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Tag >> Cash
How desperate is Time Warner for cash? Desperate enough to charge its freelancers a fee to get paid on time, based on a sliding scale. In other words, Time is indeed Money at Time.
Gawker likens the practice to that of a payday loan service. And it definitely does have that loan shark quality to it, though we use the word "quality" loosely.
The Wall Street Journal on Monday added some numbers to the well-known fact that U.S. companies are hoarding cash in a big way.
In the second quarter, the 500 largest nonfinancial U.S. companies, by total assets, held nearly $1 trillion in cash and short-term investments, or 9.8 percent of their assets, according to the Journal's analysis. That's up from 7.9 percent of assets a year earlier.
The paper notes how that's a blessing and a curse for the economy. On one hand, hoarding cash means companies are spending less, which is lousy for the economy. On the other, by having so much cash, businesses should be ready to deploy it as the economy recovers.
But there's another negative impact to this stockpiling of cash: the psychological impact on workers and consumers.
I'm trying and failing to make sense of Eric Schmidt's admission in court earlier this month that Google paid a premium of roughly 165 percent for You Tube.
As Schmidt characterized the deal during a patent dispute with Viacom, he felt that You Tube was worth only $600 million to $700 million based on its revenues. But he was willing to pay $1.65 billion for the company because of its success at signing up users in the Internet video space.
It only takes a few multibillion-dollar deals to get everyone fired up about an M&A renaissance. Actually, it's only taken Kraft's hostile bid for Cadbury and Dell's deal for Perot Systems.
Bloomberg tells us on Monday that "Never before have U.S. companies piled up cash faster compared with interest costs than they are now, setting the stage for a surge in mergers and acquisitions."
It's no mystery that companies have been hoarding cash as the economy has tanked, strategically raising debt and cutting expenses. And they've done a good job of it. Commerce Department data showed that corporate cash flow exceeded $1.5 trillion on an annualized basis in each of the last three quarters, Bloomberg reported.
As if CFOs didn’t have enough to worry about as they gauge the effects of this recession and the pace of the recovery, worldwide “regulatory chaos” may be on the horizon, according to an industry consultant, and that has the potential to further hurt bottom lines.
In addition to the regulatory turf war in Washington, which Ron Fink blogged about last week
, the US, UK, and EU will all be vying to be the toughest on regulation, said Anthony J. Carfang, partner of Treasury Strategies, and that’s going to make it a confusing and expensive world for corporate CFO types.
Judging from what has been suggested so far in these countries, Carfang said in a press release yesterday, non-bank money market activity will be limited, banks won’t have as much capital to lend, yields on investments will be middling, and there will be more required oversight and reporting.
End result for corporations: Fewer investments at higher costs, and fewer competitors from which to shop services, due to industry consolidation. Not to mention the onerous task of tracking regulation in the countries in which you do business.
“If you wait to see what outcomes emerge, you will be left behind," said Carfang in the release. He suggested that companies try to keep in the game by lobbying, and that they prepare by analyzing how proposed changes will affect operations.
As if anybody needed another fire drill right now.
Companies across the board may be cutting costs and saving cash, but it seems they’re not about to return that money to shareholders any time soon.
It’s been the worst July for dividends since 2002, Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at Standard & Poor’s, wrote in a note today. So far this year, 59 companies in the S&P 500 have decreased their dividends, compared with 40 in all of 2008. S&P dividend companies have paid out almost $30 billion less than they did last year, and for the full year, that shortfall is likely to rise to around $60 billion, Silverblatt predicted.
“From the shareholder point of view, these numbers are devastating,” Silverblatt said on the phone today.
Another cable company is cutting back on leverage and strengthening its balance sheet to weather the recession.
I was starting to feel like a hopeless permabear in light of all the "good news" regarding the economy.
But then I came across this, which points out that the bottoming out of a recession isn't the same thing as a recovery.
When businesses are tightening their collective belts, a good place to sinch is the phone bill. The biggest wireless providers in the U.S. can attest to that.
Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam told Bloomberg that its wireless business customers won't recover from the economic downturn until at least next quarter.
This article suggests that Microsoft and other companies that have recently tapped the debt markets will just sit on the money, which is hardly an encouraging sign for new capital investment, research and development, or even deal making.
That means that corporate treasurers don't have a lot of faith in prognostications of an economic recovery this year, or anything other than an anemic one.
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