We've had some fun the past couple of days. The whole thing is wearing Your Plainsman out.
But I'm always ready to speculate.
Those of you who have followed this site for awhile have surmised that in my job I encounter internal business decisional processes. I've never encountered one quite like the one facing Cumulus right now, but it seems to me that if Richie Whitt's suggestions are accurate, we might have some notion of what is happening this weekend.
First, we may surmise that what is going on is governed in large degree by their current contracts. I don't recall seeing anywhere that their contracts are in fact expiring, and what's happening now does not necessarily suggest that they are. It is not impossible that their current agreements allow them to receive offers from other stations during the term of that agreement which Cumulus would have the opportunity to match, although that would be unusual. More than likely, Cumulus has that right if Bob and Dan wish to go elsewhere at the end of the contract term.
[PS: I have a specific reason for wondering about whether Bob and Dan's contracts are at an end, and that is the six-month noncompete we're hearing about. It is not impossible that there is a noncompete that would take effect at the end of a mere contract expiration/nonrenwal, but those are of questionable validity unless very carefully drafted and supported by specific types of consideration -- Texas law is notoriously unclear on this subject. A noncompete would have more teeth in the event Bob and Dan quit in the middle of a contract term. And frankly, since parties frequently don't like to think real hard about the end of a relationship when a contract is being negotiated, a lot of times separation provisions tend to be somewhat general and vague.]
What does this mean? What's happening?
Well, first thing is, Bob and Dan must take some kind of written offer back to Cumulus so they will know what they need to match. Which means that CBS has to have made them a written offer.
So they take it back to Cumulus and say, here ya go.
What are Cumulus's rights at this point?
Of course, I don't know what their contract provides, but I think it is unlikely that even if Cumulus matches, Bob and Dan would be required to stay at The Ticket. No employer wants high-profile employees to stay if they're itching to go, even on the identical terms offered by the competitor. The employees have indicated their desire to go, and the employer feels held up. Bad scene. Personal services are not like other types of contract, where requiring a party to continue with a contract if terms were matched would not create the same kind of internal discomfort (renewing an exclusive product supply contract, for example.) So if they're gonna stay, it's gonna have to be on terms where they're real damned happy and The Ticket is achieving some other strategic objective -- smiles all around.
The flip side of this is that Bob and Dan are not required to take the CBS offer, even if Cumulus does not mirror the terms of the CBS offer. The CBS "offer" is only that -- an offer. CBS cannot unilaterally create a contract (unless Bob and Dan have independently promised to go to CBS if Cumulus doesn't mirror the offer, which would not be prudent for reasons I'll get to in a minute.) My suspicion is that rather than an "option" to get Bob and Dan to say by matching, this is more like what parties sometimes call a "right of negotiation," an opportunity to get a gander at a competing offer and then the ability to negotiate terms that would persuade Bob and Dan to stay voluntarily.
Another reason for thinking that this is not a lock-step procedure is that personal services agreements are frequently not just dollars and cents. There may be incentives and promises that the current employer couldn't possibly meet because it doesn't have the same setup as the competitor. So I'm thinking this is more like "if you've got an offer to go somewhere else, you've got to bring to us and give us a chance to persuade you to stay with a new deal you'd like." This is not an unfavorable thing for Bob and Dan, because it means that the competitor is going to have to come up with one helluvan offer to discourage the employer from trying to keep the employees.
If I'm right that it's not a strict "option" type of renewal clause, it is a good thing for people wanting Bob and Dan to stay (including me), because it gives Cumulus the flexibility to put together a package for Bob and Dan that include incentives other than, or in addition to, the ones offered by CBS. Maybe even less money, but other goodies that Bob and Dan would find attractive. This is why Bob and Dan should not have made any side deal with CBS to accept the offer if Cumulus doesn't mirror.
So that's what's happening this weekend, if Cumulus hasn't already punted. Lots and lots of lawyers, plus agents for Bob and Dan. There might even be a bidding war going on.
What might an appealing BaD package include?
Confessors have speculated that Bob and Dan might be promised PM drive, which would almost require some kind of promise that Mike would be retiring at the end of his current term (late 2014 -- speculation) -- or perhaps well before; after the 20th anniversary? (Did someone say they heard Danny or someone say "RIP Corby" or the like?) This would be possible in the scenario I suggest. It also would require Mike's participation in this whole scene. And his willingness to consider something like this may have been the inspiration for Dan's sudden sentimentality in addressing his "leader," the not-all-that-Old Grey Wolf.
So: I'm thinking this is not strictly a "Cumulus has the opportunity to match" scenario. It's probably more like "Cumulus has the right to see CBS's written offer and try to make a deal."
But . . . incredible as it may seem, I could be wrong. But unless Cumulus has already said adios, this is probably one sizzling weekend in the inner sanctum of the CTO and various lawyers, agents, HR types, and, of course, the very talented gentlemen under discussion.
I'm not seeing anything online suggesting that this game is over. So at present, I'm not getting too excited about wondering who will do middays.
Let's hope the CTO deal CBS yet another disappointment.
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