PAPA JOHN’S stock traded at a new 52-week high, $78.49, today before easing back to close at $78.26, up 49 cents. The stock’s all-time trading high was $79.40, on July 13, 2015 (Google Finance). Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter is the pizza chain’s single-biggest stockholder, with about 10.5 million shares, including options — a stake worth $822 million at today’s closing price.
UPS plans to hire about 2,500 seasonal workers in Louisville to handle extra business during the holiday shipping period that begins in November and extends through January. The full- and part-time seasonal positions — primarily package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers — are among 95,000 seasonal workers overall the shipper plans to take on. Seasonal jobs have long been an entry for permanent ones at the company; from the 2012 through 2014 holiday seasons, more than 37% of those hired for seasonal package handler jobs were later hired in a permanent position when the holidays were over, the company says. UPS is the single-biggest private employer in Louisville, with about 22,000 workers at its hub at Louisville International Airport. Around the world, the company has 440,000 employees (press release and Courier-Journal). More about UPS.
FORD will move all the company’s small-car production to lower-cost Mexico over the next two to three years, CEO Mark Fields told an investor conference yesterday. The automaker produces its Fiesta subcompact in Mexico, but its Focus and C-Max small cars are made in suburban Detroit. The company is building a $1.6-billion assembly plant in Mexico’s San Luis Potosi, and plans to make small cars there starting in 2018 (Los Angeles Times). In Louisville, Ford employs nearly 10,000 workers at truck and auto assembly factories.
In other news, 21c Museum Hotel has sold a minority interest to a real estate investment unit of J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Under the deal, Junius Real Estate Partners will invest up to $250 million in the Louisville-based boutique chain toward building or acquiring new hotel properties.
Their first joint venture will be a 21c Museum Hotel Nashville in the historic downtown Gray & Dudley Building; it’s expected to open in the first half of next year with 124 hotel rooms, more than 10,500 square feet of museum and event space and five rooftop-level rooms, including two suites, with private terraces. 21c will manage the property and have joint ownership.
Associate Editor Arielle Christian wrote the 14-pager in the July issue, and it’s still brilliant.
He has a “death clock.” It’s Austrian artist Werner Reiterer‘s “My Predicted Timeline. “The piece looks like a large alarm clock — a black bulky box with LED-red digital numbers — but instead of time to wake up, it’s time never to wake up again.” Reiterer based Wilson’s predicted time of death on an actuary test. (Wilson’s 68.) If the clock is right, on May 27, Wilson had 11 years, eight months, 18 days, zero hours, 52 minutes and 34 seconds left.
He has a tattoo on the middle of his forearm. It’s a green four-leaf clover outlined in black.
The 21c Museum Hotel chain he founded with his wife Laura Lee Brown, the Brown-Forman heiress, has 1,000 employees, and more than 60,000 square feet of exhibition space. “I never expected it to be such a big enterprise, to have people identify with it so strongly,” he says. The first week the giant “David” statue was installed outside the flagship hotel on West Main Street, “an incensed woman wrote a letter saying she’d never be able to bring her 12-year-old daughter downtown again.” There are three more 21cs in the works, in Kansas City, Nashville, and Indianapolis. Other possible locations include New York City, New Orleans and Cuba.
At the 2014 Art Basel fair in Miami, Wilson bought $117,000 worth of art in less than 40 minutes.
Growing up on his father’s Wickliffe farm, he was allergic to everything: hay, corn dust, animal dandruff. He would not be a farmer, disappointing his father, a man who came from a family of them. “Even though he’s dead now,” Wilson says, “I’m still trying to prove to him that I’m good enough. I don’t think that will ever change.”
He bought his famous red eyeglass frames on a whim in Paris. But he doesn’t see well enough to read much because he has Fuchs’ dystrophy, which is partly why he has a driver to get around, and needs someone to read restaurant menus to him.
Hotel gift shops sell newspapers, toothpaste, soft drinks and the like — but mattresses and bedding? Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotel does. Plus, those ubiquitous ceramic penguins, of course, all at Shop at 21c.
AMAZON‘s plans to use drones for delivery were slowed yesterday when the Obama Administration released new rules limiting their use, including over urban areas. The Federal Aviation Administration said commercial drones are OK so long as the drone and its payload weigh less than 55 lbs., stays within unaided sight of their pilot, and operators pass a test every two years. In addition, each drone must have its own pilot (Guardian). Also yesterday, Amazon said it’s expanding grocery delivery service to Boston (Boston Inno). The retail giant employs 6,000 employees in the Louisville area, and thousands more across the state.
KFC: In India, the fast-chicken giant has introduced its latest mobile technology to lure younger diners: Watt a Box, a 5-in-1 meal box that comes with a Chicken Zinger, two hot wings, hash browns, a chocolate pie, Pepsi and a 6,100 mAh Lithium-ion battery to charge smartphones. The device isn’t sold, but instead can be won as part of a week-long competition; watch the demo video, above (The Memo). Some customers aren’t so thrilled, however: Testers who charged an iPhone with the box said it only gained 17% battery after charging for half-an-hour, during which time the powerbank became completely drained (Eater).
