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Mail Bags, Mogul Comeback Rumors and More

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"They're out there... and they're sooooooooooo cranky!"

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Minyan JC Writes: "I've had at least 20 people tell me today that this will be a flip by Kerkorian... after having followed his work for 16 years... I just don't think that's what he's doing. In fairness, I don't see the value but perhaps he does."

J, thanks for the note, which I didn't do justice in editing down to buzz size. Ratcheting down my snark and speaking "human", I have no idea what, exactly, Kerkorian may or may not be doing. I simply think it's worth noting that he was well and truly long GM coming into today, a position that looks very nice with the ramp.

Also, the notion that Tracinda (Kerkorian's Death Star) went public with the tender idea "because they heard rumors" or "wanted to control speculation" or "enjoy sharing good ideas" or whatever else they might be saying is simply silly. They've gathered 22-million shares in a month and a half. The stock trades around 7-million shares on an average day. Had they really wanted to do so, Tracinda could have soaked up as much stock as they wanted, filing after they went over 5% (and buying hard in the window between going over 5% and having to file).

When entities make claims as silly as Tracinda's "we just wanted to remove any uncertainty in the marketplace as to its investment intent" I start reaching for my wallet.

The savvy Kerkorian started gathering his stock after the March break, explaining his cost basis of 26.33. Kerkorian's GM stake, bought for investment purposes, is now up by about $128,000,000. 16% and a hundred bricks for a few month's work? Taking some of that investment gain might not be evil but it would be smart. In fact, for a smart trader, the only argument for not taking some off would be high confidence that you could jam it even higher.

And if we can agree on anything it's the fact that Kerkorian and his Tracinda Droogs are smart. As I type, at around 10am Macke standard time, David Faber is hitting much the same points quite well on CNBC and Succo buzzed 'em earlier.

We don't know if Kerkorian is booking the trade, optioning it up big, involved in the debt in some way or any other permutation of all the above. All we really know for sure is that "What on earth is that (insert your own lovingly profane noun/ adjective combination here) up to now?" is the dominant topic. The traders respect Kerkorian too much to take him at face value.

The campfire dwindled, it's fuel nearly spent. Darkness creeped in around the CEOs, carried on fear laced tendrils. Hair stood on the back of each chief's neck; no one dared say aloud what they all thought "they'll be out there... they never sleep through the night... and they've got testosterone patches."

87 year old Kerkorian joins fellow Old School founders Carl Icahn, T. Boone Pickens and Dean Witter's (MWD) Group of Eight in kicking some corporate tail at an age when many would be happy just to figure out how to work the remote control.

Is it wrong to be concerned that, somewhere in a lonely swimming pool, cocoons are being robbed of their life force?

Mack(e) The Knife?

I had much fun doing the Closing Bell last night, notwithstanding the Mr. Mack greeting many e-mailers noticed. I'm booked to do the show each Tuesday in May. I'm sure we'll have dropped the "Mr." and added the "E" by the end of the month.

On the topic of my freely confessed media strumpetry, Collins swears a Minyan other than Mbop expressed concern that I was in the running to replace Paula Abdul, should it come to that.

There are two things I know to be true: American Idol is pure evil and I'm not going to be part of that evil just so Collins and Mbop can meet Clay Aiken.

I expect retail sales to be generally grim.

Actually, I don't have much to add to that, beyond: it shouldn't come as a negative surprise to the tape but I'm sort of expecting one or two blow-ups, at least.

Macke's Book Club: Like Oprah's only less life-affirming

I read Cinderella Man, by Jeremy "Don't ask me about Bobby Knight" Schaap and finished Burr by Gore Vidal on my vacation. Both have my thumbs-up, though I note that Burr can be the heavier mental-sledding of the two. If you dig boxing you simply need to read Cinderella Man before the Ron Howard movie version comes out this summer.

In other books, I continue to think Nemesis by Peter Evans should have gotten more attention and I'm not letting Collins take off his plastic cone dog collar until he finishes The Great Gatsby. Drop him an email to ask him how it's coming!


No positions in stocks mentioned.

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