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Minyanville's Business Briefs Exposed: Citigroup, Pfizer, Ford...


Business Briefs from a uniquely Minyanville perspective.


Relax, it's only money.

Here in the 'Ville we like to keep things smart, but we also love to laugh. All work and no know how it goes. With that in mind we proudly introduce The "Off-Balance Sheet," a place where Minyans can experience humorous takes on the world of finance, personal stories from our Professors and Minyans and all the other stuff that makes life worth living. So take a break from the flickering ticks and dive in.

This Must Really Stick in Her Kraw

(C) Sallie Krawcheck has been removed as CFO and chief strategy officer amid lackluster operating results. She will now head up the company's wealth-management business, because, as the thinking goes, wealthy people already have plenty of money and won't really care about lackluster results.

Hey, Abbott... Labs!

A charge related to a $3.7 billion purchase resulted in a fourth-quarter loss at Abbott, it was reported this week. Meanwhile, Costello reported record profits and continues to outpace competitors in the sector. When asked what this meant for the company's outlook, Abbott replied, "Why's on second. I don't know is on third."

Will the "P" Keep Silent?

Pfizer (PFE) announced plans to lay off 10,000 workers in a massive restructuring. Expected to be an early victim of the bloodletting is the "P" in "Pfizer," which, according to consultants, has never been anything more than symbolic and will almost certainly be let go in the first round of firings.

Worst Year Ever!

The Ford Motor Company recorded the worst year in its 103-year history in 2006, losing $12.7 billion and far exceeding its previous worst loss of $7.39 billion 1992. The stunning figures represent a loss of $4,700 on every vehicle sold. New Ford chief executive Alan Mullaly pledged to stem the losses in part by no longer including $4,700 cash under the seat the of every car and truck made.

I Like Deja Vu In the 8th

Virginia thoroughbred racetrack Colonial Downs is pushing for changes in state law so that it can offer a new form of gambling, called historical racing, on which people wager on horse races that have already taken place. The proposed measure has drawn the attention and support of a number of bigtime Virginia gamblers, including Jimmy "The Results Rememberer" Cantler and Tommy "Almanac" MacNamara.

Pigging Out on Chinese

Even though the Chinese will ring in the Year of the Pig next month, China Central Television has banned all images and spoken references to pigs to avoid offending Muslims. Observers do not expect the decision to have any effect on sales of #33 (Double Sauteed Sliced Pork), #38 (Moo Shu Pork), or #16 (Sweet & Sour Pork).

Siemens is Coming

Siemens (SI) is buying Texas software manufacturer UGS for $3.5 billion, including debt. Analysts say the acquisition will not do much in the way of profits, but could temporarily divert attention away from the relentless ejaculation jokes that have plagued Siemens since day one.

They're Just Too Sapped From Last Night To Deal With It Today

SAP said it planned to clarify the reasons for missing its sales forecasts and would announce projections for the New Year a day late. This would give SAP officials an extra 24 hours to come up with marginally more believable excuses, including denser, more obtuse "explanations" and a Power Point presentation with colorful charts and graphs that look good but don't really mean anything at all.

Needing The Dough

Merrill Lynch (MER) CEO E. Stanley O'Neal made more than $48 million last year, an increase of 30% from 2005. The gain roughly approximates a small percentage of the horrendous losses suffered by Minyanville staffer Justin Rohrlich's tiny-to-begin-with, now miniscule, portfolio while under management at Merrill Lynch over the past five years. Way to go, Stanley! No one is happier for you than me. Love, Justin
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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