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Closing Bell: Novell


Edward Breen didn't waste much time in cleaning house after he was brought in to replace a disgraced Dennis Kozlowski as chief executive of troubled Tyco International (TYC) in July, 2002. Breen swiftly jettisoned Kozlowski's cronies and the most notorious trappings of his reign. Now, having addressed corporate governance, Breen is finally moving to streamline the $37 billion conglomerate Kozlowski built through nonstop dealmaking. On Nov. 4, he announced plans to sell Tyco Global Network, a $3.5 billion underseas fiber-optic network. Built at the height of the telecom boom, it has never made money and may not fetch much. Breen also plans to jettison more than 50 smaller units and to let go of 7,200 employees out of 260,000. Breen's actions helped drive Tyco's stock up 7% on Nov. 4, to $22.50, the highest it has hit on his watch. But with sales growth stalled, a huge debt load, and shareholder lawsuits over the plunge in its stock amid questions about Tyco's accounting, Breen still has a long way to go. What's Carl Icahn up to? On Nov. 4, the corporate raider got the nod from the Federal Trade Commission to buy as much as $500 million worth of Eastman Kodak (EK) shares, or about 7%. The man known for making a quick buck by buying into companies like TWA and Texaco and extracting value could be plotting the same fate for the troubled imaging giant. He may get help from other shareholders who have opposed Kodak's dramatic cut in its dividend to support its expansion into digital businesses. Kodak plans to spend $3 billion over the next three years on digital acquisitions for its commercial divisions. Icahn didn't return calls. As the man who built Birmingham (Ala.)-based HealthSouth (HLSH) into the largest chain of inpatient rehab hospitals, Richard Scrushy is accustomed to being No. 1. But here's one first that the 51-year-old former HealthSouth CEO may not have welcomed: On Nov. 4, he became the first CEO of a major company to be indicted for violating the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which holds top executives personally accountable for their companies' financial reporting. The indictment charges that Scrushy threatened and bribed his managers to take part in an alleged scheme to inflate profits by $2.74 billion between 1996 and 2002. Scrushy says he's innocent, arguing that his subordinates carried out the alleged fraud without his knowledge. Gillette (G) may be facing heightened competition from Schick's new razors, but that hasn't slowed down the King of Blades. On Nov. 4, the company reported third-quarter sales surged 11%, powered by a 17% gain in blades and razors. And Gillette's key blades -- including Mach3 and Venus -- all gained share. The sales gains helped Gillette boost earnings by 18%, well above what analysts had forecast. True, sales were helped by retailers who stocked up on Gillette's new Mach3Turbo Champion razors and by the blackout and hurricane, which boosted battery sales. Because those events won't be repeated, Gillette cautioned fourth-quarter results won't be as strong. Even so, the good news drove Gillette shares up 5%, to $34 -- their highest level in more than a year. Intel (INTC) suddenly has the chip world abuzz. On Nov. 5, the chipmaker reported at a conference in Toyko that it had found a way to radically reduce electricity leakage from semiconductors as production techniques pack more and more circuits into a smaller area. Intel says that by switching to a new type of electricity-conducting material, it will be able to boost the performance of chips for at least 10 more years. What's the new material? Intel isn't saying for competitive reasons, but if the process is shown to work in volume production, a revolution may be in the making. -- Former star tech investment banker Frank Quattrone will face a retrial.

-- General Motors (GM) will sell hybrid versions of its biggest SUVs by 2007.

-- Microsoft (MSFT) is offering $500,000 for data leading to the arrest of hackers. Ailing software maker Novell (NOVL) sparked hopes of a revenue revival on Nov. 4 with plans to buy SuSE Linux, a European distributor of Linux software, for $210 million in cash. Shares of the Provo (Utah) company climbed 18%, to $7.16, in the two days after the news.


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