Saudi deal affected by Randall Stephenson’s PGA Tour exit

Saudi deal affected by Randall Stephenson's PGA Tour exit

Just days before Tuesday’s PGA Tour hearing before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, a prominent Tour board member, Randall Stephenson, has resigned. His reason? He said he could not support the golf organization’s proposed alliance with LIV Golf, its Saudi-backed rival, Lauren Hirsch of DealBook and Alan Blinder of The Times report.

In a scathing resignation letter obtained by DealBook, Mr. Stephenson, the former AT&T chairman, said he, like most of the board members, was kept out of the loop because of a deal with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund during the tour. There was a conversation, which caused a setback to the game. World.

“I have serious concerns How this framework agreement came to fruition Without the Board’s oversight,” Mr. Stephenson wrote, he added, “particularly in light of the 2018 U.S. intelligence report regarding Jamal Khashoggi, he could not “impartially assess or, in good conscience, support ”Can’t rate it.

Mr. Stephenson was already planning to retire from the board, Two people familiar with his thinking told DealBook. (In fact, he had already begun participating in most board meetings via videoconferencing, except for last month’s meeting in Michigan.)

Saudi deal extended deadline, A few days after the deal was announced, he told the chairman of the board, Ed Herlihy, who was a partner at the law firm Wachtel, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, of his plans to resign. Herlihy urged Mr. Stephenson to stay while PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was on medical leave. Mr Monahan announced his return on Friday. Stephenson’s resignation letter was dated Saturday.

He wants the board to consider the options. “I hope, as this board moves forward, it will comprehensively reconsider its governance model and keep its options open to evaluate alternative sources of capital beyond the current framework agreement,” writes Mr. Stephenson.

DealBook has heard that there are other interested investors as well. But it is not clear how they can compete with Saudi wealth funds. And the Saudi alliance was the only alliance that could end the litigation between the two parties.

The optics look bad for the PGA Tour. At Tuesday’s Senate hearing, PGA Tour board member Jimmy Dunn, who was heavily involved in the negotiations, is set to testify along with Ron Price, the Tour’s chief operating officer. Mr Stephenson’s exit raises further questions about the deal, which still needs approval from the Tour’s 10-member board, which includes five players.

Threads has grown to over 100 million users, a record number of app downloads. Meta’s new social network reaches that level in a few daysThat’s much faster than the two months ChatGPT needed to reach that milestone, according to The Verge. During this, traffic to his social networks It appears to have declined sharply during the same period.

Carl Icahn talks with his banks on Breathing Room. Under pressure from a short-seller on debts associated with his publicly traded investment vehicle, Icahn Enterprises, the billionaire entered into an agreement with some lenders that stripped some of the borrowings from the company’s share price. Wall Street Journal report, This may help in reducing the pressure on the falling stock of the company.

The Mughals are ready to reach Sun Valley. Allen & Co.’s annual conference for tech and media CEOs is set to begin Tuesday in Idaho, featuring leaders such as Apple’s Tim Cook, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav. on the guest list, The House is famous as the place where big deals – such as Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal or Jeff Bezos’ purchase of The Washington Post – are born.

Elon Musk took advantage of his threats of retaliation against those who forced him to buy Twitter. The social network’s parent company on Friday sued Wall Street law firm Wachtel, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which represented Twitter’s previous board in efforts to get the billionaire to complete a $44 billion takeover bid.

Twitter accuses Wachtel, long one of Wall Street’s most respected people and profitable The firms suffered “undue enrichment” by negotiating huge success fees just before the deal closed. Some legal experts said the lawsuit faces long hurdles because Twitter’s board approved Wachtel’s fee — but it also raises questions about whether the high-powered firm’s advice is worth its price tag. Was worth it

This is the first time Twitter has demanded this Come back a seller’s fee, After months of wrangling from councilors and landlords over unpaid bills. By any measure, Wachtel’s bill was exorbitant: “Oh my freaking god,” Martha Lane Fox, a board member at the time, wrote in an email after seeing the cost.

According to the lawsuit, Twitter executives paid Wachtel $84 million just 10 minutes before Mr Musk was to fire him at the conclusion of his acquisition. It was fortunate for Wachtel: Other advisors on the deal, including PR firms Joel Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher and shareholder relations firm Innisfree M&A, have sued Twitter over non-payment.

Wachtel provided value for Twitter’s then-shareholders. This helped the board force Mr Musk to complete his takeover bid the company’s business went bad during several months of uncertainty as to whether or not the deal would close. Wachtel also helped Twitter avoid a trial that would have cost even more in billable hours.

But the lawsuit is shining a light on Wachtel’s billing practices. According to the complaint, on June 27, 2022, a Wachtel attorney billed $1,625 for five hours of drafting stock price responses. On July 9, an attorney charged $3,006.25 for 9.25 hours of minor tasks and general standbys.

