What's Important in the Financial World (1/7/2013)


Hostess Brands for Sale

Hostess may be dead, but its popular brands are not. Several other food companies believe they can make money on the Hostess asset base, and the auction process to sell these has begun. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Flowers Foods Inc. and Grupo Bimbo SAB are in discussions to acquire pieces of Hostess Brands Inc.'s bread business, as the maker of Wonder Bread and Twinkies sells off assets and liquidates, said people familiar with the talks.

Hostess could disclose Flowers, Grupo Bimbo or others as opening bidders in a looming bankruptcy-court auction for the assets as soon as this week, the people said. Hostess, whose bread brands include Wonder Bread, Nature's Pride, Home Pride, Merita and Butternut, is still determining how to split up assets and package them for buyers, one of the people said.

Hostess bread brands include Wonder Bread, and could fetch more than $350 million, according to one person.

Hostess's bread brands could fetch more than $350 million, the person said. The bids are still being negotiated, so their final values and structures aren't yet determined, the person said.

Nvidia's Project SHIELD

The game console and portable device business just became more crowded. Chip company Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) will release its own game product, which has been given the code name of "Project SHIELD." The company made this announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show:

Project SHIELD, a gaming portable for open platforms, designed for gamers who yearn to play when, where and how they want.

Created with the philosophy that gaming should be open and flexible, Project SHIELD flawlessly plays both Android and PC titles. As a pure Android device, it gives access to any game on Google Play. And as a wireless receiver and controller, it can stream games from a PC powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs, accessing titles on its STEAM game library from anywhere in the home.

"Project SHIELD was created by NVIDIA engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play," said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive officer at NVIDIA. "We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way. We hope other gamers love SHIELD as much as we do."

Disney Cost Cutting

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) may be considered by Wall St. to be among the best-run media giants in the world. That status will not protect some significant number of the company's employees. According to Reuters:

Walt Disney Co, which reported record earnings in November, started an internal cost cutting review several weeks ago that may include layoffs at its studio and other units, three people with knowledge of the effort told Reuters.

Disney, whose empire spans TV, film, merchandise and theme parks, is exploring cutbacks in jobs no longer needed because of improvements in technology, one of the people said.

It is also looking at redundant operations that could be eliminated after a string of major acquisitions over the past few years, said the person, who did not want to be identified because Disney has not disclosed the internal review.

Executives warned in November that the rising cost of sports rights and moribund home video sales will dampen growth

The decision may be the start of cascade of such moves at Disney's peers. While most have reported high revenue and profits for 2012, the advertising market has tightened for 2013. Almost every one of these corporations has at least one division with weak numbers. That may be in TV, studio, theme park, cable or newspaper holdings. Investors can expect that the underperformers will be weeded out this year.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: DIS, NVDA