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Towle & Co a Major Shareholder of Tribune Urges the Publisher to Consider Gannett’s Deal

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 03:59

Tribune Publishing has earlier rejected offers from Gannett but this time another major investor is calling for Tribune to consider the deal with Gannett. The move comes only a couple of days after Gannett increased its offer to $864 million to acquire the company.

On Tuesday, in the letter sent to the board of Tribune, a St. Louis based investment firm, Towle & Co, said that Tribune which is the owner of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and other major dailies has abandoned its "responsibility of maximizing shareholder value" when it did not accept Gannett's offer.

Tribune stock was down fifteen percent to less than $12per share.

Last month, there was an unsolicited bid from Gannett for Tribune at $12.25 a share in cash which approximately placed the publisher at $815 million worth, in later developments, this month the company increased its offer to $15 a share which would make the deal approximately worth $864 million.

In a report, Glass Lewis & Co, a shareholder advisory firm said that shareholders of Tribune Publishing Co should not heed Gannett Co Inc's call to withhold votes for Tribune's board nominees when it has its annual shareholders' meeting on June 2.

The report published on Tuesday said "We believe Gannett has offered insufficient cause for investors to support its current campaign."

Gannett on the other hand missed the deadline of offering nominations for its own line up of directors.

Region: United StatesBusiness: Media Sector

The Senate Blocks Stricter Regulations on Retirement Saving Advice from Financial Professionals

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 03:56

On Tuesday, a measure was passed by the Senate which was aimed at stopping a regulation by the Department of Labor which critics worry will work as a barrier for the low and middle income Americans from looking for retirement advice from financial professionals.

The legislation passed will block new rules by the Obama administration which demands the financial professionals to put the best interest of their client first while they give advice about retirement investments. The rules are by the Obama administration are meant to block financial advisers from guiding their clients toward those interests which earn them higher fees and commissions eating away from the clients retirement savings.

Senator Patty Murray of Washington State said "It's pretty simple. It says if you're giving people advice on their retirement accounts, you should put the clients' best interests ahead of your own. We're here today because Republicans want to block that new rule from helping families. That's just wrong."

The new regulations better known as the "fiduciary rule," needs the advisers charging commissions to sign on a promise which says they will act in the best interests of the client and earn "reasonable" compensation and also disclose information regarding the fees and any conflicts of interest.

Region: United StatesBusiness: Business NewsEconomy

Intuit Inc Reports Earnings Surpassing Expectations

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 03:54

On Tuesday Intuit Inc. reported its fiscal third quarter results which turned out to be better than expected. The company has also benefited from the sale of its businesses like Demandforce, QuickBase and Quicken for cash of $463 million.

The maker of TurboTax software raised its revenue guidance for the year along with the adjusted earnings per share. Intuit now expects its revenue for the fiscal year in range of $4.66 billion to $4.68 billion and the adjusted earnings to be in the range of $3 to $3.65 per share.

Earlier, the Mountain View, California based company projected sales that ranged between $4.53 and $4.61 billion and the earnings range was of $3.45 and $3.50 a share.

In the ongoing quarter, the software company expects to earn revenue between $720 and $740 million with a rough breakeven for the adjusted earnings per share. According to the analysts estimates the revenue will be $719 million with an adjusted loss of one penny per share. Typically, the bulk of the company's earnings are collected during tax season and it generally posts losses in the quarter that's an off-tax-season. The company announced in March it has found private-equity firm HIG Capital as a buyer for Quicken segment.

In the most recent quarter, the company reported profit of $1.03 billion or $3.94 per share as compared to $501 million or $1.78 per share one year back.

Business: Business NewsTechnology SectorCompanies: Intuit Inc.Region: United States

Service starts on Expo Line train from Santa Monica to Los Angeles

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 03:51

A new Expo Line train started service between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles today for the first time in 60 years.

The service officially running on Friday afternoon but thousands of commuters took the train for the first time to go to work on Monday morning. However, the service did not have a smooth start as expected by officials as a drunk driver crashed onto the tracks when the train was expected to travel.

Reports showed that a car crashed through the barriers near USC at around 5:30 a. m. and stopped right on the tracks. The driver left the car on the tracks blocking both the eastbound and the westbound tracks on Monday. Authorities deployed a bus to ferry passengers around the car until it was cleared off the tracks. Officials said that it took around five hours for the wreck to be fully cleared. The police hasarrested the driver, who has drunk with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.21 that is three times the 0.08 legal limit.

