monday, December 4. Monday, November 27 ("Cyber Monday") was surpassed 11 times during the subsequent weeks of the holiday season.

Top 12 Days of 2006 E-Commerce Non-Travel (Retail) Spending



E-Commerce Spending ($ Millions)


Wednesday, December 13



Monday, December 11



Monday, December 4



Friday, December 8



Thursday, December 14



Wednesday, December 6



Thursday, December 7



Friday, December 15



Tuesday, December 12



Tuesday, December 5



Tuesday, November 28



Monday, November 27 - "Cyber Monday"


Source: comScore Networks

* The flow of online holiday retail spending in 2006, as compared to the previous year, demonstrated that online consumers pushed their buying later than ever. Spending growth during the first third of the season (Weeks 1-3) rose a modest 23 percent above 2005 levels, despite the week before Thanksgiving, which saw robust 30-percent growth versus the corresponding week in 2005.
* The middle third of the season (Weeks 4-6), during which the greatest share of holiday e-commerce spending occurred, was consistent with the 26-percent growth demonstrated during the course of the season as a whole.
* The final three weeks of the holiday season (Weeks 7-9) saw a major surge in spending as the procrastinators came out in full force, driving a 31-percent increase versus the corresponding weeks in 2005.
* The week leading up to Christmas (week ending December 24, 2006) saw the biggest surge with a 45-percent increase versus the corresponding week a year ago, as consumers showed their faith in online retailers' ability to 'deliver the goods' in time for Christmas. (

Fiber Optic Internet - Japan Gets 100 Mbps Broadband for $50 Per Month

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/11/2007 09:18:00 AM
Internet at fiber optic speed is coming soon! JCOM, the largest cable provider in Japan, is offering 100 Mbps cable internet service for $50 per month starting in April 2007. That's light speed!

J:COM, the largest cable MSO in Japan, will use pre-DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding techniques to deliver a super-fast Internet service that caps downstream speeds at 160 Mbps, and upstream speeds at 10 Mbps. J:COM will sell the new service for ¥6,000 (approximately US $50.50 ) per month.

Meanwhile, Verizon is now offering 50 Mbps connection in Massachusetts and Rhode Island through FiOS - which adds to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Price gauging at work: $90-$140 per month. For half the speed!

Don't want wires, go with Sprint WiMAX for $55/month for 2 Mbps connection. Just one hitch. You'll have to wait until 2008.

January 10, 2007

eBay Buys Online Scalper for $310 Million

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/10/2007 11:01:00 PM
eBay is paying $310 million for StubHub which is a place for online scalpers to sell their tickets to unsuspecting or hapless buyers who just have to buy the latest football, baseball, and Broadway tickets.

StubHub generated about $100 million in sales in 2006 on $400 million gross ticket sales, according to spokesperson Sean Pate. EBITDA was $10 million so eBay paid 30x EBITDA.

I wrote about these guys earlier in the year - that StubHub was being shopped - and compared StubHub to RazorGator which is half the size. Looks like they took their time and got shopped around quite a bit. eBay tried to buy StubHub for $20 million in 2002, when the company was two-years-old. But talks fell apart.

EBay has its own ticket marketplace as well but it does not have traction.

If traffic is any measurement, however, StubHub's business is far more active than eBay's. StubHub saw 2.1 million unique visitors and generated 22.3 million page views in August, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. EBay's ticket section saw 309,000 unique visitors and 875,000 page views.

eBay was downgraded to $25 earlier this week because of decelerating growth in listings so I'm not suprised they paid up for this company. 30x earnings is a big price tag for a company that sells $100 million in tickets and puts just $10 million on the bottom line. It certainly isn't the type of economics of eBay's marketplace. Then again, eBay's got to do whatever it takes to keep delivering growth and you've got to believe that Piper Jaffray downgrade probably did the trick to get them moving.

CES Booth Babes - Las Vegas Girls and Babes

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/10/2007 08:59:00 PM
CES would not be complete without booth babes. Every year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, companies bring out the hottest babes to sell their electronic gears. After all, guys don't want to talk to geeks? Guys want to talk to babes. The babes this year:

1) Girls Gone Wild Beach Babes. Girls Gone Wild. No need to explain here.
2) Motor Car / Hot Rides Babes. Lots of them. Hot. Interesting. But somewhat conventional.
3) Direct TV Nurses "who prescribe digital TV prescriptions." I'll take on of those prescriptions! That's hot.

