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By Jason Stipp | 12-09-2010 05:18 AM

Five Tough Negotiations

Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser on Fortune Brands' future, tax-cut tensions, Google's quest for Groupon, and more.

Jason Stipp: I am Jason Stipp for Morningstar and welcome to the Friday Five. From Wall Street to Main Street, Washington, D.C., isn't the only place that some tough debate is going down.

Here with me to offer five tales of tough negotiations is Morningstar markets editor, Jeremy Glaser. Jeremy, thanks for joining me.

Jeremy Glaser: Jason, I tried to bargain you down to four this week, but I guess it wasn't successful.

Stipp: It's a tough negotiation, Jeremy.

What do you have for the Friday Five this week?

Glaser: Well, this week we'll look at Bill Ackman's negotiations with Fortune Brands, with the tax bill negotiations on Capitol Hill, with Lululemon's one-sided negotiations, Groupon's negotiations with Google, and finally we'll take a look back at Ideas Week and see some negotiations that have emerged there.

Stipp: So Fortune Brands in the new this week; this is kind of an interesting company with a variety of different brands. What's the story with them, and what's the plan for the company?

Glaser: Activist investor Bill Ackman finally convinced Fortune Brands to split up. Now this is a company that has businesses that range pretty widely. So you start with Titleist golf clubs and you have Moen Faucets and you have Jim Beam and you have Master Lock, and all sorts of fun brands all under one umbrella, but there isn't lot of synergy between them.

A lot of investors have thought for a long time that there is lot of value in breaking those brands up and then selling them off to companies that can handle them better or [to be] just standalone entities that can really focus on plumbing or focus on golf. So they are going to split the company into three, with the golf, plumbing fixtures, and the alcohol. I think that this is a plan that makes a lot of sense. It's a long time coming. It's a negotiation that I think everyone is glad is finally coming to an end.

Stipp: In Washington, D.C., there's some bitter negotiations going on right now over the future of tax policies. It's something there's been a lot of back and forth; it seems like they are coming to an agreement. What's your take on the negotiation?

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