In Business This Week: Headliner
Vince McMahon: Get Ready for Pigskin Smackdown
Here's the latest brainstorm from Vince McMahon and his colleagues at World Wrestling Federation Entertainment: extreme football. Imagine Stone Cold Steve Austin in a football jersey, and you've got the concept. Yes, where others have dared not go--into off-season pro football--WWF is charging in. And this will be tough football for tough men, says Michael Keller, newly hired vice-president for WWF football operations.
Isn't "extreme football" redundant? And does America really need another league? Ted Turner and NBC together took up and dropped the idea last year. But, says Keller, "when the Super Bowl ends, there's a huge void, and so we will step in."
The WWF plans to launch its XFL (get it?) in 2001 with eight teams, including New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, and cable broadcasts. The Stamford (Conn.) company is busy signing up football gladiators from NFL Europe and college teams. Says Keller: "We will not limit their desire to celebrate in the end zone." If this flies, get ready for extreme hockey.By Pamela L. Moore in Greenwich, Conn.Return to top
Ford and UPS Deliver a Deal
Will your next mustang convertible be delivered by a guy in brown? The logistics arm of United Parcel Service on Feb. 2 signed on to revamp Ford's rail and road vehicle-delivery network. The value of the deal was not revealed. The aim, the two companies say, is to reduce bottlenecks and delays, getting cars to their buyers up to 40% faster--and saving Ford millions by cutting the time it has to carry vehicles on its books. UPS Logistics will create a tracking system similar to the one the company uses to trace packages on its trucks and planes. Each car will have a bar-code decal to be scanned at various points between the plant and the consumer, allowing dealers--and ultimately, buyers using the Internet--to follow their car's progress from the factory to their garage.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top
Pfizer Closes in on Its Prey
The battle for Warner-Lambert may be coming to an end. As BUSINESS WEEK went to press, sources say Pfizer has agreed to up its bid for Warner to $85 billion plus, a maneuver that could clear the way for an agreement. A looming question, however, was how Pfizer will compensate American Home Products, which still has a pending merger agreement with Warner-Lambert. American Home is entitled to a $1.8 billion breakup fee. And the company could demand even more in exchange for not exercising certain options that would force Pfizer to use an unfavorable accounting treatment.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top
Cruise Control: How NCL Was Taken
After making rival bids for NCL Holding, Carnival and Star Cruises of Malaysia teamed up on Feb. 2 with a $1.1 billion joint bid for the No. 4 cruise operator, which owns Norwegian Cruise and Orient lines. The joint bid ends a bizarre takeover battle in which Oslo-based NCL, to repel a surprise bid by Carnival, turned to Star as its white knight. But when Star moved to seize control of NCL itself, NCL veered back to Carnival. Now, the rival suitors say they will use their new partnership to cross-market their cruises around the world.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top