1. Honey, I Told You the In-Room Mini-Bar Was a RipoffWe're feeling all warm and fuzzy inside here at the lab. And not just from the keg left over from the holiday party. No, it's also because of Tyco International ( TYC). See, we read the report that outside counsel David Boies issued Monday. And bless his heart, following his research, Tyco "is not aware of any systemic or significant fraud related to the company's financial statements or of any clear accounting errors that would materially adversely affect the company's reported earnings or cash flow from operations for the year 2003 and thereafter." Now, doesn't that restore your faith in human nature? Of course, all those declarations of an absence of systemic, significant and material adversity doesn't mean that Boies found nothing swept under the antique rugs at the Bermuda/New Hampshire/New York-based industrial conglomerate. Because, of course, Boies did. Yes, if your worst nightmare about accountants is that they report the truth as accurately as a 3-year-old describes human reproduction, your fears are confirmed. There are the documents devoted to "Financial Engineering." There's the presentation devoted to "aggressive" accounting, in the margins of which somebody scribbled "Be Careful!! -- I wouldn't want this to get out" and "I would strongly recommend Never to put this in writing!!" But the most delicious part of the report was the allegation that former CEO Dennis Kozlowski had the company rent hotel accommodations for him in London at a cost of about $110,000.
|Livin' It Up in London |
Kozlowski's 'suite' deal
Wow. $110,000 for 13 days. Let's give Mr. K. the benefit of the doubt on that one and assume Boies meant a 13-night stay, as opposed to a 13-day, 12-night sojourn on the Thames. That's $8,461 a night. Wow again. $8,461 a night. We couldn't spend that kind of money on a hotel if we tried. Which is why, we suppose, Dennis Kozlowski made it to the top of a hotshot conglomerate and we're toiling away in the lab. But let's try anyway. The most expensive hotel room in London, according to
2. Your Fabulous Caribbean SpewsAnother day, another dollar. Another week, another reported case of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea aboard a luxury cruise ship. Yes, last Friday Reuters reported that 80 passengers and crew members on Royal Caribbean Cruises' ( RCL - Get Report) Majesty of the Seas took ill with a bug resembling -- but not officially confirmed as -- the Norwalk-type flu virus that has sparked more than the usual level of seasickness over the past few months.
|Sea Sick |
Number of people reported sick aboard Caribbean cruises in late 2002
|Source: Press reports|
3. Please Liberate Me, Let Me GoSpeaking of company documents that miss the real story, we had a fun time reading the press release Liberate Technologies ( LBRTE) issued last Friday night at 6:35 -- a day and time that Liberate selected, no doubt, to ensure maximum readership. The big news -- summarized in the attention-grabbing headline "Liberate Updates Form 10-K/A and Form 10-Q Filing Status" -- apparently was that the interactive TV software company is still working on the audit it announced two months earlier. As Liberate said in mid-October, it won't file its financials for the fiscal year ended May 31 and the fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 30 until it completes an audit into its finances. That audit came, by the way, after the "appropriateness and timing of revenue recognition" of $1.84 million in license fees had been called into question. Though the company said a month ago that it expected to make the filings by December's end, Liberate is now backing away from setting any deadline.
4. Sweet JainSpeaking of ousted CEOs, we at the lab call your attention to former InfoSpace ( INSP) chief Naveen Jain, who was "terminated" by his board so quietly Dec. 21 that we didn't notice he was gone until after Christmas. And that's a shame. See, we have a soft spot in our hearts for Jain, and not just because he always returned our calls when we phoned to ask him
|Naveen Jain |
Remembering InfoSpace's ex-CEO