Food concession company Aramark is expected to launch its roadshow next week, as it prepares for what could be a $1 billion initial public offering. The purveyor of hot dogs in stadiums and on college campuses is heavily leveraged and some wonder if it is really a billion dollar business.
University of Florida finance professor Jay Ritter doesn't know if he’s ever eaten an Aramark hot dog. But if he did, it was probably at the stadium where the Gators play football.
"I’m sure I have although," he adds. "I’m more focused on the game than who owns the concession stand."
Ritter is an IPO specialist. He says, while Aramark’s hot dogs may not be memorable, what’s noteworthy is that it’s one of only a few companies to go public three times.
"There have been three other companies that have gone public, then gone private, gone public, gone private and then gone public again," Ritter says.
One reason Aramark is going public this time is debt -- the company is carrying nearly $6 billion.
Which, according to supermarket guru Phil Lambert, "It’s larger than probably it should be."
Debt is one of the company's problems, but, Lambert says, another more entrenched issue for Aramark is that people are eating out less and skipping the concession stand altogether.
"People just aren't willing to spend that $10 for a hot dog anymore," he says.
Today's a day to share, so that's why I want to share this moment: Two girls are on a city street, trying to figure out who's going to be friends with the nastiest person they can think of. Not an easy problem, but they solve it. Gorgeously.
Millions of people will head to the movies this weekend. It's one of the biggest opportunities for blockbusters and movie studios to rake it in. But it's also a time when some people will try to bootleg new movies. With good cameras and audio equipment becoming smaller and more powerful all the time, the issue is becoming an even larger concern for the film industry.
A new company called PirateEye is helping the situation by installing a technology that uses lasers and sensors to find camera lenses in the audience and alert the theater. Brian Dunn, CEO of PirateEye, says the technology originated for use in the military to detect snipers, but his company adapted it for use in movie theaters. He tells Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson of one example of catching somebody real-time in a theater in the Bronx trying to bootleg a movie.
"A guy showed up at Friday at 11 o'clock for the first show and pulled out his camera and we captured the evidence and New York City police arrested him."
Dunn says the company is testing other practical applications of PirateEye beyond catching bootleggers, such as using the technology for testing audience reactions, demographic analysis, and developing applications to make pre-show advertising more relevant.
Brian Dunn, CEO of PirateEye, spoke with Marketplace Tech Ben Johnson. Click on the audio player above to hear more.
When it comes to this week's holiday shopping plans, we seem to be looking at another Year of the Tablet. But that isn't the only shopping trend this year centered around gadgets. Smart devices like Wi-Fi capable smoke detectors and home-locking systems that talk to your smartphone are popping up everywhere.
Lindsey Turrentine, CNET editor-in-chief, says these not-so-essential stocking stuffers may be seem frivolous, but they are easy to use and can help get even the least tech-savvy person more connected with gadgets.
Lindsey Turrentine, CNET editor-in-chief, spoke with Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson. Click on the audio player above to hear the full interview.