Clear Channel not clear Clear Channel Communications, the US radio network connected to Rush Limbaugh and which owns half of Radio Network (newstalkzb), has had to draw down on a big debt facility, triggering a fire sale of its debt by investors nervous about a collapse. This in the WSJ. One to watch. Clear Channel have hinted they might want to sell their Radio Network stake before, but APN couldn't buy the other half because its controlling shareholder, Tony O'Reilly, has his own debt surplus (!) issues. One for Fairfax? Disclaimer. I worked for Fairfax until last January, but have no idea of their thinking now. Another point of view The conventional view on the poor reaction to Geithner's bank rescue plan yesterday was that it didn't have enough detail. John Taplin reckons the market didn't like the idea that Geithner didn't want to give them money without much stress testing (ie not for free like the last lot). Interesting thought. Isn't democracy wonderful? John Gapper at the FT sat through US Senate hearings last night and has some sobering words on the democratic process in Washington and what it might mean for the world's banking system. Elsewhere, John Authurs compares Geithner to Balderick in BlackAdder, describing how...:"I have a cunning plan my lord..." before the markets bollocked it. CDOMG Alan Kohler at BusinessSpectator digs deep into the CDO morass and comes out looking his usual worried self. Read this if you are a naturally deep sleeper. Inside the HBOS debacle The always excellent Robert Peston at the BBC has the lowdown on the resignation of former HBOS CEO Sir James Crosby (they're always knights...) as deputy chairman of the FSA after revelations that he forced out a whistleblower at HBOS, warning it was too reliant on wholesale markets for funding. This captures the mood.
Sir James chose to resign because he wanted to protect the FSA from incessant criticism by media and opposition politicians that its number two had made a chronically bad judgement as chief executive of HBOS.John Banks tips halving of rate hike Auckland mayor John Banks is now forecasting a 2% rate hike next year, just half the previous forecast increase because of various cost controls, including staff and salary freezes. So says the NZHerald. Finally someone in a council is listening to Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard's call for restraint. Hat tip to David Farrar at Kiwiblog for this one. Murdoch Mafia Kiwi ex journalist (there's hope for us all!) Tom Mockridge has been appointed to the board of BSkyB. He is Murdoch's man in Italy and joined the Murdoch gang here in New Zealand with INL and SkyTV. This from Digger-sympathisers at the FT... Dairy farmers frozen in the headlights Andrew Swallow at Rural News reports on comments from Fed Farmers' Waikato President Stew Wadey about a looming cash crisis for farmers and that all transactions depending on payout forcecasts have ground to a halt.
I don't know of any farm sales in the Waikato to give me an indication of what land values are doing. There's not been one bona fide dairy farmer to dairy farmer saleWhat a stink This is an issue that will bubble along for farmers until it is picked up by some crusading politician or journalist... Intensive dairy farming is making our waterways sicker by the day and the Fonterra/Fed Farmers response is inadequate to say the least. Here's an interesting piece in Rural News on this referring to some research by NIWA Scientist Rob Davies-Colley. Another one bites the dust Australian plastics group Nylex has been put into receivership, says the SMH.