Walt Disney: Mickey kicks the junk-food habit
Aiming to combat childhood obesity, Walt Disney will require food and beverage advertising for kids on its TV networks and radio stations to meet new nutritional standards by 2015. The guidelines, which mirror federal recommendations, are designed to promote consumption of fruits and vegetables, limit calories, and curb the intake of saturated fat, salt, and sugar. By the end of this year, food products sold in stores and at Disney’s parks and resorts will also begin bearing a “Mickey Check” seal of approval, signaling that they meet the company’s nutrition standards. The world’s No. 1 entertainment company generated $7.6 billion in advertising revenue last fiscal year.
MF Global Holdings: Trustees clash over a firm’s remains
The two men appointed to sort out the mess at the collapsed New York brokerage MF Global Holdings disagree over whether certain assets belong to customers or creditors. A report submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court by trustee Louis Freeh, who is unwinding the parent company under Chapter 11, maintains creditors may have $3 billion-plus in claims against the company and various affiliates. James Giddens, the trustee overseeing the brokerage unit, says customers are owed about $1.6 billion in a separate report.
Automotive: So much for European solidarity
German carmakers are resisting industry calls to form a united front to push for European Union support to reduce overcapacity by closing unprofitable plants. Leading the drive: Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, who also heads a European auto lobby. Italy’s Fiat and France’s Renault and PSA Peugeot Citröen bear the brunt of excess capacity costs, which UBS estimates at $9.2 billion a year for labor and equipment. Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW, meanwhile, are doing better, thanks to exports to the U.S. and China.
Starbucks: Introducing vending machines
Starbucks’s Seattle’s Best Coffee division signed a deal with vending machine company Coinstar to sell coffee in thousands of kiosks in the U.S. The “Rubi” kiosks will begin rolling out this summer at grocers, drugstores, and mass-market retailers. The machines, which grind and brew beans, will serve coffee, mochas, and vanilla lattes starting at $1 per cup. Starbucks, which is seeking to boost sales with the more affordable Seattle’s Best brand, expects to sell about 10,000 cups of coffee a year from each kiosk.
Dish Network: Hoping for a New York court date
The dispute over whether Dish Network’s ad-skipping technology violates network television copyrights may turn on which court the U.S. satellite-TV service persuades to hear the matter. Dish is seeking court approval for its Auto Hop digital video recording feature in New York, where an appeals court has already ruled cable companies can offer remote DVR services to customers. The TV networks argue that widespread adoption of this type of technology could lead companies to demand lower rates for commercials.