5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending April 24

This week's roundup of companies that had a rough week include the unraveling of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable mega-merger, bad financial news from MobileIron, more bad financial news from Unisys, the impact of employee cutbacks on financial performances at Citrix and EMC, and a Japanese utility company and nuclear plant operator with 48,000 PCs still running Windows XP.

Comcast Abandons Bid To Acquire Time Warner Cable

It was a blockbuster deal, combining the two largest cable operators and potentially reshaping the telecommunications industry landscape. But this week Comcast's plan to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion is dead, dead, dead.

Pressure against the unraveling deal had been building from regulators, consumer groups and other interested parties. Earlier this week reports surfaced that Comcast executives were running into stiff resistance from the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Justice Department, both of which needed to approve the deal.

Reports began to surface Thursday that Bloomberg was pulling the plug on the acquisition altogether and the two companies confirmed the news Friday morning. It was a tough week for Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and other company executives who struggled to win what was ultimately a losing battle.

MobileIron Shares Plunge After Earnings Warning And CFO Resignation

Mobile device management technology developer MobileIron was in crisis mode this week when its chief financial officer resigned just as the company posted disappointing preliminary first-quarter results. The news sent shares of the company's stock plunging as much as 29 percent Thursday to below $7 before recovering a few percentage points by the close of trading.

The preliminary earnings report for the first quarter ended March 31 put revenue in the range of $32 million to $33 million, below earlier guidance of revenue between $34 million and $37 million. CFO Todd Ford, meanwhile, is leaving for a position with another company and his departure, according to a MobileIron statement, was not due to "any disagreement with the company's accounting principles or practices or financial statement disclosures."

Unisys Plans $300M Restructuring, Layoff Of 1,840 Employees

MobileIron wasn't the only company wrestling with bad financial news this week. Unisys, which has been struggling for some time to return to a growth footing, will lay off 1,840 employees as part of a $300 million restructuring.

The bad news came Thursday during Unisys' fourth-quarter earnings announcement. The company reported anemic revenue growth of 1 percent for the quarter to $721.2 million -- well short of Wall Street's expectations of sales in excess of $736 million.

The company also reported a $15.8 million loss. That was actually good news because financial markets had expected worse and it represented an improvement from the $34.2 million loss reported one year earlier.

Job Cuts At Citrix And EMC Contribute To Revenue Shortfalls

Memo to executives: If you lay off employees who generate revenue for your company, you might, um, generate less revenue.

Citrix this week reported first-quarter sales of $761 million, up 1.3 percent year over year, but well below the company's earlier guidance. In January the company said it would lay off some 900 workers and in this week's earnings report CEO Mark Templeton said the cuts "had a greater near-term impact on our execution than we anticipated."

EMC this week likewise reported a shortfall in its first-quarter storage technology sales, a stumble that CEO Joe Tucci blamed on poor execution. EMC cut some 1,500 workers from its Information Infrastructure business during the quarter and David Goulden, CEO of that business, said those cuts impacted storage sales.

Japanese Nuclear Plant Operator Still Running Windows XP

Companies that continue to run PCs with the unsupported Windows XP operating system have been warned they face significant security risks. So you can imagine the embarrassment of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy complex, when a watchdog agency report said TEPCO was still operating 48,000 Internet-connected PCs running Windows XP.

According to a story on The Register website, Japan's Board of Audit investigated TEPCO operations and discovered the Windows XP PCs. The utility company reportedly did not upgrade the PCs as a cost-saving measure, the story said. The Board of Audit, which oversees the finances of government agencies, has strongly suggested that TEPCO accelerate its PC upgrade schedule because of Windows XP's insecurity, the story said.