Alliance Data Systems Corporation (ADS) has signed a long-term renewal agreement with Fullbeauty Brands to boost its Retail Service business.
Alliance Data Systems Corporation (ADS) has declared that its Canadian coalition loyalty business, LoyaltyOne, has inked a long-term agreement with Metro Inc.'s (MRU.TO) subsidiary Metro Ontario Inc.
Forbes Media Announces Collaboration with Century Properties To Build First Forbes Media Tower®, Selects Philippines As First Location
Forbes Media Announces Collaboration with Century Properties To Build First Forbes Media Tower®, Selects Philippines As First Location Commercial Tower To Offer Premium Amenities For World’s Business Leaders New York, NY and Makati, Philippines (September 3, 2013) – Forbes Media and Century Properties Group, Inc., a leading Philippine real estate firm, announced today that they will build the world’s first Forbes-branded Forbes Media Tower® in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines. A commercial office building, the Forbes Media Tower® is designed to serve the world’s business leaders by providing an environment to conduct business with premium amenities. This initial tower is expected to be part of a network of Forbes Media Towers® around the world.
SAN FRANCISCO, March 28 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers, a new twist on speedier delivery services that the company hopes will enable it to better compete with Amazon.com Inc. Tapping customers to deliver goods would put the world's largest retailer squarely in middle of a new phenomenon sometimes known as "crowd-sourcing," or the "sharing economy." A plethora of start-ups now help people make money by renting out a spare room, a car, or even a cocktail dress, and Wal-Mart would in effect be inviting people to rent out space in their vehicle and their willingness to deliver packages to others. Such an effort would, however, face numerous legal, regulatory and privacy obstacles, and Wal-Mart executives said it was at an early planning stage. Wal-Mart is making a big push to ship online orders directly from stores, hoping to cut transportation costs and gain an edge over Amazon and other online retailers, which have no physical store locations. Wal-Mart does this at 25 stores currently, but plans to double that to 50 this year and could expand the program to hundreds of stores in the future. Wal-Mart currently uses carriers like FedEx Corp for delivery from stores - or, in the case of a same-day delivery service called Walmart To Go that is being tested in five metro areas, its own delivery trucks. "I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced," Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com in the United States, said in a recent interview with Reuters. Wal-Mart has millions of customers visiting its stores each week. Some of these shoppers could tell the retailer where they live and sign up to drop off packages for online customers who live on their route back home, Anderson explained. Wal-Mart would offer a discount on the customers' shopping bill, effectively covering the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages, he added. "This is at the brain-storming stage, but it's possible in a year or two," said Jeff McAllister, senior vice president of Walmart U.S. innovations. Indeed, the likelihood of this being broadly adopted across the company's network of more than 4,000 stores in the United States is low, according to Matt Nemer, a retail analyst at Wells Fargo Securities. "I'm sure it will be a test in some stores," he added. "But they may only keep it for metro markets and for higher-priced items." LEGAL BOUNDARIES Start-ups such as TaskRabbit and Fiverr already let individuals rent out their time and expertise to companies and people looking for small jobs to be completed. Zipments was founded in 2010 as a crowd-sourced delivery network that allowed anyone over 18 years old with a vehicle, a text-enabled phone, and a PayPal account to bid on courier services for local businesses. Such online match-making businesses often push legal boundaries - and a Wal-Mart crowd-sourced delivery program would be no different, according to Nemer. Online packages delivered by customers may never reach their destination, either through theft or fraud, the analyst said. Such a crowd-sourced delivery service may not be as reliable as FedEx or United Parcel Service, which have insured drivers, he added. "You are comfortable with a FedEx or UPS truck in your driveway, but what about a stranger knocking on your door?" Nemer said. ZIPMENTS EVOLVES While Zipments started out with a pure crowd-sourcing approach, the company now does more screening of drivers before allowing them to be part of its delivery network, Chief Executive and co-Founder Garrick Pohl said in an interview. It now serves big cities including New York and Chicago. Theft, fraud and late deliveries have never been a problem, but insurance and licenses were an obstacle, Pohl explained. Drivers often need personal liability insurance to cover package delivery activities. Cargo insurance is also