5 Winners and Losers of This Week in Business
Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) -- Winner
The market has known that Mel Karmazin will be stepping down at the end of January for some time, but this week Sirius XM announced that James Meyer has been tapped as interim CEO of the satellite radio giant.
Meyer heads up the company's sales and operations, and it's a smart move to see the Sirius go with an internal candidate. Sirius XM is doing well these days. The stock is trading at a four-year high, so why rock the boat? Even if Meyer is only tapped as the "interim" CEO as a broader search for a new helmsman continues, don't be surprised if he winds up keeping the job. When a company is performing well, stability matters.
Research In Motion (RIMM) -- Winner
The market's been rallying behind Research In Motion, hoping that next January's launch of BlackBerry 10 will help breathe new life into the company. But what if it's not exactly dying?
RIM served up better than expected quarterly results on Thursday. It wasn't pretty, but appearance is always relative. In this case, a 47 percent plunge in revenue is good because analysts were bracing for a bigger drop. Wall Street was also holding out for a larger quarterly deficit.
RIM shipped nearly 7 million BlackBerry smartphones and closed out the period with 79 million users. Yes, that's less than the 80 million it had three months earlier, but it's a sizeable base for the company to try to retain when its upgraded operating system and new devices hit the market early next year.
Mylan (MYL) -- Blunder
Some executives have it better than others.
The Wall Street Journal is calling out Mylan executive chairman Robert Coury for his liberal use of the generic drugmaker's corporate jets. The paper points out that Coury has used one of Mylan's two jets to fly around the country to areas where his son -- fledgling pop star Tino Coury -- is performing over the past two years.
The executive chairman's contract allows him to use the corporate jet for personal purposes. The tab for that perk alone was more than $500,000 last year. However, at a time when executive greed is coming under fire -- and with rightful concerns that he should be more worried about earning his paycheck than shuttling around the country on the dime of shareholders to presumably nurture his son's budding music career along -- it certainly doesn't look good.
Amazon.com (AMZN) -- Winner
The leading online retailer is now dabbling in sitcoms.
Amazon Studios announced that it will stream six pilots for potential television shows. Viewer feedback on the six sitcoms will dictate which ones Amazon.com decides to produce as exclusive content for its Prime Instant Video platform.
The list of players is pretty notable. Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau, The Onion, and even a prized writer from The Daily Show are behind some of the pilots. Why are they going through this particular process? Well, network ratings are falling, especially for scripted sitcoms and dramas. NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox know that they can count on live sports and talent competitions for ratings, but they've struggled with everything else. This has opened the door for streaming services as the new tastemakers of scripted content.
Amazon is taking advantage of a situation that will help increase the visibility of its fledgling streaming platform. Just imagine what will happen if one of these shows is a hit.
THQ (THQI) -- Blunder
Video game publisher THQ filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday. The stock closed 11 percent higher on Thursday.
THQ isn't the one being taken to task here; companies file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy often. Investors chasing THQ are the ones committing the blunder.
THQ has roughly $150 million in liabilities, and the only bailout offer that it has received is a private equity fund's offer for $60 million. Work the math. Even if someone steps up with a higher bid, there won't be any money left over for common stockholders.
THQ was great in its prime. It made popular wrestling games. Its Saints Row franchise is still fairly popular. However, the investment at this point is a bad idea. Thursday's bounce doesn't make sense -- even if the stock is now trading for mere cents.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Amazon.com.