Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Morning Brief: Germany's economy weakens; Iraq violence escalates; Brady named editor-in-chief at the Journal Register Co.; American Media offer rejected

Yesterday was unusual for a summer Monday, news from outside the world of politics and the economy suddenly took center stage with Google's announcement that it was spending a fortune to buy handset maker Motorola Mobility.

But today it is back to normal – and normal is not good.

European stock markets are falling on the news that the German economy is showing signs that it, too, will see little to no growth soon. Second quarter GDP growth was revised down to 0.1 percent, essentially no growth.

The German DAX is down again hard this morning, currently down over 2.5 percent, while other markets are marginally better – the FTSE, for instance, is only down 1.3 percent. Dow futures point to a lower opening this morning in the U.S.

Iraq is heating up again. Gunmen wearing military uniforms today pulled seven people out of a Sunni mosque in the town of Youssifiyah, south of Baghdad, and executed them in yet the latest increase of violence in the country. Yesterday 70 were killed in suicide bombings around the country.

The Journal Register Company, which brought on Jim Brady to lead efforts to transform newsrooms at the company for the digital era, have gone ahead and named the former head and founder of TBD its editor-in-chief. Brady also worked at washingtonpost.com and AOL.

“As we continue our digital transformation the quality of the journalism is key to our growth. We must provide our audiences with original and compelling journalism – that is the power our established brands have in the digital space,” said John Paton, CEO at Journal Register Company, in the company's announcement. “Jim understands this and his leadership will be key in improving the quality of our journalism across Journal Register Company.”

The WSJ is reporting that hedge fund owned American Media Inc., publishers of the National Enquirer, have decided not to see at the this time, rejecting an offer from Apollo Global Management. American Media has recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and so it was assumed that its owners, hedge funds Avenue Capital Group and Angelo Gordon & Co. would see this as a good time to cash out.

Apparently the offer from Apollo was, according to the WSJ, just not good enough. And so the music continues again.