Wednesday Reads: Some Good News and Bad News (links only)

Rita Hayworth reads

Good Morning!!

JJ isn’t able to write her usual Wednesday post, because she had to take Jake to Atlanta for doctor’s appointment. I have a lot to do today too, so this is going be a quickie post with some good news and the usual bad news headlines.

Part of the good news is that I have some good news to begin with today!

Media Consolidation Fail

Rupert Murdoch has given up on taking over Time Warner, according to the LA Times.

21st Century Fox withdraws bid for Time Warner.

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has abandoned its $80-billion takeover bid for rival Time Warner, a stunning retreat for a mogul not known for throwing in the towel.

Murdoch said Tuesday that he wanted to orchestrate a friendly, not hostile, takeover. But Time Warner Inc.’s board dug in, and that meant Fox would have had to wage a contentious and protracted fight that could risk the company’s value.

Over the weekend, Murdoch and his top deputies assessed the situation and concluded that their chances of success were slim. Wall Street and many in Hollywood had been betting that Murdoch would eventually claim Time Warner as the grand prize in his 60-year-plus quest to build the world’s most powerful media company.21st Century Fox withdrew its $75 billion takeover offer for Time Warner Inc., the owner of HBO and Warner Bros.

“He underestimated the resolve of Time Warner’s board and [Chief Executive] Jeff Bewkes to fight this thing,” said one person close to Time Warner who was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.

Fox executives were genuinely surprised that Time Warner declined to even entertain deal discussions. Not only did Time Warner reject the $80-billion offer, but its board moved quickly to change its corporate bylaws to make it more difficult for Murdoch to buy the company.

I’m really surprised and gratified by this news; I’m so happy that Murdoch isn’t going to get his hands on HBO for the time being.

Market Basket Updates

A couple of updates on the Market Basket work stoppage that I wrote about yesterday. 

angelina-jolie-brad-pitt-stop-shop-12

From WBUR Boston (NPR), Market Basket Workers Rally, Keeping Pressure Up.

Thousands of workers and customers at the troubled Market Basket supermarket chain shouted “Bring him back!” Tuesday at a boisterous rally designed to pressure management to reinstate the company’s fired chief executive or accept his offer to buy the New England chain.

The rally outside a Market Basket store in Tewksbury was the fourth large demonstration workers have held since Arthur T. Demoulas was fired in June by a board controlled by his cousin and rival, Arthur S. Demoulas.

Over the last two weeks, hundreds of warehouse workers and drivers have refused to make deliveries to the family-owned chain’s 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, leaving stock severely depleted and prompting customers to shop at other grocery stores. Market Basket, based in Tewksbury, is known for its low prices.

“Our resolve has galvanized to something a lot firmer than it was,” fired Market Basket employee Steve Paulenka told WBUR before the rally. “The customer boycott, the employee resolve is just insurmountable. The customers aren’t coming back until we come back, and we’re not coming back until the boss comes back.”

The rally had the atmosphere of an outdoor rock festival, as participants threw beach balls high in the air and music blasted from large speakers set up along the parking lot.

It sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it?

The New York Times has an article about the Market Basket battle: Grocery Chain Reels as Employees and Customers Rally for an Ousted President.

TEWKSBURY, Mass. — With a crippling job action enveloping the New England supermarket chain Market Basket for a third week, the company’s board is conducting round-the-clock negotiations with its former president — and others — in search of a deal that will quell the turmoil.

But the bid by the former chief, Arthur T. Demoulas, to buy the company is mired in uncertainty, according to people close to the negotiations. And the board is weighing nearly a dozen offers, including one that is higher than Mr. Demoulas’s, these people said. The sale could be worth more than $3.5 billion.

While the board bargains with bidders behind closed doors, employees continue to stage public rallies to demand that “Artie T.,” as he is known, be brought back to run the company. He was deposed as president in June in the latest chapter of a decades-long feud with his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, who now controls Market Basket, one of New England’s most successful retail chains….

Market Basket is said to be losing millions of dollars a week in sales. The shelves are devoid of fresh produce, meat and dairy products. Supplies of nonperishables are dwindling, too, as if a huge snowstorm had struck.

At the store in North Andover, Mass., where 21 registers are usually open and customers clog the aisles, only one register was open on Monday, and the cashier there had no customers. Mike Dunleavy, the store director in Somerville, Mass., said volume at his store had dropped 90 percent. Vendors, growers, drivers and others in Market Basket’s supply chain have all felt the pinch.

Hillary Clinton News

Here’s something interesting. The New York Daily News reports that Hillary Clinton has leased an office in midtown Manhattan.

US-DIPLOMACY-CLINTON-TOWN HALL

Hillary Clinton inks deal for private office in Midtown skyscraper owned by big Democratic donor.

Hillary Clinton has inked a deal for a brand new personal office in a Midtown skyscraper owned by real estate bigwig Stephen Green, a big Democratic donor.

