Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

Big oil is just getting bigger, and it's potentially not a good thing.

As oil firms grow, response may slow to crises like Gulf oil spill -- "Halliburton is among the most diversified oil-industry firms. In its $240 million purchase of Boots and Coots -- which is still pending regulatory and shareholder approval -- it sought to buy a company whose services are 'designed to reduce the number and severity of critical events such as oil and gas well fires, blowouts, or other incidences due to loss of control at the well' through both preventive and emergency response services."

But... "There is a potential problem with companies becoming so large that they can't provide the focus needed on specific services and on the execution of those services," says Mr. Sheridan."

Are huge companies who buy up small specialty companies getting too cozy about how many services they can offer and at what scale? Diverse services can be a plus, but not when they're unregulated and drowning in a giant whirlpool of other offerings.

Making policy against new policy.

Business owners to fight fed in-sourcing -- "The Obama administration inexplicably is trying on the one hand to spur small businesses to create jobs, while on the other it's pushing a policy to reduce federal contracting. The mixed message leaves the former top federal procurement officer worried about what small-business owners can do to survive."

"That's why Washington, D.C., lawyer Robert Burton, who once headed the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, is helping form the Small Business Coalition for Fair Contracting. Burton wants small businesses to have a voice as the administration muddles along with its contradictory goals."

Burton and his coalition seek to create policy where the government would actually have to conduct thorough cost analysis of their jobs before in-sourcing -- if it's cheaper to stay with a private contractor, then that's who the job should go to. Sounds like it might be a bunch more bureaucracy in the short term, but more fair for the future.

A quick fix, or real global economic change?

China Currency at Strongest Level in Nearly Two Years -- "Officials from Japan to Thailand to Germany on Monday hailed China's pledge Saturday to "proceed further with reform" of the exchange rate and 'enhance' flexibility as a potential boon to their exports and national economies. Many economists believe the stronger renminbi will increase the purchasing power of ordinary Chinese citizens and companies, helping promote global trade in one of the world's largest markets."

"But China on Monday continued to play down the significance of the renminbi's value in helping to re-balance the global economy. A commentary in the state-run China Daily placed the onus on global leaders to overhaul the global financial system."

Let's see how the Group of 12 Global Summit goes...

More on Chinese currency.

Copper, Oil, Gold Rise as Commodities Gain on China Yuan Shift -- "Copper, oil and corn paced an advance in commodities on speculation demand for raw materials will increase after China, the world's third-largest economy, signaled an end to the yuan's fixed rate to the dollar."

"Oil jumped to a six-week high, gold climbed to within 0.1 percent of its record, and copper advanced for the first time in four days, after China said it may allow the yuan to move higher, making commodities priced in other currencies less expensive for Chinese consumers. China is the world's largest user of copper and the second-largest energy consumer."

There go commodity prices responding to the above-mentioned currency change.


Mass. tech firms eyeing IPO market -- Emptoris: Planning an IPO for 2011? SciQuest's public reception this year could prove a prescient indicator about Emptoris' timing and expected pricing range. Along with ICG Commerce, we now have the potential for three new public companies in procurement (if not more, if you count Rearden as a likely contender in 2011/2012 as well). Now that's progress for the sector!

Sheena Moore

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