The first half of 2007 is in the books, so it's time to review those asinine Wall Street antics with the answers to The Five Dumbest Things First-Half Quiz.
David A. Fritz is our winner; he will get a signed copy of Jim Cramer's
. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone for participating.
Now, here are the answers.
1. Rupert Murdoch's
hatched a surprise $5 billion bid for
this spring. Name the family whose supervoting shares give members effective control of the publisher of
The Wall Street Journal
1. Answer: BThe Journal reports family members are descended from Jessie Waldron, wife of Clarence Barron, who bought the company for $130,000 in 1902. The Barrons passed their shares on to Waldron's oldest daughter, Jane, who had married Hugh Bancroft.
surprised investors in May with an unsolicited $27 billion cash-and-stock bid for rival
. Alcan's board promptly rejected the proposal, but Alcoa forged ahead anyway. What did Alcoa CEO Alain Belda say in filing for regulatory approval of the deal?
"It is clear to us that Alcan and Alcoa have fundamentally different approaches and track records in creating shareholder value."
"We are clearly the optimal partner for Alcan, bringing a strong strategic rationale and a significant synergy footprint to this combination."
"The value is well below the market price and well below what we think the company is worth."
A and B.
2. Answer: BBelda insisted Alcoa's offer was "full and fair" even though it was worth 10% less than the recent market price of Alcan stock. Alcan Chairman Yves Fortier made the first remark and CEO Dick Evans made the third.
3. Three of the groups listed below have announced their support for the merger of satellite radio broadcasters
. Which one hasn't?
The League of Rural Voters
The National Council of Women's Organizations
Women Involved in Farm Economics
The National Association of Broadcasters
3. Answer: D.The National Association of Broadcasters, a radio industry group, has repeatedly blasted the merger plan and is lobbying in Washington to have it blocked. Sirus and XM, however, note that the other three organizations are fully on board.
4. Last month,
Bausch & Lomb
announced a $3.7 billion deal to be taken private by Warburg Pincus. A week later, rival eyecare company
Advanced Medical Optics
said it might be interested in bidding for Bausch, whose shares had been hit hard by the infection-related recall of a contact lens solution.
What did Advanced Medical do the day after it declared its interest in Bausch?
It backed away from the comments, saying they had been taken out of context.
It recalled some of its own lens solution due to a different infection outbreak.
It got a takeout bid from a group led by Blackstone.
It changed its name to Message: Eye Care.
4. Answer: B.
5. Match the
comment with the event that provoked it.
Dissident shareholder seeks election to board.
CEO Ed Zander on conference call explaining first-quarter loss.
Operating chief Greg Brown admits 2007 earnings won't hit lowered target.
Finance chief Tom Meredith sets plan to cut 7,500 jobs.
"We will not allow Carl Icahn to use Motorola as his self-serving platform."
"Across the company, the previously announced cost-reduction actions are on schedule."
"Long-term, sustainable profitability is -- and always has been -- Motorola's top priority."
"I don't know how many ways there are to make phones. We have to be careful not to build things like Swiss army knives."
5. Answers:I. A.Motorola made the statement May 2 and revealed May 30 that it had defeated Icahn's board bid, though he got 43% of the vote.II. D. Zander came under fire for reportedly telling Motorola execs that he hates his customers.III. B.Brown made the comment April 18 -- a month before the company boosted its 2007 layoff target to 7,500 from 3,500.IV. C.The company made the announcement as rival Nokia confirmed it is taking market share from Motorola.
6. Name the CEO who quit over a tabloid newspaper article that the executive characterized as "full of misleading and erroneous claims."
Yahoo!'s (YHOO) Terry Semel
Monster's (MNST) - Get Report William Pastore
BP's (BP) - Get Report John Browne
Avici's (AVCI) Bill Leighton
6. Answer: C. Browne quit in May after London's Daily Mail published claims that Browne misused company resources to support onetime partner Jeff Chevalier. Browne, who had been pursuing an injunction against the story since January, rejected the allegations but said he'd leave to avoid becoming a distraction.
has been under pressure from activist shareholders who want management to boost the stock price. What actions did the burger chain take during the second quarter to placate them?
It hired a new CEO.
It set plans to spin off its Frosty frozen dessert unit into a separate publicly traded company.
It rolled out a new marketing campaign focusing on the squareness of its hamburger patties.
It repeatedly said it's trying to find a buyer.
7. Answer: D.Wendy's actually announced three times during the quarter that it was trying to pursue a sale or other transaction. On April 25, the board formed a special committee to oversee the sale process. On May 15, the company hired JPMorgan and Lehman Bros. as advisers. And on June 18, just in case anyone had forgotten, Wendy's said once more that it would pursue a sale -- just as it rolled out soft second-quarter numbers.
8. The Federal Trade Commission filed this month to block
proposed $565 million purchase of rival
. Why does the agency believe the merger plan is anticompetitive?
Whole Foods chief John Mackey told his board the deal would allow the company to raise prices.
Whole Foods internal documents sketch out a plan to corner the U.S. market for organic guacamole.
The merger could lead to a bidding war for the rights to Wild Oats' sought-after ticker symbol, OATS.
A deal could allow Mackey to raise his annual salary from the current $1.
8. Answer: A.The agency alleges the deal "will substantially lessen competition and thereby cause significant harm to consumers."
has doubled since last November as the truck manufacturer has emerged as a major player in the competition to build blast-resistant vehicles for the Army. What did finance chief Bill Caton recently call the company's "No. 1 priority"?
Getting more armored-truck orders.
Regaining a New York Stock Exchange listing.
Filing accurate financial restatements.
Settling a legal dispute with Ford (F) - Get Report.
9. Answer: C."While the accuracy of our restatement is our No. 1 priority," Caton said in a press release May 31, "our ongoing objective is to strengthen our accounting and control environment to allow for timely and accurate financial filings." Navistar was delisted from the NYSE in February after failing to file its 2005 annual report in a timely fashion.
shares plunged 90% in a single week last month after its biggest customer suffered a $615 million loss on a natural gas options trade.
Where is the customer,
BMO Bank of Montreal
10. Answer: C.Bank of Montreal has its operational headquarters in Toronto. It was founded in 1817, in Montreal, but moved in 1977 and changed its name to BMO in 2002.
To watch Farnoosh Torabi and Gregg Greenberg's video take of this column, click here
award-winning effort to enrich the reader experience, the Five Dumbest Things Lab now scores each item using our proprietary Dumb-o-Meter. This cutting-edge technology employs a finely calibrated, 100-point scale measuring sheer Dumbness, as calculated via a closely guarded secret formula.
Got your own idea for the dumbest thing of the week?
Want to get your Five Dumbest in the mail? It's easy. Just become a TSC member -- it's free -- and you'll receive the Five Dumbest in our Before the Bell email newsletter every Friday. The rest of the week, before each trading day, Before the Bell gives you a comprehensive look at the stocks expected to move the market, plus access to a sampling of our premium content from RealMoney. Click here to sign up for Before the Bell!