Tag Archives: Finance

Barnes & Noble To Be Acquired By Elliott, Owner of Waterstones, Bringing Together The Leading Booksellers In The US & The UK

Barnes & Noble, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by funds advised by Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited (“Elliott”) for $6.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $683 million, including the assumption of debt.

Elliott’s acquisition of Barnes & Noble, the largest retail bookseller in the United States, follows its June 2018 acquisition of Waterstones, the largest retail bookseller in the United Kingdom. James Daunt, CEO of Waterstones, will assume also the role of CEO of Barnes & Noble following the completion of the transaction and will be based in New York.

The announced transaction with Elliott is the culmination of an extensive Strategic Alternative Review conducted by the Special Committee of the Barnes & Noble Board of Directors, which was announced on October 3, 2018. The Board of Directors of Barnes & Noble unanimously approved the transaction and recommend the transaction to Barnes & Noble shareholders. Leonard Riggio, the Founder and Chairman of Barnes & Noble, has also entered into a voting agreement in support of the transaction.

Barnes & Noble serves 627 different communities across all 50 states, where it remains the #1 bookseller in the United States. Elliott seeks to build upon this strong foundation as it addresses the significant challenges facing the bricks and mortar book retail space, applying a model that successfully turned around Waterstones over the past decade.

Following the close of the transaction, Elliott will own both Barnes & Noble and Waterstones, and while each bookseller will operate independently, they will share a common CEO and benefit from the sharing of best practice between the companies. Waterstones has successfully restored itself to sales growth and sustainable profitability, based on a strategy of investment in their store estate and the empowerment of local bookselling teams. Under Daunt’s leadership and Elliott’s stewardship, this commitment to bookselling excellence will strengthen the ability of both companies to navigate with success a rapidly changing retail landscape.

In anticipation of his new CEO role at Barnes & Noble, James Daunt added, “I look forward greatly to working with the booksellers at Barnes & Noble. Physical bookstores the world over face fearsome challenges from online and digital. We meet these with investment and with all the more confidence for being able to draw on the unrivaled bookselling skills of these two great companies. As a place in which to choose a book, and for the sheer pleasure of visiting, we know that a good bookstore has no equal.”

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Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame Shatters Box Office Records With Historic $1.2 Billion Global Debut

Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” made history this weekend with a record-shattering estimated global debut of $1,209.0 million, becoming the first film in history to surpass $1 billion in its opening weekend. It reached the billion-dollar threshold in just five days, more than twice as fast as its predecessor “Avengers: Infinity War,” which held the record at 11 days. The film also set domestic and international records.

“Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team have continued to challenge notions of what is possible at the movie theatre both in terms of storytelling and at the box office,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “Though ‘Endgame’ is far from an end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these first 22 films constitute a sprawling achievement, and this weekend’s monumental success is a testament to the world they’ve envisioned, the talent involved, and their collective passion, matched by the irrepressible enthusiasm of fans around the world.”

“From the very beginning with ‘Iron Man,’ all we’ve wanted to do was tell stories that brought these characters to life onscreen the way we’ve experienced them as fans of the comics,” said Kevin Feige, President, Marvel Studios. “That we’ve had so many other successes in this journey leading to this unbelievable result with ‘Avengers: Endgame’ has been almost entirely due to the fans around the world who have supported us through it all. Our directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, and our writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, really brought this story home, and I am also incredibly thankful for our cast and filmmakers from across the MCU and all who’ve worked so hard to make these films the best they can be, including the amazing teams at Marvel Studios and Disney. And of course, without Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, none of this would have been possible.”

Said directors Anthony and Joe Russo, “We poured our heart and soul into ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ hoping to tell a story that would inspire audiences around the world. Our family of cast and crew felt honored to be entrusted with bringing the Infinity Saga to a close. To Kevin Feige, everyone at Disney and Marvel, and the incredible, global community of fans – thank you.”

Seven years after releasing the first film to ever break the $200 million mark in its debut with 2012’s “The Avengers,” Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Studios have posted the first-ever $300 million domestic debut in history with “Avengers: Endgame.” The film kicked off with a record $60 million in Thursday previews contributing to a record first-day gross of $156.7 million. A record estimated Saturday of $109 million and a record estimated Sunday of $84.3 million bring the estimated debut to $350 million across three days from an all-time industry high 4,662 theatres.