Wachtel’s Billing Has Been Investigated Before: Carl Icahn Failed sued the firm On advice of defending CVR Energy against its takeover bid.

(Dealbook wonders: What did Scadden, Mr. Musk’s legal advisor, allege?)

what comes next: The parties may be heading to arbitration. But the lawsuit raises the prospect of Mr Musk eventually suing Twitter’s former board for breach of fiduciary duty, which the directors are accused of doing by approving Wachtel’s payment.

Recall that Mr. Musk fired the former management of the company by refusing to give them golden parachutes, but never explained why. Perhaps he could argue that this was it?

Janet Yellen’s visit to China receives largely positive headlines, despite lack of policy breakthroughs screws Regarding the Secretary of the Treasury’s Diplomatic Protocol. Yellen said relations were at a “stable level” and China’s official news agency described the talks as constructive.

But anyone would consider the mere fact that the world’s two largest economies are talking as a success, a sign of how low relations have stooped (or an indicator that Beijing is dealing with a worsening domestic recession). How desperate is it to ease the tension between).

Our focus was on building relationships. Ms. Yellen met with officials recently put in charge of economic policy, many of whom have little international experience and little knowledge of Western policymakers. He spoke of “diversified” supply chains – also an alleged Chinese goal – and avoided any mention of “decoupling” or “disking”.

“Chinese decision makers understand that he is more moderate than many other senior officials in Washington when it comes to China policy,” Li Mingjiang, an expert on China foreign policy at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, told DealBook. “In particular, Beijing liked his public reiteration that separation would be disastrous for both countries,”

But the pressure points were not resolved. No new policy was announced and the tit-for-tat retaliation and criticism continued: China said it would ban exports of minerals vital to chip manufacturing and Ms. Yellen criticized Beijing’s treatment of American companies.

China has big problems domestically. Official figures published on Monday show the country is faltering brink of deflation, as consumer spending slowed and weak global economic growth hit exports. It is the latest sign that China has not recovered post-Covid, leading to renewed calls for new stimulus measures.

What will happen next: President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry will travel to China this month to restart talks on global warming.

Speaking of Joel Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Catcher… Known for providing behind-the-scenes advice on deals and corporate crises, the company recently made headlines for itself: several executives – Ed Hammond, with a star M.&A. The Bloomberg reporter – has founded a new PR firm, Collected Strategies.

DealBook’s phone lit up Sunday night after the news broke because it was the first time in Joel Frank’s two decades that a partner had left the firm to set up a rival.

Joel Frank is one of Wall Street’s top PR firms. Founded in 2000 by Ms. Frank, it has become a favorite for companies looking to strike deals or defend themselves. against active investors Or find your way in the midst of a crisis. (Its customers over the years have included GE, Sony, Time Warner, and US Airways.)

Ms. Frank also distributed equity widely among her partners, who have been paid handsomely. That’s why Joel Frank hasn’t followed rivals like Saard Verbinen in selling itself, and so far no partner has made the jump to form a rival firm.

Departing partners include Scott Bisang, who advised on Twitter’s deal with Elon Musk, and Jim Golden, who advised First Republic and PackWest.

Starting a new firm is difficult, Corporate leaders and M.&A. Given the years required to build a relationship with. Banker and Lawyer. Often, as in other industries, executives are required to take long leaves between jobs.

In this case, the Collected founders can’t go after their former clients for the time being because they have unsolicited agreements.

But it’s boom time for new advice shops anyway, Formed by veterans of long-standing firms such as Brunswick and Saard Verbinen (which is now part of FGS Global after a series of mergers).

PR firms that have emerged during the past decade include Gladstone Place Partners, C Street Advisory Group, Gasthalter & Company, and Rivmark.

Corporate profits, geopolitics and inflation will loom large this week. Here’s what to watch:

Tuesday: NATO’s annual summit began with Ukraine’s admission to the alliance.

Wednesday: The Consumer Price Index is ready to be released. Economists polled by Bloomberg forecast that overall inflation eased to 3.1 percent on an annual basis in June, the smallest increase since March 2021.

Thursday: Earnings season has begun with the announcement of results from PepsiCo and Delta Air Lines. investors are worried Regarding corporate profitability in view of inflation and high interest rates.

Friday: Now it’s Wall Street’s turn, with BlackRock, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo set to report.


  • Commodity sector giant Glencore may consider this closure of coal division That was one of its most successful businesses for a long time. (ft)

  • Saudi National Bank reportedly offered it Increase your stake in Credit Suisse It reached 40 percent before the Swiss bank collapsed, but was disallowed by Switzerland’s financial regulator. (Bloomberg)


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  • comedian Sarah Silverman and two writers Suing OpenAI and Meta for copyright infringement, accusing the companies of programming their AI networks using his work without compensation. (ledge)

  • “America is wrapped Miles of Toxic Lead Cables(WSJ)

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