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Does the Avon Lady Sing the Blues?

makeup-brushes-824707_960_720Avon Products rebuffed a $10.7 billion offer by Coty over three years ago and since then their business has been on the rocks. This week, Cerberus Capital Management agreed to take their North American business. The North American business has been at the heart of Avon’s problems, weighing down the rest of the company.

Sheri McCoy, the chief executive of Avon Products, explained that the Avon portfolio outside of North America represents 86% of their revenue in the last nine months.

As Ms. McCoy explained, “We believe that the separation of North America is the best way to ensure that both businesses have an unencumbered path to profitability and growth. This was a key principle as we considered alternatives.”

Learn more about Avon’s plans and what Cerberus has planned with their take-over.

Unemployment Levels Looking Up

In good news, the Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell even more than expected last week. This was almost a 42 year low, as the state unemployment benefits dropped 5000 for 267,000 for the week ending December 19th. This was close to the levels last seen in late 1973, according to the Labor Department.

The claims report showed that those receiving benefits declined 47,000 to 2.20 million in the week that ended on December 12th.

Read more and get the details with this article at Reuters.






Mobile Hits the Mark on Cyber Monday

Mobile device shopping accounted for more than a quarter of the $3 billion in sales over Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday was the biggest ever day for online sales in the US according to the Adobe Digital Index report. This was attributed to larger than expected discounts and to a demand for electronics and toys in particular.

There were 200 million visitors who visited 4,500 retail websites on Cyber Monday. Last year, mobile devices accounted for 19% of the total sales on Cyber Monday, and this year that number hit 26%.

What were the top selling items? Lego’s Star Wars collection, the Barbie Dream House, the Samsung 4K television set and Apple Inc.’s iPad Mini.

Interestingly, even though more people were shopping from their mobiles, they were spending less. On average, the smartphone shopper spent $102.02 on each order, which was below the $128 average spent by desktop users. Scot Wingo, executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor shared his frustration when he said, “The fact that we haven’t improved the mobile conversion rate is a little depressing to be honest.”

Which stores faired the best? Inc. had a 21.1% rise in Cyber Monday sales according to ChannelAdvisor. Discounts through Amazon averaged 40%.

Target Earning Results

Target just issued its earning results, reporting $.086 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter. They hit the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $.086, as reported by Target earned $17.60 billion during the quarter, just over the consensus estimate of $17.57 billion. Their revenues are up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis.

Thursday, they opened at 69.78. Their quarterly divided will be paid on Thursday, December 10th. As the article explained, “Shareholders of record on Wednesday, November 18th will be given a $0.56 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, November 16th. This represents a $2.24 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.21%.”

Major Gift: Northwestern University School of Law

In recent, and very exciting news for Northwestern University School of Law, alumnus J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, have made a $100 million gift to the 156 year old school. The law school will change its name to the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, as this is the single largest gift ever made to any law school.

Certainly, this will have an impact on everyone at for Northwestern University School of Law, from the students to the adjunct professors like Geoff Richards and the senior lecturers like Herbert N. Beller.

The announcement about the gift was made at the Law School on October 22, 2015 by Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and Law School Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez. The gift will support several social justice centers at the Law School including the Center on Wrongful Convictions, the Children and Family Justice Center, the Center on International Human Rights and the Environmental Law Center. The gift will also permanently endow and rename the Law School’s Entrepreneurship Law Center as the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurial Law Center.

As Dean Rodriguez said, “Our increasingly complex and dynamic world demands lawyers who are trained to tackle difficult legal and policy problems and to work imaginatively at the interface of law, business and technology. This extraordinary gift will help provide the financial foundation for this law school to produce a new breed of highly skilled, adaptive lawyers—creative, constructive problem-solvers armed with multidisciplinary skills and resolutely committed to social justice and the rule of law.”

The Pritzker gift will have a long-standing impact on everyone at Northwestern, including faculty and adjunct faculty, from Ronald J. Allen and Karen Alter to Geoff Richards and Robert P. Burns. As President Schapiro said, “J.B. and M.K. are such good friends of the University, and their extraordinary commitment will allow a bold future for an already great law school.”

