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February 4, 2003

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

CASE Prevails In Unseating Directors At ITEX's Annual Shareholders Meeting

The Committee for the Advancement of Stockholder Equity (CASE) prevailed in their proxy battle to replace the outside board of directors of the ITEX Corporation (OTCBB:ITEX).

On December 3, 2002, CASE announced its intention to solicit proxies to elect a slate of four nominees: Steven White, Eric Best, John Wade and Alan Zimmelman to the board of directors of ITEX, at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The meeting, originally scheduled for January 28, was rescheduled and held on January 31, 2003.

The preliminary announcement at the ITEX annual shareholders meeting stated that the unofficial count for the CASE nominees was approximately 7.5 million votes versus less than half that figure for the outside ITEX directors. The election will be certified February 5 and a formal announcement on the official count will be made by CASE and ITEX at that time.


Bentley Names Savoy As President And Announces Alliance With Venture Capital Firm

In our December 31 issue we reported on Bentley Communications Corporation acquiring Exchangemall.com and Bartercard USA in a stock swap.

Last week Bentley made further announcements which included the appointment of Mark Savoy as its new president, and once the acquisition is completed he will become the company's CEO.

It was also reported that Bartercard USA, a subsidiary of Bentley, has entered into a relationship with Santa Ana (CA)-based Springboard Capital Corp. It's expected that Springboard will provide bridge capital and investment banking expertise to the subsidiary.

Bentley's focus is on developing internet payment methods, wherein barter transactions can be completely automated and settled at the point of sale. (ATM@Home is Bentley's patent-pending technology for online payments.)


Hoteliers Follow Airlines In Move To Web

The nation's largest hotel companies are setting up their own web site, similar to what the airlines have done with Orbitz, the giant online travel site that's jointly owned by the largest U.S. carriers.

The new hotel site, Travelweb.com, will be controlled by five companies that are normally fierce rivals—Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton, and Six Continents.

More than 4,000 hotels have signed up to list with Travelweb so far. Such involvement is the latest indication of just how much online booking is affecting the $77 billion U.S. hospitality industry. (Online bookings are expected to make up 20% of total rooms booked by 2005, and that figure excludes big corporate travel agents. Last year the number was 9%.)

Currently hoteliers are dumping their empty rooms onto various discount web sites, which creates a remarkable windfall for travelers. But the move to cashing out at lower prices, via the web, reinforces the fact that a focus on trading rooms, at higher prices through the secondary barter marketplace, isn't very important to the hoteliers.

The commercial barter industry's lack of size and cohesiveness continues to create a drag on rapid expansionary efforts that could otherwise be made in today's global travel slump.


Economic Stimulus Package Would Help Small Business

President Bush's economic stimulus plan would help small businesses by:

  1. Allowing small businesses to expense up to $75,000 in equipment purchases in 2003, up from the currently allowed $25,000.
  2. Eliminating the inheritance tax permanently so family-owned businesses and farms could be passed from generation to generation without expensive succession planning and insurance.
  3. Speeding up previously approved tax cuts. Two-thirds of people paying the highest marginal tax rates are business owners who include business profits in their individual tax returns.
  4. Abolishing the double tax on dividends, which would benefit 4.1 million small corporations with less than $500,000 in assets, in addition to shareholders of large, publicly traded corporations.

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Here And There. . .
  • Global tourism rebounded in 2002 from a post-September 11 dip. International arrivals rose 3.1% to 715 million, according to a U.N. agency. (France is still the most popular destination.)
  • Air Canada sold a 35% stake in its frequent-flier rewards program to Toronto conglomerate Onex Corp. for $245 million Canadian dollars (US$157 million). The program has six million members plus partnerships with airlines, hotels, car-rental, financial and other companies.
  • China's threat to centers of low wage manufacturing isn't imaginary...India and Mexico are terrified by China's manufacturing prowess and its enormous supply of workers.
  • Have you signed up to receive a summary via e-mail of the Tuesday Report every week? If not, go to the top of this issue (right hand corner) to sign up!
  • A new study by strategic adviser Oxford Metrica reports that interest in the stock-options controversy may be waning. After an initial flurry of volunteers, the number of companies opting to count employee stock options as an expense is fading out. Many companies may be waiting to see if accounting rule-makers are successful in their efforts to push through new rules that would force them to expense their stock options.
  • Clear Channel Communications, the radio broadcaster and live-entertainment provider of massive size (about 1,200
    stations) and considerable presence in many local markets, is rapidly becoming the lightning rod for concerns about media consolidation as the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) moves forward with a sweeping revamp of its media-ownership rules.

    The business has changed rapidly since 1996, when Congress rewrote ownership limits setting off a frenzy of mergers. By last year, the number of radio-station owners had fallen 34% even though the number of stations increased.

    (According to an FCC report, the leading radio operator in each market measured by Arbitron last year drew, on average, 47% of the market's radio ad revenue. The two largest had a combined average of 74%.)
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), challenged by the rise of China as a major destination for investment, has accelerated plans to reduce barriers to manufacturing investment between seven of its 10 members. Intending to phase out all restrictions on manufacturing investment by 2010, they moved the date forward to January 1, 2003.


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Copyright BarterNews 2003. Redistribution of BarterNews content expressly prohibited without the prior written permission of BarterNews.