This ice water's for you
1. Water WorldAnheuser-Busch ( BUD) just got bounced from its own rockin' party.
This week the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light ended a popular tavern promotion after some participants inexplicably kept choosing the wrong drink. The game, Bud Pong, encouraged bar-hoppers to play table tennis while drinking water.
The St. Louis-based brewer says it devised Bud Pong "to create an interactive experience for contemporary adults at bars and clubs, where adults must be 21 and older to participate." That sounds like a winning formula, as countless adults use bars as an excuse to interact under the influence of water.
But even the best-laid plans of well-hydrated companies can end in big hangovers. Anheuser, which previously has pledged to
Goldman lends Refco a free hand
2. Heart of GoldmanAs badly as things have turned out for Refco ( RFXCQ), the big futures brokerage may not strike you as a charity case. That is, unless you're Goldman Sachs ( GS).
Goldman, the New York finance giant, was an underwriter of Refco's Aug. 11 initial public offering, which lined the pockets of Bennett and controlling shareholder Thomas H. Lee Partners. When Refco tanked last week, Goldman raised some eyebrows by briefly signing on as a
|Kodak's Negatives |
Its report isn't a pretty picture
3. Confidence ManRegardless of what its various chieftains say, we're getting the picture that Kodak ( EK) is in bad shape.
The Rochester, N.Y., photo company posted a third straight earnings debacle this week. The company lost more than $100 million on a pretax operating basis where analysts had been expecting a healthy profit. Kodak also got hit by a $900 million tax valuation charge. All told, it lost more than a billion dollars for the third quarter.
The news comes as Kodak makes massive job cuts amid an overhaul of its business, which has long focused on film sales but now centers on digital imaging. Earlier this year, massive earnings shortfalls forced Kodak to
|For the Birds? |
Vaccine shortfall symptomatic of Chiron
4. Flu BugsChiron ( CHIR) got bitten again this week.
The good news out of Emeryville, Calif., was that the biotech concern began shipping flu vaccine just as the nation gears up for the ever-looming influenza pandemic. That marks a welcome change from last flu season, when Chiron produced no vaccine after a U.K. plant was shut down by health regulators for manufacturing problems and product contamination.
"This year, Chiron devoted more than half of the normal production season to the implementation of our remediation plan," said CEO Howard Pien. "We are delighted to be back, and we look forward to contributing meaningfully to the influenza vaccine supply this year." The bad news is that for the third time this year, Chiron cut its vaccine-making target. The company expects that "the total number of Fluvirin vaccine doses it will produce for the 2005-2006 influenza season will be below its previously stated range, due to production delays related to remediation as well as lower production output associated with adaptation to new processes and procedures implemented in remediation," Chiron said Monday, promising more information later. Setbacks like these are nothing new for Chiron. The company