Archive for September 2006

JohnHall.jpgWe have no idea whether University of Florida Warrington College of Business lecturer is actually high in the two videos that turned up on Boing Boing. He sure sounds at least a little bit baked. But maybe he’s just really, really relaxed and totally goofy.
If he is high, we’ve got the feeling that this could be a new trend: twosed* business school professors. Somehow we doubt it will catch on at Wharton, however. Smoking up in Philadelphia just isn’t the same as smoking up in San Diego or Gainesville.
*[Editors Note: The word “twos” is our new favorite drug lingo. Here’s the official explantion from a good friend of DealBreaker: “Well, it started when we were in college. We’d roll joints. The person who rolled the joint would smoke first. The person who yelled “twos” first would be the person who got it next and that would determine the direction the joint was passed around in the circle. Pretty soon, smoking became getting twosed.” Please note, drugs are probably bad for you.]

Video: apparently-baked biz school prof who was soon fired
[Boing Boing]

  • 28 Sep 2006 at 10:09 AM
  • admin

Our Reader Survey: There’s Still Time! Act Now!

hollyvalance.jpgYou know you want it.We’re bringing this back for the third day running. That’s right, you have yet another chance to take a moment to tell us a bit about yourself. You can even leave a comment in the reader survey to tell us what you really think!

And, yes, by popular demand, we’ve made Holly Valance the official mascot of the DealBreaker reader survey.
Click right here for the reader survey. Thanks!

Today In Hewlett-Packard: It’s Hearing Day!

patriciadunn2.jpgWho are we kidding? There’s not going to be a quick summary of the news of today’s Hewlett-Packard action. We’re going to be sorting through the testimony of the various players at today’s congressional hearings for days to come. Just like everyone else.
Still, there’s some exciting news going into the hearings. Ann Baskins, H-P’s general counsel, has resigned. It’s said she’ll be taking the Fifth at the hearings, as will some of the investigators.
Pattie Dunn is going to testify that she had no reason to believe the investigation used illegal methods. Expect some tough questions on that one. Questions like: so you thought stealing the phone records of your board members was legal?
They’re in the hearing room right now. Some lawmakers are jabbering. It’s on!

DealBook, The Abridged Version (9.28.06)

French national assembly approves cut in the state’s stake in Gaz de France, clearing the way for a planned merger with Suez [legal]
Hardball: GM wants billions from Renault-Nissan? Well, maybe they’ll just go to Ford instead [legal]
Sears extends bid for Sears Canada [legal]
Bank of America admits Manhattan branch allwed money laundering [legal]
Bernie Ebbers wants to take his appeal to the Supreme Court [legal]
SEC accuses three former executives of RenaissanceRe Holdings, a reinsurance company based in Bermuda, of accounting fraud [legal]
August A. Busch IV president and chief executive of Anheuser-Busch [legal]
H-P general counsel resigns [legal]
M&A: [? = not yet closed, problems with the deal, lingering questions, etc.]
Microsoft + eBay:?
Martinsa + Fadesa Inmobiliaria: ?
News Corp + two weekly paper groups
For Sale/ LBOs/ Going Private/ Auctions/ Offerings:
Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, bowing to pressure from Daniel Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund, is putting itself on the block [For sale]
Shareholders okay Univision deal [Sold]
What’s Icahn got planned for Federated? [Buying?]
William Ackman buying shares of McDonalds [Proxy fight?]
Vince Sportswear sold [Sold]
STMicroelectronics may be takeover target [LBO]
Royal & Sun Alliance sells US biz to Arrowpoint Capital [Sold]
People & Moves:
Amaranth lets energy trader Mark Hunter go [Fired]
H-P hearing preview [Private equity]
Pension fund says private equity fees are too high [League tables]
Apollo plans European Mez fund [Private equity]

