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TelevisionWeek's new blog by World Poker Tour boss Steven Lipscomb marks this publication's second blog by a member of the television industry. As the founder of WPT, Steve often is credited with starting the televised poker boom. He's also known to say a controversial thing or two.

Just as Rich Goldfarb, senior VP of sales for National Geographic Channel, offered candid insight into the upfront advertising selling period, Steve plans to pull no punches in discussing the people, practices and pitfalls of the television business.

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World Poker Tour



The Art of the Deal II

September 8, 2006 12:03 PM

My partner and friend, Lyle Berman, believes that deals do not get done unless you lock the attorneys or deal makers in a room to get them done. Otherwise, “they’ll paper each other to death”. I keep trying to prove him wrong, but damned if he may not be right again.

His theory deepens to include what he thinks are the two biggest deal extenders or killers:

(1) What he calls “meisels” (translated “might as wells”) – those times when people negotiating deals put something in the deal because you might as well to see how they respond; or

(2) What he calls “off my desks” – that strange phenomenon of someone sensing that once they have turned a draft of a contract around and sent it to the other party – it is out of your hands and you needn’t think about it until the papers mysteriously return to your desk (or email in box).

I actually agree that the age of email, redlines and blackberries has sometimes made it more difficult to finish a deal. And, one absolute rule of deal-making is that both sides of every deal have a reason to make and a reason not to make that deal. The longer the process takes, the negative voices get louder – because the deal advocates get tired and the people who are always negative start to be heard.

Still waiting to finish our big deal and we are fighting the rise of the voices that do not want to make the deal.

Either way, I will be able to discuss the process.

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Comments (2)

David Apostolico:

When I started my legal career in the late 80's at a Wall Street law firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions, it was common practice for all the lawyers and business people to lock themselves in a conference room and negotiate an agreement to it was final. This was before email when it became too easy for everyone to keep revising the agreement without face to face contact. I recall how even then, one of the senior partners lamented about the old days before word processing when documents had to be typed. Lawyers thought long and hard about making any changes because the document would have to be literally typed from scratched or cut and pasted to revise. This forced people to be reasonable and not argue over every comma in a document. I agree with your assessment that modern technology can often be an impediment to a deal.

Steve Lipscomb:

And, what particularly makes me nuts is that Lyle turns out to be right again . . .

Thanks for chiming in, David.

Regards,

Steve

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