2013 Year in Review: Business
Our year-in-review special looks back at the wacky, weird, and wondrous stories of 2013.
“We’re targeting a generation that only knows how to buy music by the song, so paying for a car by the hour is a natural for them.”— Zipcar chairman and CEO Scott Griffith, after the car-sharing leader announced it had agreed to a $500-million purchase by car-rental giant Avis Budget Group Inc.
PRICE OF EXTINCTION
“The price was a bit high.”—Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Co.—which operates a chain of sushi restaurants—after he paid a record $1.7 million at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market for a 222-kilogram Pacific bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan. That works out to $7,800 per kilogram for the endangered fish, whose numbers have fallen by 96 percent in recent years due to overfishing
THE AMERICAN WAY
A tribunal of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled in January that the valuable Superman franchise belongs to film-and-television giant Warner Bros. This came after a 2008 court victory by the heirs of Superman cocreator Jerome Siegel overturned a 2001 agreement between the parties for their half share of the superhero. An earlier Warner Bros. legal win confirmed its title to the rights formerly owned by the family of Superman’s other creator, Joseph Shuster.
EXTRALEGAL SCRIPT APPROVAL
“It says: ‘We have eyes everywhere; we have a vast surveillance network and we are going to find you and snuff you out extrajudicially, and if we have to torture you, we will, because it works.’ ”—Roger Stahl, a University of Georgia communications-studies professor, about the hit movie Zero Dark Thirty and how it denoted a new propaganda theme coming out of cooperation between Hollywood and Washington, a collaboration that, historically, has saved the big studios many millions of dollars in extras and props expenses
A 59-page RCMP warrant-application document obtained by the National Post earlier this year alleged that engineering-and-construction behemoth SNC-Lavalin paid $160 million in bribes to Saadi Gadhafi, the son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, in return for “the granting of major contracts” to the Canadian company. The unproven police allegations—which included evidence that the bribes bought several luxury yachts, including a 45-metre, US$28.5-million “superyacht”—were used to obtain a search warrant for SNC-Lavalin headquarters.
THE CLOTHES HAVE NO EMPEROR
In March, Vancouver-based exercise-wear manufacturer lululemon athletica recalled thousands of “women’s black luon bottoms” (yoga pants) after complaints that the fabric was so sheer it resulted in semi-transparency. Ultimately, because of outrage over widely reported comments Chip Wilson made regarding the bodies of some of his female customers, the lululemon athletica founder and chairman of the board resigned.