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TK's MORNING BUZZ: There Are Strange Rumblings Emanating From the Other Hollywood -- the One That's Been Eerily Quiet Since Late Last Year

1 Mar, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

There are strange rumblings emanating from Hollywood. No, not that Hollywood -- Hollywood Entertainment Corp., the nation's No. 2 video rental chain that took several big hits late last year and has been eerily quiet ever since.

Founder, board chairman and c.e.o. Mark Wattles won't return my calls. In the past, he was generally quite willing to chat. Insider trading reports on the Web show he acquired 3 million shares in the chain he founded, as a "grant," on Jan. 25, apparently as part of a new compensation agreement that also gives him an annual salary of $975,000 and the option to acquire another 3 million shares contingent upon shareholder approval.

Wattles, of course, had lost most of his stake in the company after pledging his shares as collateral for loans, and by last November was left holding just 2.49 million shares, out of a stash that the year before had stood at 11.1 million shares. Obvoiusly, he's intent on regaining his lost loot.

Even more intriguing is the arrival of a second chairman of the board and c.e.o., S. Douglas Glendenning, who according to insider trading reports now has the same exact title as Wattles.

In the last week in January, Glendenning purchased 80,000 shares of Hollywood common stock, picking up 70,000 shares at $1.09 and the remaining 10,000 shares at $1.12. He now holds a total of 100,000 shares.

Meanwhile, Hollywood's stock price has been steadily gaining ground during February, closing yesterday at $2.06 -- which means Mr. Glendenning, whoever he is, made a very smart investment choice. This, despite a huge debt payment coming up soon (the due date is reportedly March 7).

Stay tuned...

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