Boo-Hoo at Yahoo!
Yahoo! (YHOO) (Stock Quote: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz is telling employees to get over the Microsoft (MSFT) (Stock Quote: MSFT) search deal and get back to work. For his part, billionaire investor Carl Icahn is well ahead of her.
A less than cheerful memo from Bartz was published Tuesday in Dow Jones' All Things Digital blog urging employees to stop debating the merits of Microsoft's revenue-sharing agreement and "focus" on their jobs. The release of Bartz's missive could not have come at a worse time, appearing a day after Icahn's public admission that he recently sold about 13 million shares in the company.
Chief Executive Bartz commands her troops in the strongly-worded memo, originally sent in mid-August, to "get out of the sugar low -- we have work to do. Stop staring at our navels, stop arguing with each other. Stop debate, debate, debate and let's focus on the competition."
"Let's focus on a great Yahoo!. Our average user is just trying to get through the day ... looking to find out what's going on in the big world and their own world," Bartz continues. "They want their Internet site to be great, and to work."
Alas, Icahn cannot. But instead of complaining, he is voting with his shares. In a filing on Monday, Icahn Capital said it has reduced its stake in Yahoo! to 4.48%, down from 5.38% as of June 30.
(YHOO) (MSFT) Icahn began investing in Yahoo! last year when Microsoft was trying to buy the entire company, back when the stock was in the mid-$20s. His recent sales were at prices between $14.75 and $14.92. Yahoo! shares closed Tuesday at $14.18, around 17% below where the search deal was struck in late July.
The filing goes on to say that Icahn is unloading shares to better balance his technology portfolio and not because of any doubts in the "wisdom of the Microsoft-Yahoo search transaction" or the performance of Bartz herself.
Dumb-o-meter score: 95 -- Unlike Yahoo! employees, Carl Icahn doesn't shed tears. He sheds shares.
Madoff's Final Chapter
In a report released this week, the SEC Inspector General David Kotz found a whole lot of bungling, yet no corruption in his agency's handling of the Bernard Madoff affair. There has been speculation that Madoff, currently serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison in North Carolina for running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, had improper ties to the agency and influenced its probes of his criminal enterprise.
Kotz blames much of the oversight on the "inexperienced" staff members who were assigned to conduct the investigations. Even when these clueless newbies caught Bernie in a lie, they "failed to follow up," according to the report, and went so far as to reject whistleblowers' offers to provide additional evidence.
Meanwhile, despite mammoth expectations, the sales of books focusing on Madoff have far from matched the scale of his crime, according to Nielsen BookScan this week. Nielsen BookScan tracks about 75% of the market.
Even the tell-all book by alleged ex-mistress Sheryl Weinstein has been a flop for St. Martin's Press, selling a pitiful 2,000 copies.
Sorry, sweetie. Looks like he burned you again.
Wrong. When it comes to Newsday accepting Verizon's money, it's simple: Better dead than read.
Not that anybody really needs clarification. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that the Dolans, Cablevision's controlling family, doesn't want anyone else muscling in on their territory.
Despite being snubbed by Newsday, Verizon says its ads are still reaching Long Islanders through television and other media, and FiOS enrollment in the market was rising, according to the Times article. So despite losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad revenue, the Dolans still can't keep Verizon off their territory.
Dumb-o-meter score: 85 -- Hey, you wouldn't expect the Corleone family to promote the Barzini family's brand of olive oil, now would you?
Under Lula's plan, the government will create a new state holding company called Petrosal to manage new projects and a new contract system that gives the state a share of the oil. The government's oil revenue will be directed into a "social fund" aimed at raising money for poverty reduction, science and technology, the environment and education. The plan also calls for a capital infusion of about $50 billion in Petrobras to boost state control over the firm, which is currently 55% controlled by the government.
Problem numero uno could very well be Lula himself.
"The subsalt is a gift from God," said Lula.
Dumb-o-meter score: 80 -- Luckily, Petrobras has an interest in BP's week's huge strike this week in the Gulf of Mexico, far away from Lula's reach.
Southwest's Improper Parts
The Dallas-based discount airline, which unlike other carriers does not offer assigned seating, said Wednesday that for an extra 10 bucks -- each way, mind you -- Southwest passengers can reserve a boarding position before general check-in. The supplementary charge would allow those customers to start boarding the plane after certain elite flyers, who don't have to pay additional fees for early boarding privileges.
The FAA could have grounded the older-model Boeing 737s equipped with the unapproved metal hinge fittings for good, but instead agreed to give Southwest until late December to replace unapproved parts, and subject them to weekly inspections.
The FAA said Southwest could still face a fine, although that would be nothing new for the airline. Back in March, Southwest agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle government allegations that it flew planes without performing required safety inspections.
Dumb-o-meter score: 70 -- Southwest does not have first-class sections on its planes -- just its waiting areas."
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