Odds & ends …

April 5, 2010

The long weekend brought a bounty of riches to the footnoted table: some amusing, some intriguing, some just odd. Rather than focus on just one, we decided to take a quick spin through a few of the more unusual:

Risky eating — The health-reform bill may prove better for your waistline than some restaurant bottom lines. Darden Restaurants (DRI) warns in its latest 10-Q that it doesn’t “expect to incur any material costs” from a health-reform provision requiring calorie counts on some menus. Still, it cautions, the company “cannot anticipate any changes in guest behavior resulting from the implementation of this portion of the law, which could have an adverse effect on our sales or results of operations.” Indeed. Pass the unlimited salad and breadsticks, please.

Villas galore — The housing bust and economic malaise may be bad for Stephen A. Wynn and Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN), but at least there’s a silver lining: free Las Vegas housing. In a new lease executed March 18, Wynn got two fairway villas “to serve as Mr. Wynn’s personal residence” while his employment agreement lasts (and it’s not set to expire until 2020, when Wynn will be 78), the company tells us in its latest proxy. For tax and SEC-reporting purposes, the villas will be valued at $503,831 a year, reset every two years. “Certain services for, and maintenance of, the fairway villas are included in the rental,” the proxy notes. (We can’t help but wonder how much Steve Wynn actually uses his Las Vegas housing, given the $1.2 million he racked up last year in personal use of the company’s aircraft.)

Layoff envy — Newspaper chains have resorted to layoffs and unpaid furloughs for some time now, and McClatchy Co. is no exception. Even Chairman and CEO Gary B. Pruitt took an 11.5% cut in salary, dropping to $976,250 from $1.1 million, the chain’s latest proxy tells us. Of course, if he’s laid off, his goodbye might not be recognizable to some of McClatchy’s former inky wretches: For being fired “without cause” — that’s a lay-off to most of his workforce — he gets $5.3 million, largely thanks to severance provisions in his contract. And if he just decides to quit, he still gets $460,000 in stock, thanks to accelerated vesting. That’s on top of the $10 million in pension benefits he accumulated through the freeze of the company’s plans last year.

Image source: PlastiKote



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