The estimated international debut of $859 million, including a record estimated debut of $330.5 million in China, is also the highest of all time and even surpasses the previous global debut record of $640 million set by “Avengers: Infinity War” last year (which did not include a day-and-date debut in China).

Key stats for “Avengers: Endgame”:

– #1 domestic ($350M), international ($859M), and global ($1,209.0M) debuts
– #1 domestic Thursday previews ($60M)
– #1 domestic single-day gross and #1 domestic Friday gross ($156.7M)
– #1 domestic Saturday ($109M) and Sunday ($84.3M) grosses; Saturday is first $100M+ day without previews
– #1 China opening day ($107.8M) and opening weekend ($330.5M) and already ranking as the #4 non-local film ever released there
– Fastest film to $1B globally (5 days)
– 8th Marvel Studios film to cross $1B; 2nd to cross $1B this year (with “Captain Marvel”)
– Biggest industry opening weekend across all regions and in 44 markets, including Australia, China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, France (admissions, non-local), Italy (non-local), Spain, UK/Ireland
– Biggest industry single-day grosses in 29 markets, including Australia, China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, UK/Ireland
– Biggest IMAX global debut ($91.5M)
– 96% Certified Fresh RottenTomatoes score
– A+ CinemaScore (U.S.)

Marvel Studios now holds the top two global openings of all time (“Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War”), as well as six of the top 10 domestic debuts and two of the top three international. “Avengers: Endgame” is the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an unprecedented collection of interconnected films, all of which have opened #1 domestically. Globally, the films have grossed a collective $19.9 billion to date, with the four Avengers films – “The Avengers,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Avengers: Endgame” – accounting for nearly $6.2 billion. Four of the MCU films currently rank among the top 10 global releases of all time: “Avengers: Infinity War” (#4, $2.05 billion), “The Avengers” (#6, $1.52 billion), “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (#8, $1.4 billion), and “Black Panther” (#9, $1.3 billion). All 22 have been highly rated by critics and audiences, with Fresh RottenTomatoes aggregate scores across the board, including nine over 90%, and 21 out of 22 earning CinemaScores in the A-range.

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Introducing Apple Card, A New Kind of Credit Card Created By Apple

Apple today announced Apple Card, an innovative, new kind of credit card created by Apple and designed to help customers lead a healthier financial life. Apple Card is built into the Apple Wallet app on iPhone, offering customers a familiar experience with Apple Pay and the ability to manage their card right on iPhone. Apple Card transforms the entire credit card experience by simplifying the application process, eliminating fees, encouraging customers to pay less interest and providing a new level of privacy and security. Available in the US this summer, Apple Card also offers a clearer and more compelling rewards program than other credit cards with Daily Cash, which gives back a percentage of every purchase as cash on customers’ Apple Cash card each day.

A Credit Card Designed for iPhone

Customers can sign up for Apple Card in the Wallet app on their iPhone in minutes and start using it with Apple Pay right away in stores, in apps or online worldwide. Apple Card gives customers easy-to-understand, real-time views of their latest transactions and balance right in Wallet, and Apple Card support is available 24/7 by simply sending a text from Messages.

Easy-to-Understand Spending

Apple Card uses machine learning and Apple Maps to clearly label transactions with merchant names and locations. Purchases are automatically totaled and organized by color-coded categories such as Food and Drinks, Shopping and Entertainment. To help customers better understand their spending, Apple Card provides weekly and monthly spending summaries.

Receive Daily Cash

Customers will receive a percentage of every Apple Card purchase amount back as Daily Cash. Unlike other cash back rewards, Daily Cash is added to customers’ Apple Cash card each day and can be used right away for purchases using Apple Pay, to put toward their Apple Card balance or send to friends and family in Messages. Every time customers use Apple Card with Apple Pay, they will receive 2 percent Daily Cash. Customers will also get 3 percent Daily Cash on all purchases made directly with Apple, including at Apple Stores, on the App Store and for Apple services.

No Fees and Lower Interest

There are no fees associated with Apple Card: no annual, late, international or over-the-limit fees. Apple Card’s goal is to provide interest rates that are among the lowest in the industry and if a customer misses a payment, they will not be charged a penalty rate.

To help customers make informed choices, Apple Card shows a range of payment options and calculates the interest cost on different payment amounts in real time. As a way to pay less interest, Apple Card will also suggest paying a bit more every month and offers the flexibility to schedule more frequent payments.

