Every day, the crew at Footnoted.com scours SEC filings for the latest in corporate disclosures: excessive compensation, CEO perks, lawsuits, changes in investment strategy, and new risk factors. Founder and editor Michelle Leder joined us in New York to discuss some highlights -- and lowlights -- from May.
The Mile High Club. It seems that for CEOs of big companies, the use of the private jet is almost as important as the pay — or the satisfaction you get from running a global corporation. May's high-flyers include billionaire media mogul Barry Diller, who managed to get two public companies, IAC and Expedia, to pay for his private jet airfare, and Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy, whose executive compensation exploits are already legendary.
Online Security. Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, is one of the more cuddly and well-liked executives out there. Love the site, love the guy. And yet the company feels compelled to shell out $1.6 million per year for his personal security.
The Music Man. Edgar Bronfman, Jr., helped turn his family's big fortune from the liquor and chemical businesses (Seagram's and DuPont) into a much smaller one by investing in entertainment and music. Now it seems like he's recouping some of it through the sale of Warner Music Group. Shareholders in the company have done poorly over the years, but a deal to sell the company is letting Bronfman walk away with a $21.7 million payment.
Aspirational Brands. When you think of aspirational brands, you think of Neiman Marcus, Tiffany, and. . . . . AIG? In its recent 600-page 10-Q filing, the largely-government-owned insurance company uses a strange adjective to describe its earnings.
Rumor Has It. Search juggernaut Google faces a host of risk factors: the rise of Facebook, a large-scale failure of the internet, a decline in ad sales. But as Footnoted discovered in Google's recent 10-Q, the company has recently added a new one: rumors. Apparently, corporate insiders at America's savviest company have discovered that gossip and speculation have the potential to influence the trajectory of a stock.
Daniel Gross is economics editor at Yahoo! Finance
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