The Urge to Merge, Targeting a Parachute and Cottage Cheese Sighs

Watch it where?

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hywards/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Watching television on an actual…television? Ugh. That is like so last year. Well maybe not just yet but AT&T (T) and DirecTV (DTV) are banking on it. They are on a mission to deliver content to all of your devices and not jut that relic of a 96″ HD monitor you’ve been paying off  for the better part of the year. So much so that AT&T just picked up the satellite programming provider from the telecommunications giant for a staggering $48.5 billion. That’s $3.5 billion more than what Comcast (CMCSA) is shelling out for Time Warner Cable (TWC). The merger between AT&T and DirectTV puts their customer base at 26 million while Comcast/Time Warner Cable have slightly more at 30 million subscribers. However, all these companies do face regulatory issues from the FCC and the Department of Justice. But mergers like these are allegedly good for the consumer. Cheaper bundles are headed our way. Though to be fair I’m skeptical after spending my morning live chatting with one of the telecom giants just to switch my cable carrier.

They’re paying you what?!

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Target shareholders felt its recently ousted CEO, Gregg Steinhafel was getting a bit too much of payday. Especially considering he was at the helm of the company as its holiday shopping season hacking fiasco unfolded before his eyes. Steinhafel’s 2013 paycheck was slashed by 37%. Instead of making the $20.6 million he earned in 2012, he now only received $12.9 million. I know you feel for him. Steinhafel has to pay back $5.4 million in retirement benefits also. I know. I know. Your heart goes out to the guy. But not to worry. He can just wipe away his tears with all those $100 bills he’s going to have courtesy of his $54 million golden parachute.

Not so comforting food…

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While Campbell’s Soup (CPB) is good food, its earnings were definitely not. Despite marching out some new products this year, it just wasn’t enough to beat Wall Street’s expectations. The company behind Prego and the snack that smiles back, Goldfish, was not smiling back it its third quarter which saw its revenue pretty much flatline. Analysts pegged their earnings at $2 billion instead of the disappointing $1.97 billion it posted. It was hardly a dent into the $1.96 billion it pulled in last year at this time. On the dairy front, Kraft Foods (KRFT) must have been feeling a bit lactose intolerant today thanks to a cottage cheese recall. 1.2 million cases of the stuff was taken off the shelves. Some of their ingredients were not stored well and this may or may not result in stuff that would gross you out. But not as much as it’s going to gross out Kraft’s revenue.

 

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Tweeting Bad, CEO Is No Longer On Target and Are Banks Headed for the Slammer?

When tweeting goes bad…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s bad enough cursing out your colleagues. But cursing them out on twitter takes an extra special dose of messed up. Just ask former Paypal Director of Strategy Rakesh (Rocky) Agrawal. That is, if you can find him. On Friday night the then Paypal executive released a number of expletive laden tweets presumably directed at his fellow executives. In one, he called a VP of Global Communications a useless middle manager. Much of what he tweeted was incoherent and made absolutely no sense – for which he conveniently blamed a “new keyboard.” In fact the only coherent parts of the tweets were the expletives. Agrawal says he had already resigned from the company before the tweets escaped his fingertips yet shortly after they started circulating and gaining attention @Paypal tweeted: Rakesh Agrawal is no longer with the company. Treat everyone with respect. No excuses. PayPal has zero tolerance.

Way off target…

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The fact that Target (TGT) CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s resignation was announced today isn’t quite as shocking as the fact that he waited this long to do it. After a colossally expensive and embarrassing data breach that compromised the credit card and personal information of millions – no wait – make that tens of millions of people during the past holiday season, the now former CEO said in a statement that he holds himself personally responsible. Oh well. Maybe if he had had the good sense to try and mitigate the circumstances when the breach was first detected – before any data was even taken – instead of waiting as long as he did, then perhaps Steinhafel’s thirty-five year career at the $40 billion corporation might not have come to such a screeching halt. But he’s probably not too stressed about job hunting. The $55 million he’s rumored to be getting in severance should tide him over for a couple of years.

Don’t bank on it…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just when you though banks could no wrong…Actually, they do plenty of wrong. And now Attorney General Eric Holder wants everyone to know that although some financial institutions are Too Big To Fail, “There is no such thing as too big to jail” either.  Banks like Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas are staring down the wrong end of recent efforts by the US government for violating all kinds of rules. Credit Suisse was ticking off the US with their illegal tax shelters. The US has become less than fond of BNP Paribas for violating US sanctions against countries like Sudan and Iran. Some might find it shocking that a bank would want to assist countries whose gross human rights violations have come to be a part of the fiber of their existence. But to banks – big and small – money is money.  And to AG Holder, the law’s the law. And if it gets broken, he’s got some not-so-inviting cells waiting to house the offenders.