Trump, Once Again, Falsely Takes Credit for New US Job Creation

Posted in BioBusiness, Career Advice

As  you may recall, one of Trumps major campaign messages to his followers was to”force corporate America to focus on job creation at home rather than abroad.”  In my opinion, Trump’s possible success as President is and will continue to be inextricably linked to fulfilling his promise to create new jobs for out-of-work or underemployed Americans. That said, Trump will do or say anything, including taking false credit, to show his supporters that he can indeed create US jobs.

Yesterday, Trump announced:

I was just called by the head people at Sprint, and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “They have taken them from other countries. They are bringing them back to the United States.”

Later in the day, Sprint said that the jobs were part of a previously announced commitment by Japan’s Soft Bank, which owns a controlling interest in Sprint, to invest $50 billion in the US and create 50,000 new jobs. As you may recall, shortly after electoral college win, Trump met with Masayoshi Sun, the CEO of Softbank who made the announcement and quickly took credit for the announced investment. Interestingly, the investment and job creation plans predated the election. Put simply, the deal was forged long before Trump got involved.

Not withstanding Trump’s penchant for mendacity, it is important to note that since the election, Sprint stock price has risen by 40%, partly on the hopes that it will be acquired by its rival cellphone carrier T-Mobile. While the Obama administration frowned upon telecom mergers because of anti-trust concerns, Sun and his investors believe that the Trump administration may look more favorably on any potential deals with T-mobile or other players in this sector.

Moreover, last January, as part of a restructuring effort, Sprint cut 2,500 jobs in call centers throughout the US and its corporate headquarters. This means that there will be a net gain of only 2,500 new Sprint jobs in the US if the announced positions are ever created or filled (supposedly by the end of fiscal year 2017). In any event, if a merger ultimately does take place between Sprint and T-Mobile, there are likely to be massive job cuts which typically occur after most mergers to reduce duplication of effort at both the technical and administrative levels.

Sadly, it is becoming increasingly evident that Trump is willing to lie or take credit for deals that have little or nothing to do with him when it comes to job creation (or anything else for that matter).  To that point, be wary of anything Trump says or does when it comes to job creation during his administration.  When the smoke clears and mirrors are removed, any announced job “deals”are likely to be in the best interests of corporate America; not hard-working or job-seeking Americans.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

Biogen Idec Caves to Icahn's Demands

Posted in BioBusiness

Biogen Idec today announced that Dr. Eric K. Rowinsky and Dr. Stephen A. Sherwin have been appointed to its Board of Directors pursuant to an agreement with Icahn Partners. Dr. Rowinsky was proposed as a nominee to the Board by Icahn Partners and Dr. Sherwin was selected by the Company as part of its process to identify new directors.

"Under the terms of the agreement, Icahn Partners has agreed to vote its shares at the 2010 Annual Meeting for Biogen Idec’s nominees, who will include current directors Nancy L. Leaming and Brian S. Posner as well as Drs. Rowinsky and Sherwin. In addition, under the terms of the agreement, Icahn Partners will withdraw its notice of nomination of persons for election as directors and its proposal to amend Biogen Idec’s Bylaws to limit the size of the Board."

As you may recall, Icahn tried to wrest control of the company from its current management team in an attempt to force the company to sell itself because Icahn believed that its stock price was undervalued. Since that time, it appears that Biogen Idec executives are seeking to appease Icahn rather than publicly fight with him over the value of the company. Don’t be surprised if Biogen Idec is sold to a large pharmaceutical company by the end of this year.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!


Enzon Pharmaceuticals Redux

Posted in Career Advice

It looks as though Enzon Pharmaceuticals, the first company to successfully commercialize protein PEGylation, finally buckled under the pressure exerted by Carl Icahn, one of its major shareholders.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Carl recently started buying large blocks of Enzon stock to gain a controlling interest in the company to maximize shareholder value. To accommodate Icahn’s "vision" and demands, Jeff Buchalter, Enzon’s Chairman and CEO has decided to spin out a new biotechnology company.  According to an Enzon press release, the new company (to be named later) will get Enzon’s core technology (PEGylation) and its entire preclinical pipeline (i.e.; their RNA antagonist oncology portfolio). Enzon will also invest $150m in the new venture.

So, what does Enzon get out of the deal? It retains ownership of a small, aging manufacturing facility and a portfolio of nominally-performing specialty pharma drugs. I think comments made by Eben Tessari, a financial analyst who follows Enzon, sums up of the essence of the proposed spin out.  He writes: “Maybe I’m way off here but it seems to me in analyzing this deal that the new company gets all the goodies while Enzon is left with a manufacturing plant and a stable of marginal drugs (zero out of four therapies have over $50m a year in revenue). Now, I don’t mean to imply that I think Enzon is a bad company – hell, they’ve managed to make more profit this quarter than any pharma company I’ve ever worked for – I’m just saying they are selling their future based on the advice of a man notorious for breaking up companies and wringing every last dime out of a shakeup.”

Not surprisingly, Jeff Buchalter, the brains behind the deal, thinks it will provide Enzon shareholders with the value that they demand. “By separating these unique businesses into two focused companies, the opportunities for both the specialty pharmaceutical business and the biotechnology business could be substantially enhanced and greater value could be created than under the current structure. Operating separately will allow each company to benefit from greater strategic and managerial focus and appeal to their own unique shareholders. The separation will enable the two businesses to compete more effectively in their respective markets and optimize their business goals, research initiatives and capital requirements. We look forward to creating this opportunity for the shareholders,” said Buchalter.

Jeff, who learned how to turn around failing companies from his former boss Fred Hassan (turn around specialist and current CEO of Schering Plough) ought to know a little something about value. According to SEC filings, last year Jeff made $773,558 (base salary) with $1,162,500 in bonuses for a total cash compensation of about $2 million. In addition, Jeff received just over $3.1 million in equity bringing his total 2007 compensation package to approximately $5.2 million —almost 3 times the amount received by any other Enzon executive.  Not that there is anything wrong with that!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (try Enzon’s spin out, they are flush with cash)!!!!!!