The car incidence is not the first for the new Expo Line as a truck had crashed into a train during the time of its safety testing. The new Expo Line is expected to offer an alternative to cars for thousands of daily commuters and others but it crosses through ordinary roads in many places and that may cause delays.

Region: Los AngelesBusiness: Travel Sector

UAE changes methodology to calculate key interest rate

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:27

The authorities in the United Arab Emirates have changed methodology to calculate a key interest rate in order to better reflect funding costs for banks in the economy. The calculation of the Emirates Interbank Offered Rate, which is a benchmark used by the banking industry to price loans, has been changed to better reflect the true cost of funds.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, the chairman of the U. A. E. Banks Federation and chief executive officer of Mashreqbank PSC said that the calculation of the Emirates Interbank Offered Rate, a benchmark used by the banking industry to price loans, has been "reformulated to reflect the true cost of funds. The authorities have added a new component to the calculation of Eibor to reflect the cost that banks are required to pay to attract deposits from large clients, according to Al Ghurair.

Under the earlier system, the key interest rate only reflected the price banks paid to lend to each other. The change to the calculation method has been agreed to by the central bank and all the lenders. Al Ghurair also said that the Eibor fixing will be evaluated by an independent auditor every quarter in order to ensure transparency.

The Eibor is estimated each day as the average of rates submitted by 11 banks after excluding the two highest and two lowest quotes for every tenor.

Region: UAEBusiness: BusinessEconomy

Reserve Bank of New Zealand Eases Proposed Policy Alterations for Outsourcing Services used by Banks

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:25

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is looking at relaxing the policy changes which it plans to impose on banks which outsource their services. The change in attitude came after the lenders warned the Reserve Bank of the associated higher costs.

Now the Reserve Bank is asking for submissions or feedback on the changes that have been proposed for rules regarding outsourcing of services by registered banks. The new rules will help the central bank to firmly define the functions that should be covered by the outsourcing policy along with the time when the policy will start.

According to the Reserve Bank the feedback submitters were more or less comfortable with the proposals objectives by the RBNZ but the lenders were not too delighted with the policies low threshold along with the embargo on some of the functions which are being outsourced under the new materiality threshold.

In a new consultation document the Reserve Bank said "A number of banks provided cost estimates and some have indicated that the cost implication of the proposals was too high. The cost estimates ranged from $10 million to $400 million."

Region: New ZealandBusiness: Banking Sector

Names are Expected to be Announces as Replacements for Ousted Members from Sumner Red stone’s Family Trust

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:24

In an unexpected move on Friday, two of Sumner Redstone's longtime lieutenants were removed from their specific positions which they held in the trust that is slated to control Mr. Redstone's entertainment companies after he dies or is incapacitated. In the move, the two were also ousted from the board of National Amusements which is the private company of theater chains in which Mr. Redstone has almost eighty percent voting stock of Viacom and CBS.

Names are expected to be announced as replacement for Mr. Dauman and Viacom board member George Abrams. During the weekend Dauman said his and Abrams removal from the family trust as well as the board of National Amusements that owns eighty percent of Viacom and CBS was an "illegal" move. He also mentioned that the move was engineered by Mr. Redstone's daughter, Shari Redstone.

People who are closely related to the matter say that new names to fill up the posts will decide the fate of the $40 billion media empire created by Mr. Redstone and also think that it has intimate connections with Mr. Redstone's daughter, Shari Redstone who has been long-estranged and recently reconciled with her father.

Business: BusinessRegion: United StatesPeople: Sumner Redstone

Santa Cruz Biotechnology Agrees to Pay $3.5Million as Fine to Settle Animal-Abuse Violations

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:21

On Friday, an agreement was announced where Santa Cruz Biotechnology agreed to pay $3.5 million as fine for violating the 1966 Animal Welfare Act. Allegedly, the scientific antibody business mistreated its research goats and rabbits for years keeping them under poor conditions in a farm close to San Luis Obispo, California. The company will also go out of business. Last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture held hearing on the license of Santa Cruz to sell antibodies which are immune system proteins that are harvested from animal blood which scientists commonly use in laboratories.

Santa Cruz was once upon a time a leading supplier of scientific antibodies which it sold to laboratories globally. In the last year's hearing an ex- veterinarian testified that the company kept a barn with eight hundred goats hidden away from the eyes of the federal animal welfare inspectors for many years.

Along with the fine, according to the settlement the firm, Santa Cruz "is not admitting or denying," that it has violated the 1966 Animal Welfare Act in the settlement with USDA. But it will lose its dealer's license; stop selling all but its remaining stocks of animal antibodies, and stop acting as an "animal research facility".

