It was a fascinating week in the market, ripe with free Pontiacs and costly lion cages. You had a botched jailbreak. You were served flat soda. Let's take a closer look.
Putting the "Oh" in Oprah
Oprah Winfrey kicked off her 19th season this week by giving away 276 shiny new Pontiac G6 sedans to all members of her audience. General Motors
While one can always argue that General Motors may be cheapening the brand by giving away the fleet, the move will definitely keep viewers tuned into Oprah's long-running show as she promises more wishes fulfilled through the season.
Now we just have to figure out what she's going to do about the thousands of teenage boys who have written in wanting to take Angelina Jolie to their senior prom.
And you complain about $8 for popcorn!
This week Sony
And that land is rich with more than 4,000 classic movie titles. We're talking James Bond. We're talking Pink Panther.
And Sony is paying, what, nearly $5 billion for MGM? If I were Sony I would offer MGM $6 billion under the condition that it destroy every remaining copy of Rocky 5 and Poltergeist 3 before handing the movie library over.
But, seriously, it's a great catch for Sony, though we can always argue that perhaps it overpaid. It's just that we're living in a great time in which DVDs are cheap to make and video on demand may make distribution even cheaper. Content is king, and Sony just landed an emerald-studded crown in MGM.
Martha rips up her "Get Out of Jail Free" card
Why was everyone so surprised to see crafty Martha Stewart request to fulfill her five-month jail sentence now rather than draw the process out with appeals? It's a smart move on her part, and it's the best thing for Martha Stewart Omnimedia
Think about it. While I am convinced that most people don't even know exactly what she did wrong, in their minds they are convinced that she is either guilty or innocent. A judge's decision isn't going to change that. Consider your own stance on more violent crime cases such as those of O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Kobe Bryant, and Scott Peterson. Your mind is probably made up long before a verdict is handed down. The court of public opinion will always be a hung jury.
That's why Martha is doing her time and putting this behind her as quickly as possible -- for the sake of her company. Will the brand hold up? Will it need to be rebuilt or even reinvented? Ask again in the springtime. That's when the answers will mean something.
Take the H out of choke, and what have you got?
These are flat times for the king of pop. Coke
I mean, what was Coke thinking with its half-diet C2 concoction? Is there really a market worth tapping of fence-straddling soda sippers who find Coke and Diet Coke too daring either way? I do realize that they sell three grades of gasoline at the pump. Why should my car swig all the fun? But what bothers me here is the deceptive packaging that Coke is going with for the C2.
Why is it rolling out an eight-pack instead of the more conventional six-pack and 12-pack canned critters? Is it catering to the Brady Bunch family when Alice isn't thirsty? Is the larger 18-pack packaging for those who need to quench both sides of a baseball game's starting lineup? No. It seems as though Coke is simply doing this as a way to command higher prices for its C2 products. That's not going to fly. No one is going to pay premium pricing for mid-grade fuel.
Selling at an enterprise value that is 17 times the company's annual free cash flow that may be a steep price to pay for sweetened stagnancy.
See you next week!
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz wants to know when Oprah will be granted her wish -- and whether he can host that one. He doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.