I know you want to just go on with the pictures. Here they are. I bring you the CES 2007 Booth Babes from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

First Stop, the Girls Gone Wild Booth Babes were playing beach volleyball. Ok. There is alot of sand in Vegas. So that makes sense. But where is the beach?

Next stop, the auto babes. There is no particular them here.
Booth babe posing. She must have had to do that look a million times!

Girls posing for the camera. Hot!

Babe signing a poster. Notice how they don't even care about the product. Neither do I!

Card counting babe. She must be a card shark / card dealer at the casino temping at CES.

Babe who knows she's hot.

A booth babe showing off her assets.

Still counting. Must be a card shark.

A very excited booth babe. They really should make the logos on the shirt bigger.

A booth babe pitching Clarion. What is Clarion? Who cares?

Is she selling a car? Or herself? You have to wonder sometimes. After all, its Vegas.

Russian babe? or Cold war babe?

Motor cycle booth babe.

Retro car babe.

Final stop, the direct tv babes. These babes were dressed up like nurses. Their prescription pads: DIRECTV Satellite TV.

An attendee posing with the Direct TV nurses. Their prescription: sign up for DTV. My prescription for DTV: sell!

Direct TV nurses gainfully unemployed. There were crowds of guys ogling them and taking photos of them "for their wives" until someone's wife came over. :-) hint hint.

CES is such fun! What would CES do without the booth babes?

I Want to Build-A-Bear

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/10/2007 11:04:00 AM
Stuff the bear.
Stuff the bear.
Stuff the bear.

Build a bear.
Build a bear.
Build a bear.

If you've ever been to the Build A Bear Workshop (NYSE BBW) down at the mall, you know what I'm talking about. The raving chant of the bear builders at Build A Bear Workshop have made it a prime destination for birthday parties for toddlers. It's a cult I say. It really is.

I've been to the shops a few times and it's impossible to walk out without spending $50 for a stuffed teddy that talks, is super cuddly, and walks - actually, it won't walk.

Now, SAC Capital has joined the cult.

SAC Capital is a stakeholder in stuffed animal-maker Build-A-Bear Workshop.

The hedge fund company revealed its 5% piece in Build-A-Bear in a 13G filing. It marked the second retail holding SAC Capital disclosed this month. Last week, the $12 billion powerhouse revealed a 5.6% stake in department store Pacific Sunwear.

Founded in 1997, Build-A-Bear is a concept-driven retail chain where people can custom-make their own teddy bear. Stock in the company rose 3% after SAC Capital disclosed its stake Monday. The hedge fund outfit indicated it would be a passive investor in Build-A-Bear. The company is trading at $28.85 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.

Aside from Build-A-Bear and PacSun, Stamford, Conn., SAC Capital has in the last month been an active retail sector investor. On Dec. 29, 2006, the hedge fund stalwart bought 8.7% in Endeavor Acquisition, the shell company that bought American Apparel.

Billionaire Steven Cohen founded SAC Capital. His hedge fund company has been said to account for as much as 3% of the daily trading on the NYSE.

We're Justing Looking For $3 Billion

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/10/2007 11:01:00 AM
Turkish mobile operator Turkcell has mandated a group of banks to arrange a USD 3 billion financing line for the company. The lead arrangers Akbank, Citibank, Garanti Bankasi, HSBC, JP Morgan and Standard Bank will set up an unsecured syndicated financing through a committed facility amounting to USD 3 billion. Turkcell plans to use the financing for international expansion, although it did not name potential targets. Most recently the company said it plans to bid for a licence in Saudi Arabia and invest more in its Ukrainian subsidiary. Money is in no short supply in the Middle East! To which Vodafone responded, "We'll invest 1 billion dollars in 2 years." And so the telecom wars begin!

Game Over: New CEO for Massive

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/10/2007 10:59:00 AM
Microsoft has given the boot to the former CEO of Massive and given the crown to Cory van Arsdale who will be the new CEO of Massive Incorporated, the in-game ad network that the software giant purchased last April. Former CEO Mitch Davis will leave the company at the end of the month.

Prior to assuming the CEO job at Massive, Van Arsdale oversaw the company's operations as general manager of Microsoft's online services group. He described himself as a "big advocate" for Massive's acquisition. "I think it's a great strategic fit for Microsoft," he said.