A New Level of Privacy and Security

A unique card number is created on iPhone for Apple Card and stored safely in the device’s Secure Element, a special security chip used by Apple Pay. Every purchase is secure because it is authorized with Face ID or Touch ID and a one-time unique dynamic security code. The unique security and privacy architecture created for Apple Card means Apple doesn’t know where a customer shopped, what they bought or how much they paid.

Goldman Sachs and Mastercard

Apple is partnering with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to provide the support of an issuing bank and global payments network. As a newcomer to consumer financial services, Goldman Sachs is creating a different credit card experience centered around the customer, which includes never sharing or selling data to third parties for marketing and advertising. Mastercard will provide cardholders the ability to shop at merchants around the globe.

A Beautiful Titanium Card

Apple has also designed a titanium Apple Card for shopping at locations where Apple Pay is not accepted yet. With no card number, CVV security code, expiration date or signature on the card, Apple Card is more secure than any other physical credit card. All this information is easily accessible in Wallet to use in apps and on websites. For purchases made with the titanium Apple Card, customers will get 1 percent Daily Cash.

Availability

Apple Card will be available to qualified customers in the US this summer.

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Stephen King Earned 27 Million Dollars in 2018

According to Forbes, Stephen King is the third highest paid author in 2018 earning $27 million. The king of horror sold 2.7 million domestic books, boosted by the success of the movie version of IT, adapted from his 1986 novel. King nearly doubled his earnings by collecting an eight-figure paycheck from the film, which grossed $700 million worldwide on a $35 million budget. The movie became the highest-grossing R-rated horror movie at the domestic box office, and the sequel, planned for next fall, could break that record again.

To formulate the rankings, Forbes looked at “all earnings estimates from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018. Figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted. Earnings estimates are based on data from NPD BookScan and Box Office Mojo, as well as interviews with industry insiders, including some of the authors themselves.” 

This year’s top-earning authors are:

1. James Patterson ($86 million)
2. J.K. Rowling ($54 million)
3. Stephen King ($27 million)
4. John Grisham ($21 million)
5. Jeff Kinney ($18.5 million)
5. Dan Brown ($18.5 million)
7. Michael Wolff ($13 million)
8. Danielle Steel ($12 million)
8. Nora Roberts ($12 million)
10. Rick Riordan ($10.5 million)
10. E.L James ($10.5 million)

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Disney Buys 20th Century Fox & 20th Century Fox Television

The Walt Disney Company has purchased 21st Century Fox, including the 20th Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses. The deal includes 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, 20th Century Fox Television, FX Productions, Fox21, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky, and Endemol Shine Group.

The deal doesn’t include the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network. Those will be spun off into a newly-listed company.

The acquisition will include popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Deadpool, The Fantastic Four, Avatar, and The Simpsons.

It has also been revealed that The Walt Disney Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger has agreed to continue in the position through the end of calendar year 2021.

You can read the full press release HERE.

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How To Be Entertained On A Budget

ticket stubs and cash

We spend a lot of money each year in our efforts to be entertained. According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spent $2,482 on entertainment in 2013. That figure seems pretty steep, but there are some things that we can do in order to reduce the amount of money we spend in our own households.

Discounted Movie Tickets

Everyone wants to see the hot, new movie as soon as it premieres on the weekend, but that is also the most expensive time to see a film at the cinema. You can save a little cash by waiting until the weekend is over, as midweek prices are generally quite a bit lower. Most movie theaters also offer “early bird specials” wherein you can get a deeply discounted ticket for the first showing of the day.

An added benefit of going to the movies early in the day is that you have your choice of seating since the theaters aren’t as packed as the more popular late night showings. You can even get these savings when you purchase your tickets in advance through sites like Fandango.

Have a Lunch Date

Another benefit of going to the movies early is that you can hit your favorite restaurants for lunch instead of dinner. The lunch menu at restaurants is typically much more affordable than the dinner menu. Impress your date by taking her to a “fancy” restaurant during lunch hours, it won’t be as expensive as dinner, but you still get the brownie points of taking her somewhere nice. You also get to experience trying new cuisine that you may not have been able to otherwise afford.

Local Performance Theaters

You don’t have to see a show on Broadway to enjoy a live performance. May towns and cities have local theaters with affordable ticket prices; some are even free to attend! Look up your town’s community theater and see what they’re offering. They usually have several different performances to choose from, some of which are specifically geared towards families and children. Local performances can be a great, inexpensive way to get in some entertainment as a family. If you’re lucky enough to live near a major city, you can also look on Ticketmaster for events near you.

