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The weekly newsletter for everyone interested in barter--the world's most versatile business tool!

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March 5, 2002

Detwiler Says Barter Business Is Booming!

Fred Detwiler, President of Detroit's Trade Exchange of America, declares that business has never been better. The 5,000 member trade exchange reports a 25% increase in income and trade volume over the past twelve months. "Innovative business minds turn to barter," Detwiler exclaimed, "when businesses are conserving their cash resources during a faltering economy."

Trade Exchange of America operates multiple regional offices in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Detwiler is a founding member of the International Reciprocal Trade Association. For more information go to www.tradefirst.com.


Door Opened For Further Mergers Of Broadcast Media

We can look for further consolidation efforts among the media as rules against regulation were struck down by a federal appeals court last month. This means that ownership by big media companies, of cable systems and local broadcasters in the same market, can now take place.

In short, the new ruling will make it easier for the networks to continue buying as many of these highly profitable local broadcast stations (their affiliates) as possible.

Consolidation within the media industry is still behind that of such industries as pharmaceuticals and aerospace. There's now 100 media companies worldwide with more than $1 billion a year in revenue. It's expected that consolidation will create media platforms with the leverage and scale to introduce services widely and economically.

For the barter industry this consolidation is a two-edged sword. Ownership of more inventory (stations) does consolidate management, making a relationship that much more valuable. However, it can also reduce possible sales opportunities, if one is unable to work with the management. Furthermore, consolidation can lessen competition in certain markets, which makes for a tougher sell.


FASB Changing Synthetic Lease Rule

The Financial Accounting Standards Board sets the "generally accepted accounting principles" used by U.S. corporations. And they're talking action on a financing vehicle--synthetic leases--that has been used to hide real estate loans, and is considered to be a contributor to Enron's collapse.

In short, such a lease provided the tax benefits of real estate ownership while keeping the debt off the company's books. This obscures the extent of a firm's liabilities and exposes it to interest-rate risks.

Currently synthetic leases are used by more than 2,000 companies in the US, which means they will have to add more than $100 billion in debts to their books (cumulatively) after the new regulations are passed.


Here And There. . .

  • MGM and NBC have formed a venture to spearhead their barter sales efforts in a bid to expand sales of their television properties. The new venture will be based in New York and led by MGM media sales executive vice president Michael Daraio.

  • North Korea and Thailand are working on "accounts trade," a form of barter wherein cash is only used to make up the difference in the value of goods. The barter arrangement will see Thai sugar exchanged for North Korean fertilizer.

  • Bartercard UK is seeking to raise £1,699,999.60 through an offer for shares at £1.30 each.

  • Boutique hotels are being shunned today. A far different scenario than just a couple years ago, when customers were willing to pay premium prices for chic lodgings. Cost was not a concern because they were intoxicated with their company's growth prospects.

    Presently, business people staying in such hotels are not seen as a serious player. As a result the average daily rate at such hotels dropped a staggering 23% last year. As a result, hoteliers will be designing more comfortable, not so provocative rooms with more lighting, and not rely on having the coolest lobby or bar...as today's travelers have re-focused on value and service.

  • In the past six months, an estimated 75 barter clubs have sprouted up in and around Buenos Aires, and weekend "cashless barter markets" where people go to trade with one another using "barter vouchers" have mushroomed as well. (Vendors accept barter vouchers from each other, as well as from shoppers.)

    It is estimated that some 2.5 million Argentines flock to these sites to trade everything from food and clothes, to cars, property, and even holiday trips.

  • In 1998 BarterNews reported that George Bush, Sr., traded his speech making efforts at Global Crossing conferences in Tokyo and Barcelona for stock in the still private firm. Four months after making the barter arrangement, in lieu of his usual $80,000 speaking fee, Global Crossing went public. In 1999 and 2000 Bush cashed out of the stock for more than $4.5 million when he sold that stock, according to the SEC.
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