Nasdaq DayTraders Back in Force

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/10/2007 10:57:00 AM
Remember the rise of the day traders, the SOES bandits, the guys who were going to democratize Wall Street? Well, it never really happened that way. As a group, these guys crashed and burned when the bubble burst. Even before then, it was getting harder and harder to pick off trades. But as the bull market heats up, some suggest that day traders are ready to reappear. I do not think we'll see a resurgence of firms like Block Trading. But two new brokerages, OptionsHouse.com and Just2Trade.com, have opened for business. Both will cater to active traders. At the same time, mainstream brokerages have made it easier to really crank up the trades. Of course, the Internet is better able to handle it now.

January 09, 2007

Hot on Teens: Hearst Ties the Knot with eCrush.com

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/09/2007 01:53:00 PM
Hearst magazine has acquired teen social network eCRUSH.com for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase--along with social networking plans for many of Hearst's titles--stems partly from high demand for teen-targeted ad inventory, said Chuck Cordray, vice president and general manager of digital media at Hearst.

"We certainly could have used the additional inventory during the last half of 2006," said Cordray. "There's a lot of demand to reach teens online."

Launched in 1999 by music marketing entrepreneur Clark Benson and Northwestern University fund-raiser Karen DeMars, eCRUSH was designed with viral marketing in mind, as members can send email "crushes" to non-members, who must then register with eCRUSH to digitally unmask their admirers.

More than one million unique users visit the eCRUSH Network of sites each month and 90% are 13 to 19 years old, according to internal metrics. Also, eCRUSH claims about 2.4 million registered users. Hearst's EBITDA--earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization--came to $1.4 million in 2006.

Goldman Sachs Cuts Oil: Draws Protest from Angry Unemployed Saudis

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/09/2007 01:51:00 PM
Goldman cut the energy portion by as much as 50 percent in some of the sub-indexes that comprise the widely followed Goldman Sachs Commodity Index, tamping down moves to buy them by large investment funds who mimic Goldman's index.

The changes took effect this month and apply for all of 2007, a Goldman spokesman said.

Crude oil futures plunged 9 percent Wednesday and Thursday to $55 a barrel, before settling Friday at $56.31. The two-day decline was the sharpest since December 2004.

The GSCI is influential because large institutional investors like pension funds and endowments invest according to its allocation model.

"If Goldman's model tells them to cut their energy exposure by half, they do it," says Warren Mosler, president and chief investment strategist of Valence Corp., a multi-billion dollar hedge fund.

A Cool $20 Billion: 2007 Market Size for Online Advertising Spending

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/09/2007 01:51:00 PM
Total US spending on Internet advertising will reach at least $19.5 billion in 2007. This is 19% more than total spending in 2006. (Though) this rate of growth is sharply down from the 30% or more that has been the norm for several years, (and) the total US advertising spending projected to grow by 1.4% in 2007, the shift to the Internet is set to maintain its momentum in 2007.

US Online Ad Spending (billion dollars)


Online Ad Spend











Source: eMarketer, December 2006

eMarketer projects that spending on Online Video Advertising will total $775 million in 2007, which represents only 4.0% of projected US online ad spending. Although marketers are increasingly keen on including video in their online ad campaigns, they will continue to face a shortage of appropriate premium placements.

Worldwide ad spending on online social networks should top $1 billion in 2007, up from an estimated $445 million this year. Fueling this growth will be factors such as international expansion, "niche" networks, and search technology to MySpace from Google.

Digital downloading of video games will take off in 2007, and by 2010 this distribution method will account for 22% of all worldwide game software revenues. Video-on-demand (VOD) marketers may find their skills in demand for promoting these platforms.

The number of African-American and Hispanic Internet users in the US will rise to 37 million, from 35 million in 2006. This market will continue to grow faster than the total US online population for several more years.

Mobile TV took its first baby steps in 2006 with professional content. In 2007 a crucial element will be added to the mobile-TV mix: user-generated content (CGC). Given the impact the Web equivalent of this development has had in 2006, advertisers and marketers are likely to face a dizzying array of new choices.

US B2C online sales will comfortably pass the $200 billion mark in 2007, reaching a new record total, which eMarketer projects will be $223 billion. Online retail sales will account for $132 billion of this, with online travel accounting for $91 billion. A significant force driving online travel sales is the demand from relatively affluent baby boomers.

A recent study, from market research firm Compete, found that consumers were more likely to be swayed by CGC (consumer generated content) than by information coming directly from brand advertisers and marketers.

