Company News: Tech, Pfizer, YouTube, Neiman Marcus, Electronic Arts
Tech: Big paydays for CFOs
Five of the ten highest-paid chief financial officers in 2012 hail from the technology industry, according to compensation data compiled by Bloomberg. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer earned the most in fiscal 2012, with a $68.6 million package that dwarfed the $4.17 million awarded to his boss, Tim Cook. Oracle CFO Safra Catz was second at $51.7 million, while Patrick Pichette at Google was No. 3, with $38.7 million. Their outsized pay packages rewarded success in increasing profit, amassing cash, and minimizing taxes. Tech CFOs are largely compensated with company stock, so their payouts have expanded as equity prices have boomed.
Pfizer: Selling Viagra online
Pfizer started selling its impotence drug Viagra through a company-sponsored website to combat counterfeit versions being marketed online. Customers can order the drug at Viagra.com, and the prescriptions will be verified and fulfilled by CVS Caremark. In 2011 a Pfizer analysis of pills purchased from 22 websites found that roughly 80 percent of the pills claiming to be Viagra were counterfeit and didn’t contain full doses of the active ingredient as advertised. Pfizer’s sales of the drug totaled $2.05 billion in 2012.
YouTube: Subscription channels coming soon
Google’s YouTube will offer paid subscription channels over the next few weeks, people with knowledge of the matter said, expanding the choices for television viewers beyond traditional pay-TV packages. Each channel will cost about $1.99 a month, with some differences in price, said one person, who sought anonymity because the plans aren’t public. The goal is to have subscription income supplement advertising revenue, allowing YouTube and its content suppliers to pay for more expensive productions.
Neiman Marcus Group: Mulling a sale or IPO
TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus are exploring a sale or public offering of Neiman Marcus Group eight years after acquiring the luxury retailer, according to two people familiar with the matter. The private equity firms, which bought Neiman Marcus in 2005 for $5.1 billion, may seek approximately $8 billion for the company, which has about 40 namesake department stores and the two Bergdorf Goodman stores in New York. The buyout firms are considering exit options after the chain increased in-store and online sales.
Electronic Arts: Licensing Star Wars
Electronic Arts, the second-largest video game maker, reached a multiyear agreement with Walt Disney to create games based on Star Wars characters. Under the deal, EA gains the right to develop new Star Wars titles for consoles, computers, and mobile devices. Disney bought Star Wars creator Lucasfilm in October in a deal valued at $4.05 billion. In a cost-cutting move, Disney announced in April that it would shut down Lucasfilm’s game-making branch and instead pursue licensing deals.