From time to time, we like to offer you a “big picture” update on recent business tidbits. Nothing in depth, just a quick overview to keep you “in the know.” For instance:
Apparently, Wendy’s International, Inc., the nation’s third-largest hamburger chain with approximately 6,600 locations, is seriously in search of a buyer. By the way, McDonald’s ranks #1 in the industry with 31,000 locations, followed by Burger King with approximately 11,100 locations. Wendy’s was founded in 1969 by the late Dave Thomas in Dublin, Ohio. Last year they spun off their Tim Horton locations as well as their Baja Fresh Mexican Grills. Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, chairman and chief executive fast-food chain operator of Triarc Cos., which operates more than 3,000 Arby’s Restaurants, mentioned last week that they are considering a bid for the popular Wendy’s chain. They are currently a major stockholder. In a related story, Peltz resigned last week as the Chairman and Chief Executive of Triarc. How this may impact plans for the Wendy’s purchase has not yet been revealed.
Hilton Hotels Corp. has announced it has agreed to be acquired by The Blackstone Group LP in a $26-billion deal. As the famous Hilton granddaughter would say, “That’s Hot!” The Blackstone Group already has ownership stakes in LaQuinta Inns and LXR Luxury Resorts and Hotels. Hilton owns or operates 2,800 hotels and 480,000 rooms in 76 countries under such brands as Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites, Conrad Hotels, Hilton Hotels, and Hilton Garden Inns. The purchase will also include the Waldorf-Astoria collection, a super-luxe line that caters to travelers with champagne tastes. While the most legendary Waldorf-Astoria is a New York City landmark, they also boast locations in Saudi Arabia, Hawaii, and Hollywood.
CHRYSLER + CHINA = CHERY DODGE
China certainly knows how to maintain that trade balance. The next made-in-China export heading for our shores will arrive in the form of a CAR. Yes, it’s true. The Chrysler Group just signed a deal with China’s largest automaker, Chery, to launch a low-cost production venture. China has long sought an entry into our car market, and Chrysler has now opened that door for them. The Chinese A1 compact will sell for between $7,000 and $8,000 under the Dodge Brand. The first model should hit our docks in about 2 1/2 years.
AIRLINE INDUSTRY CONTINUES DIVE
I’ll spare you the details and will avoid singling out any particular airline since they’re competitively fighting for that illustrious title of “America’s Worst Airline.” Just know that the first five months of this year have been the worst on record since 1995! The U.S. Department of Transportation reports new numbers signifying the bleakness that most of us flyers have sadly grown to accept as “normal.” Fewer flights are taking off on time, fewer flights are landing on time, more flights have been stranded on the runway, more passengers have been bumped, passengers filed 675 complaints in May versus 449 a year earlier, and lost baggage numbers continued to climb. Based on current trends, don’t look for things to get much better in the very near future.