Germans love to see the mighty fall just a little bit more than the rest of the world, and freshly ousted Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is a perfect candidate. Yes, he made tiny, almost bankrupt Porsche successful again but did he have to be so smug about it? And was he really worth the millions of euros he raked in every year in a country where executive pay is a thorny issue? His salary, which made him the best paid German manager by far, was a topic of endless fascination in the German media. Wiedeking never divulged how much he made but unapologetically said he deserved what he earned — estimated to have been 80 million euros last year. Even before his dismissal was official, speculation swirled about how extraordinary his severance payment would be, with some putting the figure at 250 million euros. In the end it was less but still a handsome sum of 50 million euros, considering he leaves Porsche with a huge mountain of debt. As Wiedeking climbs off the throne, he is eager to burnish his blue collar credentials and in Robin Hood style announced he would donate what’s left of his payment after taxes to charity. Some of it will go to a foundation for Porsche staff, some into projects to create new jobs and, in a final swipe at his critics, he promised to give to a charity for “elderly and suffering journalists”. Take that, hacks.
Reporters who cover the annual Allen & Co media conference know that the bar at the Sun Valley Lodge is a great spot to sit with uber-execs from Rupert Murdoch to Google’s Eric Schmidt to get their deep thoughts on the state of media and technology.
Madison Square Garden, the storied New York City sports and entertainment venue owned by the Dolan family’s Cablevision Systems Corp, is getting further into the music business with a deal to take a minority stake in artist management company Front Line, it said on Wednesday.
Media titans John Malone and Barry Diller knew they had their fair share of disagreements over the years, but like many couples heading to divorce, they apparently needed someone else to tell them that.
Its a (media) heavyweight battle: IAC’s Barry Diller vs Liberty Media’s John Malone.Not since former Disney chief Michael Eisner and one-time Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz squared off has the media industry seen as contentious a battle as the one we’re about to witness in Delaware on Monday as Diller and Malone fight in court over control.Long-time business partners are dueling over Diller’s move to break up the company in a plan that would eliminate IAC’s dual class share structure, which gives Malone’s Liberty some 62 percent of the company’s voting power. Under a longstanding agreement, Diller has been able to vote Liberty’s stake. Liberty now says IAC has breached that agreement by going against Liberty’s wishes.PaidContent posted a copy of Diller’s pre-battle message to troops.Eleventh-hour settlement hopes ahead of the trial have largely been dashed. Although there is still about a hour to go before the trial starts. Citing unnamed sources, NY Post says these talks are likely to continue through the week.Let the games begin.(Reuters)Keep an eye on:
The hair-twirling, the fidgeting, the interjections. BusinessWeek columnist Sarah Lacy learns how not to do an interview with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, when the crowd at South by Southwest Interactive turns on her. (News.com)
Top six U.S. cable operators aim to spend $150 million to create a jointly owned company to court advertisers on a national scale. (NYTimes)
Facebook, en Francais. (Reuters)
MySpace’s talks with music industry heats up, considers launching service without Universal Music Group. (FT)