business news in context, analysis with attitude

Before going off on holiday, we got a number of emails about the Albertsons situation…

One MNB user wrote:

Well looky here, maybe Mr. Johnston is just plain a fox. A lot of companies curious as to their true value and looking to divest themselves of underperforming stores, certain real estate locations, brands, etc. would have hired themselves a whole mess of consultants. Instead, Albertsons goes out, announces that they're gittin' outta Dodge and invites every financial undertaker known to the industry to make a bid for the whole kit-and-kaboodle. Then, Albertsons sees which mushrooms pop up from the pile, reflects on their individual natures (...are they operators? are they divestors? Are they arbitragers?...), takes a good look at the bidders' analyses, and decides, "We ain't sellin." Now Albertsons has all these various business plans with the only investment being whatever they may have paid to the investment bankers. That Larry Johnston, he's such a kidder.


Another MNB user was less convinced of Johnston’s motives:

You state (that Albertsons) "management does not have a real commitment to running the company".

What you really need to say is "that management doesn't have a clue on how to run the company". The supermarket business is top-line driven!!! Johnston just doesn't get it. if the board has any sense at all, they still need to make a move, treat Johnston as an underperforming asset....get rid of him.

And it is interesting to read your comparison of Nardelli at Home Depot and Johnston at Albertson. we have also made that comparison. Not sure if Nardelli would have been able to put Albertson on solid footing BUT we get the feeling that he would have been a lot better at it than Johnston. But, we feel certain that Johnston would NOT have had the ability to accomplish what Nardelli did at Home Depot.

And yet another MNB user chimed in:

Does management “suddenly” care about the 240,000 employees? What major thing happened overnight that caused Larry Johnston to notice these 240,000 employees? I know – as he was counting out how “little” he personally was going to make, because Albertson’s was “only” going to be sold for $9.6 Billion. He realized, right before Christmas, because he has “suddenly” become a humanitarian….and how disturbing this sale was going to be to all of those 240,000 folks and their families…so “out of the goodness of his heart” decided not to sell the company (until a higher price comes along or they can sell the company piece by piece?).

Gee, Kevin, am I becoming as cynical as you???

We wrote a couple of weeks ago about a new animated movie called “Foodfight!” that will come out this year and will feature well-known brand names doing battle with each other and the evil “Brand X” in the aisles of a closed supermarket.

One MNB user observed:

Isn't there talk of banning or at least limiting advertising to young children when it comes to some of the branded giants pushing sugar, fat and artificial colorings? This movie sounds like sitting them down in a dark room with nothing but commercials. Love to see the first visit to the store after watching it. The whining is already hurting my ears.

That’s an excellent point. The potential for consumer blow-back is enormous.
KC's View: