There's never a shortage of silly corporate moves. Let's take a look at five that may make your head spin.
1. Why read the book when you can botch the Movies.com?
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) sold its Movies.com film portal to Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) multiplex-ticketing website Fandango. What were you thinking, Disney? The family-entertainment giant knows the value of a deep vault of classics, and this is one domain name that will only appreciate more in the future. However, as bad as Disney's move to cash out on the domain may be, Comcast's implementation is even worse in deleting old accounts and getting visitors to start from scratch with Fandango. If moves were movies, this one would be Dumb and Dumber.
2. Another week, another Yahooligan sighting
Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) is starting to become a regular fixture in this column. A week ago, Yahoo! Finance banned the brilliantly bearish blogger David Phillips -- aka "10Q Detective" -- after he posted negative opinions on the Yahoo! Finance message boards. It seems as if all it takes is a bunch of investors who disagree with you to file bogus complaints to get you booted. There is nothing I welcome more than bearish opinions on my own stocks. Can't we all get along?
However, this week's chuckle comes from the top. CEO Jerry Yang and Chairman Roy Bostock sent a letter to shareholders, explaining recent events. The note also suggests that investors should side with the current slate of directors because it has "the independence, experience, knowledge and commitment to navigate the Company through the rapidly-changing Internet environment, execute on our strategic objectives and deliver value for Yahoo! and its stockholders."
Independent enough to green-light a prohibitive severance plan that will scare off potential acquirers? Experienced enough to blow market share in a booming industry? Knowledgeable and committed enough to blow the Microhoo deal and fail to grow its share price organically?
3. From beats to beans
The greasy, aroma-eroding breakfast sandwiches had to go. Now it's time for the CD offerings to thin out. Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) is apparently scaling back on the music CDs it sells at its stores. Sure, they didn't sell briskly. However, even if the typical store moved an average of just two CDs a day, that's the top-line equivalent of six to 10 lattes. A fallen darling with falling comps can't afford to be picky. It had just better not be doing this to protect the integrity of its premium-coffeehouse mystique. With new brand-widening items in the works like protein smoothies and Euro-style Slurpees, it knows that coffee isn't its future. It's just a matter of time before baristas are dispensing Shirley Temples, lime rickeys, and hand-scooped milkshakes.
4. Do like a banana and split
IAC (Nasdaq: IACI ) is completing the terms of separating into five different entities, with three of the four spinoffs contributing a total of $1.5 billion to what remains of IAC. Irony alert: The one subsidiary that won't be sending money IAC's way is Lending Tree. Then again, while IAC shareholders will be receiving one-fifth of a share in TicketMaster, HSN, and Interval for every share they own, they'll get a microscopic one-thirtieth of Lending Tree.
IAC is also taking a $300 million goodwill impairment hit on Cornerstone Brands, a cool admission that it overpaid for the catalog retailer. What purchase do you think IAC regrets more -- Lending Tree or Cornerstone?
5. This explains the sleepy ticker symbol
Napster (Nasdaq: NAPS ) is rocking, but not in the way it would like to. The music-subscription service is facing three disgruntled investors who are looking to stage a proxy battle to replace the company's board. The investors argue that Napster should be worth as much as the $280 million that CBS (NYSE: CBS ) paid for Last.fm. Why? Who knows? With Napster trading for less than the cash on its balance sheet, the better rallying cry is that the current board has Napster being worth less than worthless.
Let's beat the dumb drum: