Archive | April 14, 2013

Corporate News: Former Owners Explore Bid for Boston Globe

The Taylor family is considering making an offer to buy the Boston Globe from the New York Times Co., after they sold it in 1993.  Jack Griffin, the former chief executive of Time Inc. and current president of Empirical Media, has been in talks with members of the family to make a bid for the publication.  New York Times Co. hired Evercore Partners to manage the sale of the New England Media Group, which includes the Boston Globe, and initial bids are due on April 18.  This is the latest attempt that the Taylor family has made to reacquire the paper, after a $35 million bid fell through in 2009.

The profitability of newspapers seems to be in grave danger as many consumers look to the Internet for news updates, which is why I question the family’s judgment in this deal.  Even The New York Times, one of the most recognized publications in the world, has been struggling to adapt to the popularity of the Internet.  Whether the Taylor family can solve this issue remains to be seen, but the task is certainly one that companies across many industries are forced to face.

Written by: Constantine Kostikas

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Advertisements

Not the Beast Association

The American Humane Association imposes a 131 page guideline on film and television productions to ensure the safety of animals, all of them seeking the words ““No animal was harmed.” Despite these guidelines, animals are still harmed and the public is quick to react. In more recent news, around two dozen animals were harmed during productions of ” The Hobbit” and a K Mart commercial resulted in the death of a shark. As a result, animal trainers and caretakers are accusing the association of being too “cozy” with the industry which provides their financing, meaning they are not fully exercising their power and are more focused on expanding it.

In response, the humane association said that it is getting harder and harder to to protect animals in the modern world of film making. The associations chief executive, Robin Ganzert remarked, We’re not covering enough animal action, because of the way the business model in the industry has changed,”. Ms. Ganzert also noted that their authority and resources are too limited in an era where smaller productions are ever present like indie films, cable TV and even Internet productions, along with the sudden increase in public awareness of animal safety.

 

Written by Kevin Zhang

Source:

Cieply, Michael. “Guidelines for Animal Safety on Film Sets Questioned.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 Apr. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/business/media/guidelines-for-animal-safety-on-film-sets-questioned.html?ref=business&gt;.

Senior Benefits Continue To Drop

A recent proposal for a change in federal law has been proposed to limit the amount of benefits that retirees are set to receive. Unions are now trying to fight against this new law and are trying to protect the pension funds of retirees. Not only is this law set to reduce retiree benefits but Obama’s new budget plan is also set to reduce the amount of benefits that they receive in terms of social security. Unions are looking towards altering already established contracts to reduce the benefits of those who have already been receiving benefits so that the government does not run out of money to supply to the elderly.

Benefits for the elderly have been seeing large cuts, within several decades the newer generations of seniors will have little to no financial support from the government or any other type of public retirement fund. The younger generation may not find this important but such policies will end up affecting them, so it it is highly recommended for young adults to start being proactive in creating such policies.

Written by: Jessica Ho
Source: The Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324010704578418902425198428.html?mod=WSJ_business_whatsNews

Citigroup Europe CEO Sees U.S. Universal Banks Gaining Share

Many investment banks are still recovering from the financial crisis several years ago.  Efforts to improve Citigroup’s system were established when representatives stated that they will be hiring investment bankers to enforce the bank’s new regulations. The demand for intellectuals is necessary in the industry. For example, Citigroup hired Luigi de Vecchi, who used to work for Credit Suisse Group, to serve as their chairman of continental Europe for corporate and investment banking.  Citigroup’s European chief, Jim Cowles claims that the bank still has to cut costs and re-determine the focus of the bank. However, they are gaining more market share than European banks because of their ability to “absorb the rising cost of regulation.” Cowles argues that Citigroup, a bank that combines investment, commercial and consumer banking, can deal with these costs better than other banks; this is based on their ability to retreat to another market if one fails.

European investment banks have been improving at a pace that is noticeably slower than U.S. banks’. They are also more hesitant when making decisions because of the insecurities and risks that the bank may come across if the plan fails. Banks like Citigroup, which is one of many U.S. universal banks, is confident that a more senior management team would assist the bank’s recovery from the financial crisis.

Written By: Melody Mark

Source:

Choudhury, Ambereen, and Elisa Martinuzzi. “Citigroup Europe CEO Sees U.S. Universal Banks Gaining Share.” Bloomberg. Bloomberg L.P., 14 Apr. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

Oil-Tanker Operators Struggle to Stay Afloat

Many oil-tank operators are struggling to survive after facing losses for several years because of the weaker global economy and fewer shipments to the United States. The world’s combined large and midsize tanker fleet has had more than twenty six billion dollars in losses since 2009 because its rates had fallen below the actual operating costs. Many analysts and ship owners say that the tankers that were ordered during the boom years are just being delivered now, causing an over abundance in the amount of oil-tanks needed, as well as there are also too many ships. The issue of a decline in the need for oil-tanks has not only affected the United States, but also other countries such as China and Europe, where the global oil demand has decreased by over a hundred thousand barrels a day.

Many of these oil-tank companies such as New York’s Overseas Shipholding Group Inc., Belgium’s Eurnav NV, and Greece’s Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd, all face a decline in business because of the tough market. Due to the tough market, there is expected to be a rise in the rates next year because of fewer ships that will enter the market.  I believe that in order to resolve this issue, there will be companies who would have to file for bankruptcy, in order to survive.

