Sunday, April 15, 2012

Business News-the bottom line 4/13/12

The Quaker Oats man has gotten a makeover as part of owner PepsiCo’s efforts to reinvigorate the brand. The new look for “Larry” involves a haircut and the removal of his double chin, plus a new logo shape and color scheme. “We took about five pounds off him,” says a member of the brand’s redesign team, but left “a little sparkle in his eye.”
The Wall Street Journal

So much for the paperless office. The average American consumes the paper equivalent of five and a half 40-foot trees every year. Belgium, where the EU bureaucracy translates reams of documents into 23 languages, consumes a world-beating 8.5 trees per person annually.

Goldman Sachs said this week that it sold its 16 percent stake in the media group that owns, after New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote that the site ran ads for sex with underage girls.

ExxonMobil, long the world’s biggest publicly traded oil producer, has been overtaken by PetroChina, which hiked its output to 2.4 million barrels a day last year. Exxon’s output fell to 2.3 million barrels a day.
Associated Press

AFA Foods, a Pennsylvania-based ground-beef processing company, filed for bankruptcy this week, saying that the uproar
over the use of the meat filler dubbed “pink slime” had cut demand for its products. A competitor, Beef Products Inc., announced last week that it would temporarily suspend production at three of its plants because of consumer concerns.

Welcome home to Ikeaville
Ikea wants to be your landlord, said Doug Saunders in the Toronto Globe and Mail. The Swedish furniture giant has purchased a 27-acre expanse of “post-industrial wasteland” in East London and plans to start building a chic modern neighborhood there next year. The area, not far from where the 2012 Olympics will take place, will have 1,200 homes and apartments “priced to appeal to a range of incomes,” plus a hotel and office spaces. Many of the streets will be car-free pedestrian zones, and there are plans for a large underground parking lot. Ikea says there won’t be a Billy bookshelf or Swedish meatball in sight, but the company plans to retain ownership and rent out the homes. “We’re just securing our money long-term,” says Harald Müller, of the property-development division. “And of course creating more profits at the end.”

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