Orbitz at the Friday night dump…

September 27, 2010

It seems like such a clichâŸ: bury the stuff you hope your investors never find out about after the market closes on Friday. Indeed, it’s almost as much of a clich⟠as the Monday morning merger announcement, of which there are several this morning, including Wal-Mart’s (WMT) $4.25 billion deal to buy Massmart in Africa and Southwest Airlines’ (LUV) $1.4 billion bid for AirTrain (AAI).

But here at footnoted, we live for those Friday night filings. While we don’t exactly throw a boozy party — after all, there’s liability issues to think about not to mention the fact that Sonya, Theo and I are in different parts of the country — we do spend a fair amount of time digging through those Friday night filings. And the one sentence 8-K that Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) filed at 5:23 last Friday — just seven minutes before the SEC stops accepting them for the week — is clearly one of the better examples of a classic Friday night at the SEC filings dump. Here it is in all its glory:

On September 21, 2010, the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors of Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. approved an increase in the annual base salary for Barney Harford, President and Chief Executive Officer, from $675,000 to $825,000, effective as of September 22, 2010.

We checked Orbitz’ news releases and needless to say, they didn’t put out a presser on this one. Perhaps that’s because there’s no easy way to announce that the CEO got a 22% raise. Why 22% and why now? The filing doesn’t provide any of those details. But a quick skim of Orbitz’ filings shows that when Harford was hired in January 2009, his base pay was $625K, according to his hiring letter, so this is his second raise in under two years.

While Orbitz stock has outperformed the market since Harford came on board, it hasn’t done quite as well as two of its competitors: Priceline (PCLN) and Expedia (EXPE), which is where Harford was before he was hired by Orbitz.

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