Now broadband is about value-added services and is driven by providers bundling voice, video and data together. Services such as voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) are approaching the 30% penetration range. eMarketer predicts that one in four broadband households in 2007 will subscribe to a VoIP service, rising to nearly 40% of broadband households by 2010.

More people will watch more TV and video content in the future, not less, in spite of digital video recorders (DVRs) and video-on-demand (VOD). They will just be doing so in different ways: via the TV, the Internet, the PC and their portable devices. eMarketer predicts that VOD will be in 30% of US TV households by the end of 2007 and that DVRs will be in 30% of TV households by 2009.

Just $25 for eBay So Says Piper Jaffray

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/09/2007 01:49:00 PM
eBay listings are way down according to Piper Jaffray. Looks like Skype joined a sinking ship. This pretty much explains why eBay overpaid for Skype.

Piper Jaffray is surprisingly negative on eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), saying their proprietary count of worldwide eBay listings suggests total Q4 listings of between 578M-590M. These results are between 8%-11% below their 639M listing estimate for the quarter and could potentially be sequentially down in the seasonally strongest quarter (listings were up sequentially 19% in 4Q05 and 17% in 4Q04). While listings were expected to be weaker than in previous years due to the changes to Store listings, with a second sequential quarterly decline, and listings below expectations, estimates are likely to come down.

Assuming firm's range of a listing miss of 8%-11% is accurate, eBay would need a corresponding increase in revenue per listing of 8%-11% in order to match their $1,052M estimate for Q4 auction-based revenue. Firm notes that their estimate for total revenue is near the mid-point of company guidance and $21M below the Street consensus. Without any improvement in revenue per listings, the shortfall could be near $100M.

Current Street consensus estimates for 2008 assume growth accelerating from 21% in 2007 to 22% in 2008, despite the marked slowdown in growth eBay is seeing across its core properties. Considering that slower listings growth indicate that 4Q06 overall growth will likely only be between 21%-23% (down from 42% in 4Q05), PJ believes that expectations of over 20% growth for '07 or '08 are unrealistic. Firm's newly released 2008 revenue estimate of $8,142M is $568M below current Street expectations and assumes 16% growth in 2008.

Maintains UP and $25 tgt.

Maybe that's why eBay's stock has slumped 20% since it purchased Skype in September 2005. The VoIP provider was supposed to add new business lines, and new buyers and sellers to the auction site, as well as jump-start growth.

Skype's own financials have been stronger: The Internet phone outfit is expecting $195 million in sales from 2006, three times its 2005 total. Elsewhere, Skype is planning on expanding into new service revenues, such as its click-to-call search partnership with Google.

January 08, 2007

Aardvark Turns 110 Years Old

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/08/2007 12:04:00 PM
The aardvark doesn't look a day over 20! I checked Wikipedia, "Aardvarks can live to be over 24 years old in captivity." This aardvark has really beaten the odds. Either that or the the material on Wikipedia is questionable.

Aardvark (Afrikaans for "earth pig") is the common name for a burrowing, ant-eating mammal. The aardvark is found throughout much of Africa, from the southern part of Egypt to the Cape of Good Hope. A primarily nocturnal animal, it lives in burrows and feeds on ants and termites, occasionally eating other insects, the fat mouse, and a species of wild ground cucumber.

Goldman Sachs Wins Again - M&A League Table 2006

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/08/2007 11:25:00 AM
The 2006 merger and acquisition league table is out. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. topped the league. In case you wonder why these tables are so important, it's because bankers like to brag about their place in the league. After all, who wouldn't want to be top dog in a den of thieves? Got your star associate pilfered by the competition that was top dog last year, not a problem? He joined the dogs because they went down - on the league table.

Truthfully, bonuses are paid based on advisory fees and the firms at the top of the league just have more bonus moolah for the big payola day. It pretty much explains why everyone wants to win the partnership lottery at Goldman Sachs. For the odds, go here. Find out who got to go splurging on gifts for Christmas? Check the list. And please stop hitting on the bartender at Nebraska beef, please. Yes, I mean you, Goldman Sachs bankers.

2006 Merger and Acquisition League Table
1 Goldman Sachs Group Inc. 564.31 billion
2 JPMorgan Chase & Co. 471.74 billion
3 Morgan Stanley Inc. 433.31 billion
4 Citigroup Inc. 399.9 billion
5 Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. 383.94 billion
6 Merrill Lynch & Co. 394.44 billion
7 Credit Suisse Group 252.67 billion
8 UBS 240.52 billion
9 Bear Stearns & Cos. 218.33 billion
10 Lazard Ltd. 193.83 billion.

