And the Oscar goes to…

February 26, 2007

images1.jpegAs everyone knows, the Oscars were handed out last night and Martin Scorsese got his long-awaited directing award, not to mention the award for best picture. Since I was reading filings while watching the Oscars, it was hard not to co-mingle the two. Just imagine if awards were handed out for various things companies try to bury in their filings. Sure — I hand out the footnote of the year in late December. But it doesn’t have quite the pageantry of the Oscars.

What would the categories be? How about best late Friday disclosure? Of course, judging by the pile of filings I sifted through last night, it could be more of a cliffhanger than last night’s contest for best picture. This past Friday saw Citigroup (C), Kellogg (K), and Yahoo (YHOO) all file lengthy Ks on Friday afternoon. And there were also interesting proxies by Morgan Stanley (MS), OfficeMax (OMX) and United Technologies (UTX). And there was also an interesting 8-K or two, like this one filed by Dow Jones (DJ), which on the surface looked like a routine credit agreement, but which also included a disclosure about a $1.6 million payout that former Chairman Peter Kann was receiving.

Of those filings, my pick was the proxy filed by United Technologies. Though I’ve yet to see The Departed, it had all the makings of a Hollywood epic, including the price tag. Investors learned just how much Chairman and CEO George David loves to fly. In 2006, he spent $612K on personal use of the corporate jet — one of the largest numbers I’ve seen so far, though, of course, proxy season is still in its infancy. And, as required by the new rules, the proxy also had detailed disclosures on pensions and change in control payments, including David’s $25 million pension. Or the fact that the lowest paid director received $252K last year — not bad for what can charitably be called a part-time gig. Perhaps it’s no coincidence then, that two shareholder are asking for the ability to vote on future compensation.

UPDATE: I’m having some technical difficulties with the site right now due to an upgrade. Apologies for the problems.

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