Felix Salmon

Sob story of the day, vulture-fund edition

Matt Wirz probably can’t be held responsible for the headline the WSJ put on his story today — “For Vultures, Slim Pickings.” But there’s no doubt that distressed-debt investors in Lee Enterprises are angry. And they’re angry for a very weird reason: after buying Lee’s debt at a 20% discount to face value because there was such a high likelihood of default, they’re now set to be repaid in full. That’s a 25% return in just over six months. Which certainly isn’t my idea of “slim pickings.”

The vulture fund debate

Greg Palast is back bashing vulture funds again: his Newsnight piece (web story here) is airing tonight, in slightly different form, on BBC World News America. The last time he mined this particular vein, I responded with a 5,500-word blog entry in defense of vulture funds, and I’m determined not to disappear down that particular rabbit hole this time, especially since all concerned — including Palast — seem to be much more constructive this time around.