Market bounceback?: They're calling it "Turnaround Tuesday" and stocks are indeed up this morning, but not by all that much - just half a percent on the Dow. Perhaps that's due to not-so-great productivity numbers. Marketwatch
Subprimers bounce back: The bottom feeders have arrived. Both Fremont General and New Century, hammered yesterday by troubles in the subprime business, are up sharply this morning. Of course, New Century has lost almost 90 percent of its value since the start of the year, there's some catching up to do.
Nice work if you can get it: Yahoo CEO Terry Semel received a $25.7 million bonus last year, even though the company's stock price fell by more than a third and Yahoo lost its No. 1 ranking as the most popular Internet site (that honor belongs to MySpace). The bonus is in the form of 800,000 fully vested options. Semel's base salary was just $1, which sounds very noble but it's not especially unusual at companies that rely a lot on stock options as compensation. Marketwatch
Burkle bags $155 million: That's because the L.A. billionaire holds a 40 percent stake in Pathmark Stores, which is being sold to the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. for $1.3 billion. Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. bought into Pathmark two years ago. Last month, Burkle made around $45 million as part of the Whole Foods acquisition of Wild Oats. NY Post
Gasoline watch: Yes, pump prices are way up. For the week ended March 5, an average gallon of self-serve regular in L.A. was $2.855, up a dime from a week earlier (but it's over $3 a gallon in many parts of town). Lot of excuses, er, explanations, that include higher oil prices, refinery problems that have eaten into supplies, and the changeover to the more expensive summer blend. Take your pick. LAT
Eisner buys Topps: Well, Michael Eisner's investment arm, Tornante, along with private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. They're paying $385 million for the maker of baseball cards and Bazooka gum. Under the terms of the deal, Topps shareholders will receive $9.75 a share in cash, a premium to Monday's close of $8.91. A go-shop provision allows the company to solicit higher proposals from other bidders for 40 days, and the deal is contingent on shareholders’ approval. From NYT's DealBook:
Founded in 1938 by the Shorin brothers, Topps had long reigned as the maker of sugary childhood sweets like Ring Pops and Wacky Packs, as well as baseball trading cards. But its stock price has not risen above $10 in more than a year, and its trading card business, once dominated by Major League Baseball and Pokemon, has flailed since. Last year, the two funds — Pembridge Capital and Crescendo Partners — proposed a alternate slate of three directors, challenging Mr. Shorin. After a long and often bitter proxy fight, the two sides brokered a compromise in which the dissident slate was elected to the board and Mr. Shorin was reelected.
Downtown Marriott sold: Namco Capital Group is buying the 469-room hotel at Figueroa and Third streets from Blackstone Real Estate Acquisitions. No price was given but a real estate expert told the LAT it could be as much as $115 million. The downtown property will continue to be run as a Marriott. You might recall that the 14-story hotel was launched in 1983 as a Sheraton Grande.
LAX news: An internal audit of more than $63 million in technology contracts for Los Angeles airports shows lapses in oversight, with administrators signing off on payments without making sure the airport department had actually received what it ordered. Sometimes, staff members placed orders without getting formal approval. The audit, according to the Daily Breeze, found no deliberate wrongdoing or missing funds. Also, airport commissioners voted 6-0 to add a $10 surcharge for every car rental at LAX. The money will be used for a long-planned consolidated rental car operation.
Grocery contract extended: As expected, the three major chains and the United Food and Commercial Workers will be operating under the old contract for at least two weeks as negotiations between the two sides continue. Progress apparently has been quite slow, so there's a good chance the extension will go beyond a couple of weeks. Any benefits negotiated will be retroactive to Monday as long as there is no strike or boycott. Daily News
Thalia does radio: The Latin pop music star - and wife of music mogul Tommy Mottola - will have her own two-hour Spanish-language program, beginning March 17. A number of big advertisers have signed up, including Pontiac and Amtrak. The show will air on ABC Radio Networks en Espanol, which has a presence in 29 of the top 30 Hispanic markets. For now, it will debut in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. NY Post
Lacter does radio: Not quite the way Thalia does it, I admit, but my bizchat this morning with KPCC's Steve Julian covered such sexy subjects as the stock market drop and woes in the subprime market.