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Minyanville's Business Briefs Exposed: Take Two, Wal-Mart, Circuit City


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 give you 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.

Maybe Wes Craven Wasn't Available

Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) shareholders succeeded in removing the company's board and replacing it with six new directors. According to unconfirmed reports, they are: Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and Spike Lee.

Properties, Properties

Over the last five years, Wal-Mart (WMT) has assembled a team of ex-CIA operatives, FBI agents, and Justice Department officials to police employees in making sure they adhere to internal policy. Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. said the additions are part of the company's new plan to optimize Wal-Mart's workforce. Currently under investigation--a Wal-Mart greeter in Parkersburg, WV named Osama B. Laden.

Sowing the Seeds of Discontent

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that, of all commercials aimed at children, 72% are for candy, snacks, sugary cereals, or fast food. "Not one was for Kaiser rolls," said a Kaiser Family Foundation spokesperson. "This smacks of favoritism. Kaiser rolls are an important part of a balanced diet."

Well, That's One Way of Doing It

Circuit City (CC) said it would cut costs by laying off 8.4% of its in-store staff and hiring lower-paid employees to replace them, prompting current Circuit City employees to say, "Damn, did you have to take the whole job? I would have settled for a pay cut!"

What's in a Name?

(LYG) posted a record pre-tax profit of $7.26 billion for 2006, thanks to few catastrophe claims and higher premiums. Also reporting substantial profit increases were Harry's, Jeremy's, Christopher's, Lew's, Brian's, and Herb's.

Safety First

Honda Motor (HMC), long known for the fuel efficiency of its vehicles, said it is planning a new advertising campaign to change its public image from fuel-efficiency to hopefully join Volvo (VOLV) as an automaker best known for safety. In related news, General Motors (GM) said it plans to avoid what company officials described as the "crowded auto safety market," and instead focus on increasing the danger and excitement of its vehicles by adding front bumper mounted external gas tanks.

Ethanol Like Grandma Used to Make

The USDA said farmers are forecast to plant 90.5 million acres of corn this year, a 15% increase from last year, driven by expanding ethanol production. The ethanol boom has pushed corn prices to near-record levels as consumers apparently can't get enough tasty ethanol on the cob, creamed ethanol and homemade ethanol pudding.

Chart a Course for Profits!

The Bank of Nova Scotia plans to buy a 24.99% stake in Thailand's Thanachart Bank. Other banks under consideration had been Point-and-Figurechart, Piechart, and Year-to-Datechart; but in the end, Thanachart "just presented the best opportunity," a Bank of Nova Scotia spokesman said.

You Deserve a Sharper Office!

Sharper Image (SHRP) reached a licensing deal with OfficeMax (OMX) to sell a branded line of office-supply products in the retailer's stores. Among the products Sharper Image plans to sell are: an office chair with a built in back massager/radar detector and a combination paper shredder/electric shaver/nose hair trimmer.

Sprint Gets Dicked

AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), and Qwest (Q) were picked to compete for a $20 billion federal government telecom contract. Sprint (S), however, failed to make the cut. A government spokesperson explained that Sprint was the only company without any ties to Vice President Dick Cheney, thus automatically excluding them from consideration.

Taking It Up the Assche

Christian Dior has replaced men's wear designer Hedi Slimane with Slimane's former assistant Kris Van Assche. We don't have a punchline here, we just wanted to use the heading, "Taking it up the Assche."
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