Region: United StatesBusiness: Business

SEC Proposes Stricter Regulations for Exchange-Traded Funds which might also Affect Bitcoins

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:17

On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission, chairwoman Mary Jo White said, the agency is considering to enhance regulation related to EFTs or exchange-traded funds. It would include examining ways in which they are sold to investors and also making an effort to make mutual funds more transparent related to fees and expenses.

It is not the first instance when the agency is scrutinizing ETFs but this time it is mainly due to their role in the "flash crash" in the market in 2010 and another related volatility last year on August 24. The agency is considering the relationship between share prices of ETF, portfolio holdings and the impact on the investors. It is also looking at investor protection connected to ETFs. Last year EFTs grew from its 2006, $408 billion assets in to $2 trillion.

Mary Jo White said "recent events" are forcing the agency to possibly enforce stricter regulation on the EFTs. The action may have an impact on the trading of stocks and bonds and also might extend beyond traditional finances to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Ms. White only spoke about strengthening the regulations for EFTs but did not discuss any elaborate plans of the agency in this respect. She said, "I don't want to comment specifically because I don't want to get ahead of our work and our thinking on it."

Business: BusinessRegion: United StatesPeople: Mary Jo White

Fire Breaks Out at the Largest Solar Plant in the World due to Misaligned Mirrors

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:10

On Friday, a fire broke out at the largest solar power plant of the world in California-Nevada border on 4,000 acres of public land in the Mojave Desert. The reason of the fire is said to be misaligned mirrors. To control the fire, the firefighters and the workers of the plant had to go through quite an ordeal.

The fire at Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, in the morning resulted in a shut down at the facility for a short while. The facility is running at one third of its capacity currently. One of the towers is down because of routine maintenance. However, it is not clear right away when the tower damaged by the fire will restart. It is also not clear how will the fire impact the electric supply in California.

To put out the fire, the firefighters had to climb up a 300 feet boiler tower to reach the scene. According to the officials, the fire was at about a height two-thirds up the tower. The plant's workers had managed to control the flames till the time firefighters actually reached the scene. The fire was reportedly extinguished approximately twenty minutes from when it started.

Region: CaliforniaBusiness: Energy Sector

Xerox Looking for CEOs for New Companies; Ursula Burns will take over as the Chairman of One

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:08

Xerox is splitting its business into two this year and the company said that its CEO Ursula Burns, the first black woman who held the top job at a Fortune 500 company, will no more be the chief executive officer of any of the two companies. The company said on Friday, after it splits Burns will take over as the chairman of the newly formed document technology company that will include the business of its printer and copier.

In 2009, Burns was named as the chief executive officer of Xerox. She has worked up her way, spending all her career with the company. Her journey started with an internship in 1980 and seven years back she reached the top job.

After Xerox splits, the other company will center on businesses like process outsourcing, payment processing along with other services. The Norwalk, Connecticut says it's looking for chief executive officers for both the companies.

In a statement, Burns said "Our search for leadership is well underway and we have an extremely strong pool of talent across our organization as well as external candidates to build our management teams."

In January Xerox after coming under pressure from Carl Icahn, the activist investor announced it would separate into two publicly traded independent companies. Xerox Corp shares climbed 14 cents to $9.19.

Business: Technology SectorCompanies: XeroxPeople: Ursula Burns

Corporate America’s Cash Pile Grows to $1.7 Trillion

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:06

Corporate America's cash pile is growing with the nonfinancial businesses in the United States holding $1.7 trillion in cash at present. Greater than one third of the amount is in the hands of only five companies say a report released by Moody's Investors Service on Friday. Almost three-quarters of the cash are held by the U. S non-financial companies which are put away in the overseas markets.

Five corporate including Apple , Microsoft , Alphabet , Cisco Systems and Oracle have $504 billion, or thirty percent of the $1.7 trillion cash and equivalents which the non-financial U. S. companies held in 2015 according to the report from Moody's.

The growing amount of corporate America's cash is becoming more and more significant for investors with the stagnating profit growth and stalling stock market. In 2015, the amount of cash that was held by the U. S. companies grew 1.8 percent. It's not all advantageous for the U. S. investors as seventy two percent of the total cash held by the non-financial U. S. companies is stashed abroad. The amount has grown compared to the two previous years as more number of companies is looking for escape routes to avert paying high U. S. corporate taxes.

Region: United StatesBusiness: BusinessEconomy

EPA releases new drinking water health advisory for PFOA

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:05

The United States Environmental Protection Agency released a new lifetime drinking water health advisory for the perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA.

