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Current Topic: Economics

Adelphia Files for Bankruptcy
Topic: Economics 6:29 am EDT, Jun 26, 2002

Adelphia Communications, the cable television operator, and more than 200 of its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday in Manhattan after a month of struggling to find an alternative.

... Even under bankruptcy protection, the company's future as the nation's sixth-largest cable operator is uncertain.

Adelphia Files for Bankruptcy

WorldCom Hid Expenses, Inflating Cash Flow $3.8 Billion
Topic: Economics 6:26 am EDT, Jun 26, 2002

WorldCom overstated its cash flow by more than $3.8B during the last five quarters in what appears to be one of the largest cases of false corporate bookkeeping yet.

The problem, discovered during an internal audit, throws into doubt the survival of WorldCom and MCI.

Analysts see bankruptcy as a strong possibility; trying to avoid that, WorldCom will cut 17,000 employees. "The company has made a few giant leaps toward bankruptcy. For a company with $30B in debt [and] a sector deteriorating from competition ... it's not looking good."

Operating costs like basic network maintenance had been booked as capital investments. CEO: "Our senior management team is shocked by these discoveries." SEC: "accounting improprieties of unprecedented magnitude." Analyst: "This is horrible for the industry."

Analyst: "I would be stunned if [the restatement doesn't] trigger bankruptcy. I am almost certain it will. The math doesn't even work anymore."

WorldCom's news rattled investors in other companies.

I told you so.

And now, for something completely different ...

A klaxon blares out a siren and the cattle begin moving up a conveyor belt into the meat packing plant.

Troy: Come on Jimmy, let's take a peek at the killing floor.
Jimmy: Ohhh!
Troy: Don't let the name throw you Jimmy. It's not really a floor, it's more of a steel grating that allows material to sluice through so it can be collected and exported.

They walk through the door of the plant accompanied by the sounds of moo-ing and startled cows. Electricity noise sparks in the background as the camera pans down the length of the factory to a truck marked "Meat For You" being loaded with raw chunks of meat. Troy and Jimmy emerge, with Jimmy visibly pale and queasy.

Troy: Gettin hungry Jimmy?
Jimmy: Uhh, Mr. McClure? I have a crazy friend who says it's wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?
Troy: Nooo, just ignorant. You see your crazy friend never heard of "The Food Chain". [Flash to a picture of "Food Chain", with all animals and arrows pointing to a silhouette of a human.] Just ask this scientician.
Scientician: [Looking up from a microscope.] Uhhh...
Troy: He'll tell you that, in nature, one creature invariably eats another creature to survive. [Images of various wild carnivores attacking and eating other appear.] Don't kid yourself Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about! [Image of a cow quietly chewing cud.]
Jimmy: Wow, Mr. McClure. I was a grade A moron to ever question eating meat.
Troy: [Laughs.] Yes you were Jimmy, yes you were. [Briskly rubs his hand on Jimmy's head.]
Jimmy: [Timid]'re hurting me.

WorldCom Hid Expenses, Inflating Cash Flow $3.8 Billion

Europe set to lose 25% of its Internet capacity?
Topic: Economics 6:48 am EDT, Jun 25, 2002

The epic bankruptcy saga of KPNQwest became still more entangled on Monday as banks joined the clamor for an investigation of the service provider's accounts.

KPNQwest's network, which carries a quarter of Europe's Internet traffic, remains live for now, but could close at any moment as a court order on Friday left the trustees with no money to pay staff. ... The bandwidth that the Ebone European backbone network leases from service providers is likely to be turned off within the next few days.

If you need to get any data from Europe, you should act now. Routing tables will adjust, but congestion is lkely to be a problem.

Europe set to lose 25% of its Internet capacity?

Weighed Down by Its Troubles, Adelphia Nears Bankruptcy
Topic: Economics 7:33 am EDT, Jun 24, 2002

It was inevitable. After more than a month of trying to stave off filing for bankruptcy protection, Adelphia is expected to succumb today to its fate.

The seemingly never-ending accusations ... proved to be too much. Now, Adelphia must reorganize ... Even under bankruptcy protection, Adelphia's future as the nation's sixth-largest cable television operator remains unclear.

Weighed Down by Its Troubles, Adelphia Nears Bankruptcy

For Qwest's New Chief, a Question of Longevity
Topic: Economics 5:35 am EDT, Jun 18, 2002

Is Richard C. Notebaert the right man for the job at Qwest Communications International? And just what is that job, anyway?

