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 American Apparel's culture shift; New CEO aims to eliminate risque ads, restore order
Chicago Tribune, March 27, 2015 Friday

 The alterations underway at American Apparel are evident in its advertising. Gone are the half-naked young women splayed on billboards and print ads. These days, the models tend to be fully dressed in the company's hip basics. The salacious images were part of the freewheeling style of founder Dov Charney. His tenure was also marked by loose corporate operations, financial losses and sexual harassment allegations that sparked a board revolt and Charney's ouster last year.
 Diet sodas fall in U.S.; Pepsi takes back No. 2
Chicago Tribune, March 27, 2015 Friday

 Americans bought less soda for the 10th straight year in 2014, with diet sodas shrinking more than their sugary counterparts, according to a report released Thursday. The annual report by the industry tracker Beverage Digest found that overall soda volume slipped 0.9 percent last year, moderating from a decline of 3 percent the previous year.
 With Car Dealerships' Ranks Thinned, the Survivors Thrive
The New York Times, March 27, 2015 Friday

 ONLY a few years ago, in the depths of the recession, the local car dealership seemed to be living on borrowed time. Franchises were closing by the hundreds as buyers stayed away from what were increasingly seen as outmoded showrooms. Now, with the economy back, auto sales are booming, and investors seemingly cannot get enough of the hardscrabble business of ''moving metal.'' This month, Berkshire Hathaway, Warren E. Buffett's holding company, completed its acquisition of the Van Tuyl Group,...
 Citigroup Study Faults Law Firms Over Silence on Attacks by Hackers
The New York Times, March 27, 2015 Friday

 Every month it seems another American company reports being a victim of a hacking that results in the theft of internal or customer information. But the legal profession almost never publicly discloses a breach. The unwillingness of most big United States law firms to discuss or even acknowledge breaches has frustrated law enforcement and corporate clients for several years. That frustration bubbled over in a recent internal report from Citigroup's cyberintelligence center that warned bank...
 Reading the Fine Print in the Heinz-Kraft Deal
The New York Times, March 27, 2015 Friday

 The $70 billion combination of Kraft and Heinz is a big, big deal, but it is perhaps most interesting for how the parties have agreed to run the combined company. It is also an odd deal from the start.   Kraft shareholders will receive one share of Heinz stock for each share of Kraft stock. This is par for the course. The unusual part is that Heinz is private and will publicly list its shares in connection with this transaction.  This immediately raises valuation issues.  Because Heinz...
 R.B.S. Sells $3.2 Billion in Stock of Citizens Financial Group
The New York Times, March 27, 2015 Friday

 LONDON -- The Royal Bank of Scotland said on Thursday that it sold $3.2 billion in shares of the Citizens Financial Group in a larger-than-expected offering as it seeks to reduce its holdings in the American retail bank after an initial public offering last year.
 GameStop reports lower revenue on falling hardware sales, shares fall
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas), March 26, 2015 Thursday

 Declining demand for video game systems during the holiday shopping season, a year after new models were released, pushed down fourth-quarter revenues by 5.6 percent at GameStop, the Grapevine-based electronics retailer said Thursday.
 Chesapeake Energy Corp. cuts its 2015 drilling budget
The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK), March 24, 2015 Tuesday

 Chesapeake Energy Corp. executives said Monday they have cut the company's 2015 drilling budget by another $500 million because of continued low oil and natural gas prices.The Oklahoma City oil and natural gas company now expects to spend $3.5 billion to $4 billion drilling wells this year."We entered 2015 with a strong liquidity position, and we intend to manage it prudently," CEO Doug Lawler said in a statement.Lawler said the company expects to end the year with about $6 billion in combined...
 McCormick's growth key: millennials, new markets; At annual meeting, CEO describes efforts to meet competitive pressures
The Baltimore Sun, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 The future of 125-year-old McCormick & Co. Inc. will be shaped by the cooking habits of the millennial generation, the rise of the middle class in emerging international markets and consumers' growing preference for fresh, healthy food, the CEO of the spice and flavorings maker told shareholders Wednesday. "The demand for flavor is worldwide and growing," Alan D. Wilson told investors who jammed a ballroom at Martin's Valley Mansion in Cockeysville for the Sparks company's annual meeting. "The...
 WARREN'S BUFFET; Two of the food industry's leading brands have agreed to merge. The union creates a stable of American staples, yet questions linger.
The Boston Globe, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 The $29 billion pantry from the Kraft Heinz Co. could outfit quite the picnic: Kraft single cheese slices or maybe Velveeta and dill pickles from Claussen for your hamburger. Tradition demands Heinz Tomato Ketchup, but Grey Poupon mustard would spice it up, while A.1. sauce would take it in another direction. A side of fries, Golden Crinkles from Ore-Ida, or maybe Heinz Beanz? Your fruit is Australian pineapple slices — in juice — from Golden Circle, while your greens get a coating of Heinz...
 Energy prices are set to drop; National Grid predicts a decline of 25 percent
The Boston Globe, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 National Grid prices for gas and electricity are set to drop at least 25 percent after an expensive winter, but electric rates for this coming summer will still be slightly higher than last year's. The state approved the utility's basic electric service rates for May through October on Wednesday, and a typical bill for one of the utility's million electric households will be about $91, about $10 higher than last summer. The company's 900,000 gas customers will see their bills drop to around $29...
 Merger boosts kraft; Union with Heinz will create fifth-largest food and drink giant
USA TODAY, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 In a jolt touching pantries across the globe, H.J. Heinz and Kraft Foods Group (KRFT) will merge into the world's fifth-largest food and beverage company -- bent on cutting costs, growing internationally and evolving into a more consumer-focused company. The merger, valued at about $36 billion, will allow Kraft "to move and grow faster than we could on our own," Kraft CEO John Cahill said. He would become vice chairman of the newly formed Kraft Heinz.
 Dow falls back in the red for 2015; Dramatic March continues after 293-point drop
USA TODAY, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 Stocks fell for a third consecutive day Wednesday as the Dow plunged 293 points and turned negative for the year. The big drop came after a disappointing manufacturing report and news of a mega-merger between two food icons.
 Microsoft Tells Its Partners to Provide Paid Sick Leave
The New York Times, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 It is difficult to imagine, at least in the current political climate, that the federal government would require paid sick leave for workers, let alone vacation time. But the White House announced Wednesday that senior officials, including the labor secretary, would begin a monthlong roadshow around the country to promote paid leave. And in his State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to pass a bill giving workers seven days of paid sick leave.   But any federal requirement...
 Swiss Private Bank Vontobel Buys Majority Stake in British Asset Manager
The New York Times, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 LONDON -- The Swiss private bank Vontobel said on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy a majority stake in TwentyFour Asset Management of Britain and that it was in talks over the potential acquisition of a German asset manager owned by Bank of New York Mellon.
 Citigroup Names New Head of China Investment Banking
The New York Times, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 HONG KONG -- Citigroup has hired a longtime China banker from Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit to be head of its investment banking in the country.
 Amex to Ask for a Stay of Antitrust Decision
The New York Times, March 26, 2015 Thursday

