DealZone

A Killer Economy

This economy is a killer. Just ask New Yorkers on Craigslist. 

You may not have heard of the Killers, a music group from Las Vegas that’s been variously called the next U2 and the best Mormon rock band of all time. They are playing tonight at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

Tickets, at $45, sold out in a few minutes when they went on sale in late September, and have been reselling for 10 times that amount on the secondary market.  That’s where Craigslist, and a former hedge fund associate, come in.

A Reuters reporter was not willing to pay the $350 asking price per ticket to see the show, and emailed the seller, pointing out a recession is under way.  The former hedge fund associate emailed back: “I’m not a scalper. I’m a ticket arbitrageur.”  So we called him up.

“I really like this band. I can play some of their songs,” he said. “New York is an expensive place and I don’t have a paycheck coming in today.” He did not want to be identified since he is looking for work.

The Ivy League-educated 25-year-old, a Killers fan, bought tickets to Friday’s show a few days before his Park Avenue hedge fund laid him off, along with several others. The fund paid out unused sick days and vacation time, but no severance. He’s received inquiries about tickets from across New York’s financial industry, but mostly from its higher strata.

Craigslist a runaway bride?

newmark.jpgEBay‘s lawsuit against Craigslist alleges that founder Craig Newmark and CEO Jim Buckmaster tried to dilute eBay’s 28.4 percent stake in the company after a marriage proposal. According to court papers unsealed Wednesday, Craigslist wanted out of the relationship since eBay had launched a competing product, Kijiji, but Meg Whitman countered with a bid to buy the entire company, leading to the allegedly “clandestine” meetings between Newmark and CEO Jim Buckmaster. At stake is the world’s third most valuable Web startup, as ranked by Silicon Alley Insider, valued at approximately $5 billion.

Microsoft‘s board met on Wednesday to discuss its stand-off with Yahoo, but don’t get too excited: they failed to reach a decision on what to do next, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The board is still weighing whether to adopt a hostile approach and nominate a proxy slate of directors to replace Yahoo’s board, sweeten its cash-and-stock offer for Yahoo, or possibly walk away from the deal. A Microsoft-imposed “deadline” passed last Saturday.

Three-headed canine guardian of the gates of Hell, meet controversial private security contractor Blackwater. Cerberus Capital Management is in talks to invest $200 million for a stake in Blackwater USA, ABC News reported on Wednesday, citing sources. Or, not. The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Blackwater is seeking outside investment, but quotes a Cerberus spokesman as saying the private equity firm took a look but decided to pass. As the WSJ’s Deal Journal notes, the “secretive, billionaire, former paratrooper [Cerberus' Steve Feinberg] trains his largesse on a secretive, lucrative quasi-military operations company” story was just too good to be true.