It’s a big one this week because, well, because I had proper work to do last week and didn’t have time to get to this. So these first three are from last week.
First from Marge Schwietering, a nice little find from a Family Dollar website press release on October 8th.
Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO), a leading nationwide discount retail chain, is notifying its customers in North Carolina of the possible presence of metal fibers or flakes in certain Colombina Mega Pops lollipops imported from Colombia and sold at Family Dollar as well as other discount retail stores. The company does not believe that these foreign materials pose a health danger, but has removed this product from its store shelves. The company has not received any reports of injury or illness from consumers. Nevertheless, Family Dollar considers the health and safety of its consumers its utmost priority, and although it is only one of several unrelated discount retailers that have sold these lollipops, Family Dollar Stores is stepping to the forefront and issuing this public notification. Family Dollar is encouraging the manufacturer to issue a release notifying consumers about affected products purchased from other discount chains. The product in question is Colombina Mega Pops that was manufactured by Colombina, S.A. in Colombia. The lollipops feature a wrapper with the name "Colombina" printed on it.
I tell you, just this week my daughter came home from school with a lollypop that she’d got at a Halloween party and I snatched it from her like some kind of frenzied Willie Wonka. But it was OK. I checked. You could barely see the slivers of metal and she only cut her tongue once.
From Compensation Analyst Scott Patterson comes this beauty from DIRECTV’s 2010 proxy statement. As Scott says: “I don’t know TV rates too well, but nearly $1,000/month seems pretty excessive. That’s a lot of TV. (Mr. Carey is a former CEO, they don’t give the figure for the new CEO).”
Complimentary Programming. We provide all full-time employees with complimentary DIRECTV programming (including home installation) at the Premier level plus local channels, and a variety of premium programming packages. The named executive officers also receive a DIRECTV HD DVR, and all other channels (including all subscription channels and HD). Mr. Carey’s complimentary programming was valued at $11,192. The IRS does not treat complimentary programming as income for employees or for the executives.
I’m pretty sure I don’t pay that much either, which is good really since I only watch two channels – TCM and PBS. $500 a month for each of them would be a bit steep.
Events Analyst Dovid Muyderman found this oops in an October 19th 8-K from Multimedia Games.
On October 5, 2010, the Compensation Committee (the “Committee”) of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Multimedia Games, Inc. (the “Company”) granted restricted stock unit awards to each non-employee director of the Company and on October 7, 2010, the Board ratified these awards of restricted stock units. The restricted stock unit awards were made under the Multimedia Games Consolidated Equity Incentive Plan (the “Plan”). However, it has now been determined that the restricted stock units were beyond the permitted scope of the Plan. Accordingly, on October 15, 2010, the Committee determined to rescind the grant of restricted stock unit awards to each non-employee director and instead granted each such director options that have approximately the same Black-Scholes value as the rescinded restricted stock units of the Company’s common stock. The option award is consistent with prior year awards.
It’s, like, no one checked? This isn’t a game, you know (chuckle). I mean, who’s their compensation consultant? Hold on, something’s coming in over the wires. Who? Hewitt Associates? Not a great job, guys. Someone should have checked.
Compensation analyst Scott Patterson found the first Small Print of this week in NuStar Energy L.P. February 26 10-K (new into the R3000).
Director holding requirement;
Non-employee directors are expected to acquire and hold during their service as a Board member NuStar Energy units and/or NuStar GP Holdings units with an aggregate value of at least $50,000. Directors have five years from their initial election to the Board to meet the target unit ownership guidelines, and they are expected to continuously own sufficient units to meet the guidelines, once attained.
Director comp description;
NuStar GP, LLC supplements the compensation paid to non-employee directors other than the Chairman of the Board with an annual grant of restricted NuStar Energy L.P. units valued at $50,000 that vests in equal annual installments over a three-year period. The Chairman of the Board receives an annual grant of restricted NuStar Energy L.P. units valued at $75,000 that vests in equal annual installments over a three-year period.
