TSCM Buys Stockpickr.com

Stockpickr

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Some time ago, we mentioned Stockpickr.com. I just noticed that the firm was acquired by TheStreet.com (TSCM) a few weeks ago.

This is very interesting, and for a number of reasons:

1) Stockpickr is the largest social networking site dedicated to investing. It is also, to the best of my knowledge, the first vertical social networking site to be acquired period.

2) More interestingly, it is the first major acquisition done by TheStreet.com.

Henry Blodget (yes that Henry Blodget) made an interesting and perhaps related observation last week. (Note he and Jim Cramer do not seem to be fans of each other) Blodget wrote: "no one is talking about the biggest single risk-factor at any one company since
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia."

He has a valid point. In the post Martha-in-the-gray-bar-hotel era, any single individual overly identified with a company — be it founder, spokesperson, or main personality raises some risk for investors. 

With the Stocpickr acquisition behind it — and perhaps several others in the future — we may be seeing a process where TheStreet.com is diversifying itself from that risk factor. That not only is good for TSCM’s shareholders, but potentially  good for TheStreet.com, as they diversify themselves from being at risk from the Cramer-gets-hit-by-a-bus fear. It also improves the odds of someone else potentially acquiring TheStreet.com itself.

This is consistent with my prior views on TheStreet.com’s stock in November 2005, and again in February 2006 and April ’06.

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Disclosure: I publish at TheStreet.com, but hold no equity interest or stock in TSCM. (damn you, George!)

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Friday Night Jazz: Artie Shaw

Another guest musical director for FNJ this week: Eddie Elfenbein of Crossing Wall Street on Artie Shaw. Take it away, Eddie:

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Rare_and_unreleased Artie Shaw was cool. Not Elvis cool or Sinatra cool, but a darker, more subdued cool.

What Shaw did was make things look easy. Check out this clip and notice how, even after six decades, his music hasn’t aged a bit. It’s still fresh and smooth. It’s just…cool. (You gotta love Shaw’s reply to the compliments: “Yeah, yeah. Glass of water.” Pure cool.)

Artie Shaw was the very last of the big bandleaders. He died a year ago at age 94 and fifty years after his last performance. He wound up outliving all the greats—Goodman, Herman, Miller. Those names may loom larger today, but back then, Shaw’s star was the brightest. He was making $60,000 a week—not bad for the Depression. With America poised to enter World War II, Time magazine reported that Germans’ vision of America was “skyscrapers, Clark Gable and Artie Shaw.”

Fascists, apparently, have issues with tall buildings.

Complete_gramercy_five_sessions
When Shaw hired Billie Holiday, he became the first white bandleader to hire a full-time black singer. But Shaw detested the limelight. In fact, Shaw hated the words “jazz” and “swing.” No, he considered himself a musician. He hated the audience. He hated the singers. He hated the dancers. He hated other bandleaders (“Benny Goodman played clarinet. I played music.”)

By 1951, Shaw walked away from music altogether and became—what else?—a dairy farmer. Crazy, maybe, but cool in its own way. Duke Ellington told him, “Man, you got more guts than any of us.

So what did Shaw like? Women. Lots and lots of them. He was married eight times. He nabbed Betty Grable which would have pleased most men. Not Shaw. While they were engaged, he ran off with Lana Turner. (Whoa, Duke was right!) Shaw had an affair with Rita Hayworth. He dumped Judy Garland. He married Ava Gardner before Sinatra. How in earth did he have time enough time for music?

Ah, the music. Brilliant. Here’s an example: In 1938, Shaw took an obscure and forgotten Cole Porter song and made it a jazz classic. Have a listen to “Begin the Beguine.

If you’re keeping score, that’s a Jewish bandleader playing Negro music written by a homosexual.

Very_best_of_artie_shaw Exceedingly trivial trivia: “Begin the Beguine” has been performed a gazillion times since. In the movie, The Rocketeer, it’s performed by Melora Hardin, who’s better known as Jan in The Office. (Told you it was trivial.)

If you’ve never heard of Shaw and want to get your feet wet, I’d recommend: The Very Best of Artie Shaw

That pretty much has it all. Personally, I love “Star Dust” and “Deep Purple.” Wonderful stuff.

Two others you might enjoy are:  The Complete Gramercy Five Sessions (all the big band guys made smaller bands after the war); and Last Recordings: Rare and Unreleased.

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BR adds:  Thanks Eddy — nicely done. There is a terrific recording of Shaw over at NPR:  Performance by Shaw of Shaw’s 1940 Concerto for Clarinet

videos after the jump . .


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