Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

from DealZone:

Markdown poster child: I’d do it again

With the luxury of hindsight, Saks Chief Executive Stephen Sadove said he wouldn't hesitate to repeat the big markdowns of the 2008 holiday season if faced with the same tough environment that made the retailer the poster child of recessionary sales.

"It was the right thing to do to generate the cash," Sadove said at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in New York.

The sale slashed prices on high-fashion, designer merchandise by as much as 70 percent, prompting a flood of media coverage and a slew of shoppers.

"It took some months to clear out the inventory. All the  questions of vendor relationships --- every one understood very quickly it was the right thing for the business. I would have done it again," Sadove said.

How Leo DiCaprio started a car company

Photo

Henrik Fisker, the storied car designer who has shaped Aston Martins, Fords and BMWs, told the Reuters Autos Summit this week that he now wants a starring role in the green revolution.

But he also wants to make the world safe for sports cars for generations to come.

from DealZone:

Wealthy clients ask about Facebook relationships for kids

Photo

Northern Trust has thought very carefully about how to communicate with its wealthy clients. In the U.S., it says it has people within a 45 minute drive of 50 percent of all of the millionaire households.

It advertises on NPR, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, and local newspapers.

Now it might start “friending” people on Facebook.

“We had a client earlier this year who asked if we could be a friend to their child on (her) Facebook page because the child is a beneficiary of a trust that we manage and they said what better way to get to know my child when they’re awfully remote than to do this through the Facebook page?” said Lee Woolley, President of Northern Trust Bank’s Personal Financial Services division in Boston.

from DealZone:

Diamonds in the rough

Photo

Diamond pictureSomewhere out there are ailing companies in need of a turnaround specialist. These experts -- also known as company doctors -- parachute into troubled businesses to turn their business around.

Funds, such as Oaktree Capital, HIG Capital and Apollo Management, specialise in buying up companies in distress (either through buying equity or debt) and turning them round.

Restructuring calls heat up

After a cool few months, the phones are heating up again for restructuring advisors. 

Michael Kramer, head of restructuring at Perella Weinberg Partners, told the Reuters Restructuring Summit that the calls he gets from possible clients aren’t quite as panicked as early this year. 

from MediaFile:

Tech execs, where would you put a million dollars?

Photo

Most top technology executives are used to juggling businesses worth hundred of millions of dollars, yen or euros. But this week at the Reuters Technology Summit, we asked: if we gave you $1 million to invest anywhere -- but not in your own company -- where would you spend it?

INTERNET / STARTUPS

If you want the quick answer, I would invest it in Twitter.  I'm sorry that we weren't in it. I don't know where it's going and it would be a fun ride.

Nasdaq president to finance companies: come hither

Photo

A fertile planting ground for tech, biotech and even some energy offerings, Nasdaq OMX has historically struggled to lure listings in some other areas, notably financial services.

Now, that could be about to change, Nasdaq OMX President Magnus Bocker said at the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit. As Nasdaq looks for ways to attract new listings and end a virtual drought in IPOs, it sees financial services firms as one of the most promising areas.

from DealZone:

Little orphan brandie

Photo

FOOD-SUMMIT/B&GB&G Foods Inc wants the small, orphan brands that no one else loves. 

"We have a laundry list and any number companies that we talk to on a regular basis," said B&G Chief Executive David Wenner. "We're buying all these things people don't want to run."

B&G pointed to the success of its acquisition of Cream of Wheat, saying "no one was paying any attention to it. So that's where we come in."

from DealZone:

Shane Kim’s crystal ball: videogame deals, new content

Photo

Microsoft's videogame chief Shane Kim came by our New York office this morning for the Reuters Media Summit and shared his thoughts on XBox 360 sales ("cautiously optimistic") and the outlook for the gaming industry amid the economic doom-and-gloom ("Who knows, maybe flat performance will be considered a remarkable achievement").

He also gazed into his crystal ball and served up some insights on the trends shaping the gaming business.

  •