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Current Topic: Economics

KPNQwest Network Closure Looms
Topic: Economics 6:21 am EDT, Jun 10, 2002

Clients of KPNQwest were bracing for a possible final shutdown of the company's network, as it was unclear whether a last-minute effort to keep it running had succeeded.

KPNQwest's trustees warned that if all outsanding bills were not paid in full by Monday, the KPNQwest network would be shut down. ... It is at best unlikely certain large clients will pay KPNQwest in full.

KPNQwest Network Closure Looms

Auditing Firm Said to Be Dismissed by Adelphia
Topic: Economics 6:13 am EDT, Jun 10, 2002

Adelphia Communications, the troubled cable operator, dismissed its auditors, Deloitte & Touche, yesterday, even as the company appeared to come closer to filing for bankruptcy protection.

Leonard Tow has become increasingly frustrated at the prospect of obtaining new financing for Adelphia. ... Analysts expect the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, since it has a $50 million interest payment on bonds due Saturday that it cannot pay. Bondholders could force the company into bankruptcy if it does not act first.

Auditing Firm Said to Be Dismissed by Adelphia

Young at the Wrong Time
Topic: Economics 6:38 am EDT, Jun  9, 2002

Until very recently, one of the most striking things about our economy was how common it was for young people to make a lot of money quickly. For nearly 20 years, except for a year or two in the early 90's, a college student has been able to gaze out of his dorm-room window and see a well-traveled path to millions. His ability to imagine himself getting very rich very quickly was an ingredient in the modern money culture. ...

That's what 27-year-olds did, strike it rich.

This youthward shift in moneymaking has had all sorts of strange social effects. ...

It would hardly be surprising if the pursuit of passion led ambitious young people to rethink the whole idea of success.

Author Michael Lewis, writing in the Sunday New York Times magazine.

Young at the Wrong Time

The Hangover Years
Topic: Economics 6:35 am EDT, Jun  9, 2002

That was some party we had. But the boom years are long over now, a rapidly receding memory, and we're still reeling a bit from our drunken excess. Unfortunately, this is one hangover that won't be cured with a couple of aspirins and a nap. In fact, this thing could last awhile. ...

The Internet now looks more like a Florida land deal than a New Economy gold mine.

Most Americans got to keep the bulk of their boom-time wealth, an abundance that David Brooks argues has made us more virtuous, encouraging us to work harder to get more.

The Hangover Years

Adelphia Said to Inflate Customers and Cash Flow
Topic: Economics 3:22 pm EDT, Jun  8, 2002

Adelphia overstated its estimated 2001 cash flow (EBITDA) by tens of millions in a complex swap transaction on the purchase of digital set-top boxes from Motorola and Scientific Atlanta.

... In the set-top box transaction, Adelphia would pay $125 for a box that cost $100. That expenditure stayed on the company's balance sheet. But the sellers then agreed to pay Adelphia a $25 fee, which helped increase Adelphia's cash flow because it appeared as revenue without a corresponding cost against it.

... Skepticism about the company's finances has increased on Wall Street, making bankruptcy nearly certain.

Adelphia Said to Inflate Customers and Cash Flow

Adelphia Kept 2 Sets of Books
Topic: Economics 6:05 am EDT, Jun  7, 2002

Investigators have found that Adelphia kept two sets of accounting books for capital expenditures and inflated the size of its subscriber base by as much as 10%. Investigators are also studying the complicity of the company's auditor, Deloitte & Touche.

Adelphia Kept 2 Sets of Books

Moody's cuts Qwest to junk bond status
Topic: Economics 7:04 am EDT, May 31, 2002

Moody's cut Qwest's debt rating because of the telecommunications carrier's uncertain financial condition.

The change affects about $26.4 billion of the company's debt. Most was cut to "junk" status; local phone company debt was cut to one notch above junk status.

The company says that it will become cash flow positive in the second quarter of this year and remain so for the year.

What the company chooses not to mention is that the only way they'll likely achieve positive cash flow is through the sales of the yellow pages.

Moody's cuts Qwest to junk bond status

Animosities Flare in the Struggle Over Adelphia
Topic: Economics 6:55 am EDT, May 31, 2002

A behind-the-scenes battle that has been raging for several days between Leonard Tow, the largest shareholder of Adelphia Communications outside the Rigas family, and the company's board culminated in an angry exchange of letters yesterday between Mr. Tow and Adelphia's interim chief executive.

Here's more background on the latest at Adelphia, which secretly loaned $3.1 billion to the Rigas family. There is a fight for the top in the midst of the Nasdaq delisting, and the key players have strongly opposing views about how to solve the problems. One way or another, it looks like Paul Allen is going to walk away with a lot of assets at a bargain-basement price.

Animosities Flare in the Struggle Over Adelphia

Nasdaq to Delist Adelphia Stock
Topic: Economics 6:29 am EDT, May 31, 2002

Nasdaq will delist Adelphia's stock on Monday for failure to file financial reports, the latest in a series of blows to the nation's sixth-largest cable television company.

Adelphia isn't able to appeal the delisting.

Nasdaq: "This decision is final."

Analyst: "It's like a plate of worms. ... They are scrambling."

And with that, the bondholders will be on their way, demanding cash and forcing the company to sell off its assets. It's about time; the 10K is two months overdue, and no sign yet it will be produced promptly. While asset sales may avoid a bankruptcy filing, they will basically dissolve the company in the process.

Nasdaq to Delist Adelphia Stock

Deutsche Telekom Plans Hefty Job Cuts in Debt-Reduction Effort
Topic: Economics 6:29 am EDT, May 29, 2002

Deutsche Telekom, Germany's biggest phone company, will cut 30,000 jobs (mostly in the fixed-network unit) by 2004 in an effort to save over $9B. The CEO says the top priority is DT's 67 billion euros of debt. They want to sell off many assets, including cable TV and wireless, but can't seem to attract reasonable offers. So they'll sit and wait, for now.

CEO: "Performance is extremely unpleasant; [the slump in the share price is] no longer comprehensible and can only be explained with psychological mechanisms."

Deutsche Telekom Plans Hefty Job Cuts in Debt-Reduction Effort

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