Decide to Stay In

Nowadays you don’t have to even leave the house to be entertained. Cable and satellite companies have comprehensive packages with hundreds of channels available. It is also less expensive than seeing new movies at the cinema when they come out.

Services like Directv on demand allow your whole family to rent new movies at one low price, which certainly saves over purchasing four separate tickets at the cinema. Plus, it’s very flexible. Unlike with theaters, where you have to work around their show times, with on demand you choose the time that is convenient for you and your family. There are often discounts online that can save you money on the overall service as well.

It just goes to show that you don’t need to break the bank in order to be entertained. There are many ways to save money on entertainment, like going to early bird movies, and eating out for lunch instead of dinner. Utilize your community for inexpensive and family friendly entertainment in the form of live performances, or small art galleries. Or stay in and enjoy entertainment from the comfort of your own home, surrounded by your friends and family. The choice is yours.

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Businessweek Cover Story: The Pow! Bang! Bam! Plan to Save Marvel, Starring B-List Heroes

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Kevin Feige is one of the more shrewd and successful studio heads of his generation. Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens today and is likely to do better at the box office than Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel’s first film about the patriotic superhero, which grossed $370 million.

He produced them both. And he’s considering a third. Feige’s films aren’t groundbreaking—they rely on epic showdowns at major landmarks, set to Carmina Burana-style angelic choruses, and the force of computer-generated graphics is strong within them. Still, they feel like a refreshment of the genre, so much so that instead of diminishing returns, Marvel’s sequels make progressively more money.

Read more of the Businessweek cover story HERE.

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Square Introduces New Thinner Credit Card Reader

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Today Square released the latest generation of the pioneering credit card reader that empowers millions of people to accept credit cards. The all-new Square Reader is built with custom-designed components for better performance, easier use and an elegant, thinner design.

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Features of the new Square Reader include:

– A custom magnetic readhead and spring. Thinner and more accurate than the alternatives, the readhead parses redundant data from credit cards to ensure successful swipes.

– Custom electronics in a single chip. The reader is powered by the phone into which it is plugged, eliminating the need for a bulky battery and increasing life and reliability.

– Improved communications protocols and a custom audio plug. The Square Reader is compatible with more devices than ever before.

– The thinnest mobile card reader on the market.

The new Square Reader is available today and is free to anyone that signs up for a Square account.

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Coin

coin-xl

We carry tons of cards in our wallets — multiple credit cards, debit cards, bank cards, loyalty cards, membership cards, gift cards but Coin ($100) is looking to alleviate that.

This connected device (shaped and sized like a credit card) lets you scan all the cards you typically carry in your wallet, and then leave them at home.

Coin works just like a regular card, letting you swipe it the same way you normally would, and lets you easily swap which card you’re using at any given moment. Manage your collection of cards with their mobile app, and never lose track of your Coin thanks to low-energy Bluetooth alerts.


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Square Cash, New Service Enables Peer-to-Peer Payments Directly To And From Customers’ Debit Cards

Square, the company making commerce easy for everyone, introduced Square Cash; a new service that makes sending money as simple as sending an email.

With Square Cash, individuals no longer need to write checks, pay ATM fees or wait for forgotten loans from friends. Customers simply send an e-mail to the person they’re paying, and after the recipient enters their debit card number, money is directly transferred to their bank account.

Square Cash is free to send and receive, and there is no signup process. Funds are directly deposited into the recipient’s bank account, rather than held in a stored balance account.

To send their first payment, customers simply compose an email by filling in the following fields:

– To: [email address]
– Cc: cash@square.com
– Subject: $ [amount]
– Send!

Customers then receive an email prompting them to link a debit card to fund their first payment. To accept a payment, the recipient enters their debit card number once, and will automatically receive funds to their debit card thereafter.

Square Cash works from any e-mail client (such as Gmail, Yahoo, Mac Mail, Android Mail and Outlook), whether on a phone, tablet, or desktop. In addition to the e-mail service, Square also created a Square Cash app for iOS and Android. The app enables customers to keep Square Cash on their homescreen and send e-mail payments from a simple, customized interface.

Square Cash is only available in the U.S., visit www.square.com/cash for more information.

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