Felix Salmon

Ford’s stock issue makes more sense than Microsoft’s bond

Ford is issuing equity and will probably use some of the proceeds to buy back debt. At the same time, Microsoft is issuing debt and will probably use some of the proceeds to buy back equity. Which one makes more sense? The answer, quite clearly, is Ford.

When banks try to defend credit cards

With the credit card bill finally coming in to focus, the banks’ complaints are ringing increasingly hollow:

Chart of the day: NYC subway ridership

Paul Kedrosky points to this wonderful map of New York City with sparklines showing ridership over time at various subway stations. I can’t get the background map to show up, but the data is all still there, and here’s a bit of the Lower East Side:

Google-NYT: The dance continues

Back in January, Google’s Eric Schmidt was dismissive when asked about whether he had any interest in buying the New York Times, although he did say he was interested in doing a peculiar thing where he would “merge without merging”, whatever that meant.

How hedge-fund-friendly is the White House?

Ryan Chittum makes a good point about the hedge funds kvetching about the Obama administration on page C1 of the WSJ: their “pique” (to use the word in the WSJ headline) might well be a function of the fact that their income taxes are about to rise dramatically:

Ackman’s desperate Target fight

There’s another of Bill Ackman’s song-and-dance shows today: he’s waging what the FT calls “one of the largest and most expensive proxy battles in US corporate history” against Target, and eliciting some pretty compelling pushback from Bill George in the process. George is no lightweight: he’s the former CEO of Medtronic, is a professor at Harvard Business School, and is a board member of both Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs.

Annals of competition, art-fair edition

There was an interesting quote from an Art Basel spokesman in the FT on Saturday, about the placement of the satellite Scope art fair “just a football throw away from the main fair”:

Reporting massively large numbers

What are we meant to do when we read a story like this one, full to bursting with unimaginably large numbers? The 2009 deficit is now $1.84 trillion, up $89 billion from $1.75 trillion! That’s 12.9% of GDP! The spending plan for 2010 isn’t $3.55 trillion any more, it’s now $3.59 trillion! And so on and so forth.

Sunday links don’t pay as much

Micro-payments considered for WSJ website: Or not so micro, for that matter. I wonder whether micropayments will count towards the cost of an annual subscription, like the Oyster card in London. I doubt they will, though.