Once again, as Wall Street waits for happy hour, we Fools wade into 8-K filings that, if the timing is to be believed, executives would rather you not read.
Kicking off today's list is this filing from military supplier Mercury Computer Systems (Nasdaq: MRCY ) . The company announced that Chief Financial Officer Robert Hult, who had joined the company in February 2004 after two decades at now-defunct Digital Equipment, will retire.
Less quaint is this filing from apparel retailer Charlotte Russe Holding (Nasdaq: CHIC ) , which revealed that board member Allan Karp will resign a week from today. No details were given, other than that Karp is stepping down for "personal reasons."
That's all fine, but I'd feel better if the note had read "retired," since Karp has served Charlotte Russe since 1996 and, more recently, has been a member of the board's compensation committee.
Call us when you've got a numbers guy
Then there is this filing from wireless specialist InPhonic (Nasdaq: INPC ) , which announced changes to its lending terms with its creditors, which include Citigroup (NYSE: C ) .
Apparently, InPhonic's perpetual cash-burning machine is making lenders nervous. New restrictions are being put in place to curb spending on all but the most necessary projects. Stock buybacks are now prohibited, for example.
The banks also want someone else watching the pennies:
The Amendment also requires the Company to hire a Chief Financial Officer (who must be approved by the Company's Board of Directors) and who must commence work no later than September 30, 2007. [Emphasis mine.]
Yeah, I think I'd demand that, too, were I an investor.
How to play chicken with a hedge fund
But my favorite filing this week comes courtesy of brokerage TD AMERITRADE (Nasdaq: AMTD ) :
On July 6, 2007, TD AMERITRADE Holding Corporation responded to the June 28, 2007 demand of JANA Master Fund, Ltd. and S.A.C. Capital Associates, LLC to inspect the books and records of TD AMERITRADE. In the response, TD AMERITRADE stated that it will not make available any of the requested documents because TD AMERITRADE believes that the demand does not comply with the requirements of Delaware law. [Emphasis mine.]
Can't you just visualize the gesturing behind that filing? Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! You can't catch us!
Actually, it's probably a little more reasoned than that. TD AMERITRADE, you see, is caught in a dispute with two hedge funds, JANA and S.A.C. Capital. They accuse the brokerage of avoiding merger talks, even when, according to these investors, a merger may be in the best interests of shareholders.
So far, TD AMERITRADE and its majority owners, including founder J. Joe Ricketts and the Toronto-Dominion Bank, which merged with Ameritrade two years ago, have been mostly uncooperative.
It's easy to understand why. When E*Trade Financial (Nasdaq: ETFC ) first pledged $2 billion for Ameritrade's hand, Ricketts made like the runaway bride -- without the horse, sneakers, and wavy red hair.
For some, like JANA and S.A.C., that's evidence of an unwillingness to deal at any price. Ameritrade, for its part, denies that's the case. Who's right? Who cares? All that matters is that this he-said, he-said is going to get worse before it gets better.
Found a late filing we Fools should see? Let me know.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Tim's portfolio holdings can be found at his Fool profile. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy may be filed under "F" for fair, or Foolish.