The agency issued an advisory of 70 parts per trillion for human exposure in drinking water to the manmade chemical, PFOA. Officials said that six public water systems in New York state have detected the PFOA in excess of the newly set guidelines. The new guidance comes at a time when health and environmental officials in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire are struggling to ensure safe drinking water supply as elevated levels of PFOA was detected in public water systems and private wells.

Experts said that the contamination is linked to factories that used PFOA in their manufacturing processes and some of them have been used decades earlier. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has declared that plastics company, Taconic in Petersburgh will be designated as a state Superfund site after the factory was linked to PFOA contamination of local water supplies.

The state had also declared the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in the village of Hoosick Falls was declared a state Superfund site in January. The designation of a site as a state Superfund site allows the state to investigate the extent of the water contamination and to begin remediation immediately.

Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Water, said, "Where these chemicals are detected above the advisory levels, we're recommending the water system operators go back and do confirmatory testing. We're also recommending that systems promptly provide notice to residents and users of water systems."

Region: United StatesGeneral: Health

Elizabeth Warren criticises ‘Gig Economy’

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 04:03

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has taken an aim at the so called, "gig economy" that is created by online platforms as well as workers joining together odd jobs.

The Democratic Senator said in her speech at an annual conference for the New America Foundation in Washington, that such internet-based jobs come with a risk. She said that anyone can pick up jobs from driving cars to performing household errands but they lack benefits that are given to traditional employees.

She took an aim at Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies as well as online services like TaskRabbit for creating this "gig economy" that comes without benefits for the workers. She said that people earning through the gig economy do not get benefits like paid vacation, health coverage, retirement plans, workers compensation or the ability to unionize.

Warren said, "In a healthy economy, disruption is inevitable. But disruption means it's time to adapt to changing circumstances. Most workers aren't asking for the moon. They want to be able to take care of their families, buy a home, send their kids to college, and save a little money for retirement." She said that she does not wet to restrict the internet but also said that it does not mean that the companies get a free ride.

Business: BusinessEconomyRegion: MassachusettsPeople: Elizabeth Warren

Egyptian authorities believe MS804 crashed into the sea

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:17

Egyptian authorities have said that they believe that the missing airline jet from Paris to Cairo, might have crashed into the sea.

Egypt Air had earlier tweeted that Airbus A320-232 was at an altitude of 37,000 feet when it went mission from the radars on ground stations. The airline was around 16km inside of Egyptian airspace and over the Mediterranean Sea about 450km from the coast, which it lost contact.

The flight took off from Charles Du Gaulle airport in Paris, France at 23:09 GMT and was scheduled to land in Cairo at about 3:15am Cairo time. Some reports had shown that a distress call from the mission plane was received by the Egyptian Army but the military denied such reports. Greek authorities are also investigating claims that resident son an island saw a ball or fire around the time the flight lost contact with radar.

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail is at the crisis centre at Cairo Airport and is issuing guidance to concerned authorities. French President Francoise Holland said that the aircraft has crashed into the sea and added that the French authorities will collaborate with Greek and Egyptian governments to investigate the crash.

The airline said that there were 15 French, 30 Egyptian, one Briton, one Belgian, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese and one Algerian and 10 crew members included 3 security staff in the flight.

Business: Aviation SectorBusinessCompanies: EgyptAirRegion: Egypt

Most Kiwis believe banks overcharge fees

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:14

According to a new survey in New Zealand, a majority of people in the country believe that they are being over-charged by their bank for fees and other charges. The survey by Consumer New Zealand revealed that around 82 per cent of people in New Zealand think that high profits made by the banks indicates that the banks are over charging its customers.

Consumer New Zealand chief executive Sue Chet win pointed out that the survey included 1020 people aged over 18 years old and showed widespread similar negative perceptions about the banks in the country among the residents.

Chet win said, "Sixty per cent of bank customers are paying regular account fees. But just 34 per cent were very satisfied their bank's fees were reasonable, the lowest score for any satisfaction measure in our survey. While banks have put a lot of effort into marketing new technology, our survey found old-fashioned branch banking still has a place for the modern consumer."

The survey also showed that the customers banking with local banks are more likely to be satisfied with the banking experience. A total of 83 per cent of TSB Bank customers and 65 per cent of The Co-operative Bank's customers said that they believe that their bank's fees were reasonable. Around 45 per cent of the customers of Kiwi bank said that they were very satisfied with the fees being charged.

Region: New ZealandBusiness: Banking SectorBusiness

Del launches US$20bn investment-grade bond on Tuesday

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:12

Global computing giant, Dell has announced the launch of a US$20bn investment-grade bond on Tuesday.

