Struggling Kodak had to pay for CEO’s vacations in Spain

Over the four years that Kodak’s stock fell 80 percent, the photography icon’s private jet made its way several times a year to Vigo, Spain — the balmy fishing town that is the hometown of CEO Antonio Perez.

The Wall Street Journal’s flight tracker for private jet travel makes it easy to trace Perez’s vacations in Spain. It also estimates that the cost of each roundtrip was more than $50,000 a pop.

Starting Jan 1, 2011, Perez’s personal trips on the jet were limited to $100,000 a year. If his flights exceed that amount, Perez has to reimburse Kodak, according to the company’s latest proxy statement. That might come as some relief to investors concerned about the rate that Kodak is burning cash.

But before the limits on personal use went into place, Perez didn’t seem to hold back. In 2007, he flew to Vigo in April, returned over the summer and then rang in the New Year over there as well.

Until 2010, he made several more trips, according to the database. The Galician costal city town in northwestern Spain is a major fishing port on the Atlantic Ocean, according to the city’s website. Cruise line Royal Carribbean says on its website: “If you’re a beach-lover, then Vigo is for you. You can soak up the rays at one of several sparkling beaches, including Samil, Alcabre and Canido.”

Tribune: Slow train coming

Bankrupt publisher and TV broadcaster Tribune Co filed for bankruptcy last December, and it’s looking increasingly like next December might be the first time we see what the new company will look like. Here is what the company’s Chicago Tribune newspaper reported Tuesday morning:

The parent company of the Chicago Tribune is scheduled to deliver a plan Aug. 4 but wants to extend that deadline to Nov. 30.

Citing the complex nature of the case, Tribune said in a filing it needs more time to build consensus around a plan. It also said the outcome of the pending sale of the Chicago Cubs could have a “material impact” on the plan.

Tuesday media highlights

Here are some of the day’s top stories in the media industry:

Verizon Planning Its Own App Store (Business Insider)
Preethi Dumpala writes: “The main idea: Verizon wants to be the company connecting its customers with apps — not necessarily its handset partners. And it wants to avoid becoming an even dumber pipe. Depending on how it’s set up, this could clash with gadget makers’ plans.”

McGraw-Hill might ‘give away’ Business Week for nominal $1 (FT)
“McGraw-Hill might reap only a nominal $1 by selling Business Week, according to people familiar with the 80-year-old financial magazine’s record of losses. The publisher has appointed Evercore, a boutique investment bank, to sell the title after deciding it was non-core to a group that owns the Standard & Poor’s rating agency and an educational publisher, two people familiar with the decision said,” writes Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.

Sinclair says it might consider bankruptcy (Baltimore Sun)
“The Hunt Valley-based owner of television stations, which depends heavily on automotive advertisers for revenue, said it might be obligated to pay $488.5 million of its total outstanding debt within the next 18 months. The company said it had $1.3 billion in total debt outstanding as of March 31,” writes Lorraine Mirabella.

from DealZone:

Desert Hockey

James Balsillie, the co-CEO of Research-in-Motion, can't seem to catch a break. Having failed in previous efforts to buy NHL teams in Pittsburgh and Nashville and move them to Hamilton, Ontario, he's now been shut out in his bid to buy the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes. Arizona bankruptcy Judge Redfield Baum ruled late on Monday that a June 29 deadline set by Balsillie did not allow enough time to settle the complex case. It's a shame things were so rushed. The decision could yet be a game changer for struggling sports franchises.

Balsillie (pictured above enjoying the game from the ice) and the owner of the Coyotes, trucking magnate Jerry Moyes, offered to put together a $212.5 million deal in May, when the franchise filed for bankruptcy protection, to move the team to Hamilton, about 200 miles northwest of Buffalo, N.Y. But NHL says the franchise is contractually obligated to stay in Phoenix.

Being a judge, Baum took the liberty to say both sides are wrong. He rejected Moyes' attorneys' argument that antitrust law allowed the sale and relocation of the Coyotes without NHL approval, and he dismissed concerns of other sports leagues that allowing the Coyotes to relocate would encourage other financially struggling teams to use bankruptcy court to get around league rules.

Charter: The start of the end, or a new start?

Paul Allen’s Charter Communications has officially filed for bankruptcy, citing $24.2 billion in debt and $13.1 billion in assets.

The move has been expected for months. Still, it makes you wonder: Is this a good or bad thing for the company? For the industry?

That depends on who you are. As far as the company is concerned, the action gets its a $3 billion injection from investors.

Paul Allen’s Charter might not be Paul Allen’s after all

Paul Allen, the billionaire who made his money as co-founder of Microsoft, might no longer be the largest individual owner of cable company Charter Communications after it emerges from bankruptcy by April 1.

According to a story broken by Reuters on Thursday private equity firm Apollo Group is planning to take economic ownership of Charter. Allen will retain a 35 percent voting control as had previously been announced. 

Under Allen’s watch as chairman, Charter spent billions of dollars acquiring smaller cable systems across the United States, running up a pile of crippling debt in the process. That debt load led to the company announcing last month that it has agreed a pre-packaged bankruptcy deal with senior creditors which will be filed any day now.

Hey buddy, don’t knock my newspaper!

The 24/7 Wall Street blog’s list of newspapers that it teed up as going out of business this year is making a certain group of people rather unhappy — the people who run those papers. Two of them are so hopping mad that they have aired their complaints to the public.

You can read the whole list on 24/7 Wall Street, but here is what it said about:

New York Daily News:

NY Daily News is one of several large papers fighting for circulation and advertising in the New York City area. Unlike The New York Times, New York Post, Newsday, and Newark Star Ledger, the Daily News is not owned by a larger organization. Real estate billionaire Mort Zuckerman owns the paper. Based on figures from other big dailies it could easily lose $60 million or $70 million and has no chance of recovering from that level

CES: Retailers go into hiding

Were buyers shying away from the Consumer Electronics Show this year or did they just keep a really low profile?

Given the state of retailers — what with consumer electronics sellers like Circuit City filing for bankruptcy protection — it wouldn’t be surprising if they kept away. After all, who’s in the mood for bulk buys of fancy new gadgets when consumers are so tightfisted with their dollars?

There was no International Retail Power Panel, which has featured the CEOs of Best Buy and Circuit City in the past. And the one retail panel advertised on the CES website earlier — International Success Stories from Retail — was also cancelled today, without explanation.