Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2013 09:14 AM
Kodak officially ends bankruptcy.
Petco launches transformation effort.
Toyota announces hybrids recall.
Amazon unveils new Kindle, Matchbook service.
Bank of America exits China bank stake.
Bison Council pushes acceptance of the meat.
Chick-fil-A offers free breakfast, with reservation.
Chrysler posts 12 percent sales gain in August as all brands ready for US sales reports today.
Google partners with Nestle to name new operating system.
Hershey boosts ad spending and sales have followed.
Johnson & Johnson adds red warning label on Tylenol over dosage concerns.
JCPenney finds love from other hedge funds.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 27, 2013 02:49 PM
Most people want to leave the world a better place than when they entered. Most investors take the same approach with companies in which they obtain a huge stake. So how does Bill Ackman feel about JCPenney now?
The activist investor's grand experiment in attempting to move the venerable retailer from also-ran brand to a dynamic rebirth failed in even grander fashion this summer, and now Ackman has decided to sell his 18 percent stake in the company, or about 39 million shares, at a loss of as much as $500 million, according to Bloomberg.
The head of Pershing Square Capital Management clearly signaled his intentions a few weeks ago when he mounted one last offensive in the boardroom, attempting to oust CEO Myron Ullman—spectacularly but unsuccessfully, in the end. That failure followed the debacle wrought by Ackman's hand-picked CEO, Ron Johnson, who actually succeeded Ullman a couple of years ago.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 27, 2013 09:27 AM
Bill Ackman gives up stake in JCPenney.
Samsung confirms Galaxy Gear Smartwatch for Sept. 4.
Billabong reports record loss and writes down value of brands.
Adobe has some bold plans for online ad business.
Amazon exposes cloud's dark lining with weekend outage.
Apple plans to launch trade-in program for iPhone, report says.
AT&T sees its commercial straight man leap to Saturday Night Live.
Best Buy will see founder unload some of his shares this year.
Chevrolet does deal with University of Texas Longhorns for Silverado.
Cracker Barrel revamps menu with lighter dishes and rejects activist investor's third attempt to join its board.
Ford ramps up output of Fusion to challenge Toyota's Camry.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 26, 2013 10:40 AM
Sears results keep eroding, with no end in sight. Now the giant retailer's maladroitness has begun affecting the operation that arguably has kept the brand afloat: appliance sales. Not even a successful shopper-loyalty program has been able to turn things around for the company that used to be America's largest store.
Lately it's been easy to lose sight of Sears' woes. For one thing, at least one other traditional retail giant—JCPenney—has had things way worse over the last year or so. Also, Sears has been able to spark some gains at its other major brand, Kmart, with exposure from its popular and cheeky "Ship My Pants" and "Big Gas Savings" ads.
But Sears is suffering. Last week the retailer reported a $194 million loss during the second quarter as same-store sales fell by 1.5 percent. Sears hasn't turned a profit since 2010, and sales, which stood at $53 billion a decade ago, have dwindled steaily to $40 billion in 2012 as customer traffic ebbed and Sears sold assets to raise cash.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 20, 2013 06:06 PM
For JCPenney, rewinding the recent past has continued to key a brighter future. That was apparent in fiscal-second-quarter results, released today, that showed the brand slowing its sales decline to only 12 percent year-on-year—a brutally negative figure that was only brightened by comparison with the 23 percent quarterly sales decline a year earlier.
With activist investor Bill Ackman out of the way, or at least off the JCPenney board, and his support shored up, CEO Myron Ullman apparently sees positive glimmers of the old JCPenney that he ran until a couple of years ago. The closer the retailer returns to the strategy he followed before giving way to Ron Johnson as CEO, Ullman is indicating, the greater chance JCPenney has of surviving.
"There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past," he said in a statement. "Moving forward, we're focusing our efforts on regaining customer loyalty by offering trusted brands, award-winning service and affordability that families can depend on."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 20, 2013 09:25 AM
Apple plans to ship two new iPhone versions next month as it hires Nike FuelBand consultant.
JCPenney slows sales decline.
Walmart, Gap and other retailers meet to implement Bangladesh safety plan.
BMW studies placing assembly plant in Mexico.
Barnes & Noble declares truce with Simon & Schuster.
Best Buy registers profit growth from cost-cutting.
Coors Light rewards drinkers' "day-to-night" transitions in promo.
Cummins supplies Nissan with diesel engine for Titan pickups.
Flowers Foods sees Hostess business as incremental.
Furniture Brands gets survival advice.Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Dale Buss on August 16, 2013 02:33 PM
More CEOs than ever have to worry about "activist investors" sniffing around their companies—or taking a big bite out of them. These aggressive financiers who used to be known as "corporate raiders" seem to be taking on a new cache.
The announcement this week by the dean of these investors, Carl Icahn, that he'd taken a major stake in Apple has raised the profile of this gaggle of discontented financial dynamos to new levels. He pressed CEO Tim Cook to use Apple's cash hoard to buy back more of what Icahn called Apple's "extremely undervalued" shares.
And these days, the ilk of Icahn—on whom the Gordon Gekko character in Wall Street was partially based—individually and collectively have a larger voice than ever before. Their ranks also include Bill Ackman, currently tilting with JCPenney and Herbalife management; George Soros, who's involved with Apple and JCPenney as well; Dan Loeb, who has taken aim at Sony's Hollywood operations for unlocked value; Nelson Peltz; and David Einhorn. Now Jos. A. Bank has one nipping at its heels.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 13, 2013 05:04 PM
Below deck, JCPenney remains a mess after the sudden resignation of board member Bill Ackman on Monday night. And on the surface, things aren't so great for the brand either, as it tries to mount a marketing and merchandising charge for what could very well be its last shot at the back-to-school season.
The largest shareholder in the company, Ackman resigned from the JCPenney board a few days after starting an unusually public rebellion against his fellow directors over the pace of their process in replacing Myron Ullman as CEO. Ullman, former CEO of JCPenney, had come back aboard in the spring after the necessary departure of Ron Johnson, Ackman's hand-picked successor to Ullman who intended to transform JCPenney into a retailer and brand that would eventually be unfamiliar to just about everyone.
Ackman was replaced by Ronald Tysoe, a former vice chairman of Federated Department Stores with many years of retail experience—a notable move since one of Ackman's recent criticisms was that there wasn't enough retailing experience represented on the board. JCPenney said it would appoint an additional new director soon. Meanwhile, mega-investor and JCPenney shareholder George Soros also has come to Ullman's defense.Continue reading...