The Week in Business: Profits, Losses, and Everything in Between

Another hiccup for AT&T, American Airlines's parent company gets delisted, and San Antonio will now be the mechanic for America's most famous plane.
Sat January 7, 2012 1:37 am
iStockphoto | gioadventures

The Texas economy is one of the most robust in the world. Wildly profitable companies and ingenious entrepreneurs call this state home, and what happens here influences businesses around the nation. Here’s a slice of the profits, losses, big deals, and backroom decisions happening across Texas this week.  

AT&T/TiVo Settlement: Signed, Sealed, DVRed 
Another year, another financial setback for AT&T. The Dallas communications conglomerate agreed to a $215 million settlement with TiVo this week, concluding a long-running patent dispute. In the lawsuit, TiVo claimed AT&T’s digital video recorder service infringed on patented technology that allows users to pause and rewind live TV, according to CBS MoneyWatch. Unsurprisingly, TiVo shares shot up twenty percent the day the big settlement was announced.

The Bottom Line: TiVo is fighting its patent battle on multiple fronts: In May it accepted a $500 million settlement offer from the Dish Network, and it currently has Verizon in its legal crosshairs.

Financial DisAAdvantage
Shares in the bankrupt parent company of American Airlines were bumped from the New York Stock Exchange this week after a month of steadily dismal performance. AMR Corp. stock declined nearly eighty percent in 2011, culminating in the Chapter 11 filing in November. Businessweek reported that the company has lost a staggering $11 billion since 2001.

The Bottom Line: Much to the chagrin of airline employee unions that locked horns with AMR in labor disputes last fall, a recent review of the company’s assets turned up an interesting finding: a $30 million London townhome was used “for corporate functions from time to time,”  Reuters reported.

Proposed Pipeline Pair Prompts Predictions of Petrochemical Prosperity
Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners announced this week that it has agreements in place for two major oil and gas pipeline projects to be completed by 2014. The 1,230-mile ATEX Express pipeline will transport 190,000 barrels of liquid natural gas per day to Texas from shale reserves in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, the Houston Chronicle reported. In another project, the company will partner with Genesis Energy (also based in Houston) to build a 149-mile underwater crude oil pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico that will move 115,000 barrels of oil per day. 

The Bottom Line: Meanwhile, plans for that other cross-country pipeline—the proposed Keystone XL oil line from Canada—remain in political limbo under pressure from labor and environmental groups.  

Charter Bust
Dallas-based Coach America, the largest tour and charter bus operator in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday. Reuters reported the company has lost more than $200 million in the last two years, accumulating about $400 million in debt in the process. 

The Bottom Line:  Senior casino days and field trips for rich school districts can continue their travels in style. Coach America says it plans to continue operating as usual through the bankruptcy reorganization, with the help of $30 million in financing from JPMorgan Chase.

Biggest Winner: San Antonio Aerospace Industry
DFW may be the airline capital of Texas, but San Antonio can now boast regular visits from America’s most famous plane. The city will become the new maintenance base for Boeing’s fleet, which includes Air Force One and other government aircraft. The move from Kansas to San Antonio will also create hundreds of new jobs locally, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Biggest Loser: Cowboys Fans Everywhere (But Especially in Corpus Christi)
While most Dallas Cowboys fans had to suffer through the team’s 31-14 loss to the New York Giants on New Year’s Day, many viewers in Corpus Christi never even had the chance . The game was blacked out in the entire viewing area of NBC affiliate KRIS-TV, the result of yet another contract dispute between Time Warner Cable and local broadcasters. Fortunately for the station and the cable giant, fans have moved on to refocus their outrage where it belongs—on Tony Romo and Jerry Jones.

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