Analyst: "Reading between the lines, the board's strategy is to sell the company."

Qwest has described its 190,000 miles of fiber networks as the envy of the industry, enabling it to offer unmatched voice and data packages to customers.

But much of that network is underused. Qwest has to offer discounts of 50 percent or more ...

The failure of Qwest's self-described "new telephone company" model to take hold has led to eight consecutive quarters of reported losses.

For Qwest's New Chief, a Question of Longevity

Telecom Outlook: First the Bad News, Then the Bad News
Topic: Economics 5:28 am EDT, Jun 18, 2002

The turmoil continues in telecommunications, making the long-awaited turnaround increasingly difficult to call. Indeed, in light of a wave of bad news last week and through the weekend, some analysts say the industry's problems could actually become worse before they become better.

Joe Nacchio leaves Qwest; XO files for bankruptcy; Lucent's sales decline 15% in a single quarter; Sprint's debt is nearly junk.

Analyst: "I foresee a near total collapse as the endgame."

Another: "The magnitude of the problem is enormous." 24 of 29 top US telecom companies that have not yet filed for bankruptcy are at risk of doing so in coming months.

A banker's view: "Let the ailing networks rot."

Telecom Outlook: First the Bad News, Then the Bad News

Qwest Ousts Its Chief Executive
Topic: Economics 5:52 am EDT, Jun 17, 2002

Joseph P. Nacchio, the chairman and chief executive of Qwest Communications International, was forced to resign last night by the company's board, executives involved in the decision said.

Nacchio, who has been criticized for often being combative with the company's shareholders, is the latest chief executive of a large corporation to resign amid questions over accounting practices and corporate governance procedures.

Nacchio: "After criss-crossing the globe for five and one-half grueling years to build Qwest, living in two different cities, and having achieved our major goals, I have expressed my desire to spend more time with my family and pursue other opportunities."

Shares of Qwest marched higher in pre-open trading on Monday. Shares crossed at $4.30 in London, and were last around $4.22 in Frankfurt, building on a $4.15 close.

Qwest will webcast a conference call on Monday, June 17, 2002 at 9:00 am EDT. You may access the webcast (live and replay) of the call at .

Qwest Ousts Its Chief Executive

Bankruptcy Concerns Sink Adelphia's Bonds
Topic: Economics 6:09 am EDT, Jun 16, 2002

Adelphia's bonds have fallen to trade at less than half their face value, as investors grow convinced the embattled cable TV provider could be worth even less in a bankruptcy than they had previously thought.

And analysts believe a bankruptcy filing could be near.

As Adelphia shares, once worth $87, trade for pennies, the bonds have lost nearly one-third of their value this week, after the No. 6 US cable TV operator on Monday said it overstated cash flow by nearly 15% for each of the last two years -- by $210 million in 2001 and $160 million in 2000.

Analyst: "The bond prices mean bankruptcy is imminent."

Bankruptcy Concerns Sink Adelphia's Bonds

Lucent Warns on Sales; Its Shares Fall Further
Topic: Economics 6:34 am EDT, Jun 14, 2002

Faced with declining orders from major North American telecommunications companies for its switches and other equipment, Lucent warned yesterday that its revenue in the current quarter would decline as much as 15% from the previous three months.

Under revised credit terms, Lucent can draw on its credit line if it loses no more than $325M in the July quarter, or $300M in the quarter starting Oct. 1.

Lucent CEO: "Service providers continue to constrain their capital spending to conserve cash, which is clearly affecting our top line."

If the telecom market fails to recover within the next year (a distinct possibility), and Lucent's revenues decline at the same rate, they will be operating at 52% of current revenues by June 2003. It would then seem necessary to reduce staff levels much more sharply than is currently planned, making it difficult to keep a coherently functioning organization in place.

Lucent Warns on Sales; Its Shares Fall Further

Bankruptcy of a Division May Signal Adelphia's Fall
Topic: Economics 5:52 am EDT, Jun 11, 2002

Complications mounted yesterday for the embattled cable company Adelphia Communications, as one of its units (Century Communications) filed for bankruptcy protection, two newly appointed Adelphia directors resigned (including Leonard Tow) and the company filed documents showing it had overstated revenue and cash flow for the last two years.

... Some Internet cable services that Adelphia carried had paid the company in stock, which was booked as revenue. When the value of the stock declined, though, Adelphia had not reduced its reported revenue accordingly.

Bankruptcy of a Division May Signal Adelphia's Fall

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