Chandlers and Tribune: Representatives of the newspaper family were in Chicago this week to hear a sales presentation on the company. Chicago Tribune reports that Gannett and reps for Ron Burkle and Eli Broad also were given presentations (the Burkle-Broad session was in L.A.). The information from those meetings will be used in the bidding process. Apparently, the Chandlers have explored teaming with Broad and David Geffen, as well as Burkle. Tribune Co. has set a Jan. 17 deadline for "firm and final" bids for the company.
Edison kills rate hike: Lower-than-expected natural gas prices, along with those high summertime bills, have left Southern California Edison with $300 million in surplus revenue - enough to cancel a rate hike for 4.6 million customers that was to have taken effect Jan. 1. Consumer groups aren't cheering because of Edison's previous rate increases. From the LAT:
Edison's residential customers pay an average of 14.9 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity they consume. That average price — already 22% higher than year-earlier levels — would have jumped to 15.9 cents under the planned rate hike, bringing the cumulative rate increase to 30% during the last year. Under the revised plan, the average residential rate would tick up to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, but the average monthly bill would stay roughly flat at $85 instead of jumping to $91. Households with big power bills would see rates fall 2% to 11%, depending on usage, Edison said.
Disney's tween sales: If you have a daughter in the 10-14-year-old range I suppose you already know this, but the Disney Channel's Hannah Montana is apparently a very big deal - so big that her October release is selling over 100,000 copies a week and 1.6 million in two months. To give you some idea of what that means, the rapper Jay-Z released a heavily hyped album in November (remember seeing him in all those beer ads?) and he's just sold a million copies. Anyway, Hannah Montana is not the only tween star - 10- to 14-year-olds accounted for 8.6 percent of music sales in 2005, up from 7.9 percent a decade ago. WSJ
Toyota trumps Ford: Sometime next year, perhaps as early as January, the Japanese automaker will rank No. 2 in the U.S. car market, behind GM and ahead of Ford. This reshuffling had been expected for some time, but it's apparently happening faster than Ford execs had anticipated. NYT
Taste of Cuba: Former LAT columnist James Flanigan, now writing a monthly column in the NYT on Socal business, profiles Mercado Latino, C&F Foods and other local companies (many of them in City of Industry) started up by Cuban Americans. From the NYT:
Still, with all the growth and promise of Hispanic markets, these companies are relatively small compared with food processing giants like Kraft and ConAgra. Will small entrepreneurs face a difficult future? Not yet, said Jorge Rodriguez, chief financial officer of Mercado Latino. “The big outfits in my opinion are not embracing Latino markets,” he said. “They do a lot and say a lot, but marketing to immigrant consumers, whether Latino or Korean or whatever, you need to know what you’re doing. If black beans are processed and polished too much, they lose their flavor.”
Health care ideas: WSJ (free online) examines Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's efforts at a plan for the state's 6.5 million uninsured and underinsured. Whatever he comes up with will be introduced during his State of the State address on Jan. 9. Already, he is prepping his case with an opinion piece in the DN . Meanwhile, a study by the Public Policy Institute of California finds that contrary to the commonly held belief, immigrants and their children generally don't seek care at hospitals and emergency rooms any more often than U.S.-born residents.
SNL's 'special treat': The parody of two boy-band singers (one of them played by the real Jason Timberlake) on “Saturday Night Live” is now the hit of the Web - largely because it's the uncensored version. You would expect it to show up on YouTube, but NBC also put it on its Web site (NBC.com). This appears to be the first time (though probably not the last) that a network has sidestepped FCC scrutiny by having what's the equivalent of a director's cut on the Internet. NYT