COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE CHAMBERLIN

Money in the Morning

It's a merger Monday with about $10 billion worth of deals announced this morning. One with local connections is a new, competitive bid for The Mills Corp. from Simon Property Group. The offer - $1.56 billion - tops a previous bid from Brookfield, which had offered $21 a share. The Simon offer is $24 cash. Simon owns and operates Fashion Valley and the Carlsbad Premium Outlets here in San Diego County. Mills operates several large shopping centers in Southern California including the Ontario Mills in San Bernardino County.

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Another deal involves nutritional supplement company, Herbalife. It has had an interesting history. After founder Mark Hughes died in 2000 the company fell into turmoil and was ultimately bought out by a private group of investors. They relaunched the company with an IPO in 2004 that raised $270 million. The new private buyout proposal is valued at $2.7 billion, not a bad return on investment. However, more bids could be in the offing. The proposal is for $38 a share but the stock is trading this morning above $40, leading investors to believe a higher bid could be coming.

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Congratulations to Kathleen Cochran, general manager of the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. She was honored by the California Hotel and Lodging Association as a co-winner of the Outstanding General Manager of the Year at the group's Stars of the Industry awards event held last week in Santa Barbara. Other local hotels recognized at the event included the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, which picked up an award for Good Earthkeeping, and the Glorietta Bay Inn in Coronado, which was honored for its guest relations services.

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Tiger Woods didn't win a golf tournament this week but he still picked up another big paycheck. Tiger signed yet another endorsement deal, this time with Gillette. He will be joining tennis star Roger Federer and soccer's Thierry Henry to form a trio called the Gillette Champions. "They were chosen not only for their outstanding sporting performances, but also their reputation as icons of true sporting values," said Chip Bergh of Gillette. No word on how much they are getting paid to use the company's products. FYI, I must admit the Fusion razor is amazing. At first I was scared silly to use something with five blades - six if you county the trimmer on the back - but it is about the smoothest shave possible. And, I don't even get an endorsement deal.

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Am I the only one who was annoyed by the bad weather at the Super Bowl? How insulting is it that the NFL has chosen to completely ignore Southern California as a location for the game, simply because we don't have a stadium with enough executive and corporate suites. Instead, we get to watch a game played in a pouring rain. It leaves little doubt that football is just big business with little interest in providing the best product.

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