Allan Sloan

Stories by Allan Sloan

  • Millionaires Next Door

    WHEN IT CAME TO celebrating Thanksgiving last week, Microsoft's employees were among those with the most to be grateful for. As the holiday dawned, Microsoft employees' paper profits on their stock options averaged more than $1 million per person, thanks to the stock's 80 percent rise in the past year. ...
  • After All, It's Only Money

    WHEN CAN $40 BE worth more than $41.50? When you're comparing the two hostile mega-offers for MCI, the big long-distance company. GTE, the former General Telephone & Electronics, shed its image as a stodgy old phone company last week by lobbing in a $40-a-share bid for MCI. Of cash money. That amounts to $29 billion, the biggest cash offer in history. GTE is plenty competitive with WorldCom's earlier $41.50/$30 billion offer, which would be the biggest all-stock deal in history. The reason: cash is safer than stock, especially one like WorldCom, which is high risk, high reward. The battle was nostalgic. For a few giddy moments, you'd have thought the 1980s were back, a time when no company was too big to be raided and no offer was too big for Wall Street to finance. For the proper fee, of course.For now, the fight is between WorldCom, whose shares have done fabulously well but have more ups and downs than an elevator with hiccups, and GTE, which is offering cash on the...
  • No Hits, Lots Of Errors

    WATCHING AT&T THESE DAYS brings to mind the deathless line uttered by manager Casey Stengel about his 1962 New York Mets, the worst team in major-league history: ""Can't anyone here play this game?'' ...
  • Thanks, I Needed That

    THERE WAS LOTS OF OOHING AND aahing the other day when giant defense contractor Lockheed Martin announced it would spend $11.6 billion to gobble up one of its biggest rivals, Northrop Grumman, and become a megagiant. This purchase, the fifth multibillion-dollar deal pulled off by chairman Norman Augustine in five years, would make Lockheed Martin the dominant defense contractor in the United States. So Augustine and Northrop chairman Kent Kresa took bows, thanking all and sundry for making their combination possible. ...
  • A Tale Of Ups And Downs

    THERE WERE TWO BIG BUSINESS stories that dominated the news this year: ""downsizing,'' which is a polite word for mass corporate firings; and the stock market's gut-wrenching downsizing and upsizing of stock prices. It was real interesting to observe these things. But if you were involved in one of them-- or, God forbid, both--it was more than any but the toughest stomach could take. ...
  • Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

    THE UNITED STATES HAS ALWAYS been the land of the fresh start. Persecuted in your homeland? Immigrate to America. Mess up in the East? If so, go West. Which brings us to Westinghouse Electric, the once great industrial company trying to make a fresh start by plunking down $11 billion to buy CBS and Infinity Broadcasting. In order to boost its stock price and give top managers something fresh and fun to run, Westinghouse intends to break up into two separate companies. One, a sort of dowdy Drusilla, will inherit the venerable Westinghouse name--along with a lot of Thermo King freezers and whatever else remains of the shrunken industrial empire. The second, a yet unnamed broadcast group that is the glamorous Cinderella of the duo, will own CBS and the Infinity radio empire. Guess which the current top brass will run? ...
  • Profits? What Profits?

    WHEN YOUR COMPUTER ACTS UP and all else fails, you reboot the beast by turning it off and then on again, praying that a fresh start will make the problem go away. Rebooting can wipe out a lot of data, but with luck your computer will actually work, if only briefly. America Online, the world's biggest online company, in effect rebooted its financial statements and business plan last week, trying to convince Wall Street that this time it has figured out how to make its first real profits. ...
  • John Walter, Call Home

    THERE MUST BE SOME sort of glitch in the phone lines running from Manhattan to Basking Ridge, N.J., where AT&T's corporate headquarters sprawl across the landscape. How else can you explain how Wall Street always seems to misdial when it comes to AT&T? ...
  • The Howling Wolves