Source: Thomson Financial

MergerMarket.com had a different take.

2006 Merger and Acquisition League Table
1 Goldman Sachs Group Inc. 588.57 billion
2 Citigroup 469.92 billion
3 Morgan Stanley fourth 438.63 billion
4 Credit Suisse 381.41 billion
5 Merrill Lynch 353.95 billion
6 Lehman 307.94 billion
7 UBS 282.7 billion
8 Banc of America Inc. 248.1 billion
9 Deutsche Bank AG 193.2 billion.
10 Source: Mergermarket.com

The top deals of 2006.

Biggest M&A Deals of 2006
1 BellSouth Corp./AT&T Inc. 89.4 billion
2 HCA Inc. 32.7 billion
3 Harrah's Entertainment Inc. 27.8 billion

No More Starving Bankers - Banks Get $10 Billion Pay Day from Buyouts

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/08/2007 11:15:00 AM
The dot com bust created a raft of starving bankers a few years ago, but bankers are starving no more - thanks to the the private equity boom. Banks generated $11 billion of fees from buyout shops in 2006.

Private equity firms continued to be a lucrative source of revenue for investment banks last year, contributing a significant slice of the $37bn (€29bn) paid to investment banks by alternative asset managers.

Private equity firms paid more than $11bn (€8.4bn) to banks last year. They still lagged behind hedge funds, which provided more than $25bn in fee revenue to banks during the same period.

US heavyweight Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was the top fee-payer among buyout firms.

It's such wonderful news to hear that bankers are starving no more and can once again go binging on Ferraris and Florida mansions. I wonder when those dollars will trickle back down to the starving unwashed. masses. Hmm.

Restart : Amaranth Founder Looks for Second Chance

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/08/2007 11:12:00 AM
After losing billions of dollars of investors' money, Amaranth founder Nick Maounis is trying to start a new firm.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Maounis is teaming up with former colleagues to start a money management business. The firm will either manage money directly or help advise other funds.

Maounis is currently focused on winding down operations at Amaranth, which should be completed by the end of March. The fund was forced to close after losing billions of dollars in the course of about a week last September through a series of bad bets on the price of natural gas.

According to the Journal, Maounis has actually been expressing pride in Amaranth's risk management, even though the drop in gas prices that caused its demise had been foreseen by plenty of other players in the market who profited from Amaranth's fall. The Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodities Futures Trading Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have all been investigating Amaranth, but it is unclear if any of them will be taking regulatory action.

Despite the infamy of Amaranth's woes, its former employees seem to be having little trouble finding new jobs. Last month, Lehman Bros. hired former Amaranth trader James Scully as senior vice president for its prime services business and the Carlyle Group hired three Amaranth pros to join its new hedge fund unit, Blue Wave. Moore Capital Management opened an entire Canadian office with traders from Amaranth.

He wouldn't be the first big blowup to get a second chance.
John Meriwether led Long-Term Capital Management LLC, the Connecticut hedge fund that lost about $4 billion over several months in 1998 and roiled the markets. He now runs JWM Partners, LLC, a bond-oriented hedge fund that manages more than $2 billion. He and his colleagues began raising money for the fund just months after LTCM ran into trouble. Traders from Enron Corp. also are in demand, despite that energy trading company's collapse.

It was Canadian trader Brian Hunter who placed the wrong-way bet on natural gas that brought about the demise of the firm. Hunter has apparently not found a new job yet, but he might not need one. Amaranth reported paid the star trader $100 million the year before he wrecked the firm.

Not everyone thinks Nick should be given a second chance.

Amp'd Mobile Hits 100,000 Subs with $100 ARPU

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 1/08/2007 11:03:00 AM
Amp'd Mobile is on fire. Hitting $100 ARPU is very impressive. Doing it with 100,000 subs is even more so. A very impressive accomplishment!

Amp'd Mobile was set to report today that it finished 2006 with more than 100,000 subscribers. The youth-oriented, entertainment-heavy cellphone service signed up roughly 70,000 people in the fourth quarter.

The company, whose backers include Qualcomm Inc. and Viacom Inc., said its average revenue per user is over $100 per month, with about $30 of that being generated by a wide array of multimedia content.

An important data point is missing: the subscriber acquisition cost for those 100,000 subs.

Regardless, if you back out the numbers, $100 per month and 100,000 subs gets you to a $100 million run rate for 2007. Very impressive.