Businessweek Archives

Talk Show


Up Front

Talk Show

"I don't really care about politics right now" -- New York Mayor and U.S. Senate hopeful Rudolph Giuliani, after announcing that he would seek a separation from his wifeEdited by Robert McNattReturn to top

Insider Trading in Chunnel Stock?

Julian Robertson's Tiger Management, a $6 billion hedge-fund group, went out of business in March, but its troubles may be far from over. Tiger is now a target of a wide-ranging French criminal investigation. Authorities in France are looking into allegations that unnamed officials at Tiger and other firms engaged in insider trading involving shares in Eurotunnel, which operates the Chunnel linking England and France.

The probe stems from a $1.3 billion Eurotunnel stock issue in May, 1994. Tiger is the sole U.S. target in the probe, which also encompasses Credit Lyonnais, Credit Agricole Indosuez, and Swiss Bank Corp. A Tiger spokesman says the company was last contacted about the Eurotunnel investigation in 1998, when it was asked for information. He declined to elaborate. The banks had no comment. Eurotunnel says it joined a complaint by shareholders that led to the investigation.

In addition, Maurice Page, president of the Association for Eurotunnel Shares, a shareholder group, says it plans to sue the alleged insiders--which could pay off big. Page claims they netted as much as $176 million at the time of the issue.By Carol Matlack and Gary Weiss; Edited by Robert McNattReturn to top

A Big-Box Strategy for the Big Store

A Feisty Sears Roebuck says it plans to test specialized stores that could boost its leading position in home appliances and its No. 3 position in home electronics. With the "category killer" concept, Sears hopes to stake out high-growth areas with small stores rather than mall-based behemoths.

The troops, under CEO Arthur Martinez, don't yet have any test-store sites picked out. But Sears wants to defend its turf--at a time when Best Buy, Circuit City, Home Depot, and Lowe's are aggressively opening stores. Sears has gone "off the mall" before with stand-alone stores, with mixed results. It has sold off auto-parts and furniture chains but kept its hardware outlets and introduced home-remodeling stores. In the mid-'80s, Sears did try an appliance and electronics store, but bailed out to focus on the big stores. Says one Sears exec: "We may have been ahead of our time."

Today, Sears may be late. Merrill Lynch analyst Peter Caruso says it will be hard for Sears to boost its 35% share in appliances or to top electronics leaders Best Buy and Circuit City: "[At Sears,] they will probably cannibalize themselves more than they will cannibalize anybody else."By Robert Berner; Edited by Robert McNattReturn to top

TABLE

Boardroom Basics

Mature companies can learn from the boards of directors of e-commerce and

other early-stage companies, claim authors Ram Charan and Roger Kenny.

Directors at successful startups stay close to management and adapt swiftly to

new conditions--values that older companies ignore at their peril.

EARLY-STAGE COMPANY MATURE COMPANY

ATTITUDE Board is proactive Defensive

ROLE Works closely Less contact with

with CEO top management

INVOLVEMENT Hands-on Little day-to-day

involvement

DIRECTION Board-driven CEO-driven

COMMITMENT Huge in terms of At a maximum

directors' time usually only

and energy during a crisis

REWARDS Potential equity Prestige--and an

stake, satisfaction average annual

of building retainer of

something new $130,000

DATA: E-BOARD STATEGIES: HOW TO SURVIVE AND WIN (BOARDROOM CONSULTANTS)

Return to top


Burger King's Young Buns
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW

(enter your email)
(enter up to 5 email addresses, separated by commas)

Max 250 characters

 
blog comments powered by Disqus