    ARROOOOO! ARROOOOO! THAT BAYING sound you hear echoing through the canyons of Wall Street is the wolf pack howling for someone to blame for the stock-market debacle at AT&T. A year ago, when staid old AT&T announced it was breaking into three pieces, its stock soared and chairman Robert Allen was a hero to the Street. Now he's a bum, with even some of his former fans saying it may be time for him to go. To see why, look at the chart adjacent. You see the stock has fallen 24 percent since Jan. 2, when AT&T announced it planned to cut 40,000 jobs as part of its breakup. Meanwhile, the stock market has risen about 11 percent. This price drop has reached out and touched AT&T's 3.3 million shareholders in the pocketbook, slicing $25 billion from the value of their stock. ...
  • Tales From Cyberspace

    SSST. WANT TO MAKE A SURE BUCK off cyberspace? Well, you don't need to be a programming whiz or a genius in the field of marketing. You can do just fine by earning a doctorate in economics and becoming famous as a passionate preacher against stagnation and economic inequality. Failing that, try getting a law degree. ...
  • What Price Is Right?

    INVESTING OUR MONEY WITH MIchael Price, the superstar mutual fund manager, has always been like handing Michael Jordan the hall in the fourth quarter of a hard-fought playoff game. it's practically a sure thing: slaaam-DUNK! Price usually underperforms hot trend-surfing funds during wildly rising markets, such as those of 1995 and early 1996. But when the going gets tough, when it's crunch time in a treacherous and uncertain market like the one we have today, he's the guy you want managing your money. ...
  • Step Right Up

    BUYING INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERINGS of stock and holding them for the long term is a sucker's game. Owning an index fund is generally just as good, and you get lots fewer heart palpitations. And buying IPOs is a walk in the park compared with buying hot IPOs shortly after they come out. That's because when you chase a hot issue, you're paying a fat premium over the offering price, which is pretty high to start with. ...
  • Stop Kicking Yourself

    OK, WARREN BUFFETT FANS. LISten up. You missed the chance to buy into Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway at $18 a share in 1965, when he took control of what was then an ailing textile company. You didn't buy at $38 in 1975, when Berkshire had become a modest conglomerate. Or at $550 in the early 1980s, when Berkshire was starting to roll and Buffett was becoming a minor investment deity. And you didn't buy at $20,000 in 1994, when he had become a major financial god, and Buffettmania was sweeping the world. Now Berkshire is going for about $34,000 a share and Buffett's Berkshire stock is worth $16 billion, making him the richest person in the United States. So for years, lots of us have kicked ourselves black and blue for not buying Berkshire, thus missing one of the greatest investment opportunities in the history of money. And guess what? Soon we will all get a chance to buy Berkshire without taking out a second mortgage. If all goes as announced, Berkshire next month will offer Baby...
  • Elephant Dance?

    THERE WAS LOTS OF BIG NEWS LAST week at Fidelity Investments, the world's mightiest mutual-fund company. In its biggest shake-up in history, Fidelity shuffled managers at many of its stock funds, including such well-known ones as Blue Chip Growth, Puritan and Asset Manager, whose performance has been less than world-beating the past few months. And it wasn't all that long ago that Fidelity shook up its bond funds, too. ...
  • Going Out With His Boots On

    DO YOU REMEMBER Boone Pickens? You know, the guy with the swagger and the cowboy boots, the guy who 10 years ago was a Wall Street cover boy? The Investor From Hell for entrenched corporate managers, a man who made millions for himself, his Mesa Inc. and other stockholders by successfully raiding the likes of Gulf Oil and Unocal? ...
  • Northrop's Stealthy Deal

    PSSST. WANT TO SEE HOW A COMPANY can get taxpayers to fork over a billion dollars to help it make an acquisition? Perfectly legitimately. Without even having to dodge through obscure tax loopholes? Then take a look at the nifty way one of the nation's biggest military contractors, Northrop Grumman, is buying Westinghouse Electric's defense and electronics businesses. ...
  • Following The Golden Rulers

    Wall Street is strictly a dog-eat-dog place, where the Golden Rule is "He who has the gold makes the rules." But the proposed takeover of Turner Broadcasting by Time Warner has elevated that old greed standard to a new height: "He who rules gets the gold." That explains why cable-TV titan John Malone, who can singlehandedly block the deal, will knock down far more than his share of the gold if the deal gets done on the terms announced 10 days ago. ...