Mixed market: Earnings season begins today, but otherwise pretty quiet. Dow is down about 5 points.
Wall Street gets pay cut: Compensation for bank executives is expected to be the lowest since 2008, largely because of lower trading revenue, fewer deals, and weak stock prices. From the WSJ:
At Goldman Sachs Group Inc., many of the roughly 400 partners can expect to see their 2011 pay cut at least in half from 2010, according to people familiar with the situation. Pay for some employees in the New York company's fixed-income trading business will shrink by 60%, with some workers getting no bonus, these people said. Morgan Stanley is expected to shrink bonuses for some investment bankers and traders by 30% to 40% from 2010, said people familiar with the matter.
Lions Gate, Summit inching towards deal: The producer of "Man Men" would acquire the "Twilight" studio for around $400 million, though an agreement hasn't been reached and other suitors are standing by. From Variety:
Lionsgate and Summit have had discussions about a union going back as far as fall 2008, just before the bow of the first "Twilight" pic. The merged entity would have more firepower in a market where the majors have scaled back on mid-budget films in favor of tentpoles and franchises -- creating an opportunity for sizable indies to fill that gap.
Windfall for L.A. County retirees: More than $48 million is being paid out to departing employees for unused time off in 2010 - and 64 received checks in excess of $100,000. From the LAT:
Gov. Jerry Brown maintained the state's 80-day cap on vacation in all but one of six union contracts he renegotiated after taking office in January. The exception was the deal for the powerful prison guards union, whose members spent nearly $2 million on his election campaign. They can now accrue unlimited vacation. Even with the cap in place, however, managers at state agencies have granted so many exceptions that the limit holds little meaning. Last year, nearly a third of retiring state employees got paid for more than 80 days, data from the state controller show.
Disney family to bid for Dodgers?: They'll be working with investor Stanley Gold, the LAT is reporting, citing sources. Gold is said to be talking to potential investors.
Disney marketing head is out: Well, almost - the Mouse House is seeking a replacement for MT Carney, who was hired just six months ago and had no movie experience. (NYT)
Academy head under fire: Dawn Hudson has been ruffling feathers in efforts to make over the 84-year-old institution, and there's some talk among a minority of the Academy's leadership about replacing her. From the LAT:
Those frustrated with Hudson's leadership say she has not done enough to get to know the intricacies of the academy, including its 250 employees, and has made decisions without consulting others, including the board. In addition, some members and staff have been upset by her moves to bring in well-paid management consultants and headhunters, public relations specialists and speech writers while docking long-term employees' overtime pay; her removal of long-term committee members from their posts; and her proposal to hire superstar architect Thom Mayne to refurbish the fourth-floor offices of the academy's headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard.
Tech show losing luster: The Consumer Electronics Show is still very big (140,000 people are expected to attend the Vegas shindig), but many companies are choosing to keep a low profile. From the NYT:
This reflects the changing nature of the technology industry -- particularly the fact that the most important developments in the electronics business are no longer coming from the makers of television sets and stereos that have been most closely identified with the show since it started in 1967. And as the industry and its trade show have grown, the need for buzz and branding has become more acute. The most innovative players -- like Apple and Amazon -- need to stand out from the crowd and so have chosen to introduce their products at smaller, more narrowly defined conferences and company-only events.
L.A. hotel rates on the rise: They're expected to increase nearly 2 percent in 2012, according to TravelClick. In SF, rates could be up 11 percent. (LAT)
Another big drop in L.A. bankruptcies: Individual and business filings were down 15.5 percent in November compared with a year earlier. Bankruptcies had reached historic highs because of the recession and the housing crash. (OC Register)