Barclays got a share of U.S. bailout money to AIG last fall
at the same time the Brit bank re-affirmed its deal to pay Nets $400 million
for its name on Brooklyn arena.
name for Nets arena? How about "U.S. Taxpayer Bailout for U.K. Bank Center"?
By Harkavy. The Smart Asset
Working both sides of the Atlantic, British behemoth Barclays
got sneakily paid off by U.S.-taxpayer-financed bailout funds late last
year given to whiny insuror AIG, and now Barclays is negotiating, of course,
to get U.K. government help in getting rid of toxic assets.
It turns out that while the U.K. conglomerate was getting a share of the
bailout money, it recommitted last November its
deal to pay $400 million to the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets for naming rights
to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "Barclays
still loyal to Nets' cause," the Bergen Record trumpeted on November
"Barclays is unwavering in its commitment to the Barclays Center and we
are very pleased with our long-term alliance with our great partners, the
Nets and Forest City Ratner Companies," Barclays chief administrative officer
Gerard LaRocca said in a press release. "We are excited about being
part of the continued renaissance of Brooklyn, and we eagerly look forward
to opening night at Barclays Center."
(Sidelight: Bank of America, which also got part of the AIG bailout money,
last month called
off its similar naming-rights deal with the Yankees.)
Whether Bruce Ratner will continue with construction of the Barclays
Center may be in question, but at least the foreign bank was able to get U.S.
bailout money more or less under the table.
Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal confirmed
suspicions by revealing that two dozen U.S. and foreign banks got shares of
AIG's bailout money.
Meanwhile AIG, like other U.S. bailout recipients, has balked at committing
how — or whether — it will reimburse taxpayers for the estimated
$173 billion of bailout money it's received so far.
It's probably just an unpleasant coincidence, by the way, that the arena
was designed by Frank Gehry, many of whose buildings look as though
they're on the verge of collapse.
Back in the U.K., Barclays faces a grilling over its plea for help from the
government there. In "Barclays
faces scrutiny by City as it explores state cover for toxic loans," the
Times (U.K.) reports:
Barclays caused surprise last month when, despite announcing pre-tax profits
of £6.1 billion for 2008, it disclosed that it had also expanded its balance
sheet by £900 billion, taking assets and liabilities to more than £2,000
In related NBA news, fans might be interested in the Barclays
Center FAQ, especially this passage:
Q: Will the ticket prices remain the same in Brooklyn?
A: While prices have yet to be determined, they will remain comparable
and competitive within the marketplace.
Translation: You'll pay more.
But that's the relatively good news. The bad news is that even those
of you who can't afford tickets have already paid bailout money to ailing
Barclays, thanks to your bailout of ailing AIG.