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The Roundup April 27

And I mean it. Final. The final final. The absolutely last final. Positively no more after this final. Until the real final final final.

The new GM that would emerge from the restructuring would be 89 percent-owned by the U.S. government and the UAW, provided workers and officials approve the plans. [The bondholders would own 10% in exchange for forgiving about $25 billion in loans.] Current GM stockholders would have 1 percent. . . .

The automaker said it would phase out the Pontiac brand by the end of next year and could stop production of its Saturn models by the end of 2009. A sale of the Hummer SUV brand is still a “reasonable likelihood,” Henderson said.

The steps would leave GM, formerly the world’s largest automaker, reliant on four core brands — Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC — and a network of international alliances as it looks to sell off its European unit Opel.

(“GM offers final survival plan,” Reuters, April 27) Of all the nonsense movie titles out there, one of my favorites is “The Last Seduction 2.” As if the first last seduction weren’t last enough. The same with GM’s final plans. Last year, the final plan was that GM would restructure itself successfully using “self-help.” In December, the final final plan was to think of a plan. In March, the final final final plan was to ask creditors to take a bath while raining money down on the UAW. Something tells me today’s final final final final plan hasn’t really been finalized yet and we’re about to get a final final final final final plan come bankruptcy time.

I’m telling you — the new media business model is shoestring, not Gucci.

Portfolio, the ambitious, glossy business magazine from Condé Nast Publications, closed Monday after just two years. Joanne Lipman, editor in chief, and Tom Wallace, editorial director of Condé Nast, met with editorial staff members and announced that the magazine and its Web site,, were shutting down, effective immediately. . . .

Despite cuts at Portfolio, some of the old Condé Nast ways remained. To illustrate a November 2008 article arguing that credit derivatives were “the elephant in the room” at JPMorgan Chase, the magazine spent what one staff member, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said was $30,000 to procure the services of a real elephant to menace a model at a photo shoot.

(“Portfolio Magazine Shut, a Victim of Recession,” New York Times, April 27) Conde Nast is struggling with all its properties; last year it had to shut down Jane. They thought they could paste the Gucci magazine model — the kind that made Vanity Fair famous — on to business news. But the days of throwing big piles of money at media journalism is over — just as the days of throwing big piles of money at startups. Broke, as I said in an earlier post, is the new black.

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