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 Amazon, AT&T, Microsoft feeling love from investors; Apple still No. 1 among tech firms as Google falls to No. 3
USA TODAY, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 Investors got behind Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' push into yet more markets and AT&T's consolidation of the North American telecom industry in the second quarter, based on the stock performance of the 20 most valuable tech companies.
 July to kick off volatile 2nd half; Wall Street has much to like, but worries abound
USA TODAY, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 Not into bumpy rides or turbulence? Then brace yourself, because the second half of the year might give you a case of the jitters as financial markets are expected to remain volatile despite expectations of modest stock market gains in the U.S.
 At JetBlue, checked bags will cost you; Airline revamps fare offerings; move leaves Southwest as lone holdout
USA TODAY, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 And then there was one. JetBlue began charging for checked bags starting with itineraries booked from Tuesday onward. The change was announced in November, but JetBlue had not revealed details until now.
 Stock Gains in China Help to Calm Investors
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 SHANGHAI -- Chinese stock markets staged a powerful rally late Tuesday, sending share prices sharply higher in a volatile day of trading. The surge in prices came after investors had suffered some of the sharpest losses in years over the previous two sessions.
 Ruling That Apple Led Price-Fixing Is Upheld
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a ruling that determined Apple to be the leader of an industrywide conspiracy among book publishers to raise prices of digital books. By a 2-to-1 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said it agreed with the conclusions of Judge Denise L. Cote of United States District Court in Manhattan, who rendered the decision in 2013.   ''We conclude that the district court's decision that Apple orchestrated a horizontal...
 Willis-Towers Watson Merger to Insure Against Market Turmoil
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 Willis Group Holdings and Towers Watson have taken out some insurance against future troubles in the sectors they serve. Willis, an insurance broker domiciled in Ireland with a big presence in the United States and Britain, is joining forces with Towers Watson, a risk and health care consulting firm based in the United States. The merger has a defensive logic, but it carries positive rationale as well.
 Willis Group in Merger to Expand Its Scope
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 LONDON -- The insurance broker and risk management advisory firm Willis Group Holdings said on Tuesday that it had agreed to an all-share merger with the professional services firm Towers Watson that would create a company with an $18 billion market value.
 Disney Names Its First Female Chief Financial Officer
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 LOS ANGELES -- Adding another female executive to its predominantly male senior ranks, the Walt Disney Company on Tuesday named Christine M. McCarthy as its next chief financial officer, succeeding James A. Rasulo.
 G.E. Sells Unit
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 LONDON -- General Electric said on Tuesday that it had agreed to sell a division that finances leveraged buyouts in Europe to a unit of the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation for about $2.2 billion.
 Goldman Pays Penalty
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 For a Wall Street bank that prides itself on not making mistakes, an incident when Goldman Sachs erroneously sent thousands of stock options trades into the market two summers ago was embarrassing and costly.
 On Wall Street, Cautious Optimism as Merger Deals Near Peak Level
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 Shortly after the financial crisis, even merger bankers and lawyers -- among the most optimistic lot on Wall Street -- fretted that the good times might never come back. Now those advisers can't stop working, even as some are privately fretting that the merger cycle has hit its peak -- or that an unforeseen crisis could end the party.   The number and dollar volume of deals announced in the first half in 2015 have not just surpassed those of last year, which was a healthy one for corporate...
 Euskaltel, Spanish Telecom Firm, Is Valued at $1.3 Billion in I.P.O.
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 LONDON -- Euskaltel, the provider of telephone and broadband services in the Basque region of Spain, has said that its initial public offering valued the company at 1.2 billion euros, or about $1.3 billion.
 Flow Traders I.P.O. Could Value Dutch Firm at Up to $1.9 Billion
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 LONDON -- Flow Traders, a Dutch proprietary trading firm, said on Tuesday that its initial public offering could value the company at up to 1.72 billion euros, or about $1.9 billion.
 Conagra Unwinds Deal
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 Under pressure from a prominent activist shareholder, ConAgra announced plans on Tuesday to shed its private-label brands operation -- less than three years after buying the business.
 Wendel Agrees to Acquire AlliedBarton Security for $1.67 Billion
The New York Times, July 1, 2015 Wednesday

 LONDON -- The French investment firm Wendel said on Tuesday that it had agreed to acquire AlliedBarton Security Services, one of the largest providers of security guards in the United States, from the Blackstone Group for about $1.67 billion, including debt.
 Microsoft transfers display-ad work to AOL
The Seattle Times, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 In a memo outlining his plans for the coming year, Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella promised tough choices. A couple arrived Monday when the company confirmed a pair of deals that scaled back its presence in online advertising and mapping technology. Microsoft jobs that handle sales and engineering of banner ads on the company's websites will be transferred to AOL.
 SeaWorld raises its starting pay for thousands
Orlando Sentinel (Florida), June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 SeaWorld Orlando said Monday that it increased its minimum starting wage to $9.50 from $9 an hour, affecting about 3,000 employees in the area.
 Supreme Court Declines to Hear Google-Oracle Appeal
The New York Times, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 Many in the tech community expressed dismay at a Supreme Court decision on Monday not to hear the appeal of a copyright decision against Google. But it could be years before lower courts provide clarity around an important component of big software systems, called Application Programming Interfaces.   Google had asked the Supreme Court to revisit a 2014 federal appeals court decision that A.P.I.s in the Java programming language owned by Oracle, used by Google to create the Android smartphone...
 AOL in Deal With Microsoft to Take Over Display Ad Business
The New York Times, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 When the deal for Verizon to buy AOL was announced last month, executives from both companies said AOL was an appealing acquisition because of its advertising technology. On Monday, AOL showed some of the value in announcing a deal with Microsoft.
 G.E. Deal
The New York Times, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 LONDON -- General Electric said on Monday that it had agreed to sell its fleet-financing businesses in the United States, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand to Element Financial Corporation of Canada for $6.9 billion.
 Deutsche Bank's Head of Mergers and Acquisitions Said to Be Leaving
The New York Times, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 LONDON -- Henrik Aslaksen, the global head of mergers and acquisitions at Deutsche Bank, is preparing to leave the company, according to a person briefed on his departure.
 Private Equity Firms Circle Australian Car Finance Company
The New York Times, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 Sydney, AUSTRALIA -- The American private equity firms Carlyle Group and TPG are in discussions to buy Esanda, Australia's second-largest auto financing business, according to people briefed on the matter.
 New Gannett looking to strengthen community; TEGNA, print spinoff complete as companies go separate ways
USA TODAY, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 Gannett, which operates USA TODAY and the newly created USA TODAY Media Network, began life as a publicly traded company Monday, marking the start of an uncertain journey whose outcome largely will be determined by its ability to adapt to readers' changing habits.
 Ford peddles e-bike for commuters on the move; Company expands its Smart Mobility initiative, two wheels at a time
USA TODAY, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 Ford is looking to downsize from four wheels to two with its own version of the electric bicycle. Ford's Hands on Mobility project is experimenting with the production of electronic bicycles, studying how the products will interact with cars, buses and other forms of transportation. These tests are being conducted, the company says, in an effort to increase transportation efficiency for the busy commuter. It's being done under the auspices of the company's Smart Mobility plan, which the company...
 Disney is merging two divisions
Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2015 Tuesday

 Walt Disney Co. is merging its interactive and consumer products divisions, highlighting new technology's ability to erase boundaries between once distinct businesses. The Burbank entertainment giant already offers products that combine traditional playthings and digital media, among them the video game franchise "Disney Infinity." And the company's new line of wearable toys, called Playmation, will debut this fall. Now, the development and production of such offerings will be handled by a...

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