peHUB First Read

* Winning by losing? That’s how Blackstone feels about not ending up with Clear Channel. Kind of ironic, because that’s how Clear Channel buyer THL Capital feels about a whole host of overpriced deals it lost out on in 2007 (U.S. Foodservice, etc.).

* Avista Capital Partners has written down its investment in the Star-Tribune by 75% — just fifteen months after taking it private for $530 million (including $100m of equity from Avista). Just further evidence that PE firms should focus on local weeklies rather than big-city dailies. After all, Norm Pearlstein may still like newspapers, but he sure hasn’t invested in any through Carlyle.

* The future of credit crunch-related lawsuits.

* Will May be a merry month for IPOs?

* SEC officials defend their agency.

* ExpressJet is the next airline in trouble.

* Clear Channel trial is on in New York. The judge issues a summary ruling: ClearChannel.pdf