needed. Zipments self-insures this risk up to $250, but the firm encourages its couriers to buy additional coverage for higher-value packages, Pohl said. In some areas, like downtown Chicago, people also need a courier license to deliver things, he added. "Zipments now helps people get all these things set up before allowing them to deliver goods," Pohl said. Still, he said the issues are not insurmountable, citing pizza restaurants, which have used part-time drivers to deliver pies for years. "It's a great solution for large retailers like Wal-Mart," Pohl said. "We'd like to see them move quicker, but it's great that they are considering it." Zipments is trying to provide such services to retailers, although Pohl declined to say which companies the start-up is talking to about this. (Reporting by Alistair Barr and Jessica Wohl; Editing by Jonathan Weber, Martin Howell and Leslie Gevirtz)
At first this looks like just one of those things. Apple makes the iPhone, this we all know, but in Mexico, as in Brazil, another company has a very similar trademark. Usually something can be worked out in such cases. It's not exactly unusual that a would be global trademark finds there are other local uses for it: Microsoft dropped "Metro" as a description of the tiles in Windows 8 after pushback from the German retail chain, "Metro" for example. Apple's already lost hope for exclusive rights to the name "iPhone" in Brazil, and now it's been defeated in another battle south of the border. Cupertino and Mexican company iFone S.A. have a long history, stretching back to 2009 when Apple tried to have the firm's "iFone" trademark revoked. Oh well, as I say, it's always a little unlikely that any word is going to be unique in 190 countries or more, isn't it? However, it's going a little further than that in Mexico. A Mexican technology services company is hoping to reap compensation from Apple Inc. and local mobile operators for the use of its brand name—Ifone—after Mexico's Supreme Court upheld a ruling that the local firm owns and makes proper use of the brand in the country. Ah, it's going to get worse for Apple. Not only are they not allowed to use iPhone they've got to pay damages for having done so. And those damages could be substantial: It's unknown how much money the Mexican company is looking for, but its corporate lawyer told The Wall Street Journal that the law provides for an award of at least 40 percent of infringing sales. Lucky that Apple's net margins on iPhones are up at around that 40% level really. At least they'll not be losing money after paying the damages.
The New York Times Co. is formally exploring the sale of its New England Media Group, including the Boston Globe. The news, first reported by Bloomberg, was confirmed by the company on Wednesday afternoon. The sale would include the Globe, BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Telegram.com, and the direct mail marketing company GlobeDirect, as well as the Times Company's 49 percent interest in Metro Boston. "The sale of the New England Media Group will allow us to sharpen our strategic and financial focus on The New York Times brand," Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and CEO Mark Thompson wrote in a memo to staff, obtained by POLITICO. "This was not an easy decision as the New England Media Group has, for many years, brought tremendous value to our Company." Since the economic downturn, the Times Co. has been divesting itself of various properties, including the website About.com, in an effort to refocus the business on its core brands: specifically, The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. The Times Co. has hired Evercore Partners Inc. as an adviser for the possible sale. Bloomberg reports that the company held $955 million in cash and short-term investments at the end of last year, largely as a result of its asset sales. The company bought the Globe in 1993 for $1.1 billion. The full memo from Sulzberger and Thompson, sent shortly after Bloomberg broke the news: Dear Colleagues, Over the past several years, we have recast our Company, introducing new products and business models, while delivering the highest quality journalism to our readers and advertisers. During that same time, we have made some difficult decisions about the direction and composition of our Company. Today we are announcing that we plan to sell our New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and their related properties. The sale of the New England Media Group will allow us to sharpen our strategic and financial focus on The New York Times brand. This was not an easy decision as the New England Media Group has, for many years, brought tremendous value to our Company. While part of the Times Company, The Boston Globe has been awarded 10 Pulitzer Prizes and many other professional awards. We want to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues at the Globe and T&G for their many substantial contributions to our journalistic reputation and to our Company overall. To read the press release, click here. Arthur and Mark This post has been updated.
