Friday, April 14, 2006

Tyson Foods New CFO Announced in Middle of Night?

Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) announced a new CFO. Mr Wade Miquelon from Proctor & Gamble gets the job. Given how important the position of CFO is to a NSYE listed company why did the announcement cross the wire at 0400ET on Good Friday. Press release on PR Newswire.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Shareholder Activist Brawl Over Sears Canada

When are shareholder activists pirates and when are they servants of the shareholder. Two very big hedge fund names are punching it out over the assets of Sears Canada. Eddie Lampert took over Sears by way of K-Mart. He then needed to deal with Sears Canada whose shares traded publicly on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Bill Ackman who built a large position in Sears Canada of course wants a higher valuation. Buy low sell high. Ackman seemed to be getting somewhere keeping the shares valued more highly than Lampert wanted. Ackman may have lost voting control over his shares through a complex hedge agreement. The punch up continues. Opportunistic bare knuckle capitalism at its worst and best. The legal manouvers continue. Will there be anything left in the store once this settles down.

Exxon/Chevron Stall Hebron Development

Oil is at nose bleed levels. Much oil is seriously suspected at an elephant find called Hebron off the coast of Newfoundland. The field is close to the US and is geopolitically safe. Exxon and Chevron have shelved development. Most view this as a commercial dispute over royalty levels. Local government wants as much as possible, naturally. Exxon & Chevron cannot come to terms with a small population base that elects a democratic government. Greed on both sides of course. Short term thinking by Exxon and Chevron is penalizing the shareholder and increasing reliance on unstable sources of oil. So much for security.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

3M Elects Lead Director

3M announced that Vance Coffman has been elected as lead director. In this newly created role, Mr. Coffman will lead executive sessions of 3M's independent directors and will facilitate information flow and communication between the directors and the chairman, in addition to other duties specified by the board. With the many committes that 3M's board must or should have will Mr Coffman be serving on all of them? Information flow between the chairman and independent directors is becoming too complicated. Do they not have backbone and speak up at meetings? What other duties will be slipped in at a later date? How will Mr. Coffman be renumerated for his valuable time? To whose benefit is this position? What resources are dedicated to back him up? How will we be able to monitor his performance? Does he start with an agenda? Sounds pretty good but whats it all about?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Weekend Follies (April 8-9,2006)

Every Monday I post the Weekend Follies where I try to point out companies that release information at odd ball hours over the weekend when no one is looking. My opinion of companies who engage is this practice is one of skepticism. Usually a lot of caveat emptor is required with these situations. This weekend Five companies caught my eye. Two on NYSE Royal Group (RYG) which is clearly making a practice of releasing information on weekends and Cablevision Systems (CVC). Two on Nasdaq MathStar (MATH) and A4S Security (SWAT). One on AMEX AnorMed (AOM)