On Sept. 18, Robert Wildrick, chairman of men’s apparel retailer Jos. A. Bank, called Douglas Ewert, CEO of Men’s Wearhouse, and proposed an all-cash $2.3 billion takeover. Mr. Wildrick sent a formal offer via letter that same day. On Oct. 9, when news of the proposal leaked, the board of Men’s Wearhouse formally rejected it, Read More
Up & Down the Street
Remember The War for Talent? That was the name of a 1997 article and popular 2001 book written by the good people at McKinsey & Company, the publication of that set off a worldwide craze over a raft of flimsy “talent management” ideas. One of the most prominent: To win in business, companies had to promote their most “talented” people aggressively while culling their ranks of the least “talented” with similar urgency. What makes for a “talented” employee? Hell if I know. But I do know this: Like most wars, it was not only destructive but also wrong-headed. The War for Talent was a War on Common Sense. Read More
So here we are, five years after the fall of Lehman. And where the hell is Dick Fuld, anyway? Talk about skulking away never to be seen again. At least Bear Stearns’s Jimmy Cayne unburdened himself of his delusional and self-serving rage in William Cohan’s 2009 best-seller, House of Cards. Read More
Over the past 12 months, my 4-and-a-half year-old daughter has gone deep into Lego. And I’ve gone right along with her. When we visited the Lego store at Rockefeller Center, I found myself secretly switching pieces she’d randomly thrown into our all-you-can-jam-into-this-for-$15 cup with those that I distinctly remembered wishing I’d had more of as Read More
When fast-food workers walked off the job in several U.S. cities a few weeks ago, it was like a blast from the past. For one day, at least, American labor was flexing organizing muscles that have largely atrophied over the past few decades. And the prognosis has only been getting worse: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation in December limiting the power of unions in a state that once served as a symbol of union might, starting the countdown clock to the end of unions everywhere. The fight over Detroit’s financial future is a further sign of things to come: with municipal and state finances still a mess nationwide, even the liberally inclined but nonunion man on the street has begun to turn on his organized labor neighbors as the fight over which matters more—government employee pensions or basic city services—moves from the theoretical into the very real. Read More
Last Thursday, when the government charged SAC Capital with perpetrating an insider-trading scheme from 1999 through 2010, the move answered a lot of questions people had been asking of late. The main one: given the fact that the Feds had yet to charge SAC’s founder, Steven Cohen, with any crimes, was he going to get off scot-free while an ever-growing number of his henchmen were charged with—and convicted for—crimes committed under his watch? Was it the same old story, in which another of Wall Street’s powerful avoids punishment for something he quite likely encouraged and most definitely profited from? The refreshing answer: not this time. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District, Preet Bharara, plays hardball, and he just threw a fastball right at Mr. Cohen’s chin. Read More
Among the many gifts Benjamin Graham bequeathed to investors was the allegory of Mr. Market. He’s the collective us, the guy who wakes up with a new view about the best price for a stock (or the market itself), often without any clue as to why his outlook has changed.
Mr. Market seems particularly manic Read More
Permission to Splurge: Whole Foods Isn’t Just About Where You Buy Your Food; It’s About Who You Think You Are
When Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey’s book, Conscious Capitalism, came out in January, Claude Arpels and Winsome Brown hosted a book party for about 150 people at their gorgeous and expansive Tribeca apartment. It was a fitting venue. While America’s hard right continues to find new ways to make people hate big business and the Read More
As far as mysteries go, this one kind of disappoints. Michael Dell and his private equity partner, Silver Lake, want us to believe that they have a secret plan for reviving the fortunes of the struggling PC maker, a plan they insist they can only pull off if they take the Austin-based company private in Read More
The lead story in The Daily Beast on April 11 asked the question on many people’s minds: “How Scared Should You Be About North Korea?” I’m no political scientist, but I’ll give you my answer anyway: not at all.
While China may have wider-ranging ambitions than most people realize, it has always been Read More