You know those obnoxious parents from Westchester who insist on slapping bumper stickers – on the old Lexus SUV – proclaiming the weekly accomplishments of their children? The ones who you wouldn't mind if they careened off the Merritt Parkway?
That's the way we're starting to feel about Conde Nast Portfolio.
After remaining mostly mum for the past year or so, you've now see EIC Joanne Lipman popping up in any press outlet that'll have her. And now, with the April 24 launch just a week away, the press effort is rolling ahead like Shia LaBeouf's acting career. Which makes sense, given that Portfolio hits newsstands TODAY in New York, opening up Lipman & Co. for hoards of criticism. And, let's face hit, praise from Jon Friedman.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2007
COND?? NAST PORTFOLIO PREMIER ISSUE DEBUTS
NEW MAGAZINE TO CHRONICLE HOW BUSINESS SHAPES THE WORLD
New York???Cond?? Nast Portfolio, a new magazine that chronicles how business shapes the world???and who the players are that wield the power???debuts today on newsstands in New York, and nationwide on April 24. The premier issue offers readers a business angle in every story, from politics to art, technology to entertainment. The magazine has assembled a remarkable pool of writers, along with top designers and photographers, to bring readers richly reported narratives and investigations, told in a vibrant, visual way. The magazine will launch with a continuously updated website, Portfolio.com, which will offer fresh news and analysis anytime. In her letter to readers, editor-in-chief Joanne Lipman writes, ???The result, we hope, will surprise, delight, inform???and provoke.??? The May 2007 issue of Cond?? Nast Portfolio features exclusive interviews (and photographs) with maverick business leaders, including Ford C.E.O. Bill Ford, asset manager Bruce Sherman, Citadel???s Ken Griffin, and Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. In addition, Matt Cooper tells his insider tale of the C.I.A. leak scandal, and authors Tom Wolfe and Michael Lewis offer in-depth looks at the worlds of hedge funds and jock stocks.
Attached is a copy of the cover of the premier issue of Cond?? Nast Portfolio, photographed by Scott Peterman. A higher resolution image of the cover, and PDFs of all stories, are available upon request.
???The Pirate Pose??? (p. 266). Twenty years after The Bonfire of the Vanities, contributing editor Tom Wolfe (photographed for the issue by Annie Leibovitz) checks in with the new Masters of the Universe and finds them even coarser and ruder than their predecessors could have imagined. Part narrative, part reportage, Wolfe???s story profiles the hedge fund and private equity managers, stock and bond traders, and lone-wolf entrepreneurs who live in Greenwich, Connecticut, headquarters for 100 or so hedge funds, which as a group handle about $100 billion, nearly one-tenth of all the hedge fund money in the world. ???The tales are endless: the hedge fund founder desperate to get his son into one of Greenwich???s socially swell private schools who clips a six-figure check to the first page of the application, witlessly forcing the school to reject both his son and his check or lose all credibility,??? Wolfe writes. ???Whenever such rich gossip is repeated, somebody invariably says, ???Who are these people??????? (http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2007/04/16/The-Pirate-Pose)
???The Jock Exchange??? (p. 156). Contributing editor Michael Lewis reports that Wall Street is about to launch a new way to trade professional athletes the way you trade stocks. On the proposed A.S.A. Sports Exchange, an athlete would sell 20 percent of all future on-field or on-court earnings to a trust, which would in turn sell securities to the public. ???As a number of smart people seem to have noticed at once, professional athletes have all the traits of successful publicly traded stocks, beginning with enormous speculative interest in them,??? Lewis writes. ???Americans wager somewhere between $200 billion and $400 billion a year on sports, and between 15 million and 25 million of them play in fantasy leagues???which is to say that a shadow stock market in athletes already exists.??? Lewis reports that in the past three years, at least a dozen baseball teams have hired the type of young statisticians you???d more commonly find working in risk arbitrage at Bear Stearns. ???The fans have always had an emotional investment without a [legal] financial one,??? says a leading sports agent. ???This is taking emotion and putting it to financial use. Screw this putting 300 bucks into a pot at work. This is ???everyone get online and open your account at Ameritrade.??? ??? (http://www.portfolio.com/culture-lifestyle/culture-inc/sports/2007/04/16/The-Jock-Exchange)
