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Minyanville's Business Briefs Exposed: PepsiCo, Xerox, Whole Foods...


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.

Hey, Mr. Benevolent!

The Federation of American Hospitals has come up with a way to provide basic health coverage for all U.S. citizens: draft federal legislation legally requiring the uninsured to buy it themselves. The group has also come up with a way to eliminate poverty from this country by forcibly relocating poor families to Bangladesh.

That Can't Be Good For You…

PepsiCo (PEP) announced plans on Wednesday to introduce Diet Pepsi Max, which will have about a third more caffeine than the company's highly-caffeinated Diet Mountain Dew. Sources say PepsiCo's original name for the beverage, "Drinkable Crack Cocaine" died in focus group testing.

What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate

The Central Parking Corporation, headquartered in Nashville, said that it had accepted a $733 million takeover bid from a private equity consortium led by Kohlberg & Company. When asked for comment about its buyout of Central Parking, a company spokesperson said, "Hold the phone-did you say 'Central Parking'? Holy crap, we thought were buying Central Park! Oh my god! I have to call you back!"

And That's The Whole Story

Whole Foods (WFMI) announced its intention to acquire Wild Oats (OATS), a Boulder, Colorado-based competitor. Wild Oats said the company received a number of competing buyout offers from other suitors, including Half Foods, Quarter Foods, and One-Sixteenth Foods, but that the company thought the Whole Foods offer seemed like a better opportunity.

My Money's on Mulcahy

For decades, Xerox (XRX) and Kodak (EK) peacefully coexisted with one another. But digital convergence has turned the two imaging companies into bitter rivals. Industry-watchers agree that things have finally come to a head, as Kodak CEO Antonio Perez squares off this Sunday against Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy in a no holds-barred (with the exception of eye-gouging or fish-hooking) mixed-martial arts Ultimate Fighting octagonal cage match at the Rochester Civic Center.

The Explanation is in the Mail

Shares of NovaStar Financial (NFI), which makes loans to people with bad credit, fell almost 43% after the company announced a surprise loss. When reached for comment, a NovaStar financial spokesperson first pretended to be someone else. Then he tried to say he mailed in the explanation over a week ago. Finally the spokesperson agreed to send in at least a partial explanation no later than the end of next week.

It's a Hip-Hop Industry

Barrick Gold (ABX) and Newmont Mining (NEM), the two largest gold producers in the world, said yesterday their profits surged in the fourth quarter. "It was mostly thanks to Method Man, R. Kelly, and Missy Elliott," said a Barrick spokesperson. "But Bone Thugz n' Harmony bought mad bling around the holidays, so we have to give them a P/E shout-out, too. Holla at your boyz, yo!"

Uniform Hedge Fund Regulations

The President's Working Group on Financial Markets on Thursday called for a "uniform approach" to regulating hedge funds to curb potential problems. The working group recommended that the current hedge fund uniform of dark slacks with an untucked, striped Turnbull & Asser or Thomas Pink shirt be replaced with a Dickies jumpsuit and Wolverine steel-toed work boots.

Swinging For the Fences

Chrysler (DCX) CEO Thomas W. LaSorda announced to employees last week that the automaker had to first end its financial slide before it could entertain the idea of selling the company. Mr. LaSorda also announced a management shakeup, naming Davey Lopes as Chairman, Ron Cey as CFO, Steve Garvey as COO, and Fernando Valenzuela as Managing Director of Latin American Operations.
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