Clinton signed a two-year lease for more than 4,000 square feet on the 27th floor of 120 West 45th St., between Sixth and Seventh Aves., a source told the Daily News. The space has room for a staff of up to 25 people.

A spokesman for Clinton confirmed the new digs were a personal office. “Plan was for the personal office to move to NYC, we did that last week,” he said in an email.

Is Hillary working herself up to a big announcement? She made a surprise appearance last night on the Stephen Colbert show. At The Fix, Jaime Fuller reports that Clinton and Colbert had a name-dropping competition, Hillary Clinton and Stephen Colbert have a namedrop-off.

Stephen Colbert had a surprise guest last night — presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, who magically appeared to rescue her book from Colbert’s complaints about all the name dropping she did in its 600-plus pages….

When Clinton walked through the door, the audience, usually reverent for Colbert alone, started to yell, “Hillary, Hillary.” Colbert then proceeded to remind them that they had been chanting his name only four minutes earlier, “you two-timers.”

Watch the video and read Colbert’s tweets at the WaPo link.

That’s about all the good news I could find.

Brigitte Bardot reads

This morning’s breaking news headlines (links only).

News 7 San Diego: “Always Willing to Help Soldiers”: Retired Colonel Remembers General Killed in Afghanistan.

Christian Science Monitor: US general killed in Afghanistan: How big is threat of insider attacks?

Reuters: Bodies dumped in streets as West Africa struggles to curb Ebola.

New York Times: U.N. Reports Dire Impact on Children in Gaza Strip.

Wall Street Journal: Cease-Fire Between Israel and Hamas Holds for Second Day.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Indirect Israel-Hamas talks on Gaza start in Cairo.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer:  Death toll in southern China quake rises to 589.

Mother Jones: The Toxic Algae Are Not Done With Toledo. Not By a Long Stretch.

USA Today: 4 states face gay marriage showdown in Cincinnati.

LA Times: Utah, Virginia want Supreme Court to settle same-sex marriage issue.

CNN: New leaker disclosing U.S. secrets, government concludes.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great Wednesday!


14 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Some Good News and Bad News (links only)”

  1. NW Luna says:

    Bravo for the Market Basket workers and customers!

  2. janicen says:

    I’ve fallen behind in my blog reading lately but I did read yesterday’s post last night before I fell asleep. I love the Market Basket story but I can’t let myself get too excited about it. I guess I’m just conditioned to expect that money and greed win every time in this country. Fingers crossed for the workers and shoppers there and for Artie T.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Same here, but I’m really hoping for a good outcome. It’s selfish too, because I have shopped at Market Basket for years.

  3. janicen says:

    I record The Daily Show and Colbert and watch them the following evening but I couldn’t wait and watched the HRC/Colbert clip. It was great!

    • RalphB says:

      I just loved Colbert’s show last night. She was great. Made my whole day, even today!

    • Fannie says:

      Enjoyed the two of them doing the name game. I’ll be on conference call with Hillary’s team tonight, let’s see what happens.

  4. Sweet Sue says:

    I’m all for anything that slaps down Rupert Murdoch. He’s truly the prince of darkness.

  5. Fannie says:

    Here’s the American companies walking with their pockets full to other countries:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/06/these-are-the-companies-abandoning-the-u-s

    Walgreens was blasted, and they decided not to join the patriots.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    MIT Sloan School Prof.: An Open Letter To Market Basket Directors And All New England Leaders: Time To End This Dispute.

    The Market Basket conflict, now in its third week, is escalating to a dangerous point. The rallies, though peaceful, are getting bigger and more boisterous. Tensions are building among vendors. Based on what happens in other labor conflicts, we can be sure that nerves are fraying and anxieties mounting within the 25,000 families whose jobs may now be at risk and who are not getting a badly needed paycheck.

    Apparently, even within the fractious Demoulas family, new disagreements are surfacing. One cousin has even suggested that it is time to bring back Arthur T.  Clearly, family members have both a financial and a reputational interest in getting this resolved. Nothing less than the family name and legacy are at stake. For generations, the Demoulas name has signified quality at prices that working families could afford. The supermarket chain’s loyal customer base is not the least of what it stands to lose.

    It is time for sensible heads on the board of directors to take the only action that will bring back customers, save the business and associates’ jobs, and, most of all, avoid further escalation that could result in long-lasting damage to the communities involved.

    I heard on NPR on the way home that there have been calls for Gov. Patrick to help negotiate a solution, but he said he’s not getting involved in a private business dispute. Back in the day Jack Kennedy did that with the Steel industry and it worked.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    George Packer: A Friend Flees the Horror of ISIS.

    A humanitarian crisis that could turn into a genocide is taking place right now in the mountains of northwestern Iraq. It hasn’t made the front page, because the place and the people are obscure, and there’s a lot of other horrible news to compete with. I’ve learned about it mainly because the crisis has upended the life of someone I wrote about in the magazine several weeks ago.

    It’s about the Yezidis. This is from a few days ago.

    Iraq’s Religious Minorities are Being Slaughtered and ISIS Just Captured the Last Town Giving Them Shelter