Opening Bell: 9.28.06

longlines.jpgChicago greets 1st Wal-Mart, but wonders where’s Elmo? (Reuters)
After a lot of controversy and white-knuckle Alderman meetings, Chicago saw its first Wal-Mart open yesterday. By all accounts it was a smashing success. Shoppers lined up around the corner to get a chance to go into the store, and it was revealed that 15,000 people applied for the 400 positions to be had. What’s not to like? Well Reuters founds something. Much to the chagrin of some shoppers, Wal-Mart did not have the hot toy TMX Elmo in stock. The company insists that it’s at the mercy of the toy’s maker for new shipments, but the not-so-subtle implication is that Wal-Mart is shafting its poor customers by not allocating any TMX Elmos to stores in poor neighborhoods. Or, perhaps the insinuation is that the store wouldn’t have seen the lines that it did, had it not been for the expectation of a fresh stock of TMX Elmos. We’ll be reporting as more word breaks.
Paris Auto Show to Preview 60 New Models (AP)
…and none of them will ever be seen on the road. That’s right, auto shows are like fashion shows. It’s the same reason you can’t go into Macy’s and buy that one-armed dress you saw at a London fashion show, or the seven-foot tall hat that one model was wearing. The clothes aren’t made to be sold; they’re made to be talked about, and shown on E! And so, at the Paris Auto Show, the premier event in the world (though we were always partial to the Geneva one, just a matter of taste) the world’s struggling car makers will slap on a happy face, talk about fuel cells, talk about innovation, and perhaps show a car of the future. But you’re still gonna be buying cars that get 19 mpg for some time. Better learn to enjoy what we got.
Mobile ESPN Is to End Venture, Seek New Strategy (WSJ)
Aww damn, now I can’t get late breaking news, up-to-the-minute sports clips and highlights from Sportscenter on my phone. And how am I going to update my fantasy team with one push of a button!? After less than one year in business, ESPN has concluded that its foray into being a cell phone company was a total failure Despite constantly flogging itself on ESPN (the TV channel), the service never really took off… at all. That’s ok though, we just hope the news doesn’t stop the Bloomberg TV channel from doing its own mobile phone operations. Although, the screen size — even on a Treo or Blackberry — maybe a little small for the information its gonna pack onto the screen.
HP General Counsel Resigns (Business Wire)
As has been pretty much expected from the beginning, Ann Baskins, HP’s General Counsel has resigned, effective immediately. Baskins had a 24-year career with the company, which all came crashing down when it got into the whole identity fraud business. So far, most of the attention has been on Dunn and Hurd, but from the beginning, the sharper eyes at identified Baskins as the one who could be in trouble. In fact, if charges ever end up being brought against people at HP (still waiting on that) Baskins could be in trouble.

Read more »

Write-Offs: 09.27.06

$$$Butlers are people, too. And they have just as much a right to take part in insider trading as you do. Maybe even more. [Wall $treet Folly]
$$$Business dinners. As long as you don’t fuck any waiters in front of your client, you’re good to go. (Exceptions can, obviously, always be made). [Banker’s Ball]
$$$If someone will fuck my boss, I’ll get a 50k bonus at Christmas. Let’s make a deal. [Craigslist]

Click Here

patriciadunn2.jpgIt’s just been one day since our “H-P Sympathy Watch” picked up on the “Patricia Dunn is the next Martha Stewart” trend. We had the feeling that this sort of thing was bubbling up from below. You could see it coming. The only solid evidence we had for the trend, however, was a post on the Conglomerate Blog titled “The Scapegoating of Patricia Dunn.” It might have been a stretch to call one blog poast a trend but we try to stay ahead of the curve and spot trends as they develop.
Did we call it prematurely? Not at all. Today Conglomerate pushes the Martha meme even further.

I am interested in focusing on another potential “lesson from HP,” raised by one of my colleagues at dinner last night. This colleague has had extensive experience as an affirmative action officer at a major university and as as an organizational scholar. She wondered whether the events at HP might be related to the fact that women were in charge. Of course, the investigations were spearheaded by Patricia Dunn, and one of the principal officers in charge of the investigations was General Counsel Ann Baskins.
Gender might figure into this story in several ways. For example, women who are outsiders to the clubby world of corporate directors may rely too much on formal procedures and not enough on informal mechanisms. Women leaders may feel the need to be overly tough or results-oriented to overcome stereotypes of weakness in a way that men don’t. Or the reactions to mistakes by women might be more harsh, with less forgiveness for error, than reactions to men. I am not sure whether Viet Dinh’s W$J commentary can be attributed fully to Tom Perkins, but the forgive-and-forget attitude toward Mark Hurd stands in stark contrast to the condemnatory attitude toward Patricia Dunn, especially since Hurd and Dunn consulted together on the investigations.
It’s hard to know whether any of these speculations has traction, especially from this distance, but if Larry ever pursues a study of corporate governance scandals in the “good governance” era, I would suggest including gender as one of the variables.

The Women of HP
[The Conglomerate Blog]

  • 27 Sep 2006 at 2:17 PM
  • Amaranth

SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins: Enemy of Panic Regulation

atkins140.jpgPaul Atkins is our favorite SEC commissioner. When last we met him, Atkins was explaining how certain kinds of options timing schemes might not be quite the scandal they were being made out to be. Today he’s being quoted in the press saying that the Amaranth meltdown shows that the post-LTC risk controls work and no further regulation is needed.
“If you look at the latest one with Amaranth, it looked like the system worked as far as the prime broker getting nervous about exposure and taking steps to ensure it did not grow,” Atkins told reporters during a tour of Europe.
“On the whole, from what I can see… the system worked.”
Asked if new regulation was needed, Atkins said: “Not at all.”
SEC’s Atkins says risk system worked with Amaranth [Reuters]