It was just last week that Ford Motor Co. surprised many by reporting strong first-quarter results.
Ford's long-term strategy of emphasizing global growth was credited in large part with that performance: “We had a challenging first quarter due to market conditions and the slowing economy,” said chairman & CEO Mike Bannister according to a news release. “However, our strong underwriting and risk management practices continue to generate high-quality assets. Our global transformation begun a decade ago has laid a solid foundation to help us weather challenging business conditions.”
The only shame is that the folks in the Glass House did not see the outside world clearly enough to have started the "global transformation" long long ago, as their competitors in places like Toyota City did-- long long ago.
The view from this glass house is looking up lately...
But don't take it from me that one of our nation's industrial powerhouses is back on track. Nope, much better to listen to gazillionaire gadfly and corporate raider extraordinaire Kirk Kerkorian. According to The New York Times this morning, Kerkorian, via his Tracinda Corp. investing arm, "had acquired a 4.7 percent stake in the Ford Motor Company and planned a $170 million cash offer for an additional 20 million shares."
This bid of course follows Kerkorian's earlier attempts to buy Chrysler and also attain a big enough stake in GM to influence its global course.
Ford execs, not to mention members of the still-ruling family, are perhaps less than joyful about Kerkorian's appearance at their gates. “We welcome confidence in Ford and the progress we are making on our transformation plan,” said a statement issued by the autmaker and reported by The New York Times. “Any investor can purchase Ford shares, which are sold on the open market. The Ford team remains focused on executing our plan to transform Ford into a lean global enterprise delivering profitable growth for all.”
They might not like having crafty old Kirk trying to gain leverage on them; that is understandable. But getting that kind of attention does show that Ford's latest "better idea" is working... and what's bad about that?