Tag: Haier

Yum agrees to sell $464M stake in China unit ahead of spinoff; Haier to brand cooktops and ovens in U.K.; plus more (possibly) bad news about the (allegedly) leaked KFC recipe

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 8:41 a.m.

YUM has agreed to an advance sale of a $464 million slice of its China operations to a prominent Chinese deal maker and the financial affiliate of Chinese Internet giant Alibaba. The deal announced this morning is with Primavera Capital and Ant Financial Services Group. They will buy the shares at an 8% discount to the average price at which Yum China’s shares trade between 31 and 60 days after they’re distributed to Yum shareholders in a spinoff expected by Oct. 31. Yum China will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange as an independent company on Nov. 1 under the ticker symbol “YUMC.”

Greg Creed
Creed

Louisville-based Yum also announced Primavera founder Dr. Fred Hu, former chairman of Greater China at Goldman Sachs, will become Yum China’s non-executive board chairman. In a statement, Yum CEO Greg Creed said: “The investments from Primavera and Ant Financial in Yum China mark another important milestone in our plans to separate the China business and create a solid foundation for Yum China” (Wall Street Journal and press release).

GE APPLIANCES owner Haier is filling a hole in its product lineup: It will begin to sell Haier-branded gas cooktops, induction cooktops and ovens in the U.K., beginning next year. China-based Haier hasn’t yet released prices or dates when they might appear in other countries, however. Haier bought Louisville-based GE Appliances for $5.6 billion in June, in a bid to gain a stronger presence in the U.S., where it has only 1.1% of the appliance market. The Louisville company employs 6,000 workers at Appliance Park in the south end (CNET).

KFC: YouTube vlogger Hellthy Junk Food has done a blind taste taste of real KFC fried chicken vs. that purportedly leaked super-secret recipe of 11 herbs and spaces founder Harlan Sanders created. Posted Tuesday, the video’d results have already drawn 75,000 views — and they don’t bode well for the chain:

BROWN-FORMAN: Financial news site Seeking Alpha  Continue reading “Yum agrees to sell $464M stake in China unit ahead of spinoff; Haier to brand cooktops and ovens in U.K.; plus more (possibly) bad news about the (allegedly) leaked KFC recipe”

60 years ago today: a White House race amid Mideast troubles; the future mom of a ‘Silver Fox’ marries (again), and a strike threatens a big Louisville employer

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

The last Tuesday in August 1956 was quite like today: A presidential race geared up for the final, post-Labor Day push, amid boiling Mideast tensions and questions about one candidate’s health. Hot and humid, Louisville distracted itself with celebrity news: a very rich New York socialite with a blue-chip name had just married husband No. 3; years later, her son would become a famous TV news anchor dubbed the “Silver Fox.” And contract talks between a major local manufacturer and thousands of employees were the business story of the day. These were the headlines on The Courier-Journal’s front page that Aug. 28, 1956.

CJ front page August 28 1956
The Courier-Journal front page, Aug 28, 1956.

An editor’s playful headline, “Sweat-ery,” summed up what readers should expect that day: temperatures in the 90s, news to make them wince when many employers still didn’t have air conditioning. But the workplace differed in far worse ways.

Companies openly discriminated on the basis of gender and race. The help-wanted classifieds section for women included Curl’s Tavern on Brook Street, offering $30 a week ($265 in today’s dollars) for short-order cooks; applicants had to be white. Kleins Restaurant on Broadway needed a cook, too — but “colored,” adding: “apply at rear.”

White and colored clerks wanted
Help-wanted ads reflected 1956 segregated Louisville.

That summer’s presidential race was a rematch between the Republican incumbent Dwight D. Eisenhower, 65, and the long-shot Democratic nominee he’d beaten four years before: Adlai Stevenson, 56, and a former Illinois governor. Their dueling campaigns argued over whether the economy was adding jobs fast enough. But the greater concern was the crisis in Egypt, where new President Gamal Abdel Nasser had just nationalized the Suez Canal.

Eisenhower and Stevenson
Eisenhower and Stevenson.

Eisenhower, a retired five-star general, was heading back to Washington after a West Coast golfing vacation in Pebble Beach, Calif., with his wife Mamie; it was a pleasure trip, but also meant to project good health after a heart attack he’d suffered the year before.

The gossipy news? It was about Gloria Vanderbilt, born into one of the nation’s wealthiest families, and still known as the “poor little rich girl” because she’d been the subject of a high-profile custody battle between her mother and an aunt over a $4 million trust fund ($67 million in today’s dollars). She was 10 years old at the time.

Vanderbilt and Lumet
Just married: Vanderbilt and Lumet.

In a photograph on the CJ’s front page, the 32-year-old socialite posed for photographers with her new husband, the director Sidney Lumet; they’d wed the previous day. The marriage lasted 11 years until they divorced, and she married husband No. 4 — her last: Wyatt Emory Cooper. They would have two sons. The second, born when she was 43, was named Anderson Hays Cooper. (Her first son, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, committed suicide at 23 by jumping from the ledge of the family’s 14th-floor apartment on Manhattan’s posh upper East Side, as Vanderbilt watched in horror, pleading for him to stop.)

The big business news was a strike Continue reading “60 years ago today: a White House race amid Mideast troubles; the future mom of a ‘Silver Fox’ marries (again), and a strike threatens a big Louisville employer”

Music to our ears: Pizza Hut U.K. offering five boxes doubling as playable DJ decks; today-only giveaway is latest to capture more young techie consumers

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 2:37 p.m.