Written by: Samantha Chin

Source: The Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323741004578418652461117968.html?mod=WSJ_business_whatsNews

Sometimes, We Want Prices to Fool Us

The retail industry can be a very confusing place. When big stores like J.C. Penney try to alleviate the nuisances of sending out coupons and holding “sales” by offering low prices all the time, their sales for the year end up dropping by 25%. Actually when most retail stores try to help shoppers get a fair price all the time, it ends up being a big mistake as many of the bargain consumers don’t trust the fair prices. Alexander Chernev stated that a fair price will only work when consumers have some context for how much items generally cost, which they do not. Since they don’t have all the information they tend not to trust the fair price as they are looking for a great deal.

But what really defines a “great deal”? When you look at most of the sales happening, you can see that it only appears to be a great price. In reality the price is rather normal as the pre-sale price has been marked up. People are so attracted to words like deals, sales, and special because it makes them believe they are getting a high valued item for a lot cheaper.

In all honesty, I think this is really funny but at the same time eye-opening. Just because something says sale, doesn’t mean it is worth the money. Sadly the straight to the point, lower prices everyday has had a negative effect for J.C. Penney.

URL:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/business/for-penney-a-tough-lesson-in-shopper-psychology.html?_r=0

-Jonathan Chan

BlackBerry Disputes Report on Z10 Phone

A report made by Detwiller Fenton and Company on Thursday last week, has created a lot of problems for Blackberry and RIM. The report mentioned that the new Blackberry Z10 has many issues and that the device has been returned by users at a much higher rate than normal. Blackberry’s chief legal officer, defended blackberry with a statement saying that the report is misleading and contains false information about the returned devices. 

This report could ultimately cause a lot of damage to Blackberry. RIM and Blackberry are on their way back from a recovery. Over 3 years ago, RIM’s stock was worth over $100 but now they are hovering in the teen’s range. Without any proof that the company has made a comeback, a report with such bad publicity is definitely going to hurt the shareholders and the company as a whole. 

If I knew nothing about this report, I wouldn’t be as skeptical about getting a new blackberry. I am eager to see how this story will turn out before I make my decision on a new phone. 

-Derby Ng

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/business/global/blackberry-disputes-report-on-z10-phone.html?ref=global&_r=0

Mitsubishi UFJ CEO Plans to Boost Loans to U.S. Energy Industry

With the recent boom in oil, the U.S. is expected to become a net exporter of energy for the first time ever, and Japan is ready to support that growth. President of Mitsubishi UFJ, Nobuyuki Hirano, has stated his plans to expand loans to the energy industry in the U.S., which currently makes up about 60 percent of the banks revenue outside of Japan. Hirano is looking to purchase middle sized banks on the west coast to promote the best “geographical synergy.”

Hirano has big plans for the U.S. markets, expecting to grow gross profit by 30 percent for the region. “’No other market is bigger or deeper than the U.S.,’ said Hirano, who served on Morgan Stanley’s board for two years until May 2011. ‘The chance to grow our businesses there remains high.’” The growth includes the real estate market, with a large portion being in New York, which is currently expanding at a much faster pace.

Japan seems to be becoming a more aggressive economy overall, and with the stance set by Nobuyki Hirano, their economy is going to become much more integrated with America’s. Through many acquisitions, Mitsubishi UFJ is going to become tied to the growth and profit of the energy industry in the U.S.

Source:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-12/mitsubishi-ufj-ceo-plans-to-boost-loans-to-u-s-energy-industry.html

The End Of The Bernanke Era?

Ben Bernanke is nearing the end of his second term as Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve and most believe he has no desire to stay on for a third.  A recent survey conducted on the basis of this assumption concluded that Janet Yellen, the current number 2 at the Fed, is the best suited candidate to take over the position. The survey included nominations ranging from J.P. Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon to MIT economist and “big bank critic” Simon Johnson. However, Yellen and Bernanke himself remained the most likely candidates with 46% and 29% respectively.  

Bernanke’s term will end early next year which has been another factor in the speculation over the Fed’s current bond-buying program. 34% of economists surveyed believe the Fed will begin to slow its monthly purchases in the third quarter of this year while a whopping 54% believe the Fed will halt the program completely in either the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2014. It will be interesting to see if Bernanke himself alters the program prior to the end of his term since unemployment and inflation have yet to reach target levels.

Evan Chang

Source:

The Wall Street Journal

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/04/13/who-will-succeed-bernanke-who-should/

Bridgestone Surges After Forecasting Earnings Jump

Bridgestone Corp, the biggest tire maker worldwide is seeing their largest growth since the last four years. Analyst predicted the company will increase their yearend profit by as much as 14%. The price of rubber is declining and supply is excessive. The weakening value of yen along with the factors of declining rubber will drive down the price of rubber, lowering the cost of producing tires for Bridgestone Corp. Based on analyst predictions Bridgestone’s net income is forecasted to have a 37% increase with an increase in consumer demand. The company expects to increase their output by 9.6% to meet the growing demands of consumers and emerging markets. Since the production of tires varies inversely with the value of the yen, for every one yen decline, Bridgestone will gain an estimated 3.9 billion in profits.

The fluctuating economy of Japan is playing a big role in the profit growth of Bridgestone Corp. With the declining value of rubber and yen, operating cost for the giant tire maker is significantly reduced. It is good to see that despite the bad economy, some companies are still growing. The reports of predicted profits will appeal to many investors who are looking for growing companies to invest in.

Written by: Wilson Tang

Source:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-19/bridgestone-surges-after-forecasting-earnings-jump.html