The company is believed to be on a strong position with a massive order book and the funds raised are likely to be used to finance acquisition of data storage company EMC. Experts have said that investors are indicating that they are willing to accept corporate bond offerings. There is a hunger for new issuance in the markets as investors are aiming to invest cash in ventures, according to analysts.

The company received investor orders worth more than US$87 billion that allowed the company to increase the size of the deal from $16 billion and also reduce the interest rates. The healthy reception gave boost to one of the largest corporate bonds ever brought to market. The company's $20 billion of bonds will help Dell back its takeover of EMC Corp in this year's second-biggest corporate offering.

Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, showed that the notes traded above their issue price after being sold Tuesday. The $2 billion of 8.35 percent percent 30-year bonds, will pay 5.75 percentage points more than similar-maturity Treasuries while a proposed $4.5 billion of 6.02 percent 10-year notes will yield 4.25 percentage points above government debt, according to a person closer to the matter. The bondswere first marketed at 4.75 percentage points.

Companies: DellBusiness: Technology Sector

Suzuki shares fall after concerns over possible economy testingfault

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:11

The shares of Japanese auto major, Suzuki fell significantly after some reports in the country indicated that the company might have found a problem with its fuel economy testing.

A media report said that the company has detected a problem with its testing method and Chairman Osamu Suzuki is scheduled to submit a report to the Japan's transport ministry today. Suzuki has not offered any comment on the matter but said that it will offer a media briefing today.

The report comes a month after Mitsubishi admitted that it had falsified fuel economy data for its vehicles. Following the scandal at Mitsubishi, the Japan's transport ministry had ordered all the automakers in the country to submit a report on their compliance with government testing methods. The minister had asked the companies to submit the compliance reports by Wednesday.

Mitsubishi had made a public admission that it has found evidence that its employees manipulated emissions test data. The fraudulent tests involved 157,000 of the company'sbrand light passenger cars and 468,000 vehicles produced for Nissan. Before that admission, Volkswagen had admitted to cheating emissions tests in the US. Authorities and it was found that the German car maker was installing cheating software in its diesel vehicles to pass tests fraudulently.

Companies: SuzukiBusiness: BusinessAuto Sector

Albuquerque City Council delays solar power decision by two weeks

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:07

The Albuquerque City Council has announced its decision to delay a decision on a proposal to ensure that the New Mexico's largest city gets around a quarter of its electricity from solar sources by the year 2025, by two weeks.

The city council is being urged to join a host of cities in the US and Canada as well as in Europe in pledging that they will get more of their electricity from renewable resources. The movement to set goals for generating more renewable electricity has already spread across the US as well as other countries.

The city council voted on Monday to defer the decision by another two weeks on a resolution that requires the city to source at least 25 percent of the electricity used by city facilities from solar by 2025. Some councillors in the largest city in the state are concerned that the proposal would lock the city into achieving a goal before determining how the effort will impact the city's finances.

The proposal is in line with the city's ranking for overall solar installations as well as the state location that ensures that it gets 300-plus days of sunshine. The threat of fires, droughts, floods, and other extreme weather due to climate change has also moved the opinion in favour of renewable energy.

Councilor Pat Davis said, "With the cost of solar coming down every day, we don't know what the best strategy for us is. But the city owns a lot of acreage of rooftops and we own a lot of open space. Usually acquiring the real estate is the biggest hurdle to getting into this game so it looks like we're going to be ahead when it comes to that."

Region: MexicoBusiness: Energy Sector

Corvexreveals 9.9 percent of Pandora Media

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 04:05

Corvex Management LP, which is led by Keith Meister, has announced that it holds a 9.9 percent of Pandora Media Inc.

The hedge fund has asked the internet music streaming company to work towards selling the company and not follow and expensive and uncertain business plan. The company said that it had met with Pandora's management and had also withdrawn a plan to replace some of its board members. It urged the management of Pandora to hire an investment banker and expose strategic options including the sale of business.

Corvex said, "We believe there is likely to be significant strategic interest in the company at a substantial premium to the company's recent stock price." The company also said that large internet companies, handset makers and media companies might be interested in acquiring the popular internet music streaming service.Corvex owns around 22.7 million shares in the company, which makes it the largest shareholder in the company.

Pandora has responded by saying that it holding discussions with shareholders and is committed to achieving long-term value for them. The shares of Pandora have fallen more than 25 percent in 2016 and are trading more than 45 percent down compared to the previous year.

Business: Technology SectorRegion: New YorkPeople: Keith Meister

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