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By Mitchell Young
SANTA ANA, CA: The Values Institute [TVI] released the results of the 2017 National Most Trustworthy Brands Survey, showing Milford based Subway at the top of the quick serve restaurant [QSR] category. TVI says its “a first-ever national survey and peer review effort measuring the trustworthiness of the nation’s largest brands in seven key industries.” Wendy’s landed in second place, followed by Starbucks, Burger King, Taco Bell and McDonald’s.
In addition to the QSR, the survey, measured how well 40 of the largest U.S. brands “connect with their customers,” and found that hotels and electronics are the country’s most trusted brand categories, while auto insurers and mobile communications rank lowest on the public trust spectrum.
BRIDGEPORT: The Bridgeport Bluefish minor league baseball team is being bounced by Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim from the 5,000 seat Harbor Yard Stadium when their lease expires at the end of this baseball season.
The Mayor’s announcement that the city will not extend the lease on the stadium for the team came just days after the mayor threw out the first pitch at special “Legends Night,” recognizing the 20th anniversary of the founding of the team in Bridgeport.
If approved by the Bridgeport City Council the stadium will be converted to the Harbor Yard Amphitheater by LiveNation and local businessman Howard Saffan to feature concerts at the site.
By Mitchell Young
Milford: Change and new energy has been coming to privately owned Subway since the appointment of Susan Greco as its new CEO in 2015. The company established a digital marketing department in 2016 at its headquarters and is expecting to eventually staff it with as many as 150 employees.
Greco however has maintained a relatively low profile since taking over from her brother and company founder Fred Deluca, who died in 2015, after a two-year battle with leukemia.
|Subway CEO Greco, quietly transforming the restaurant giant|
Greco’s first real job with the company was in 1973 as a sandwich artist, but she eventually was responsible for research and development for 24 years, than the operations and marketing departments as well.
The company’s marketing efforts have helped transform it into one of the country’s best known brands, by selling freshness, sustainability, health and low calorie fast food.
The approach has worked, until recently Subway was the second most popular fast food outlet in the US behind McDonalds, Starbucks however, reportedly grabbed that spot in 2016. Company sales are more than $1 billion dollars, but according to Bloomberg News, have declined in the past two years
Greco apparently wants to get the mojo back and she is hoping that a fresh look and modern design will do the trick.
The revamped stores and there are a lot of them to transform, more than 44,000 world-wide, 25,000 in the US will be brightly colored, will ditch the nostalgia of the subway car murals, provide Kiosks for ordering and feature free WiFi.
The company unveiled 12 prototype stores on July 16 and a new logo, fresh veggie display and some new menu items, including “house made” pickles.
Franchise owners that have suffered along with the softer sales and increased competition will be responsible for the cost of the renovations, but he company has said it has plans to help franchise owners pay for the revamp.
New YorK: A federal appeals court Wednesday ruled against MGM Resorts International, the owner of a casino under construction in Springfield, in the first round of what is expected to be a protracted legal fight to stop Connecticut from allowing a competing casino in East Windsor.
The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upholds a judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit MGM filed in 2015 after the General Assembly passed a special act formalizing a process for the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations to seek a town willing to host a casino.
The court accepted Connecticut’s argument that the special act did not bar MGM or anyone else interested in developing a casino from negotiating with municipalities over a potential site, since the 2015 law did not grant the tribes the right to actually build anything. That required passage of a second law.
MGM, the court concluded, had no standing to sue over the 2015 law. In fact, the court noted, MGM’s exclusivity agreement in Massachusetts bars it from developing a casino within 50 miles of Springfield, placing most of Connecticut off limits.
“Because MGM has failed to allege any specific plans to develop a casino in Connecticut, we conclude that any competitive harms imposed by the Act are too speculative to support Article III standing,” the court said.
The bigger question now is whether MGM has legal standing to sue since the Connecticut General Assembly took the second and more decisive step on June 7 of passing a bill granting the tribes the right to jointly develop a casino in East Windsor. The bill awaits Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s signature.
East Windsor, a community of about 12,000 people between Hartford and Springfield, already has granted local approval for MMCT, a partnership of the state’s two federally recognized tribes, to build a casino just off I-91 on the site of a long-vacant movie multiplex.
In issuing its decision, a three-judge panel of the appellate court chose to ignore the legislative fight waged over what would be Connecticut’s first casino off tribal lands since it heard arguments in the appeal on Nov. 28, 2016.
“Our conclusion does not rule out the possibility that MGM’s alleged harm may at some future point become sufficiently imminent. That possibility, though, is at this time only hypothetical and we therefore need not address it,” the court said.
Uri Clinton, a senior vice president and legal counsel at MGM, minimized the court decision in an emailed statement: “We view today’s ruling as nothing more than a matter of timing and remain undeterred in our goal of having the opportunity to compete in Connecticut.”
“If Gov. Malloy signs into law the recently passed Senate Bill 957 the ‘hypothetical’ immediately becomes reality,” Clinton said. “Senate Bill 957 violates the Equal Protection Clause and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution by authorizing two identified tribes — and no one else — to operate Connecticut’s first commercial casino. The Attorney General himself has recognized that MGM’s likelihood of success ‘is not at all insubstantial.’”
In addition to trying to dissuade Connecticut from approving the East Windsor casino, MGM lobbied the legislature to open lower Fairfield County to competition for a casino resort that could draw from the New York City market. Malloy opposed a broader expansion bill as a violation of the state’s longstanding exclusivity agreement with the tribes.
The tribes, the owners of Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun in eastern Connecticut, said the East Windsor casino would blunt the loss of market share to Massachusetts, saving jobs and a revenue stream they share with the state. In return for exclusive rights to gaming, the tribes annually pay Connecticut 25 percent of their gross slots revenues — most recently worth about $266 million.
In lobbying against the authorization bill this year, MGM argued that the legislature cannot exclusively deal with the tribes without violating the Equal Protection and Commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Attorney General George Jepsen warned the legislature that MGM could have a claim.
Some equal-protection and Commerce Clause claims are straightforward: A state, for example, cannot bar an out-out-state company for bidding for state business. But the state is expected to argue that its relationship with the tribes and the question of the third casino is complex, if not unique.
Another challenge for MGM will be to convince a court that its rights were violated by the law allowing an East Windsor casino without competition, even though its deal with Massachusetts bars it from doing business in East Windsor or any place else from the state line to the suburbs of New Haven.
Jepsen’s office declined comment.
By Mitchell Young
Shares of Alexion stock have taken off after being pummeled by concerns about executive turnover at the company and reports of “aggressive sales practices." The C-Suite changes were initiated by new CEO Ludwig Hantson.
The stock was trading at $96.95 as recently as May 26, down from a 52 week high of $145.
On June 14, after the announcement, filling the last of the company’s major management slots, with the hiring of Paul Clancy the day before, as the new CFO. [Clancy was previously with Biogen of Cambridge, MA, see New CFO and A Possible Looming Write Off - Help Boost Alexion Stock ] the stock made a 9% plus gain.
On June 14, Hantson purchased $1.16 million of the stock in the open market at approximately $116 per share. He was joined by Alexion board members Christopher Couglin who picked up $230,000 of shares and Alvin Parven who purchased $100,000 worth, both at around $116 per share as well.
New Haven Magazine