Here is the unofficial problem bank list for Jan 25, 2012. Changes and comments from surferdude808: As anticipated, the FDIC released its enforcement actions through December 2012, which led to several changes to the Unofficial Problem Bank List. For the week, there were six removals and five additions leaving the list at 825 institutions with assets of $308.9 billion. A year ago, the list held 958 institutions with assets of $389.0 billion. For the month, the list was down by 13 and $4.1 billion in assets after two failures, four unassisted mergers, 15 action terminations, one voluntary liquidation, and nine additions. First National Bank, Hays, KS ($79 million) found a merger partner to get off the list. The FDIC terminated actions against Farmers & Merchants Bank, Lakeland, GA ($597 million); Border State Bank, Greenbush, MN ($338 million); Stoneham Savings Bank, Stoneham, MA ($326 million); Paragon Bank, Wells, MN ($30 million); and Peoples State Bank of Madison Lake, Madison Lake, MN ($24 million). The FDIC issued actions against Bank of Washington, Washington, MO ($853 million); Community First Bank, Inc., Walhalla, SC ($463 million Ticker: CFOK); Central Bank, Savannah, TN ($160 million); Mountain Valley Bank, Dunlap, TN ($99 million); and US Metro Bank, Garden Grove, CA ($88 million Ticker: USMT). Also, the FDIC issued a Prompt Corrective Action order against First South Bank, Spartanburg, SC ($336 million Ticker: FSBS). Next week should be a quiet one for the changes to the list. Earlier: • Summary for Week Ending Jan 25th • Schedule for Week of Jan 27th
Since 2009 all cash buyers have purchased roughly one third of all Southern California home sales. This is a significant number and unlike the early 2000s, many of these buyers are looking to hold onto properties as rentals. A good portion of buying has come from larger hedge funds and an increase of foreign money has caused competition on an already low selection of homes to become more pronounced. The latest inventory report for California is telling in many ways. Many of the larger metro areas in California are seeing annual inventory drops of 50 to 70 percent. Those looking to buy are facing added competition from a variety of unlikely sources. Last year in February we set a record with the number of homes sold to absentee buyers (29.9 percent). Where is all the inventory going in California? Inventory disappearing One of the more telling stories is the large decline in housing inventory available for sale. The trend is apparent nationwide but more pronounced in California: Source: Redfin If you are out in the market to buy a home and are wondering why your selection is limited, look at the above. If you were looking to buy in Sacramento, you had a 71 percent drop in inventory from the previous year. San Francisco saw a major 68 percent decline. Los Angeles came in at 61 percent. These are all nearly twice as high as the nationwide inventory drop of 33 percent. Is this growth coming from employment growth? We’ve been adding some of the jobs that have been lost: We had more people working in the LA/OC area back in the early 1990s than we do today. The drop in inventory is a unique one and also one that reflects the management of shadow inventory from the banks. The perception in the market is that inventory is running out and many people have the first California housing mania etched into their memory. Last year saw a big push from those sitting on the fence. This is why we are now experiencing this: “(PSN) Real estate agent Alan Castillo recently listed a client's fixer-upper in Granada Hills for $278,250. It was only 1,600 square feet -- but it drew 128 offers, most of them in cash. The final selling price, after all of 10 days on the market? $377,872. "I was very surprised," said Castillo, the owner of Financing Realty Center Inc. in Granada Hills, who has been in the business for 20 years. "I didn't think I'd get that many offers. This was overwhelming." A fixer-upper listed in Granada Hills for $278,250 ended up selling for $377,872 after 128 offers came and sold in 10 days. Many areas of California are now seeing signs of a second housing bubble. We’ve documented many cases of flippers in hipster areas putting in a little HGTV work and then selling the home in a matter of days for hundreds of thousands of dollars more. What is causing this market to inflate again? The culprits remain the same: incredibly low inventory, record low interest rates, bank management of shadow inventory, foreign money, hedge funds, and flippers. It is true that sales have increased but in reality, the surge in prices is coming more from the massive drop in inventory and low interest rate leverage: For example, home sales in the Inland Empire fell by 14 percent year-over-year but inventory fell by 57 percent. San Francisco saw home sales drop by 8 percent year over year but inventory fell by over 60 percent. In other words the push up in prices is happening because of a massively small amount of inventory being combined with all the other forces of low rates, investors, and banks controlling distressed properties. In other words, the market is completely manipulated. I’ve seen some people arguing that we had a surge in population but that is not a reason either: In fact, Los Angeles County for example saw its first annual population decline since the 1990s prior to this recession hitting. This was the slowest growth in population dating back to the 1970s. Population growth is back but at a more modest pace. Certainly this is not the reason for the current major push. The drop in inventory is incredible and is the largest I have ever seen. The increase in sales is not so dramatic but with scant inventory available, for those seeking to buy a home right now conditions are extremely competitive. What is interesting that a leading indicator in future changes is when home sales begin to decline. Take a look at areas that are seeing annual sales drop: Las Vegas: -14% Inland Empire: -17% Phoenix: -15% These areas are massive hubs of speculation from investors. For Las Vegas and Phoenix roughly 40 to 50 percent of all sales over the last few years came from investors. What happens when prices get so high that they are no longer attractive as rentals or to flip? What happens when the large pool of uncommitted money takes off? Keep in mind that for investors, they need families to eventually buy or rent these places. At a certain point, you need the real economy to make up the slack and incomes need to rise in proportion. This drop in inventory is stunning since very few organic homes are coming on the market. In California, you have many underwater homeowners and also, many that took out HELOCs and home equity loans that wouldn’t be able to sell in this current market even after the current surge in home prices. Home prices are still off by 36 percent from the peak in the LA/OC area: If you are looking to buy, gear up for low inventory, bidding wars, flippers, and investors. Any stories from prospective buyers dealing with low inventory? 