Business Advice Worth Following: An Interview with Ted Virtue

Whether you’re already on the corporate ladder or trying to climb your way up it, it’s always helpful to hear from those who have come before you. Here, OnWire interviews Ted Virtue, Founder & CEO of MidOcean Partners. This is part of their Open Door video series with Skiddy von Stade. Learn more about Ted Virtue’s business philosophy and how he got to where he is today.

Marc Lasry on Becoming an Aspiring Entrepreneur

Marc Lasry

Marc Lasry

Marc Lasry who heads an investment firm, recently gave a few tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.  He said: “everybody will tell you it’s very difficult to do. The only advice I would have is of course it’s difficult to do; that’s why not many people do it.  But if you believe you have something that’s different and unique, then go do it. And, ultimately, the market will either agree or disagree with you.” He brings expertise from a number of fiscal organizations, including when he was co-Director at Cowen & Company, which worked in a variety of fields including the hedge fund industry.

A Business Model for Medical Success

You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, or you’ve learned your diabetic, or you’re concerned about your gallstones. How do you now go about finding the best doctor for your needs in your area? While this sounds like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be with the research done by Castle Connolly Medical.

As the leading provider of research about those in the medical profession, Castle Connolly Medical with founders John Castle of Castle Harlan and John J. Connolly helps to take the guess work out of your search.

Castle Connolly has been working for more than 20 years to research quality health care and they provide consumers with the most authoritative and informed assessment of doctors in each area.

Some of their consumer guides include: “America’s Top Doctors,” “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer,” “Top Doctors: New York Metro Area,” “The Best in Senior Living & Eldercare Options” and “The ABCs of HMOs.”

Castle Connolly, with John Castle of Castle Harlan and John J. Connolly, asks thousands of physicians and health care professionals to identify the bets doctors in their region and throughout the country. Physicians cannot pay to be listed and Castle Connolly has a rigorous survey, research and screening process.

They only select physicians who are board certified and they use a “minimum years in practice” standard. They review the credentials of all physicians under consideration. Physicians may be removed, as well, at times.

This is a system that has been working for many years and that continues to educate the public to help them find the best health care possible for their needs.


Walgreens Buying Rite Aid Corp.

Next time that you enter the Rite Aid Corp. drugstore chain,  you just might find that it’s no longer a Rite Aid. That’s because Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said on Tuesday that they will be acquiring Rite Aid for $9.4 billion. The goal for Walgreens is to increase their footprint in the United States by half. They also hope to be able to negotiate for low drug prices.

Walgreens hopes that the transaction will close in the second half o 2016.

Analysts believe that the deal will increase Walgreens’ presence in the Pacific Northwest and make it in a better position to take on CVS Health Corp.

Walgreens currently has 13,200 stores, 60% of which are in the US. They generated $76.4 billion in sales during the year that ended on August 31, 2014.






Phoenix Ancient Art at PAD London

Phoenix Ancient Art rancient-artecently participated in PAD London 2015. The Pavilion of Art and Design took place in London’s Berkeley Square and was attended by art collectors from all around the world. This year, Phoenix Ancient Art was just one of 62 galleries that had a booth at the four day event.

PAD offers an ambiance of artistic culture, with galleries presenting design, modern art, photography and more from throughout Asia, Europe and North America. This event therefore “offer[s] an exceptional panorama of the most coveted and iconic works available on the market today.” It is a place for investors in the market to find something unique to add to their collection to “acquire pieces of museum quality with a distinct history.”

Business wise, the PAD Fair in London has become quite the impressive event. Indeed, according to Sallie Brady of Arts & Antiquities, “PAD London’s Berkeley Square location is pure gold, with a steady traffic of hedge-funders, international bankers and Mayfair millionaires.” And as Caroline Roux of The Financial Times, pointed out, “PAD’s London edition is becoming one of the best places to sell their unique and limited edition pieces.”

Tickets for the event were sold at £20 for adults, £10, for students and were free for those under 15 years of age.


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