Thursday, July 24, 2008

Unisys in fight over building signage

There are times when marketing can go too far.  Unisys has done just that.  But, I wonder if they have an ulterior motive.

Earlier this year, Unisys announced that they were moving their corporate headquarters from Blue Bell, PA to downtown Philly.  Why?  Its a long story that is directly tied to their revenue or lack thereof.  They have had such horrible financial results over the course of many years.  Because of that they sold the campus they currently call home and leased it back from the new owners.  They have continued to shrink from what was once a $20 billion dollar company to around $5 billion and the space is just too big for them.  The thought, I assume, was get out of Blue Bell (because their lease is expiring,) and move downtown to get themselves back in the mix.

They chose one of the new Liberty buildings and they will occupy a couple of floors.  But, they want to put 2 16-foot high lighted signs on the sides of the building.  Are you kidding me?  If they had half of the building, maybe.  But, they only have 2 floors. 

So, the whole thing is now before the zoning board and there is a battle brewing.  Rumor has it that no one wants to go to the new Philly office because of the city wage tax, the additional commute, the cost of traveling downtown, etc.  They are literally struggling to find 150 people to move there.

Maybe they are using this sign issue as a way to get out the move.  Maybe they are hoping that they lose the battle and can get out of the deal.

As an ex-employee of Unisys, I can not believe that Joe McGrath still has a job (or many of the executives for that matter).  What was once a great company is no more.  Take a look at their Income Statement.  Yahoo! has the income statements for the prior three years and each year they have lost millions of dollars.  Yet, McGrath continues to get raises and bonuses while good people are laid off.  And the ones that are still there are being treated so poorly it is unethical.

MMI wants to split the company up.  Its unfortunate that it has gotten to that point, but it is the only option left.  But, first, fire the management team. 

I saw the writing on the wall and got out in 2006.  The company is out-of-business, dead-in-the-water, finished.  They just don't know it yet.