As Scott comments, it’s pretty common for both executives and directors to be able to meet “stringent” shareholding requirements in a single year of doling out the equity, but they don’t usually get this blatant. These two paragraphs are RIGHT NEXT TO EACH other in the annual report. And, even better, the directors – the ones setting the holding requirement for themselves – have helpfully built in an extra $25,000 worth of shares to deal with the income tax so they don’t have to pay anything out at all to meet the requirement in a single year. Nice work if you can get it.
Marge found this new entry in our “Stupid Executive Job Titles Competition”. That’s stupid job titles, not stupid executives.
Coinstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSTR) today announced that it has hired Raquel Karls, a human resources and organization development leader, to fill the position of Chief People Officer.
Like, what’s wrong with human resources, or personnel? I mean, if you’re going to reduce human beings to the status of “people” when they could be “resources” it’s just insulting.
And now everything else comes from Dovid who has been assiduously poring through filings this week.
Systemax Inc. (NYSE: SYX) announced today that the Florida Attorney General (“Florida AG”) is dismissing its complaint against the Company and certain of its subsidiaries. The complaint related to rebate processing activities conducted by OnRebate Inc, primarily during 2005 and 2006. The case is being dismissed pursuant to a settlement agreement whereby the Company agreed to reimburse the AG’s office for its legal and investigative costs and to make a charitable contribution to a Florida-based charitable organization.
Do they really think that anyone would believe that they were innocent after this? The settlement doesn’t even sound legal.
From Star Scientific:
On October 22, 2010, Alan Weichselbaum announced to the board of directors (the “Board”) of Star Scientific, Inc. (the “Company”) that, given his ongoing business commitments, he would not be standing for reelection as a director of the Company and would resign from the Board effective immediately following the 2010 annual meeting of the Company’s shareholders on December 10, 2010 (the “2010 Annual Meeting”). Mr. Weichselbaum, who currently serves as Chairman of the Auditing Committee, noted that his resignation was not due to any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.
In order to provide the Board with an additional independent director in light of Mr. Weichselbaum’s departure following the 2010 Annual Meeting, on October 22, 2010, the Company, though its Board, elected Burton J. Haynes to serve as an independent director on the Board.
Haynes brings extensive experience in business, legal, and complex tax, litigation and regulatory matters to the Board. After working as a Special Agent, IRS Criminal Investigation Division, from 1973 to 1981, Mr. Haynes entered the private practice of law and specializes in civil and criminal tax cases. Mr. Haynes is currently serving as the sole principal in Burton Haynes PC, a law firm specializing in income tax matters, estate and tax planning, and complex civil and criminal tax cases.
The guy’s chair wasn’t even cold!
On October 22, 2010, The Progressive Corporation issued a news release announcing that its Board of Directors had declared an extraordinary cash dividend of $1.00 per Common Share, payable December 29, 2010 to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 20, 2010.
Now, admittedly this is a great thing for shareholders. They’ve been dishing out a few cents as dividends mostly over the last few years, except for $2 back in 2007. Good for the chairman of the board too, though. Mr. Lewis? Yes. That’s $50 million on his 50 million shares. Cha-ching.
In a feat achieved only by BP before, DirectTV manages two mentions in one Small Print. Hey! Pay up!
On October 21, 2010, Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (the “Company”) issued a press release announcing that it expects that results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2010, will include a non-cash write-down, which is primarily related to television programming inventory. This charge, according to the Company’s preliminary estimates, is likely to be in excess of $20 million. The Company also announced that the quarter’s results are expected to include bad debt expense of approximately $1 million and domestic TV contra revenues of approximately $3 million, which reflect DirecTV, Inc.’s failure to make payments for TV programming it receives from the Company.
What kind of programming does Playboy make? I don’t remember seeing anything they produce on TCM or PBS.
Paul Hodgson – Senior Research Associate