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CNBC's Schacknow: Secrets of Coca-Cola; Celebrating China's 82% Piracy Rate

Tuesday, 15 May 2007 | 4:56 PM ET

I Didn’t Know That, Part One
Our stocks editor, Bob O’Brien, refers to me as The King Of All That Is Trivial, and he’s right on. I love trivia, and when it’s relevant to one of our stories, so much the better.

During “Squawk Box” we have several “stocks to watch” segments, so we’re always on the lookout for stories that might move individual stocks. An item from SunTrust Banks caught my eye this morning: it’s not only expanded its cost-cutting plan to save $530 million a year, it’s also sold 4.5 million shares of The Coca-Cola Co.

Coca-Cola?

It turns out, trivia fans, that SunTrust is the second largest institutional shareholder of Coca-Cola behind Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. And not only that, it’s had Coca-Cola shares since 1919. And not only that, it has a copy of the secret formula for Coke in its vaults! I kid you not.

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The shares were actually purchased by one of SunTrust’s predecessor companies, Trust Company of Georgia. The current SunTrust was formed by Trust Company’s merger with SunBanks in 1985.

SunTrust’s sale actually amounted to just 9% of its Coke holdings, and it has begun an evaluation of what it might do -- or not do -- with the rest.

So here you have, in my mind, the quintessentially perfect story: full of facts to impress your friends, and a stock mover. And clearly, it takes one to know one, since Bob did the story several times during the day.

I Didn’t Know That, Part Two
This story is part trivia, part useful facts, with a large dose of astonishment built in.

A study by research firm IDC showed that 82% of software used in China last year was pirated.

That part isn’t a surprise. It’s been well documented that software piracy is an ongoing issue there. The surprising part of the story is that this constituted a drop in software piracy in China -- for the third consecutive year.

Some perspective on this improvement: the worldwide average, according to IDC, is 35%.

In all, both of these stories provided useful information, solid facts, and were just plain fun to write. And of course, they’ll be going in the trivia file for later use.

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