PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Anonymous leaks leave analysts all wet

NEW YORK: The business sections of New York's august Grey Ladies, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, have read more like the New York Post's Page Six of late. Each dawn brings to New Yorkers' doorsteps a new round of lurid revelations and recriminations concerning former star telecom analyst Jack Grubman's upgrading of AT&T shares.

NEW YORK: The business sections of New York's august Grey Ladies, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, have read more like the New York Post's Page Six of late. Each dawn brings to New Yorkers' doorsteps a new round of lurid revelations and recriminations concerning former star telecom analyst Jack Grubman's upgrading of AT&T shares.

Did he do it to win a coveted investment banking assignment for his firm? Was he trying to help his boss Sandy Weill win an intense internecine power struggle? Or were investors duped merely so Grubman could get his twin daughters into one of Manhattan's most exclusive nursery schools? A damning set of e-mails from Grubman to Weill, leaked to the press, has the once high-flying analyst digging himself an ever-deeper hole, and threatens to tarnish a titan of business. So who is responsible for this PR drive-by, and why? Enter Eliot Spitzer, New York Attorney General, who has spent the better part of the last year using an obscure state law to become the Street's top crime fighter. And with Harvey Pitt's resignation, Spitzer became the only sheriff in town at a time when Wall Street is supposed to be crawling with baddies. The press hints broadly that Spitzer's office is its source. According to reports, Weill and the rest of Wall Street are on the verge of serious end-game-type negotiations with regulators about the future structure of Street research. Damaging leaks like these terrify the Street's mighty, and Spitzer is expected to be a key figure at the negotiating table. The more he milks Wall Street, the bigger the bullet-point on his political resume. Regardless, this week's PR Play of the Week goes to the little bird whispering the contents of racy e-mails into the ears of feared Wall Street reporters. Whomever that birdie may be.

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