Opening Bell: 2.9.07

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Alcatel-Lucent job cuts deepen after quarterly loss (MarketWatch)
Our first inclination, after seeing that Alcatel-Lucent was going to lay off another 12,500 people to counter weak business, was to make some sort of "this is what they mean by synergies" joke. Synergies jokes are a little too easy for our tastes, however. That being said it is funny when the term is used in all seriousness. Check out this sentence, from some unnamed MarketWatch scribe: "The newly merged French-American group said the move will allow it to achieve pretax synergies of 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion) over three years, up from an original target of 1.4 billion euros." Pretax synergies?! Is this some accounting term we've never heard of. That certainly doesn't sound GAAP to us. And are synergies taxed the same way as, say, earnings? Because if not, we'd like to know what the post-tax synergies will be, as well.
Russia: Chevron May Buy Yukos Assets (AP)
Our presumption was that Russia would go after the last part of Yukos that it didn't already own, but maybe they're going to play this one a bit smarter. If they take it for themselves, then Putin just adds to his image as an oil despot. If they hold a foreclosure auction, and sell it to the highest bidder, then this doesn't look so bad. It even looks remotely capitalistic. Word is that Chevron is interested in acquiring the foreclosed assets, which puts the company in the same league as those jerks who get their cards from government-seizure auctions, and then brag about it.
Kodak Cuts Another 3,000 Jobs (NYT)
Several years into its overhaul, Kodak still hasn't turned the corner and made itself a digital imaging company. It's still really into film. It's not necessarily an impossible task -- just look at Canon. But the company got a late start, and at this point, nobody is sure whether it will pull it off. Meanwhile, there are 3,000 fewer employees who care whether they make it, since they've been given pink slips. Too bad Kodak isn't merging with another company, cause then we could measure the layoffs in terms of synergies, but no company we know of has dared to use the s-word when they're not even involved in a merger. It also doesn't help Kodak that it's entering a highly-competitive market that happens to be shrinking. Recently, data came out that said for the very first time, the market for digital cameras contracted in 2006.
Fox to Begin a ‘More Business Friendly’ News Channel (NYT)
Finally, Finally, Finally is all we can say. As has been long rumored and expected, Fox News head Roger Ailes said his company is set to launch Fox Business News. Arguably, this is the second-most anticipated product launch, over the past several years, after only the iPhone. This finally means that CNBC will get some real competition (sorry, Bloomberg TV doesn't count, nor did the short-lived CNN business channel). And Ailes launched a shot at CNBC, saying its too quick to jump on every little scandal, and that Fox Business News will be more business-friendly, which is probably what you'd expect from Fox. We have tons of questions, of course, like, "who will be their Maria?" and "who will be their Michelle (Caruso-Cabrera)?". The good news is that Neil Cavuto will have a major role.


Exxon Mobil to Face Lawsuit by New York Over Brooklyn Oil Spill (Bloomberg)
NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, eager to prove he's not a lightweight who just got elected on his name, is coming out swinging. He's announced that Exxon Mobil will face a lawsuit over the great Greenpoint, Brooklyn oil spill of 1978. Specifically, he says that the spill, in nearby Newtown Creek was a greater environmental disaster than Exxon Valdez, and that the company has dragged its feet in terms of remediation. We're not able to speak on the validity of this claim, but it's not inconceivable. There's not much wildlife in Greenpoint, so there aren't any heart-wrenching images of birds covered in oil. Then again, on a hot night in the summer, late at night, the place smells about as bad as anything you could imagine, although that could just be all the trash from the Polish joints.
Fortress’s ‘Standing-Room Only’ I.P.O. Prices at High End (Dealbook)
If you're too poor to qualify for a normal hedge fund, and you're leery about any investment named after a toxic-waste remediation program, then you can grab shares of Fortress Investment Group, when it makes its IPO today. It'll be, the first fund of its kind to do an IPO on American soil, and it promises to be hot, hot, hot. It's already priced at the top of his range, and the recent investor road show is said to have been standing room only.
Pixar Pay Package to Lasseter Included Well-Timed Options (WSJ)
Ruh-roh. Allegations of options backdating are following Steve Jobs around, wherever he goes. If they were just at Apple, that would be one thing. Then he could say, well, there was a bunch of stuff going on, I wasn't really paying attention, etc. Now there's word that while at Pixar, Jobs helped get a director stock options at a very favorable price (queue haunting music) three months before the negotiations with that director. Of course, none of this detracts from Jobs' popularity, which offers him an immunity card, so maybe it's not that big of a deal.
The Subprime Fallout (Crossing Wall Street)
Yesterday's announcement, from HSBC, that it would take an unexpectedly large loss from its loans, really shellacked lenders operating in the subprime space. New Century Financial took the worst of it plummeting by almost a third, while others lost over 10%. Of course, people have been warning about these guys for years and years, so none of this could've been to unexpected, for those investor playing subprime roulette.

Related