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In Business This Week: Headliner
Steven Rattner: Media Mogul in the Making
It was no surprise when Steven Rattner, deputy chairman of Lazard Freres, said that he was leaving the well-known investment bank on Feb. 29. But where he was headed and who he was taking with him did turn heads on Wall Street. The former New York Times reporter, and the man known for placing Lazard's media mergers and acquisitions practice on the map, is now off to build his own media empire.
Rattner announced this week that he is forming Quadrangle Group, a private investment firm that will specialize in investing in the media and communications industries. Joining him as founding partners are fellow Lazard executives David Tanner, Peter Ezersky, and Joshua Steiner. They have already raised about $250 million and hope to come up with $1 billion to be invested in media companies at various stages of development. The firm's advisory board is a who's who of the media and telecom world, including such luminaries as USA Networks Chairman Barry Diller and cellular titan Craig McCaw.By Debra Sparks in New York; Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top
Aetna, They're Out to Get Ya
Just four days after being named Aetna's CEO in a management shakeup, William Donaldson found himself under heightened pressure when news leaked on Mar. 1 of an unsolicited offer from Dutch banking giant ING Group and WellPoint Health Networks. The two want to break up Aetna's large health-care and financial-services businesses and divide the spoils. ING and WellPoint earlier proposed a $70-per-share offer, which the company turned down. Aetna issued a statement saying that it would review the companies' proposal "in due course" as Donaldson moved ahead with plans for a strategic review. But unhappy investors are hankering for a deal: Aetna's stock soared 29% to 53 1/16 before trading was halted.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top
Treasury's Dirty-Money Cleanup
Money launderers, watch your backs: On Mar. 2, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers was scheduled to unveil legislation that, if approved by Congress, would give his office additional powers to combat the practice. For example, Treasury could ask for records on all wire transfers to havens for dirty money. Summers also wants banks to know the source of their customers' funds--especially when the client is a high-ranking official from another country. On Mar. 8, Treasury is expected to propose additional rules that would require the securities industry to file "suspicious activity reports" that banks now must provide when they suspect a customer of laundering money.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top
SFX Is Back on the Air
SFX Entertainment is going back to its roots. On Feb. 29, two years after shedding its radio operations to focus on the concert business, sports management, and sporting events, the nation's biggest promoter of live events agreed to be acquired by Clear Channel Communications for about $3.3 billion in stock, including the assumption of $1.1 billion in debt. The deal will make San Antonio-based Clear Channel a major force in music and sports business. It's in the process of completing a $23.5 billion acquisition of AMFM Inc., a move that will make it the world's largest radio station owner. The merger will help Clear Channel extend its advertising reach.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top