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Mark Gongloff is off the newsletter this week, so today's 7.5 Things are brought to you by Jillian Berman.
Thing One: The Real Super Bowl Winner: The Ravens may have won the big game, but the real Super Bowl winner last night was actually Twitter. When the power went out in the Super Dome during the third quarter -- a devastating blow for the NFL, CBS and many advertisers who paid top dollar for spots -- some brands took advantage of the blackout by putting themselves in front of Twitter’s captive audience.
Just minutes after the blackout started brands began bidding for the search term “power outage” on Twitter, according to Bloomberg. While television commentators bumbled to stall up time, brands ranging from Walgreen’s to Audi turned to the social media platform and got themselves in front of millions of eyes, the Financial Times reports. And it seemed to work; one clever Twitter post by Oreo was retweeted at least 13,100 times, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile the television ads overall lacked the shock value many come to expect from the Super Bowl. The New York Times writes that many companies, including Century 21 and Coca Cola, relied on tired themes. Still some ads, like those from Chrysler and Taco Bell, stood out, according to the Wall Street Journal. The companies better hope consumers respond; the price of a Super Bowl ad has jumped 80 percent over the last 10 years with a 30-second spot costing $3.8 million this year.
Thing Two: It's Easy Being A Bank In America: Apparently if you’re a bank or a banker, Europe is a tough place to be these days. The U.K. is giving regulators power to break up banks whose behavior flies in the face of the country’s rules, according to the Wall Street Journal. The hope is that breaking up the banks would protect the money that you or I have stashed from risky investment banking by keeping the two separate.
In his speech announcing the plan, Treasury chief George Osborne even took a shot at the America’s lax approach to banking regulation, saying “America and elsewhere, banks found ways to undermine and get around the rules.” In the U.S., three out of the four biggest banks are larger than they were in 2007 before the financial crisis, according to Bloomberg.
At the same time, European investment bankers taking those big risks could have their bonuses cut by 20 percent, the Financial Times reports. The move is an aim in part to return larger piece of the giant profit pie to shareholders. The plan’s other goal: to address “reputational issues.” Good thing they realize they have some.
Thing Three: Bank Of America Still Has A Mortgage Problem: Despite what Bank of America’s CEO and others would have you believe, the bank’s decision to purchase Countrywide in 2008, isn’t the company's only mortgage problem. Even after BfoA acquired the troubled lender, the bank continued practices that put its interests ahead of those of investors, according to court documents cited by The New York Times. The documents claim that BofA’s proposed $8.5 billion deal to settle allegations of Countrywide’s mortgage abuse is too low. In addition, the court filing reveals that BofA didn’t live up to some of its promises to investors who bought the securities attached to troubled mortgages.
Thing Four: Boeing's Never-Ending Nightmare: The owners of the second largest fleet of the Boeing 787 nightmare liner kind of wants its money back. Japan Airlines said it plans to discuss getting compensated for lost revenue from the Dreamliner’s grounding after Boeing addresses the plane’s safety issues, according to the Financial Times. The airline, which currently has 7 Dreamliners, said the grounding will cost it about $7.5 million. All Nippon Airways, which owns the most Dreamliners, said last week that it would seek compensation from Boeing once the became more clear, according to Reuters.
Thing Five: Union Coming To Foxconn: Foxconn, the manufacturer of Apple products once notorious for harsh working conditions, will soon be the site of union elections. Workers at the manufacturers Chinese plants are planning a union vote, according to the Financial Times, in a sign that changes are coming after worker demands. This is the first time such an action has taken place at a major Chinese company and its an attempt to curb the frequent riots and strikes at the company’s factories.
Thing Six: Bad News For Bud: Budweiser is apparently up against a formidable foe in the Justice Department. The agency is using a proven method to fight Budweiser’s parent ABInBev from acquiring Modelo, the maker of Corona -- claiming ABInBev is a bully trying to keep its prices high, according to the Wall Street Journal. The strategy has worked before; the Justice Department blocked mergers from AT&T and H&R Block in 2011. If the agency manages the same feat with ABInBev, it could cost the company billions of dollars.
Thing Seven: Too-Easy Money: The Federal Reserve’s easy money policies are hurting corporate pension funds. And as a result, companies are pouring cash into the funds to shore them up, according to the Wall Street Journal. Ford, for example, expects to put more cash in its pension fund then it spent last year on equipment, building plants and creating new cars. That’s because the Fed is driving down interest rates, and as the rates on corporate bond yields fall, the liabilities for corporate pensions rise.
Thing Seven And One Half: ICYMI, The Super Bowl Happened: In case you were living under a rock, the Super Bowl happened last night. Here is a round-up of the commercials and a video of Beyonce’s performance so you can be sure to be prepared for today’s water cooler chat. You’re welcome.
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