PIZZA HUT: Using Bluetooth to connect a computer or smartphone, the playable cardboard decks mix digital music using a special conductive ink design from printed electronics specialist Novalia, according to Digital Spy. (Watch DJ Vectra demo it in the video, above.) Starting today, the pizza maker is offering them in a promotion rolling out via the @PizzaHutUK Twitter feed, where it will announce which of only five restaurants will have one box each. The decks feature two turntables, a cross-fader, pitch volumes, cue buttons and the ability to rewind music, all like traditional mixers. What’s a deck?

Watch DJ Vectra demo it in the video, above; he’s playing “P Money 10/10,” according to music and media identification app Shazam.

This isn’t the first Yum unit to create electronic packaging to grab the attention of technology-loving young consumers. In June, KFC India gave away Watt a Box, a 5-in-1 meal box with a lithium-ion battery cellphone charger. The chicken chain has also fitted photo printers inside buckets and Bluetooth keyboards onto paper tray covers.

Today’s promo will surely boost U.K.’s Twitter traffic. Right now, its feed has 53,700 followers. The U.S. site has far, far more: 1.46 million; how other companies’ Twitter count compares. Pizza Hut teased customers about the cardboard gadget via Twitter yesterday:

HAIER, which bought GE Appliances in June, is pumping about $10 million into 9KaCha, a Chinese wine information app and e-commerce platform whose database and label recognition software will power its new smart wine cooler. It’s unclear whether the cooler will be offered in the U.S. (China Money Network and Decanter China).

HUMANA: Insurance companies “keep pretending” that participating in the Affordable Care Act exchanges is killing their business model, says Haider Javed Warraich, a cardiovascular disease fellow at Duke University’s Medical Center, in a Guardian newspaper column today. Humana merger partner Aetna was the latest, announcing late Monday it will withdraw from 70% of the Obamacare exchange markets where it operates by next year, including 10 Kentucky counties. Humana disclosed a similar pullback earlier this month. But, Warraich writes, “this corporate hardship story couldn’t be further from the truth. Aetna’s overall profits surged last year, and its share prices have risen consistently since the ACA passed in 2010” (Guardian).

Humana and Aetna logos 250Aetna’s Kentucky exit leaves consumers in Boone, Campbell, Owen and Kenton counties with only two exchange plans. Other counties affected are Continue reading “Music to our ears: Pizza Hut U.K. offering five boxes doubling as playable DJ decks; today-only giveaway is latest to capture more young techie consumers”

Religious leader in northeast India bans KFC meals, saying they don’t conform to Islamic law; GE contract talks start today; and Texas Roadhouse treads softly as rivals jack up prices

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 8:31 a.m.

KFC: The senior mufti in northeastern India’s Bareilly has issued a fatwa, or an Islamic edict, against KFC restaurants in the area, terming it a “sin” to eat there because the chicken sold doesn’t conform to Islamic law. “People at KFC process the meat away from the eyes of Muslims and such meat has been termed haram in Islam,” he said. The mufti said that the halal certificates displayed at the stores are irrelevant if the owners and workers can’t detail the procedures they use. “Halal is not only about killing the animal,” he said, “it is also about the way its meat is processed and cooked” (Hindustan Times).

GE: Contract talks open today between Louisville-based GE Appliances and the union representing about 4,000 workers at Appliance Park, and the saber-rattling is well underway. Management says the factory complex in the south end is losing money, and workers are earning more than typical in the industry. But a union leader says the company is merely trying to intimidate workers ahead of negotiations (Insider Louisville). The employees are covered by a contract reached before GE Appliances was bought in June by China’s Haier for $5.6 billion. In all, the nearly 60-year-old complex has about 6,000 workers. GE Appliances employs another 6,000 workers elsewhere. More about the company’s history in Louisville.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE, despite a second-quarter earnings miss, is a bright spot in the struggling casual dining industry, where rivals have boosted prices to compensate for falling traffic — and paid a price for the misstep. The steakhouse chain increased prices less than peers, and traffic’s improved, according to KeyBanc Capital Markets. Overall, traffic at casual-dining chains is down almost 30% since 2005. What gives? “Casual-restaurant chains are feeling the heat as loyal baby-boom customers age and millennials take their place,” the business weekly says. “Boomers like big portions and value pricing; their children, who favor organic and gluten-free foods, are pickier and less price-sensitive” (Barron’s).

On Friday, Texas Roadhouse shares ranked No. 1 in weekly performance among big area employers Boulevard tracks. Founded in 1993 with a single restaurant in southern Indiana, it’s grown to nearly 500 outlets in 49 states plus five foreign countries. It employs 48,000 workers, including about 500 in Louisville. More about the chain.

Pizza Hut boxPIZZA HUT: In Albuquerque, a Pizza Hut is seeking delivery drivers in a Craigslist ad posted yesterday that lists the following perks: “The hours are flexible. You’re out and about, listening to tunes and delivering great pizzas. Oh, and people are really, really happy to see you!” (Craigslist).

TACO BELL: In Portland, Ore., a man posted the following in Craigslist’s men-for-men Missed Connections section yesterday: Continue reading “Religious leader in northeast India bans KFC meals, saying they don’t conform to Islamic law; GE contract talks start today; and Texas Roadhouse treads softly as rivals jack up prices”

Coming to a kitchen near you

Haier completed its $5.6 billion purchase of GE Appliances and its 6,000-employee Appliance Park in the south end in June. From baby boomers to millennials, the story of GE Appliances’ rise and decline is a tale of Louisville’s middle class.