Monday, April 26, 2010

Out-of-the-Money Call Option of the Day

Update:I think the post infra is wrong. I seem to be assuming that Bloomberg bought some leveraged equity behind debt from which it can walk away. But on second look, I don't see it: I'd say they just got it for a nice cheap price.

Anyway, here's the snippet:
Bloomberg bought the magazine from McGraw-Hill for $5 million cash, or 0.079 percent of Bloomberg’s estimated $6.3 billion in revenue.
Per the New York Times, in a riveting piece about, shall we say, "the discontinuity of cultures," enough to scare the pants among any remaining ink-stained wretches among us.

On second look, the $5 million number may be misleading. An earlier Times story reported that Bloomberg was also picking perhaps $31.9 million in liabilities, which would bring the effective price all the way up to a bit over half a percent.

An eyebrow-raising datum, no doubt; still, what I'd really like to know is what we'd see on Business Week's own balance sheet. We can't of course, because BW was just a unit of McGraw Hill, but my guess is that what Bloomberg is buying here is essentially an out-of-the-money call option on the assets--a lottery ticket on a seriously insolvent (liabilities>assets> company, with the assessment that Something Might Turn Up. Nothing to see here, folks, just more of the same, but still another reminder of just how truly awful the raffish news trade has become.

H/T Joel

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