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VOL. 133 | NO. 43 | Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Corporate Moves, Hardaway on Strickland and Corker Is Out Again

By Bill Dries

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It’s that time when corporate leaders go to their conference rooms – the ones with the Simon-looking conference call orb, with the colored lights taken out, in the center of the table. The attorneys sit next to the CEO to make sure he or she reads the prepared remarks carefully vetted by them and grow concerned as the time for questions nears. The figurative waters of the safe harbor are placid with all statements and forecasts of possible future action having their news hooks filed off by the legalese disclaimer.

It’s always delivered along with warnings about non GAAP measures. And all analysts whose questions are coming through the conference call orb are greeted warmly. Because all involved are committed to delivering value, and a healthy run rate as they chant the mantra of EBITDA.

That said three Memphis-based publicly traded corporations had quite a bit to talk about Tuesday.

Memphis-based FedEx out with a second comment in as many days on the discounts it offers members of the National Rifle Association. The Tuesday statement acknowledges “continuing concerns” and says the NRA uses UPS as its online store. And FedEx says neither it nor founder Fred Smith make donations or do sponsorships with the NRA.

Memphis-based AutoZone announced the sale of two of its divisions Tuesday.

Memphis-based AutoZone  sells off two of its businesses including the Interamerican Motor division – a distributor of replacement parts for imported vehicles. New York-based Parts Authority is the buyer there with the deal expected to close in March. AutoZone CEO Bill Rhodes says the sales allow AutoZone to “focus on our core business.”

Memphis-based ServiceMaster continues a fairly aggressive timeline for its attempt to turnaround Terminix with the purchase of a competing commercial pest management company announced Tuesday after an earlier decision to separate commercial services there from residential services.

More reaction in the controversy over Saturday’s city commemoration of the 1968 sanitation workers strike – specifically comments by CNN and NRP commentator Angela Rye critical of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and his administration.


Democratic state Rep. G.A. Hardaway critical of Strickland as well as he posted on Facebook that he is “excluding myself from your feigned indignation and defensive rhetoric.” The post is a reaction to Strickland’s Monday post on his campaign account. When last we met, I wrote that it was on city social media accounts and had been deleted from there. That was wrong. There was not a posting on the city accounts only on the campaign account.

“Unfortunately, it seems that you've actually proven her point about Memphis leadership, through your pointed and continued obedience to symbolism over substance,” Hardaway said in his Facebook post critical of Strickland.

“I'm also still trying to understand why you claimed not to know who Angela Rye is; however, that may very well explain why you don't understand, much less appreciate, her comments. The irony is that you claim to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through co-opting the spirit of MLK; while perpetuating the very same economic disparities, for which Dr. King sacrificed his life.”


It is Bredesen versus Blackburn in the November race for the U.S. Senate with the August primaries being a formality. U.S. Senator Bob Corker, through his chief of staff, announced in Washington Tuesday that he will stick by his decision late last year to leave the Senate when his term runs out of the end of this year. Politico broke the story in the Beltway. Here is our survey of the reaction.

With Corker’s call as a backdrop, Vice President Mike Pence was in Nashville Tuesday to speak at the National Religious Broadcasters convention there. He proclaimed President Donald Trump as “the most pro-life president in American history” per the AP report. Here is The Hill’s take.

In the run to the May Shelby County primaries, Republican contender for mayor David Lenoir is on the air as of Tuesday with television ads. Rival Republican Joy Touliatos has had billboards up for a while and her TV ads started over the weekend.

The Muddy's bakeries turn 10 years old this week.

Muddy’s marks 10 years in business.

Grizz vs. Tigers.

As promised when last we met, more on the Orpheum’s Broadway series announced Monday evening and what goes into picking shows for Memphis.

In our Memphis Newsmakers segment, CPA Joseph D. Callicutt Jr. talks about the increasing regulatory burden on businesses and being a sponge.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047