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According to a report issued this week by Realtor.com, real estate in Northern California is booming -- especially in one housing market that was among the hardest hit of any in the country by the collapse of the housing bubble. The report, which looked at the year-over-year increases in median home sale prices in housing markets across the United States, found that the Sacramento area had the largest gains of any metro region. This data suggests that sagging housing prices, which have been a drag on the economy in much of California's Central Valley for years, are not only beginning to rebound, but are doing so with surprising strength. Five of the top 10 cities with the fastest growth are located in Northern California and two more are in the southern portion of the state. (SCROLL DOWN FOR THE FULL LIST) "In Sacramento, you have a desirable area that was hit really hard by the housing bubble, with a lot of foreclosures and a lot of overbuilding," said Alison Schwartz of Move, Inc., the operator of Realtor.com, who noted that the spike in prices in the area is largely a result of how far home values had dropped in the region during the recession. During much of the 2000s, loose financing led to an oversupply of housing being built in the San Francisco Bay Area's far outlying suburbs in the run-up to the crash. Since then, there's been little new construction; so as demand naturally increases with the gradually improving economy, supply hasn't been able to keep up and prices have jumped. Additionally, many homeowners in the region still underwater on their mortgages, making it impossible for them to sell and further drying up some of the liquidity that would otherwise be present in the market. Schwartz explained that it isn't exclusively people re-entering the housing market after the recession or, for that matter, first-time home buyers who are driving this new demand. "A lot of investors are looking to buy cheap properties that are relatively undervalued at the moment because they were built at the wrong time." Not only did Sacramento have the biggest gain in home sale prices over the course of the past year, but it also had the largest percentage of its listed houses go off the market, an inventory reduction of just over two-thirds. Even so, Sacramento's median listing price is still well below its mid-bubble 2006 peak. The Stockton-Lodi area, which was hit just as hard by the housing bubble, saw similarly staggering inventory reductions. Housing price gains can't come soon enough for many homeowners in the region, which has been wracked by foreclosures and a flood of underwater mortgages. "There are certain subdivisions in ... [the Central Valley area] where one out of every two or three houses are in foreclosure," Ruben Villalobos, an attorney and school board member in the nearby city of Modesto, told The Huffington Post in an interview last year. Many of the other Northern California cities sitting atop the list owe their rapid price increases to a fairly different set of factors than those underlying Sacramento's swift ascent. Places like Santa Barbara, San Francisco and San Jose largely retained their value during the recession and owe the continued strength of their real estate markets to their booming economies where high-income people want to live. While San Francisco only had the third-highest jump in housing prices over the past year, the report found that the City by the Bay had, far and away, the highest median home sale price in the country of $749,000 -- about double the median price of buying a home in New York City. Check out the full top 10 list here:
Marubeni Corp will acquire a 20% equity stake in Maynilad Water Services Inc, the water and sewerage utility in the Philippines. Maynilad provides water and sewerage treatment, operation and maintenance of water and sewage network, and metering and water charge collection in 17 municipalities of western part of Metro Manila…
This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources.Here is the unofficial problem bank list for Oct 26, 2012. (table is sortable by assets, state, etc.) Changes and comments from surferdude808: The FDIC released its actions through September 2012 and closed a bank this week. There were five removals and four additions leaving the Unofficial Problem Bank List with 864 institutions with assets of $330.4 billion. A year ago, the list had 985 institutions with assets of $406.6 billion. For the month, changes included 11 action terminations, four failures, one unassisted merger, and six additions. Overall, it was a quiet month as it was the fewest action terminations since February 2012 and the fewest additions since the publication of the list. Actions were terminated against Metro Bank, Lemoyne, PA ($2.4 billion Ticker: METR); Heritage Bank of Central Illinois, Trivoli, IL ($308 million); Minnwest Bank South, Tracy, MN ($213 million); and Freedom Bank, Sterling, IL ($76 million). The failure was Nova Bank, Berwyn, PA ($483 million), which the FDIC could not find a buyer for. The additions were First State Financial, Inc., Pineville, KY ($395 million); Golden Eagle Community Bank, Woodstock, IL ($152 million); Signature Bank of Georgia, Sandy Springs, GA ($136 million); and Talbot State Bank, Woodland, GA ($72 million). Who would have guessed there are still some unidentified problem banks in Georgia. CR Note: The FDIC's official problem bank list is comprised of banks with a CAMELS rating of 4 or 5, and the list is not made public. (CAMELS is the FDIC rating system, and stands for Capital adequacy, Asset quality, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to market risk. The scale is from 1 to 5, with 1 being the strongest.) As a substitute for the CAMELS ratings, surferdude808 is using publicly announced formal enforcement actions, and also media reports and company announcements that suggest to us an enforcement action is likely, to compile a list of possible problem banks in the public interest. When the list was increasing, the official and "unofficial" counts were about the same. Now, with the number of problem banks declining, the unofficial list is lagging the official list. This probably means regulators are changing the CAMELS rating on some banks before terminating the formal enforcement actions. Earlier: • Summary for Week Ending Oct 26th