Case Rip Cord's French Vacation

The AOL Time Warner Merger: “Despite…problems Disney’s media might was not to be ignored: the company owed [sic] seven theme parks, 270 hotels, two cruise ships, 728 stores, 10 television stations, as well as the ABC network, nine international Disney channels and 42 radio stations.” “Owing” all that seems like it certainly might bust into one’s media might. What’s their Debt to Equity Ratio again?

The Breakup of AT&T: Many excellent quotes in this case, pointed out by Wendy Ware, NF Social Chair. CEO Mike Armstrong, on AT&T’s 30% stock rise in the first three months of 2001, despite the horrible returns of other tech stocks, “Now we’re queen of the pigs!” The CEO of Global Crossing, an AT&T competitor, said “I don’t want to be anyone’s dumb pipe,” which left French scholars smirking. AT&T’s CFO was worried about their smaller competitors giving them “a death by a thousand duck bites.” And how coincidental is it that the CFO visited HBS classrooms on a Thursday, and a front page article in the next Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal says AT&T is reconsidering its break-up plan?

Parenting Magazine: Founder Robin Wolaner is creating a new magazine for new Yuppie parents, and her initial test mailer asks “Can You Still Be Lovers Now That You’re Parents?” This leads to an article in the planned debut issue, “What happens when two single parents find each other in a romantic way, and things get personal, and, well, intimate? How do you get intimate, or should you, when there are small children in the house?” The magazine also promises that “cartoons will appear throughout Parenting, breaking up solid pages of text and enlivening even the most serious writing.” Is it any wonder that Wolander’s first job was at Penthouse, and that she was originally backed by Playboy? Sounds like the same basic stuff, only the nude models will be much, much younger.
Boeing vs. Airbus: How great is it that we do this outdated case just to watch the video of the French former Airbus CEO be so incredibly pompous? Did he actually swear at the US in an HBS classroom? Why, yes, it seems he did!

Gerber Products: Baby food is moving into Poland, where they have better named political parties than we saw in the Russia case. The Beer Lover’s Party, The Give Us a Chance Party, and the Alliance of Women Against the Hardships of Life Party all won seats in the Polish parliament. Alex Adler, NF, was also keen to point out the interesting quote, “Solidarity splintered into a number of rival factions.” And Gerber, planning to tap the French market from their Polish factory, apparently didn’t learn so well from GM’s failed introduction of the Chevy Nova into Latin America. Just as you shouldn’t try to sell a car whose name means “Doesn’t Go” in Argentina, trying to sell mushy canned bananas with a brand name that means “barf” in French-well, wouldn’t expect such a high market penetration there either. Especially not if the Airbus CEO has any say in the matter.

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April 2, 2001
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