Meanwhile, in an unusually public spat with an employer, Darrell Hammond — the Saturday Night Live comedian hired to play Colonel Sanders in the new KFC commercials — says the company “played” him into thinking he’d have the gig permanently. He was later replaced by another SNL veteran, Norm Macdonald, in what’s now a running joke of actor switches (Hollywood Reporter). Indeed, it’s part of the script in comedian Jim Gaffigan’s version:
YUM: As Yum gears up to spin off its China operations in October, rival McDonald’s has received more than half a dozen bids for its China and Hong Kong stores, including from Beijing Tourism Group, Sanpower and ChemChina, in an auction that could fetch up to $3 billion. In March, McDonalds said it was reorganising its Asian operations by bringing in partners who would own the restaurants within a franchise business (Reuters).
Brown-Forman chief executive Paul Varga‘s fiscal 2016 pay was down from $11 million the year before and $12.3 million two years prior, the company disclosed in its annual shareholders proxy report.
Compensation for the other four highest-paid executives was mixed vs. the year before, according to the report, which the Louisville whiskey distilling giant filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission late this afternoon.
The figures appear on Page 40, and cover the year ended April 30. In addition to Varga, they include CFO Jane Morreau; Mark McCallum, president of the marquee Jack Daniel’s brand; Jill Jones, executive vice president over North America and Latin America regions, and General Counsel Matthew Hamel.
Chairman George Garvin Brown IV got paid non-equity incentive compensation of $531,787 plus a small salary of $38,750. (“Non-equity incentive compensation” sounds like a cash bonus, but for some reason, Brown-Forman doesn’t use that term.)
In fiscal 2015, Brown’s non-equity incentive pay was much less: $281,845, according to last year’s proxy report. But that year he was still working as an executive vice president in addition to his chairman’s duties. For his EVP work, he was paid $320,427. He left that job a year ago today.
The company also said it incurred $18,359 for certain expenses associated with Brown’s living abroad, and other employee benefits provided to him. The proxy report doesn’t say where Brown, 47, was living at the time. (London, it appears, based on this Globe and Mail story last year.)
The Browns are firmly in charge
The Brown family controls Brown-Forman through their enormous stock portfolio, preserved through multiple generations — at least four — that followed George Garvin Brown, a pharmaceuticals salesman who started the company in Louisville in 1870. At current market prices, the family’s holdings are worth at least $6 billion — but in reality, much more.
The holdings are divided between the company’s two classes of stock: “A” shares, which carry voting rights, and non-voting “B” shares. Both classes trade on public markets, although for different prices. The family owns at least 67% of the A shares, according to the proxy report.
Chairman Brown and his brother, Campbell Brown — who’s also a senior executive at the company — hold one of the family’s single-biggest stakes: 6.8 million class A shares, through an entity called the G. Garvin Brown III Family Group. At today’s closing price of $105.48, those shares are worth $718 million.
Campbell, 48, has been president and managing director of Old Forester, the company’s founding bourbon brand, since 2015.
Keeping business in the family
Another big stockholder is Laura Lee Brown, who with her husband Steve Wilson, founded the trendy 21c Museum Hotel chain in Louisville. She owns 2.2 million class A shares outright, worth $233 million at current prices.
In the proxy report, Brown-Forman said it did business with the couple, as it has in previous years. It includes developing historic Whiskey Row on Main Street into a complex of new lofts, retail and restaurant space to be called 111 Whiskey Row. The company paid $900,000 to a company controlled by the couple: Brown Wilson Development, according to the proxy report.
Brown-Forman also paid the couple $267,395 for rooms, meals and other entertainment at their 21c hotel and its Proof on Main restaurant. It also paid them another $250,440 for leases on parking spaces in a garage they own adjoining Brown-Forman’s downtown offices.
Unraveling founding family’s wealth
Valuing the Brown family’s total stock holdings is difficult. Individual members own shares outright. They also have partial, beneficial ownership through family partnerships and legal entities. Because they overlap with other family members, it’s hard to assign a value to them.
However, counting each share just once among family members owning more than 5% of all outstanding shares, their combined total is about 57 million, worth $6 billion. But that only covers shares held by the single-biggest owners who, under Securities and Exchange Commission rules, are required to disclose holdings exceeding 5%. There may be other Browns sitting on multimillion-dollar positions, undisclosed because they don’t meet the 5% threshold.
And that’s only counting the class A shares. The Browns own several million non-voting B shares, too. Determining exactly how many is tricky, but tables and footnotes in the proxy report offer clues.
For example, Garvin Brown IV and his brother Campbell together own 1.3 million Class B shares outright; at today’s closing price of $97.90, they’re worth another $125 million. Adding that to their A shares, the brothers own $843 million in stock.
Sandra Frazier, who just cycled off the board of directors, owns 373,376 B shares plus 1.4 million A shares. They’re worth a total $185 million. Frazier, 44, is CEO of Tandem Public Relations in Louisville, which she founded in 2005. She’s also a member of the board of directors at Glenview Trust Co., a boutique wealth management company that serves 500 of the richest families in the area.
Her first cousin, Laura Frazier, joined the Brown-Forman board when Sandra left. Laura owns 239,829 B shares and 225,433 A shares. Combined, they’re worth $47.3 million. In addition to being a director, Laura, 58, owns Bittners, the high end furniture and decorating company in NuLu.
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