 The chief executive of American Express said on Wednesday that the company would seek a stay of a ruling that could ban a longstanding Amex practice: prohibiting merchants from encouraging customers to pay with lower-cost cards.
 Mitsui to sell US unit to Penske Logistics
Journal of Commerce, March 24, 2015 Tuesday 8:35 PM GMT

 Japanese trading giant Mitsui & Co. has signed an agreement to sell Transfreight North America (TFNA), its wholly owned U.S. logistics subsidiary, to Penske Logistics for an undisclosed sum.
 Biotech CEO is a $3.5B man after buyout
USA TODAY, March 25, 2015 Wednesday

 Robert Duggan, CEO of biotech drugmaker Pharmacyclics, will pocket more than $3.5 billion from the company's sale to AbbVie, one of the biggest paydays ever from the buyout of a publicly held company.
 Paying up for PayPal's new CEO to tune of $38.7M
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), March 24, 2015 Tuesday

 If there was an eBay auction for Dan Schulman's services, the former American Express executive came out a winner. Schulman, who will become CEO of the payment services provider when it is spun off by eBay, received compensation of nearly $38.7 million in 2014, eBay said in its annual proxy. Much of his compensation is a one-time, make good payment to cover forfeited equity and repayments tied to American Express.
 Corporate leadership; Big Lots gives CEO raise, new contract;
The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), March 25, 2015 Wednesday

 David Campisi has received a raise and a contract extension from the Big Lots board of directors, an obvious endorsement for the role he has played in the company's recent turnaround.
 McCormick profit slips, sales grow; Revenue up 2 percent in first quarter but earnings are off by 15 percent
The Baltimore Sun, March 25, 2015 Wednesday

 McCormick & Co. Inc.'s sales grew 2 percent but profit slipped 15 percent in the first three months of its fiscal year -- better-than-expected results that sent shares up Tuesday for the Sparks-based flavoring and spice company. The company, which is contining to expand in China and preparing to launch a line of gourmet spices in the United States, reported net income Tuesday of $70.5 million for the quarter that ended Feb. 28, down from $82.5 million a year earlier. Earnings per share slipped...
 Is U.S. tiring of diet sodas?; Data show sales flattening for low-cal drinks
The Baltimore Sun, March 25, 2015 Wednesday

 WASHINGTON -- Toward the end of the 1990s, more than a decade and a half after Diet Coke was first introduced, Coca-Cola found itself in a rut. The soda-maker's best-selling low-calorie drink, popular as it had become, appeared to be topping out in reach. The same was true of Diet Coke's archrival Diet Pepsi, as well as the rest of the lighter soda business. "Sales of diet soft drinks remain as sluggish as overeaters after Thanksgiving dinner," The New York Times wrote in the spring of...
 Merck adds $10b stock buyback plan
The Boston Globe, March 25, 2015 Wednesday

 Merck said the $10 billion will be added to the $1.7 billion still available for repurchase. KENILWORTH, N.J. — Merck & Co. says its board approved the repurchase of up to $10 billion more of its stock.
 Board Raises Its Objections to the Re-election of a Wynn Resorts Co-Founder
The New York Times, March 25, 2015 Wednesday

 The battle between the co-founders of the Wynn Resorts casino company escalated on Tuesday, when the company urged stockholders in a lengthy letter to reject a bid by Elaine P. Wynn to remain on the board on grounds she was ''self-serving'' and ''ineffective,'' and had ceased to act in the company's best interest. The letter came as Ms. Wynn, 72, began a week of meetings meant to woo institutional investors on Wall Street. She will need their support to win re-election to the board of Wynn...

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