Day: August 31, 2016

A movie star, a pizza mogul, and a carrot-topped billionaire walk into a bar…

. . . and right onto The Boulevard 400™. It’s our roster of movers, shakers and money-makers, all ranked according to how often their names appear in boldface on Louisville’s most eclectic business and culture news site. This just in! Moments ago, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter edged past Donald Trump into the No. 2 spot behind actress Jennifer Lawrence. Check out the full lineup; here’s a snapshot:

August 31 top 10 Boulevard 400 graphic

That ka-ching! you just heard was Schnatter cashing in $2.7M more Papa John’s shares

John Schnatter

Another day, another $2.7 million in Papa John’s stock sold, according to founder and CEO John Schnatter’s just-filed notice this afternoon with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It says the most recent sale was Monday: 35,603 more shares at $76 a share, again.

This table summarizes his month-long binge:

John Schnatter stock trades table August 2016

Not to worry (much), as we’ve been noting each time: He’s still the pizza chain’s No. 1 holder, with 10.5 million shares, including those under option. Still, executives don’t often sell when shares are poised to head higher, so Schnatter’s active trading is worth following.

Tronc’s opposition to the CJ owner’s $900M bid for the Los Angeles Times, etc., is testing ‘just-say-no’ defense

CJ August 31 2016
Today’s front.

Named after Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug campaign, the “just say no” defense has had varying degrees of success, according to Steven Davidoff Solomon, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley. “Yahoo used it to fight off a $44.6 billion bid from Microsoft eight years ago,” he writes in The New York Times. “Though some dispute how serious Microsoft was at the end, Yahoo’s initial rebuff looks like a clear mistake in retrospect, as its core business recently sold for $4.8 billion.”

Tronc logoThe risk in this strategy is that The Courier-Journal’s owner, Gannett Co., walks away instead of acquiring Tronc, leaving its rival newspaper publisher to wither like Yahoo or find its own path to success, Solomon says. And if you accept Gannett’s argument, that would effectively leave the CJ and all its 108 other sister publications in a less competitive position in a future dominated by digital media.

LA Times August 31 2016
This morning’s.

So far, however, Tronc appears to be winning. Gannett’s initial offer last April was $12.25 a share, or $815 million. It boosted it to $15 the next month, or $864 million. And a published report last week says Gannett raised it again, to around $18 — even as Tronc is holding out for something closer to $20.

But that report by industry watcher Ken Doctor said it appeared Tronc would ultimately agree to a deal: “It’s apparently no longer a question of whether to sell or not, but for how much.”

If it wins, Gannett would add the L.A. paper, plus the Chicago Tribune, seven other big dailies and 160 smaller weekly and monthly niche titles to its existing portfolio of 109 publications in the U.S. and U.K. It would also add 7,000 Tronc employees to the nearly 19,000 it already employs.

UPS pilots agree to 5-year pact with 15% pay hike; B-F dives 4% on quarterly results; plus former KFC store goes to pot — a missed opportunity, BTW

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 6:05 p.m.

UPS‘s 2,500 pilots have overwhelmingly ratified a five-year labor contract with a bonus up to $60,000 per pilot, an immediate increase in base pay, and “more favorable” rest policies for overnight and international flights. The contract, which starts tomorrow, includes an immediate 14.7% pay hike, followed by annual increases of 3% over the life of the deal, the pilots association said today (WDRB). The shipper is Louisville’s single-biggest private employer, with 22,000 workers at its Louisville International Airport hub; more about UPS here.

Jack Daniel's Fire

BROWN-FORMAN said fiscal first-quarter revenue fell 5% to $856 million and earnings dropped 2% to 36 cents per share, citing weaker-than-expected results in emerging markets and a stronger U.S. dollar. The results were in line with analysts forecasts. The spirits giant also cited tough comparisons from a year ago on its flagship Jack Daniel’s, which lapped last year’s introduction of cinnamon-flavored Tennessee Fire in the U.S. Sales of Finlandia — the vodka brand rumored to be on the auction block — dropped 10% reported as results in Poland “stabilized somewhat” while they remained under pressure in Russia, given the “challenging economic backdrop” and ruble depreciation (press release). Brown-Forman has now filed its more detailed quarterly 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Both classes of the company’s stock fell more than 4% in the first 45 minutes of trading before recovering. The more actively traded non-voting B shares ended the day at $48.55, down $1.78, or 3.5%.

PIZZA HUT: The manager of a Pizza Hut outlet in Tokyo’s Koto Ward and three accomplices were arrested for allegedly beating the store’s deputy manager with a lead pipe and stealing 1.4 million yen (U.S. $13,500) from a safe on May 1. The victim suffered serious injuries including a fractured left arm which required more than two months to heal, police said (Tokyo Reporter).

TACO BELL and KFC: In Houston, police are investigating a smash-and-grab attempted burglary after someone crashed a vehicle into a combination Taco Bell-KFC restaurant on the city’s northeast side early today. The front doors and some of the interior were damaged, but it didn’t appear anything of value was taken (KHOU).

KFC Pittsfield
The former KFC location has already gone to weeds (heh).

And in Pittsfield, Mass., the appropriately named Happy Valley Compassion Center is proposing to open a medical marijuana dispensary in a former KFC restaurant building. Side note: It occurs to Boulevard that opening a KFC or any other fast-food outlet next to a marijuana store would be an excellent way to sell to customers with the munchies (Berkshire Eagle).