???Driven to the Brink??? (p. 278). Senior writer Betsy Morris profiles reluctant C.E.O. Bill Ford, who is waging an epic fight to keep his family in Ford Motor Company???and Ford on the map. With the motor city in a tailspin and takeover firms hovering, Morris reveals that in 2006, under the heated glare of Wall Street, Bill Ford and his board considered every option???mergers, alliances, selling the company wholesale or in pieces. She reports that a nervous Ford family even talked about taking the company private but dropped the idea, spooked by the amount of debt that would involve. Morris writes that shareholders plan to call for an end to family control at the annual meeting this May, and that the family is considering hiring boutique investment bankers to analyze how the company might be affected, and to watch out for its interests if Ford is drawn into the fray. Morris, who gained incredible access to the Ford family, reveals their struggles, and the pressure from the board to bring in new leadership. ???The best that I could do for this company was find somebody who could shake the culture of the place,??? Ford tells Cond?? Nast Portfolio. (http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2007/04/16/Driven-to-the-Brink)
???The Paper Shredder??? (p. 140). Staff writer Gabriel Sherman reveals how Bruce Sherman, C.E.O. of Private Capital Management, became the most powerful investor in the media world by forcing Knight Ridder to sell itself last year in a $6.5 billion deal to the McClatchy Co., and how he is now challenging Arthur Sulzberger Jr.???s control of the New York Times Co. ???Journalism has since suffered what might best be described as a collective panic attack,??? Sherman writes. ???It was the first time that an activist shareholder had successfully engineered the breakup of a publicly traded newspaper.??? The magazine reports how Bruce Sherman, who agreed to sit for an exclusive interview and photograph, withheld his votes for the New York Times Co. board of directors at last year???s annual shareholder meeting, and how Sulzberger and Times C.E.O. Janet Robinson have been trying to win over Sherman so he doesn???t do it again at this year???s meeting, scheduled for April 24.
???Opening Up the Citadel??? (p. 170). Cond?? Nast Portfolio profiles hedge fund wunderkind Ken Griffin, who has built Citadel Investment Group into a $13.5 billion juggernaut. ???We zealously guard our private life,??? says Griffin, with his wife Anne Dias Griffin by his side. In an exclusive, rare interview with staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar, Griffin dismisses the notion that he is a possible candidate for political office, and plays coy about his intentions regarding the possibility of taking Citadel public: ???It???s a strategic option we consider,??? he says. ???It???s not a foregone conclusion.??? The magazine photographs the Griffins, who have recently become patrons of the arts, at the construction site of the new wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, the beneficiary of their $19 million gift. (http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2007/03/29/Opening-Up-the-Citadel)
Also in the May Issue:
???Valerie, Scooter, and Me??? (p. 206). Washington editor Matthew Cooper provides a first-person account of the C.I.A. leak scandal involving Valerie Plame Wilson, who is photographed with her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, for the magazine. In September 2004, Cooper faced jail time for protecting Karl Rove, his source for information regarding Plame???s identity. Cooper sought Rove???s permission to testify, but Time Inc. vetoed the idea, sending the case to the Supreme Court. Cooper???s insider tale retraces the events from the corporate suites of Time Inc. to the trial of I. Lewis ???Scooter??? Libby. ???Over the next nearly four years, I was subpoenaed twice, fought testifying, wrestled with the prospect of going to jail, and employed some of the most renowned attorneys in America,??? Cooper writes. ???I was even teased by the president of the United States himself???. His first words to me were ???Cooper, I thought you???d be in jail by now.??? ??? ???What can I say, Mr. President???? I replied. ???The wheels of justice grind slowly.??? ??? (http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2007/04/16/Valerie-Scooter-and-Me)
