BREAKINGVIEWS – Is Conan O’Brien a $40 million bailout recipient?

By Reuters Staff
January 20, 2010

– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

By Rolfe Winkler

NEW YORK, Jan 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Conan O’Brien is expected to receive $40 million for leaving NBC, the media unit of General Electric, itself among the largest recipients of taxpayer help. While it would be a stretch to compare the American late-night talk show host to a Goldman Sachs or Citigroup banker, he’s only a few steps removed.

Though it wasn’t a recipient of direct aid from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, GE availed itself of perhaps an equally important bailout facility, the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program overseen by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Participants in the scheme were able to issue debt with a government guarantee, receiving explicit taxpayer backing in the event of default. Though GE was just one of 88 firms with outstanding Uncle Sam backed debt as of October 31, its $60 billion of issuance accounted for nearly a fifth of the $315 billion total.

Unlike some of the banks that received direct equity injections from the government, GE can argue it is exempt from the same scrutiny over compensation that has bedeviled financial companies including Citigroup, Goldman and American International Group.

But without the FDIC’s largesse, the group’s troubled financial arm, GE Capital, would have struggled to fund its $650 billion balance sheet. That, in turn, could have forced its parent to liquidate assets, starting with NBC. In a truly worst-case scenario, GE might have even had to seek protection from its creditors.

Had NBC been dumped in a fire sale, new owners could have demanded changes to contracts like O’Brien’s. So he owes a bit of thanks to taxpayers for his $40 million payday. True, that’s not the same as, say, a Citi banker fighting for a bonus after the government bailed out the bank. But it’s only a few steps removed.

CONTEXT NEWS

– Conan O’Brien and NBC have reached an agreement to part ways after the television network canceled his role as host of the Tonight Show, according to the Wall Street Journal. The settlement would have NBC, the media business that General Electric is selling to Comcast <CMCSA.O>, pay $40 million to O’Brien and his staff and includes a non-disparagement clause to prevent the late-night talk show host from criticizing his former network.

– The deal will permit him to return to television for a competing network within a year. News Corp’s Fox is said to have offered him a slot.

(Editing by Rob Cox and Martin Langfield)

((rolfe.winkler@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: BREAKINGVIEWS NBC/

290 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Might be practically close to impossible to find well-qualified readers on this matter, although you come across as like you know those things you’re raving about! Bless You

Great article! This is the kind of info that are meant to be shared around the net. Shame on the search engines for now not positioning this publish upper! Come on over and talk over with my web site . Thanks =)|

Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now ;)|

It certainly is mostly extremely difficult to find well-informed visitors on this theme, and yet you come across as like you realize which you’re writing on! Thank You

Spot on with this write-up, I truly feel this site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!|

Great article, just what I was looking for.|

Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this post is awesome, great written and come with approximately all important infos. I would like to peer more posts like this .|

It’s nearly unattainable to find well-aware viewers on this niche, however you look like you fully understand the things you’re writing on! Gratitude

I constantly spent my half an hour to read this webpage’s content all the time along with a mug of coffee.|

I always used to study paragraph in news papers but now as I am a user of net therefore from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web.|

It certainly is mostly not possible to see well-informed visitors on this niche, fortunately you look like you fully understand exactly what you’re posting on! Thanks A Lot

This article offers clear idea for the new people of blogging, that really how to do blogging.|

It really is nearly impossible to see well-qualified men or women on this theme, nevertheless you look like you fully understand the things that you’re revealing! Thank You

always i used to read smaller articles that as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading now.|

Posted by best seo companies | Report as abusive

Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!|

Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?|

It really is near unthinkable to find well-updated individuals on this niche, nonetheless you seem like you realize what you’re raving about! Gratitude

Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

You’ve gotten possibly the best web pages.|

I like this post, enjoyed this one thank you for posting. “We seldom attribute common sense except to those who agree with us.” by La Rochefoucauld.

No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, thus he/she wants to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.|

Awesome post.|

Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have lotopyeer you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is wonderful, as well as the content!

Awesome! Its truly remarkable paragraph, I have got much clear idea concerning from this article.|

I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet visitors, its really really fastidious piece of writing on building up new web site.|

Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I will be subscribing in your feed and I’m hoping you write once more very soon!|

Thanks for every other wonderful post. Where else may anyone get that type of information in such an ideal approach of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such info.|

Simply desired to express Now i’m glad I stumbled on the webpage!|

I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for %meta_keyword%|

Thanks for every other excellent post. Where else could anybody get that kind of information in such a perfect means of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such information.|

This article will help the internet people for setting up new blog or even a blog from start to end.|

Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work!|

Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the site is also very good.|

I would like to lotopyeer convey my appreciation for your kind-heartedness in support of those individuals that really need help on this area of interest. Your personal commitment to getting the message up and down became astonishingly valuable and have frequently enabled people just like me to achieve their aims. Your personal warm and friendly publication signifies so much a person like me and somewhat more to my office workers. Many thanks; from each one of us.

Asking questions are actually pleasant thing if you are not understanding something completely, however this paragraph provides nice understanding yet.|

Hi, this weekend is pleasant designed for me, because this moment i am reading this impressive educational piece of writing here at my home.|

Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

I delight in, lead to I found exactly what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye|