Timesizing® Associates

dooms du jour, June-May/1999
[Commentary] ©1998,1999 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080


6/30/99 - Record 18 takeovers reported! (• $72b telephone, counted on 3/24) • $2.3b Internet • $1.9b investments/advertising printing • $843m telephone • $435m data networking/semiconductors • $355m utilities • $425m banking • $255m communications towers • $240m accounting • $83m cellular phones • $75m Mex-Tex telephone • $37m railroading • $? equipment rental • $? investments • $? building materials • $? marketing services • $? systems integration/application outsourcing • $? sys int/Internet consulting • $? sys int/application services (total $76.47b) + 1 downsizing • 200 jobs 'affected' as Mead shuts down 4 paper machines in Maine + glimmers of hope: • US consumer confidence highest since '68 - but...

6/29 - 11 takeovers • $4.1b water treatment/chemicals • $1.63b engineering/construction equipment rental • $1.28b energy utilities • $647m electronics distributors • $274m casinos • $250m electric motors • $165m communications towers • $150m credit cards • $100m electronic commerce • $47m banking • $? air cargo (total $6.17b) + 2 downsizings • 300 jobs cut as Shaw's gulps Star Mkt & shuts Cambridge, Mass. HQ • 200 more Mass. jobs cut as Scudder goes online (total 500)
+ glimmers of hope:
• US consumers earning more, spending more and saving less - but...

6/27-28 - New Feature - weekend roundup of past week's pessimism - 59 takeovers (over $56b) + 11 downsizings (8300 jobs lost) + 1 bankruptcy (6/24) - reported in NYT (+BG)
+ glimmers of the real solution:
• 2 BankBoston VPs jobsharing • 2 takeovers cancelled ($765m total) • 11,000 new jobs proposed • 5000 new union members - reported

6/26 - 10 takeovers • $900m telecomms • $730m tissue • $644m real estate • $310m champagne • $309m bottling • $231m hitech • $150m medical staffing • $54m ditto • $112m meatpacking • $? window blinds + 2 downsizings • 1100 jobs lost at IBM from Calif. and "found" overseas • 200 jobcuts at Bedford Fair of Greenwich, Conn. + Some Canadians talking premature currency munge with US
+ glimmers of hope:
• Covance and Parexel cancel their $600m merger

6/25 - 15 Takeovers! = The Slippery Slope:  Merge, compress, compact, contract, seek mkts (why flat??),  So, seek mkt share,  Via, merge, compress, compact,... • $1.7B news publishing • $720m HVAC • $649m Euro investments • $644m metal castings • $638m oilfield services• $580m Eurobanking • $445m infotech services • $343m leisure food services • $130m trans Atlantic software • $129m bathroom furnishings & 5 $$??'s • convenience foods & • stores • military supply mgmt • advertising • accounting
+ 4 downsizings (CEO self ego-amputation) • 2200 jobcuts at British Aerospace, shutting a plant & airport • Up to 1500 jobcuts (7%) at CompUSA, closing 4 stores • 450 jobcuts at biggest US biscuit maker, Nabisco, closing Houston bakery • Nearly 200 jobcuts (50%) at Speidel in Providence + glimmers of hope:
• Boston Globe's waking up?- another big story (frontpage!) on longer hours • Fed's long-term agenda & social program?! • Union wins 5000 members in Norma Rae's textile area in NC

6/24 - B-schools to MBAs, "Don't be a sucker & manage, just merge!" - 11 takeovers • $8b healthcare: Healtheon-WebMD • $4.4b utilities: Boston Edison-ComEnergy • $4.3b Brit pubs: Whitbread-3500 Allied Domecq pubs • $3b wireless: Voicestream-Omnipoint • $1.6b Internet: Metromedia-Abovenet • $162m investment info: Multext.com-Market Guide • $51m radio: Cumulus-9 radio stations • $2.7m biotech: LeukoSite-ProScript • $?? chemicals: SKW Trostberg-Witco Oleochems unit • $?? French banks: Société Générale-Paribas-Nationale de Paris (3-way!) • $?? Latin energy: Spain's Repsol-Argentina's YPF + 2 downsizings • 650 jobcuts at American Greetings in Ont., Canada • 17 jobcuts at ProScript in Cambridge, MA + 1 bankruptcy • reproductive services: Chicago-based Gyncor Inc. + Part-time is stressful only when we keep "full-time" frozen at the 40-hr week;  Sales tax on the Web;  Good news from hell (MDs' labor union);  Brits get suckered into saving Rover for Deutschland
+ glimmers of hope:
• Takeover cancelled: $65m communications: Iridium-Claircom • 11K new Mass. jobs by cutting unemployment insurance tax(?)

6/23 - CEOs drill & tamp, mantle compresses toward inner Black Hole - 12 more mergers: • military-industrial: General Dynamics-3 GTE units @$1.1b • telephone: Alltel-Liberty Cellular @$514m • electronics: Doughty Hanson-Knowles @$530m • office furnishings: Warburg Pinkus-Knoll @$496m • telecoms: Newbridge-Stanford @$280m • reinsurance: Trenwick-Chartwell @$229m • Internet: S3-Diamond @$173m • Brazil banking: Bradesco-Baneb @$147m • snackfood: Cantrell & Cochrane -Tayto @$117m • auto industry: Shiloh-MTD @$40m • online auctions-trading: Ebay-Alando.de @$?? • food&beverages: Sara Lee-Wechsler @$?? + 1 downsizing: • 85 jobcuts when Vista Eyecare closed Tempe lab
+ Senate stilettos American steel & keeps unlevel playing field with Asian collapsed-currency producers
+ glimmers of hope:
• Ford plans factory in Russia near St. Petes • Commerce Dept reports at least 1/3 GDP growth 1995-98 came from infotech/Internet

6/22 - America's implosion continues - 11 mergers in NYT (BG caught 3): • supermarkets: Albertson-American Stores @$8.3b • pharmaceuticals: Abbott-Alza @$7.3b • lumber: Weyerhauser-MacBloe @$2.4b • banking: Royal of Scotland/Citizens-US Trust @$1.4b • healthcare: Aetna-Prudentia @$1b • telecomms: ADC-Saville @$700m • manufacturing: NSI-Holophane @$450m • cptr hardware: TI-Libit @$365m • bldg materials: Wienerberger-General Shale @260m • mtg servicing: Financial Freedom S/F-Transam HomeFirst @200m • high tech: Internat.Integration-Conduit @$59m
+ 2 downsizings: • 1,100 jobcuts planned by Novartis • 800 cuts as RBS/Citizens engulfs US Trust
+ glimmers of hope:
• Mellon Bank offers 450 stock options to each employee

6/21 • World's richest now hoarding $1 Trillion • And doctors unionizing? - we must really be in trouble! + US women tops in bankruptcies due to divorce
+ glimmers of hope:
• Another boom year for home building (but disparities stay)

6/19-20 - 2 downsizings: • 450 jobs at Utah's Iomega Corp • Kaiser Permanente shuts down in Northeast
+ • The GOP misses the obvious in defining "compassionate conservatism" • The distracting fixation on inflation goofs on & on • NYT's readers debate locus of prejudice toward longer hours
+ glimmers of hope (6/20):
• Timesizing goes national with a switch to the NY Times! • A referendum for democracy in unions in Wash. State • 2 ecoboosts: 5% US juice from wind (2020 foresight) + Grand Canyon Pk clears trail with lite rail + "good news (or is it?)" (6/19):  G-8 forgives 3rd-world debt • 3.2m working in Massachusetts

6/18 - 2 downsizings: • 700 at Kellogg Cereals in Michigan • undisclosed# at Compaq
+ 2 takeovers: • Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to swallow Wm. Morrow & • Avon Bks for est. $200m
+ glimmers of hope:
• Carpenters Union grows 8% (1700 mbrs)

6/17 - 2 takeovers (Globe only): • FERC OKs New England Electric takeover by Britain's National Grid (@$1.2b) • New Era of Networks grabs Microscript for $34m
+ glimmers of hope:
• False optimism rolls on, so more time to polish real solution

6/16 - Scary 13 takeovers! • Energy East of Central Maine Power ($1.2b) • Northeast Utilities of Yankee Energy ($679m or $478m?) • Allaire of Live Software ($24m) + New Feature: Badnews on Business from News York Times, so, 10 takeovers reported in the NYT - Pharmacia&Upjohn $650m, Bowthorpe $464m, Suez Lyonnaise $421m, Tower Automotive $318m, Terex $294m, Joseph Littlejohn & Levy $125m, Cadence Design Systems $121m, Unisys $100m, Boise Cascade $?, KPC Global $? + Ford Credit "asks" 4000 to relocate
+ glimmers of hope:
• Esther Dyson asks Ralph Nader's help in breaking up private webname monopoly

6/15 - 4 takeovers & 1 imaginative commentary: • $11b (Wal-Mart of Asda) • $1b (DoubleClick of Abacus Direct) • $102m (TA Assocs of Physicians' Specialty) • $42m (Wave Systems of NAble Technologies) + glimmers of the real solution: • France enforces maximum workshare per person • Non-Web stockbrokers going extinct

6/13-14 - • If we have such a skilled labor shortage, why is training the first thing we cut in a crunch? • Why are we tormented with hordes of peripheral injustices? • Shouldn't we be applauding the Swiss for refusing to further subsidize population growth? + glimmers of hope: • 2 Global Crossing takeovers get Qwest-crossed • GOP prez hopefuls converging on time bind? • And what about the boredom factor?

6/12 - 61 more employees to the dumpster at Raytheon + Hechinger home improvement goes bankrupt, shutting 89 of 209 stores, shedding 890? fulltime-equivalent jobs
+ glimmers of hope:
• Japan plans to pull 700,000 new jobs out of a hat

6/11 - If joblessness really so low, why flat wages & cowering legislators? + Lauriat's Books, already bankrupt, closing all 71 stores, laying off all ?? employees + 1 takeover: NVest of Kobrick Funds for $?
+ glimmers of hope:
• Japan posts first growth in 2 years (but all fake "job creation," not real work sharing)

6/10 - Proctor & Gamble to close 10 plants, cut 15,000 jobs + 2 takeovers: • Allstate of CNA personal insurance unit for $1.2b, • IBM of computer maker Whistle Communications for $? + glimmers of hope: • Unlike US, at least Japan realizes where its core problem lies - corporate cost-cutting, dba jobs (not hours) cuts

6/09 - 3 takeovers: • GM Acceptance of BNY Financial for $1.8b, • American Tower of 75 Sprint sites for $?, • Mulberry ChildCare of 17 Little People sites for $?
+ glimmers of hope:
• Calif. columnist sees through charity "fix" • Lawyer obstructs Unum-Provident merger-jobslash

6/08 - America continues to cannibalize itself - Allied Signal engulfs Honeywell, Wall St rejoices and 4,500 jobs vanish, plus Dupont trashcans another 1,400 + Canada slowly wakes up to its own free-trade stupidity + glimmers of hope: • Group wants hearings before Fleet merger

6/6-7 - 1 takeover: • Zions Bancorp of 1st Security ($5.9b)
+ glimmers of hope:
• Somebody finally made sense of Senge's "5th Discipline"

6/05 - 1 downsizing: • 100s of jobs recently eliminated in Rochester, NH by Cabletron Systems + tight job market spun as tight labor market by ignoring lack of on-the-job training & spread of prisons-homelessness-disability-selfemployment(with no clients)-parttime(without benefits)...
+ glimmers of hope
• Another merger cancelled = Northeast Health & NorthShore Medical

6/04 - 3 takeovers: • Roche of Genentech ($3.7b), • Boston Scientific of Schneider Worldwide ($2.1b), • Litton of Avondale ($577m) + 2 downsizings: • Lockheed of up to 2,000, • Inso of 130 jobs (20%) + 10 states selling residents' income info
+ glimmers of hope
• Factory orders & retail up - but lots of fine print (& jobless up too)

6/03 - 3 takeovers: • Peoples Heritage of Banknorth for $712m, • GMAC of Cape Cod's Kinlin Grover Properties & • Bay Village Realty [for $undisclosed]
+ Greenspan goes off vs. protectionism (with no realistic alternative)
+ glimmers of hope
• Optional-see graffiti tool vs. any website • 2 mergers scrapped • "Linkage" spreads (tobacco$ to elderdrug$ - but we haven't quite got it) • 3 online brokers shed $33b in 7 wks = another whack vs. privatizing SSI

6/02 - 5 takeovers: • CSX & Norfolk Southern of Conrail for $10.3b • AmSouth Bancorp of 1st American for $5.3b, • Liberty Media of Assoc'd Group for $3b
• AOL of Spinner Networks & • Nullsoft for $400m
+ glimmers of hope:
  • US Airways gives raises at last & not just to execs
• presidential candidates waking up on time bind issue?

6/01 - The harsh truth about the American economic model - its supposed inevitability, universality, positivity + glimmers of hope - A dose of economic humor!

5/30-31 - Two speeches, right and left, both off target
glimmers of hope
- Investing to forward Timesizing

5/29 - 2 takeovers: • MCI WorldCom of SkyTel for $1.8b • Workscape of Edify unit for $?
glimmers of hope
- LA County MDs join union

5/28 - 3 takeovers: • Infinity Broadcasting of Outdoor Systems for $8.3b • Invensys of Marcam Solutions for $60m • Charter (cable) of Fanch for $? + TLC Beatrice to be liquidated
glimmers of hope
- Still time to polish the solution - GDP up & gold down

5/27 - 7 takeovers: • Charter of Falcon Cable for $3.6b • Sallie Mae of Nellie Mae's student loans for $320m • Liz Claiborne of Segrets sportswear design for $54m & • Lucky Dungarees for $? • Simione (software) of MCS for $26m • Clean Harbors (waste transportation) of SureCycle Systems & • AET Transportation for $? + EC loosens up on Italy & clobbers the euro
+ glimmers of hope
- Reebok, Mattel, Levi Strauss agree to uphold basic labor rights in China

5/26 - 1 takeover - Allied Domecq to sell 3,500 UK pubs to Whitbread for $3.8b (nearly $1m/pub) + Executive-bought survey of executives reveals (surprise, surprise) skills scarcity (if employees could afford surveys 'twould diclose truth = training shortage)
+ glimmers of hope
- small firms still outpacing large in Internet service provision (ISP)

5/25 - 3 takeovers • Avis of Cendant auto leasing for $1.8b • J. Baker of Repp for $31.7m • United Rentals of 7 competing construction-equipment renters for $? + Thermo Electron announces unspecified job cuts in Waltham, Mass. + DeLorean bankruptcy wraps up + More off-target, market-bucking good intentions + glimmers of hope - College students becoming labor activists (but still unintelligently) + More female corporate directors + IBM backs Linux vs. MicroSoft

5/23-24 - Columnist expounds on later retirement but misses its meaning
+ glimmers of hope
- MacArthur fellow sets the table for comprehensive thinking about progress

5/22 - 2 takeovers: • Olivetti of Telecom Italia for $33b • Hunneman of Hallmark 100 Properties for $? + Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital downsizes 80 management jobs + Massachusetts jobless up 0.1%
+ glimmers of hope
- L.L. Bean plans 4-5 store openings, not closings!

5/21 - 4 takeovers: • Deutsche Bank of Bankers Trust OK's @ $10.2b • Healtheon of WebMD for $9.9b • Lernout & Hauspie buys Fonix' Healthcare Solutions Group for $28m • MTV Networks of SonicNet & The Box for 10% of its online music IPO
+ glimmers of hope
- Steel imports down, farm exports up, despite ongoing record trade deficit (1/3 higher than last year)

5/20 - 2 takeovers: • Tycho of Raychem for $3.3b • Bingham Dana of Hebb & Gitlin (lawyers) for $?
+ 2 airline execs push huge bonus for execs only (but forswear their own share)
+ glimmers of hope -
$20m bonus for workers at Kingston Tech + 1 ANTI-takeover: vs Fleet-BankBoston merger

5/19 - 2 mergers -Tweeter & Dow Stereo/Video for $5.5m, Lifespan & Care New England for $?? + Tweeter/Dow merger to downsize 200 full-time equivalents + Loehmann's [2800 jobs] files for bankruptcy + glimmers of hope - 3 cases in one day of expanding accountability vs. - illegal workers, nasty LD fone billing, broker diversion of funds

5/18 - 5 takeovers - Hoechst of Rhone-Poulenc for $22b (drugs), General Dynamics of Gulfstream Aerospace for $5.18b, New Holland farm-machines of Case for $4.3b (jobcuts on the way!), Precision Castparts of Wyman-Gordon for $825m, CVS of Soma.com for $30m + Compaq downsizes up to 900 in Salem, NH + glimmers of hope - Data General will expand & add 450 jobs

5/16-17 - One big merger - telecoms US West & Global Crossing for $2.4b
+ 6 steps closer to the edge: • Only ONE big wave of efficiency? • More DC attempts to break Depression fixes • Overtime fatigue turns truckers into timebombs • New grads buy jobs happytalk • "Couch surfers" don't see selves as homeless • Emissions trading won't stem global warming
+ glimmers of hope -
Russia stands up to the IMF + Corporate climb no steeper for women, but...

5/15 - A little realism in the matter of Bill Gates' "philanthropy" + More Chicken Littles yelling "Inflation!" + More on our "wonderful" US health insurance system
+ glimmers of hope -
Mindless 'free trade' takes another welcome whack

5/14 - yesterday ConAgra, today Boeing downsizes exactly 7,000?! + Law firms merge 450 lawyers (aargh) for $? + Ohoh, BankBoston expands in Mexico &, a standard economist takes a swing at the $25m kiss-off
+ glimmers of the real solution:
• myriads of metalworkers rally in Rome for shorter hours • Microsoft permatemps to get some benefits • companies ante up for wetland preservation • SEC curbs fund mgr trading

5/13 - ConAgra downsizes 7,000 + 3 takeovers - Cox of TCA for $4b, Brookstone of Gardeners Eden for $?, Cortel of ViewTech's fone networks unit for $?
+ glimmers of hope -
Rubin resigns, 2m more charity$ to Boston schools, IBM pushes for web privacy, Web accountability spreads

5/12 - 2 sell-offs - $1.6b (computer chips) and $900m (hospitals) + Guy in Needham Mass. gets $25m for being fired + glimmers of hope - Well, straws to grasp at anyway - Brazil improving + US labor output up + Lycos merger really defunct

5/11 - 2 takeovers - $10b (banks) and $59m (high-tech hardware) + Brazil harps on superficial solutions, Legislators harp on failed minimum-wage laws, Even count-nothing "low unemployment" turns high in regions (SE Mass.) + glimmers of hope - Black Bell Atlantic employees stick up for themselves

5/09-10 - We want battered wives to move out but we don't have the shelters + Downside of NAFTA + glimmers of hope - Nervous money seeks 'rebalance' outside euphoric stocks + Job offer in retail follows Goodwill Industries training for welfare mothers

5/08 - 1 new mini- merger = Kirtland-Instron for $156m but hurdles for 2 old big ones = Bell Atlantic-GTE & AT&T-MediaOne + US unemployment up to 4.3% in April - blacks' rate down but still 7.7% + glimmers of hope - Tightening the anti-trust screws on merger mania - AT&T-MediaOne case in point

5/07 - Near-bankrupt Photoelectron to downsize 25 (50%), Merrin shrinks by 30 jobs in takeover? + Citizens to takeover State Street's retail bank for $1.5b, MacGregor engulfs Merrin for $?? + Senate passes Invitation to Depression, Cheerleaders gloss omens - Greenspan as Chief Pompom, "sales" (=credit) up, Brazil less weak
+ glimmers of hope - New "store" opening in Westborough (= new UMass campus)

5/06 - National Semiconductor to downsize 550 jobs + Grupo Picking Pack of Spain takes over Charrette of Cambridge, Mass. for $107m + House OK's tougher bankruptcy law + More fraud in visas for cheap foreign labor
+ glimmers of hope - Justice Dept. revs its antitrust probe of the only private netdomain assigning operation in the world

5/5 - Getronics takes over Wang for $2b cash, Pax gets Channel 68 for $40m + US Senate makes 13th try to wipe out Depression-taught banking laws, US dailies decline + glimmers of hope - Outdated "leading indicators" still cheerleading = still time to polish long-term solution

5/04 - Freeman, Spogli takes over Galyan's Trading (and Girls Too?) from The Limited (for $??) + Goldman Sachs goes public: from long-term quality to short-term bulk (4th biggest US broker), Dow breaches 11,000 as investors bail on high tech in desperate search for solidity, Now a taxpayer-funded tour to promote the free-trade Race to the Bottom + glimmers of hope - Mass. mutual funds reinvent the training wheel + Eastman Kodak fixes bias in pay

5/02-03 - AT&T bumps Comcast, swallows MediaOne for $56b - now, do we hear 57b? + Economists smile - majority weeps, Inflation's ghost haunts obsessive Fed, Crook tries to turn guru + glimmers of hope - Comcast's takeover of MediaOne blown away (but by...)

5/01/99 - AT&T discusses 2700 layoffs with union + One takeover - GE Capital engulfs the rest of bankrupt Montgomery Ward
+ glimmers of hope -
Economy 'grows' at 4.5% rate, More things bought on time, more time to hone a long-term solution


Click here for dooms du jour in before Apr.30/99.


For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available online from *Amazon.com and at bookstores in Harvard and Porter Squares, Cambridge, Mass.

Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.


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