What's Important in the Financial World (2/28/2013)


Boeing and Japan

Japan's airline industry has more to lose than that of any other nation as delays in fixing the Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner continue. All Nippon Airways (ANA) in particular has relied on the plane. Now, the U.S. manufacturer plans a series of actions to reassure Japanese customers. However, based on a review of these plans, they hardly seem likely to work, particularly based on the skepticism of authorities. According to The New York Times:

Japanese investigators have maintained that there is still not enough evidence to show that the batteries themselves are the cause of fires, and that a shock could have caused them to overheat. That could complicate Boeing's efforts to get regulators around the world to approve their fixes, because they focus only on containing any problems that might arise in the batteries.

Groupon Disappoints

Groupon Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GRPN) fourth-quarter results were so bad that there is new talk about firing CEO Andrew Mason. The problem with this is that he and two others control the company's voting shares. Fourth-quarter consolidated revenue totaled $638.3 million, up 30% year-over-year, but that was not as spectacular as Wall St. had hoped. The fourth-quarter GAAP loss per share of $0.12, including $0.07 loss per share from a non-operating item, compared with a loss per share of $0.12 in fourth quarter of 2011. But the thing investors liked the least was that revenue for the first quarter 2013 is expected to be between $560 million and $610 million, an increase of between 0% and 9% compared with first quarter of 2012. Shares sold down as much as 14% on the news. A look at Groupon's proxy shows Mason owns 19.5% of voting shares, while Chairman Eric P. Lefkofsk owns 27.7% and Bradley A. Keywell owns 10%. Mason will not be going anywhere unless his co-founders turn against him.

Walmart Executive Departs

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s (NYSE: WMT) chief administrative officer has left the retailer suddenly. Tom Mars was general counsel during a period (2002 to 2009) when the retailer allegedly bribed Mexican authorities to give preferential treatment on the locations and building of stores. According to The Wall Street Journal:

In a 2005 email memo to Chief Executive Michael Duke, Mr. Mars wrote, "The attached memorandum summarizes an interview conducted with a former WalMex in-house lawyer. The lawyer asserts in some detail the alleged corruption by various WalMex associates, including senior people. You'll want to read this. I'm available to discuss next steps. PS: Welcome to Wal-Mart International."

Now the pressure to resign moves to Duke.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: BA, featured, GRPN, WMT