The inside track on making the deal

Money: A new journal purports to keep track of the things that can turn the privileged few into millionaires.

August 19, 1999|By Sarah Pekkanen | Sarah Pekkanen,SUN STAFF

Microsoft millionaires. Internet entrepreneurs. Starbucks' -- and we do mean bucks -- early investors. Seems like every time we turn around, some goatee-wearing kid we wouldn't trust to mow our lawn is retiring with a stock portfolio thicker than our stack of unpaid bills.

If only we'd known to snap up Amazon.com at $2 a share. Well, we wouldn't be writing this. We'd be picking out marble tile for our new yacht's Jacuzzi.

Enough sitting on the sidelines. We want in.

Can Larry Gelfand, publisher of a new newspaper enticingly called the Daily Deal, be our guide through the pitfall-laden world of high finance?

The advertisements he's taking out in various publications sound promising. The ad's first part reads: "How to reach someone who might buy a case of Chateau Margaux." The accompanying photograph shows magazines including Fortune, BusinessWeek and Forbes. Part two of the ad reads: "How to reach someone who might buy Chateau Margaux." The only way, of course, is through the Daily Deal, on the Web at www.thedailydeal.com, and making its print debut Sept. 15.

Between meetings, cell phone calls, e-mails and initial public offerings, Gelfand, 34, called us from his Manhattan office. Annoyingly, he refused to offer any stock tips.

How did the idea for the Daily Deal get started?

The deal flow is a seven-day-a-week business. There is no newspaper or Web site really focused on the dealmaker or the deal. There are a couple of decent papers doing a decent job of announcing the news once the deal is brokered but no one's doing much of an effort of following a deal throughout its life.

Will it be readable only by Wall Street Journal junkies, or can average people decipher it?

We are targeting the dealmaker, the corporate CEO, the CFO [and] the general counsels at America's companies and foreign companies that are most geared toward doing deals. This is a pretty highbrow crowd we're editing the newspaper for.

I'm not saying this news is going to be too technical for the Wall Street enthusiasts to read, but frankly our target of who we're looking to reach in our ad campaign are the people who are doing the deals. We define deals as $50 million on up.

At $750 for a one-year subscription, do you expect many ordinary folks who just want to dabble in the stock market to subscribe?

We're already receiving a whole host of subscriptions from the day-trading crowd, individual investors [and] people who are very enthusiastic about watching their portfolios.

If we buy it, can you make us millionaires?

(Pause). Well, I guess there's not an answer to that.

What, exactly, is Chateaux Margaux?

As we understand it, it's the dealmakers' red wine of choice these days.

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