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Funny Money: Tales of Fraud and Exploitation

Take-Two's results, CEO payouts, M&A maneuvers, ironic-iconic Ford, China's growth and much more.

Editor's Note: Welcome to "Funny Money," a feature written by New York-based comedian Jeff Kreisler. Lest there be any confusion, please note that this column is a work of satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy the weekend.

It's finally settled. Our long national nightmare ended this week when

Boston Scientific

finally, formally won the rights to buy


, which must pay

Johnson & Johnson

a $705 million "breakup fee." A "breakup fee?" Sounds cool. I think I got that once from an old girlfriend ... only she called it "syphilis."

In a related story, Guidant said doctors should consider replacing some of its pacemakers, adding, "Shhhhhhhhh..."

The other big M&A story this week:




... and Steve Jobs officially gained control of your soul.

In separate Disney news, a lawyer for shareholders contested the Michael Ovitz dismissal. Disney's out of control. What kind of Mickey Mouse operation are they running over there? It's like ... Oh, wait...

Sports Authority

TheStreet Recommends

was bought by a private equity group and was immediately renamed Sports Subsidiary.

The domain name sold for $14 million. Not so much. $14 million for Sounds like a

Merrill Lynch

client event.

Speaking of Merrill, CEO Stanley O'Neal was given $20.2 million in stock, or, in lay terms, the down payment on a Manhattan studio.

The two co-founders of


, meanwhile, each will earn only $1 in salary this year, although they will own 32.7% of your will to live.

In international M&A intrigue, Germany's


refused to raise it's bid for Canadian-based Dofasco, which means that Arcelor of Luxembourg, Dofasco and three other companies can now lock together to form Zoltron, Robotic Defender of the Universe.

I just think they have cool names, ok? Cripes.

Back on the home front, CBS combined the youth-oriented UPN and WB networks. The new network will be called "CW," short for Completely unWatchable. Unless, of course, you're a rich, sexy, unintelligent teenager, or someone who stalks them.

CBS actually hopes to make money by combining these poor-performing entities.

Hmmm. Ford? GM? Chrysler? Give you any ideas? United, American, USAir, I'm looking in your direction. Anyone?

To watch Jeff's video version of this column, please click here


Speaking of


, the automaker announced 30,000 job cuts, or, as our president might say: "Freedom's on the march! These workers are being liberated from the oppressive burden of going to the bank each week to deposit checks ... of nurturing ambitions, pursuing dreams..."

In an ironic twist too obvious for mainstream journalists or business news satirists to ignore, Super Bowl XL will be played next week at Detroit's Ford Field, aka Pink Slip Park. (Apparently, the XL stands for the size of the awkwardness).

Who's In Charge?

In a seemingly unrelated story,


exec William Perez was fired after founder Philip Knight realized kids in Bangladesh can make an endless supply of CEOs for 6 cents an hour.

In another heart-wrenching development, the 2005 bonus of


CEO Edward Breen was cut to $16 million, which makes you wonder how he'll survive. Oh, that's right! His company will engage in more fraud and exploitation! Duh. My bad.

Speaking of exploitation, new standards for Wall Street entertainment expenses were announced, and, true story, a spokesman for Scores -- a New York "gentlemen's club" -- actually said: "If you try to curtail their visits to Scores, then the world might as well come to the end."

Keep that in mind next time you're watching the news, OK? Things could be worse. Sure, people are dying, but at least bankers in New York are getting their thrills. Don't think of yourself, think of the T&A.

Hey Wall Street! Instead of giving millions to confused women with father issues, why not hire me, one confused boy with mother issues? Seriously, nothing says "I have poor judgment, but know how to avoid sexual harassment charges" like a corporate comedian. Better yet, instead of bribing potential clients, just lock 'em in a room until they sign a contract.

Duh. Man, I should totally be in charge.

Speaking of the man in charge, a judge rejected the Enron defendants' claim that Houston juries were biased, saying: "It's not so much that Houstonians are impartial, but, unfortunately for you, people everywhere dislike pure evil. So we might as well fry you here. I mean,


you here..."

In other legal news, Donald Trump is suing a

New York Times

reporter for libel. The Donald said he is "a terrible writer (who) writes poorly." Trump was then punched in the face by ironic hypocrisy. (Luckily, his hair deflected the blow and he escaped on his inflatable flying ego machine).

Meanwhile, an auditor claimed that

Take Two Interactive

didn't follow strict accounting procedures. Wow, a video-game company acting like children. Shocking. The company is called "Take Two," come on, give 'em a do-over.

In other corporate news,


reported a 51% jump in quarterly profit. Sigh. So sad to see another victim of Hurricane Katrina.

Finally, Google agreed to offer a Chinese Web site without email and blogging, because it felt bad that China


controlled the minds of a billion or so people. This kind of selective Internet offering isn't that rare. China's version of said Yao Ming won Wimbeldon. The serious concern, of course, is that, in an hour, China will be hungry for more restrictions.

China's economy grew 9.9% in 2005, and has overtaken France as the world's fifth-largest. I wonder how we'll look wearing red...

Kirk Kerkorian repurchased stock in


, raising his stake to 9.9% Wait ... 9.9% ... China growth ... Kerkorkian shares ... Holy cow! China's taking over GM!

That's all for now, but don't worry, in an hour, you'll be hungry for another pun.

To watch Jeff's video version of this column, please click here


A graduate of Princeton, Virginia Law School, and the fictitious College of Asparagus Lovers, Jeff Kreisler ( is an accomplished comedian, writer, producer and person. In the past year, Jeff has worked with Dick Gregory, on Air America and Sirius Radio, and in the 'Comedy Against Evil' tour. He's hosted a dating show, worked on a cooking program, and developed comedies for MTV Networks. Jeff's a regular on Satire for Sanity, and was featured at the Edinburgh Fringe, Freedom Cinema, and San Francisco Comedy Festivals. He lives in New York City with his pet microphone, plays blues saxophone, speaks French and Russian, was a sports broadcaster, taught English in Russia, helped start a non-profit dedicated to at-risk youth, played college football, and is available for birthdays, circumcisions and bachelorette parties. Kreisler appreciates your feedback;

click here

to send him an email.