Moonves believed his own press clippings to his demise

The biggest crime former CBS chairman Les Moonves allegedly perpetrated was not the numerous sexual harassment charges brought against him from many women. No hubris is the lead charge.

Moonves believed his press clippings that he was the savior of free TV and forgot his place in the corporate structure.

He believed he could wrestle control of CBS from Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari. Moonves launched a palace coup against the Redstones by getting the CBS board of directors to change the shareholder voting rights, which thereby diluted the Redstone’s majority stake.

The Moonves move initiated a flurry of legal maneuvers that really will never come to a decision, since the court of public opinion have already give up a verdict of guilty and Moonves will pay dearly for his hubris.

The black eye on CBS will heal, and Moonves will leave with millions in walking away money despite what the CBS board said about compensation clawbacks.

And so the winners are the Redstone’s, who will see their original plan to merge CBS with Viacom will happen in 2019.


Markets searching for a shred of news

The news lull of August is in full swing. I have been looking for two hours for a shred of meaningful news to opine about.

A quick look at the financial headlines tells you everything you need to know about global markets. Currency devaluations in Turkey and China are making markets jittery for lack of any real news.

Now don’t get me wrong, China cutting the value of the yuan as a response to President Trump’s tariff threats has meaning to the backwater currency trading markets, but to make global markets move on the scale they have this morning is a bit of overkill and a result of lack of news on other fronts.

The same with the Turkish lira devaluation taking down the emerging markets. This is less than a blip on the screen any other time of the year. Today it’s leading the website.

So now we have big moves in currencies and sovereign bonds — two markets that most investors know very little about — driving overall stock markets.

Well perhaps later today we can get back to real market-driving news like Tesla’s Elon Musk on Twitter showing the check he received from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to take the electric automaker private.

If this continues tomorrow, I think I’ll give you an update on my honey bees and the honey I harvested. It’s a helluva more interesting than currencies and sovereign bonds.

Twitter’s bullhorn used effectively by Trump and Musk

What does it mean when you have the means to distribute information without all the filters involved.

Well we see it first hand with President Trump on almost a daily basis. No need to have speechwriters and policy wonks craft each word and phrase to parse out a nebulous statement, which may mean all things to all people.

No, just tweet a gut punch to the offending party with no ambiguity, but sometimes it has little context.

Well the stock market was hit with one of the latter Tuesday by Tesla Founder Elon Musk.

With little¬†ambiguity and absolutely no context Musk tweeted: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”

Now you can see the similarities between Musk and the president and how they got to their positions. They don’t use focus groups or test marketing, they do it and will it into a success through bravado and showmanship. Whether it’s an electric car, a trip to space or constructing building across the globe with Trump on the top.

So the stock market did what it would do in the nineteenth or twentieth century when Musk tweeted — it halted trading to figure out what was going on.

After it was determined that Musk was not hacked and that the company may be exploring the idea of going private, shares were traded again. But the Street didn’t give Musk his $420 price upon re-opening.

No that will wait for another day when a more manageable news release comes out stating that the board is working with so and so to secure credit to take the company private.

While the means of mass communications is at the hands of these men and others, the reaction by the powers that be are still muddled in the last century.

I have a feeling that will change in the not too distant future with the President at least.

Where are all the CEOs going and why?

After 12 years on the job Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi is stepping down from her post.

While this is notable for her accomplishments of keeping the company profitable in the face of sagging soda sales, Nooyi is only the latest company chief to step down.

There has been much turmoil in the C-Suites of corporations worldwide. And while this does not pertain to Nooyi directly over the last 12 months there have been more than 3,900 executives who have resigned their positions.

While comparable numbers are not readily available from the usual sources since then do not break out cause for exit, the 3,900 figure seems large for just resignations, not including retirement or moving to a new job.

Most of the resignations have to do with criminal allegations where charges may or have been filed. The #MeToo movement has claimed a minority of these resignations, but a vast majority have been over mismanagement of money either by the CEO or staff.

Not sure what to make of the 3,900 number, but I thought it worth noting it as we go forward. To keep an eye on the magnitude of the changes going on with corporations and possible ramifications down the road.

Will Les Moonves take nuclear option against Sumner Redstone

It’s pretty clear to me that CBS chief Les Moonves will not survive August in his position.

Moonves is facing 6 women all alleging they were the victims of sexual harassment or worse. The board of directors has hired an outside law firm to investigate the charges and to report back as soon as possible.

So where does this put the lawsuit between CBS and Viacom. Moonves has been fighting Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari over a proposed merger between the two. The Redstones are majority shareholders in both companies through the ownership of a firm called National Amusements.

The rumor is that the Redstones — wanting to merge the two firms again, while Moonves fought them at each step in the process — were behind the outing of dirt on the CBS chief to thwart the lawsuit.

Moonves for his part does not have a strong C-Suite bench at CBS — whether by design or not — so the board is sticking with him for the time being.

Before Labor Day, Moonves will be out at CBS and the lawsuit over the proposed merger will be dropped. So who benefits from the leaking of the sexual harassment charges?

The wild card in this whole affair is Nickelodeon. As the Street hears it, the Mooves team may go on the offensive with allegations of wrong doing on the children’s network owned by the Redstones and some independent executive producers.

I would think this nuclear option would have to be deployed very soon if Moonves wants any chance of sticking around. Or is he is using it to negotiate a better exit package?