Google-Yahoo vs. Department of Justice

The odds of a Google-Yahoo Web advertising deal are looking increasingly bad. The Wall Street Journal says that both sides may just drop the deal as early as next week. The reason: The Justice Department wants too many darn compromises.


The option to scrap the deal has been on the table before, but Google in particular has begun considering it more seriously as Justice Department talks haven’t progressed. One sticking point has been the department’s discussion of having the companies sign a consent decree stating the terms of the partnership. That would subject their compliance to continuing oversight by a judge.

But dropping it next week? That seems so soon. Well, paidContent speculates that the timing could be linked to Tuesday’s presidential election. 

The thinking could be that an Obama win—which would be at least personally supported by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, an avowed Obama supporter—would probably signal a more jaundiced view of what constitutes anti-competitive partnerships. And a McCain win could mean that antitrust regulation would remain fairly loose.

Then there is All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher, who offers an interesting take on all of this. She says Google is really just playing some high-stakes “chicken” with Uncle Sam.

The New Yorker gives red ink a black eye

Like most intellectuals and sophisticates, I read the cartoons in The New Yorker before going on to all those articles filled with big words and umlauts. In doing that in the October 6 edition, I noticed that every one of them pertains to the financial crisis.

The New Yorker, which has made a market of acidic, sharp and occasionally opaque observances of upper-class life in its cartoons for decades, usually features a grab-bag of themes and illustrators in its pages. This is the first time that every cartoon is devoted to one topic, however.

While it’s always more dandy to read the magazine on paper, its website features a slideshow. Enjoy the meltdown.

Nickelback deal embarrassing for Warner or expensive for Live Nation?

nickelback.jpgLive Nation said on Tuesday it has signed a global ’360-degree’ deal with Canadian rock band Nickelback covering the band’s touring, recording and merchandising.

The deal was said to be in the $50 million to $70 million range over the course of the three-album/three-tour deal, according to a source.

The deal could cause some blushes at Warner Music Group. Back in December 2006 Warner paid around $73.5 million for a 73.5 percent stake in Nickelback’s label Road Runner Records — no doubt with hopes to sell many more Nickelback albums for years to come.