Competing with iPods: Yahoo, along with two smaller companies, are collaborating on a $250 MP3 player that hit store shelves on Friday. Called the Sansa Connect, the device will allow users to download music from the Internet wirelessly even when they're not near a personal computer. It's part of an effort to compete against Apple by integrating software, hardware and online music services. Yahoo, with its Internet music service, is being joined by device maker SanDisk Corp. and software firm Zing Systems, which is putting it all together. From the WSJ:
Yahoo and its partners are gambling that they can have an impact in the market by offering a new class of connected devices that are different from iPods but with similarly tight links between hardware and Internet music service. A key feature included in the Sansa Connect, a black device sized like a small stack of business cards, is wireless technology that's commonly used to provide Internet access through home networks and countless cafes, hotel lobbies and other public "hot spots." If Sansa Connect users are within range of a Wi-Fi network, they can connect directly to Yahoo's music services.
No Herbalife takeover: The L.A.-based nutritional supplements company has ended talks with Whitney V L.P - not a huge surprise considering that the investment group's $38-a-share offer has been turned down. Whitney owns about 27 percent of the company. Business Wire
Cal State recruitment struggles: High housing costs are considered the big culprit and it has forced the nation's largest university system to make do with less-experienced educators. James Ballard, president of the California Faculty Association chapter at Cal State Northridge, describes the problem as a "bad economy," but the real culprit is a good economy. Prices are holding up because lots of folks are working and therefore have little incentive to unload their homes. CSUN has filled about one-third of the 65 vacancies for the fall semester. Daily News
Upfronts get complicated: It's almost that time of the year when the television networks try lining up ad commitments for the fall season. But negotiations are likely to drag out this year because advertisers have so many options beyond the 30-second spot. That includes marketing tie-ins, products placements and all kinds of Internet-related exposure. The other complication is figuring out how many folks are actually watching the ads, instead of zapping through. NY Post
Fed's FBI plans: The government is modifying its plans for a new FBI headquarters building in Westwood. Under the revision, the Federal Building would be demolished and replaced with two office towers. The original plan had the two office towers plus the 561,000-square-feet Federal Building - a total of 1.5 million square feet. The latest proposal, laid out in this week's Business Journal, is already generating opposition from area residents and public officials.
Talk about transparency: Wonder why everybody was led astray by the total pay for Occidental CEO Ray Irani? Well, his basic compensation of $52.1 million (salary, bonus, options) was included in the L.A.-based company's proxy - right on the main compensation table. But you would have had to read the fine print on page 28 to discover that in addition to the $52.1 million, Irani took home $270.1 million from stock options he cashed out in 2006, plus $93.3 million that Irani withdrew from a huge deferred stock plan (revealed for the first time this year). The NYT uses Irani as an example of the company's efforts to sidestep the SEC's new disclosure requirements.
Kerkorian's chilly reception?: Not much love lost between the L.A. billionaire wanting to buy Chrysler and DaimlerChrysler's directors wanting to unload the struggling automaker. The Car Connection traces it to Kerkorian suing the car maker following the original merger that created DaimlerChrysler in 1998. A federal judge ultimately ruled in DaimlerChrysler's favor in 2005 but not until DaimlerChrysler had spent millions on attorneys' fees and had settled claims by pension funds.
The other bidders for Chrysler, however, also clearly face a very similar challenge, which suggests any Chrysler deal may have to wait until the labor contract is settled in September. By then, however, interest of other parties may have disappeared. Only then might Kerkorian get DaimlerChrysler's management team to at least listen.