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November 20, 2001

Christensen Out At ITEX As Restructuring Is Announced

With the termination of ITEX president and CEO Collins M. Christensen, 42-year-old Lewis "Spike" Humer, Chief Operating Officer, is assuming total responsibility for day-to-day operations and corporate restructuring.

The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported that the 43-year-old Christensen lost an annual compensation package that totaled $365,213 last year. According to a recent company proxy statement, Christensen remains one of ITEX's eight directors and is still the biggest shareholder, with a 15.1 percent stake.

As part of the restructuring the company announced the reduction of management and support staff from 90 to 70 employees in the corporate and regional offices, which is expected to save the company $1,000,000 annually.

Humer said that ITEX intends to retain the flagship office in Sacramento, along with the New York, Toronto, and Seattle regional offices. However, a transfer of the regional office operations in Portland, Orlando, Houston, Orange County (CA), and Lafayette (LA) will be turned over to ITEX independent licensed brokers so as to reduce expenses.


Two Noted World Business Leaders Say Asia Will Be Where The Action Is!

Viacom Inc. (CBS, UPN, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH-1, Showtime, the National Network, Black Entertainment Television, Blockbuster Video, Infinity Broadcasting and Paramount Pictures) is the only media company in the four fastest-growing segments of the media industry--television, radio, outdoor and cable. And they're the world's second-largest entertainment company...just behind rival AOL Time Warner.

CEO Sumner Redstone, 78, is working exceptionally hard to move into the Asian market because it offers exceptional potential. "We're now making money every place in the world but Asia, where we expect to break even in a year or two."

He's excited about Asia because of the huge numbers, "In the U.S. maximum distribution in cable is 70 million subscribers. In Asia, we've gone from abut 70 million to 150 million subscribers in the last two years. There are 3 billion people in Asia and 2 billion of them are under the age of 35. So we've just scratched the surface."

Jack Welch, former head of General Electric, a company with annual sales of $130 billion, is in awe of the importance of China to the future of world business. "If you make a pie chart of your business plan, leave half of it blank, because Chinese companies will fill that half," Welch suggests.

His prescription for competing in China is to "make Chinese companies your partners not only for China but integral partners in your global enterprise."


Taco Bell and Microsoft's Xbox Game-System Forge A Barter Partnership

A partnership between Taco Bell and Microsoft is bringing something each wanted (another way to reach target customers) in a deal where no money changed hands.

Microsoft's $300 Xbox debuted last Thursday, but before Xbox hit store shelves Taco Bell customers could register to win an Xbox online. Plus each of the chain's 6,700 restaurants are in the process of giving a system away.

In addition, the Taco Bell name has been blended into some of the video games. In Project Gotham Racing, for example, drivers will pass a Taco Bell as they cruise the streets of New York.


Terrorism "Cooperation" Pushes Progress At WTO

In an effort to keep poorer nations on their side in the war on terrorism, US and European negotiators went further than anyone expected to meet the demands of the developing nations.

So, after seven years of bank-room haggling, the 142 nations of the World Trade Organization finally agreed to launch a new round of trade talks that will keep the global economy on track toward freer trade and investment.

Bottom-line: In a landmark shift the US and Europe made big concessions to the developing world--concessions fiercely resisted by pharmaceutical and steel companies in the US as well as farmers in Europe. And the deal also demonstrated the limits of the anti-globalization movement, which successfully blocked any agreement in Seattle two years ago.


Here And There. . .

  • Bally Total Fitness is the leader of the nation's $11 billion health club industry. They're now spending $51 million a year in advertising, up 14% since 1997. I've often wondered why more fitness chains aren't pursuing barter activity with a greater vengeance.

    Trading the initiation fee (that let's you in the door) now ranges anywhere from $630 to $2,175. From a marginal cost point-of-view it's almost nil....yet the trade dollars earned could offset some of that advertising expenses
  • President Bush plans to fill our nation's oil reserve, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to capacity--700 million barrels of oil. It will be done on a barter-type of arrangement, a royalty-in-kind program.

    The reserve will be filled beginning with 60,000 barrels a day, and ramp up to a target rate of 130,000 barrels a day by October 2002. At that rate it will take nearly three years to fill the reserve to its capacity from its current level.

  • Never seen a copy of BarterNews? Go to our home page, www.barternews.com, and click through to the form for your free sample copy. (Due to shipping costs, offer available in US only.)

  • The Santa Monica-based Milken Institute's annual California State of the State Conference said in its annual assessment that the states most likely to benefit from new technologies are Massachusetts and California.

    The Institute, in its "New Economy Index," ranked Massachusetts No. 1 because of the state's research facilities, highly educated population, and venture capital investments. California scored high in such categories as patents issued, exports, business start-ups, and venture capital investment.

    According to Ross DeVol, director of regional and demographic studies for the Milken Institute, "Some people have given up on the new economy because of so many dot-com failures and the implosion of tech stock valuations. That's a big mistake. The Internet and technology will continue to improve productivity, and those regions that can take advantage of high-tech will be rewarded."

  • On another note, it's not the new war on terrorism that created havoc in the financial marketplace, but the bubble bursting of the once traded Internet and technology stocks (at hundreds of dollars) dipping to a few bucks or worse. In the 18 months leading up to September 11, some $6 trillion in US equity investments evaporated.

  • Sales are up at barter "Holiday Fairs" across the country, which are put on by trade exchanges around the country. This is understandable since consumers, according to Deloitte & Touche's annual survey on holiday spending, plan to spend less on holiday gifts. (The National Retail Federation says the average household will spend $940 on gifts, decorations, greeting cards and related holiday items.)

  • Global Crossing Ltd., owner of a network for phone calls and Internet traffic, has completed a $400 million countertrade type of barter deal with Computer Sciences Corp. Both entities will provide services to each other, and jointly agree to market each other's services.

  • Trade exchange owners looking for an easy way to motivate their client base and stimulate more trade activity among their clients can obtain a copy of the 15-year-old, proven, informational marketing tool--The Competitive Edge newsletter. E-mail bmeyer@barternews.com for a sample copy and details. (Be sure to include your complete mailing address in your e-mail...this is not an e-mail newsletter.)

  • The Business For Social Responsibility Conference was held in Seattle last week. It's a non-profit organization founded 10 years ago by companies such as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry's, and Stonyfield Farms.

    The organization, however, has grown considerably since then. In attendance at this year's conference were Microsoft, Ford, Weyerhaeuser, and Starbucks...as well as other large multinational corporations in the world.

    Among the topics addressed at the three-day conference: socially responsible downsizing, improving human rights inthird-world countries, and making corporate social responsibility strategies pay off on Wall Street.

 

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