???The Kid Pays for the Picture??? (p. 298). Senior writer Amy Wallace profiles Relativity Media???s Ryan Kavanaugh, a 32-year-old dealmaker, who despite a lack of credentials, has helped rustle up almost half of the $8 billion Wall Street has poured into Hollywood over the past three years. Wallace reports that Kavanaugh???s company recently signed an unusual deal with Citigroup and Sony Pictures that will give him both fees and an ownership stake in the movies themselves. ???Add Kavanaugh???s youth and lack of an M.B.A., and it???s no surprise that the onetime aspiring rock guitarist has become the most controversial figure in the secretive world of Hollywood finance,??? she writes. Harvey Weinstein, who is working on several deals with Kavanaugh, tells Wallace to dismiss the criticism of Kavanaugh, saying that such static is driven by one simple fact: Kavanaugh is making money that used to go into other people???s pockets. ???I???ve heard, ???He???s the devil. You can???t do business with him.??? Then you hang out with Ryan, and he???s smarter than all five of the guys put together who told me he???s the Antichrist.??? (http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2007/04/16/The-Kid-Pays-for-the-Picture)
???The Sheik Who Would Be King of Horse Racing??? (p. 272). Senior writer Daniel Roth profiles Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, prime minister of the seven-state United Arab Emirates, and the most powerful man in the world of horse racing. Since the early 1980s, he and Sheik Hamdan, his brother, have spent more than $1.5 billion on horses and even built them their own 747. His horses have won the biggest races worldwide, and now he is taking his game to the United States, setting his sights on the Kentucky Derby. Sheik Mohammed, who believes he is reclaiming his heritage, claims a blood connection to every horse racing today. ???They are all from Arabia,??? he tells Roth, who gained extraordinary access to the sheik, and reports in-depth on the potential impact Sheik Mohammed???s focus on winning in the U.S. will have on the Thoroughbred industry. Roth examines the rivalry between secretive Irish billionaire John Magnier and the Maktoum family as they go head-to-head to buy the best horses, confirming rumors that the sheik is boycotting Magnier. (http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2007/03/29/The-Sheik-of-Horse-Racing)
Interview: ???Siriusly Speaking??? (p. 102). Contributing editor Nancy Hass spends 10 minutes with Mel Karmazin discussing the merger of rival satellite radio networks Sirius and XM, the stock price, and how Sumner Redstone has taught him, in his words, ???nothing good that I can think of.??? (http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2007/04/02/Siriusly-Speaking)
???What???s Wrong With This Picture???? (p. 152). The 10 biggest private equity firms, which employ roughly 1,000 investment professionals, have just four U.S.-based partner-level women in charge of putting together deals, reports staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar. Six female dealmakers talk about what it takes to be at the top of their game. (http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2007/03/29/Whats-Wrong-With-This-Picture)
???Weapons of Mass Production??? (p. 286). As the debate rages over the ultimate cost of the Iraq invasion, Christopher Griffith???s photo portfolio looks at some of the companies that are reaping the benefits. ???No matter how you view them, the numbers inspire shock and awe,??? John Hockenberry writes in his accompanying essay. (http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/international-news/portfolio/2007/03/29/Weapons-of-Mass-Production)
???Fortune Hunter??? (p. 304). Harry Hurt III profiles onetime corporate raider T. Boone Pickens, who has launched a financial recovery, while his personal life has been shattered by divorces and a series of crises involving his two sons.
???Learning to Love Global Warming??? (p. 132). Contributing editor John Cassidy explains why some economists believe climate change may not be such a bad thing after all.
???Behind the Green Doerr??? (p. 182). Senior writer Russ Mitchell profiles Silicon Valley???s most powerful venture capitalist, John Doerr, of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a self-described ???raging capitalist??? who is betting big on green technology, and asking taxpayers to foot the bill. (http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2007/03/29/Behind-the-Green-Doerr)
Are you going to actually say what you don't like about it, or are you just beating off again, greased up with self-loathing and fantasizing that you are Gawker?
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