Early Briefing: Revolution, Everyday Health in Talks
*Revolution Health Network is in discussions to merge with Everyday Health, a marriage that would join two of the three most-visited online health information networks. Sources familiar with the discussions said that the merger is still in the negotiation stage and that the role of former AOL chairman Steve Case, the Revolution chairman, has not been decided. The sources would not speak publicly because the two companies had not authorized anyone to disclose details of the private talks.
Everyday Health is owned by New York-based Waterfront Media and provides consumers with online health and wellness information. Its features includes information from 20 nationally recognized specialists from leading medical institutions, a three-minute health check and condition-specific meal plans. If the merger goes through, the combined company would probably eclipse the online traffic at WebMD, which has led the category for years.
*The suspension of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as private enterprises means the federal government can no longer require them to spend shareholders' money on affordable-housing programs. Now the government must decide how much of its own money to spend. Some checks are already are being written. The Treasury Department last week began issuing to issue millions of dollars in "Hope bonds" to fund refinance loans for homeowners facing foreclosure. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were supposed to pick up the tab. Now it's on the government.
*Newly merged Sirius XM Radio said it doesn't have enough cash to pay back the $300 million in debt due early next year but that it has not looked into selling its Northeast Washington building to raise money. Chief executive Mel Karmazin, addressing investors at Merrill Lynch's 2008 Media Fall Preview conference in Marina del Ray, Calif., said that the credit market crisis has made it more difficult to raise funds but that he is confident that the satellite radio provider will resolve its debt troubles through bank financing. The company has more than $1.1 billion in debt that will come due in 2009, with $300 million in convertible senior notes due in February.
*Faced with an alarming rate of foreclosures and an increasing number of mortgage fraud cases, Prince George's County is getting some help in the fight to help homeowners stave off financial ruin. Officials announced yesterday that the county has received a $162,500 grant from Maryland to hire a prosecutor and an investigator who will work solely on mortgage fraud.
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