New name for Nets arena? How about "U.S. Taxpayer Bailout for U.K. Bank Center"?

Jay-Z-and-Barclays-Center474.jpg
Jay-Z huckstering at the Barclays Center Showroom in midtown.

Barclays got a share of U.S. bailout money to AIG last fall at the same time the Brit bank re-affirmed its deal to pay Nets $400 million for its name on Brooklyn arena.

Working both sides of the Atlantic, British behemoth Barclays got sneakily paid off by U.S.-taxpayer-financed bailout funds late last year given to whiny insuror AIG, and now Barclays is negotiating, of course, to get U.K. government help in getting rid of toxic assets.

It turns out that while the U.K. conglomerate was getting a share of the bailout money, it recommitted last November its deal to pay $400 million to the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets for naming rights to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "Barclays still loyal to Nets' cause," the Bergen Record trumpeted on November 13:

"Barclays is unwavering in its commitment to the Barclays Center and we are very pleased with our long-term alliance with our great partners, the Nets and Forest City Ratner Companies," Barclays chief administrative officer Gerard LaRocca said in a press release. "We are excited about being part of the continued renaissance of Brooklyn, and we eagerly look forward to opening night at Barclays Center."

(Sidelight: Bank of America, which also got part of the AIG bailout money, last month called off its similar naming-rights deal with the Yankees.)

Whether Bruce Ratner will continue with construction of the Barclays Center may be in question, but at least the foreign bank was able to get U.S. bailout money more or less under the table.

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal confirmed suspicions by revealing that two dozen U.S. and foreign banks got shares of AIG's bailout money.

Meanwhile AIG, like other U.S. bailout recipients, has balked at committing how — or whether — it will reimburse taxpayers for the estimated $173 billion of bailout money it's received so far.

It's probably just an unpleasant coincidence, by the way, that the arena was designed by Frank Gehry, many of whose buildings look as though they're on the verge of collapse.

More morsels on Barclays and/or the Barclays Center:

Puffery from the Barclays Center website on how a Barclays arm provides "solutions" for corporate clients and governments: "Barclays Capital is the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC, which has an AA long-term credit rating and a balance sheet of over $2.4 trillion. With a distinctive business model, Barclays Capital provides large corporate, government and institutional clients with solutions to their financing and risk management needs. Barclays Capital has offices in 29 countries, employs over 16,200 people and has the global reach and distribution power to meet the needs of issuers and investors worldwide.

Stop by the New York Times HQ in midtown to see the continuing exhibit and visitors center on the Barclays Center arena complex. More puffery from the arena's website:

"The Barclays Center Showroom on the 38th floor of The New York Times Building in Manhattan (on Eighth Avenue between 40th & 41st Streets) will serve as an experiential first look at the innovation and style of the future Barclays Center."

While you're at the visitors center, you might be interested in leasing space in the Times's HQ itself. The ailing paper is desperately seeking tenants.

Back in the U.K., Barclays faces a grilling over its plea for help from the government there. In "Barclays faces scrutiny by City as it explores state cover for toxic loans," the Times (U.K.) reports:

Barclays caused surprise last month when, despite announcing pre-tax profits of £6.1 billion for 2008, it disclosed that it had also expanded its balance sheet by £900 billion, taking assets and liabilities to more than £2,000 billion.

In related NBA news, fans might be interested in the Barclays Center FAQ, especially this passage:

Q: Will the ticket prices remain the same in Brooklyn?

A: While prices have yet to be determined, they will remain comparable and competitive within the marketplace.

Translation: You'll pay more.

But that's the relatively good news. The bad news is that even those of you who can't afford tickets have already paid bailout money to ailing Barclays, thanks to your bailout of aily AIG.