Business News - part 4

Instacart Raises $220 Million in Additional Funding

Instacart Raises $220 Million in Additional Funding

BUSINESS

  • Several investors have backed startup
  • Company grew tenfold in 2014
  • Future growth in online grocery delivery unclear

Grocery store delivery startup Instacart has raised an additional $220 million from investors, valuing the company at $2 billion, in order to expand its offerings and its market. Previously, the startup had raised $55 million.

Investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group.

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Dollar Tree Ready to Back out of Family Dollar Offer

Dollar Tree Ready to Back out of Family Dollar Offer

BUSINESS

  • Dollar Tree CEO says company has lost patience
  • Family Dollar has delayed vote twice
  • Dollar Store bid viewed as much riskier

Dollar Tree Inc. has told Family Dollar Stores Inc. shareholders to accept its $8.5 billion cash and stock bid or the retailer will withdrawal its bid.

Dollar Tree Chief Executive Officer Bob Sasser said the chain has run out of patience, and waiting additional time for a decision will drive up financing costs.

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Samsung Posts First Annual Decline since 2011

Samsung Posts First Annual Decline since 2011

BUSINESS

  • Drop in smartphone sales contributed to decline
  • Company may rebound with microchips, devices
  • Smartphone rivals taking advantage of Samsung drop

South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics Co. says 2014 will be the first year with an annual decline in profit since 2011.

During the fourth quarter, profit was $4.7 billion, a 37% decline from 2013 and the fifth consecutive quarter to post a decline. Sales dropped 12%. In the third quarter, the decline was 60% and profit margins shrank to 7%.

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Wet Seal Closing Two-Thirds of its Stores

Wet Seal Closing Two-Thirds of its Stores

BUSINESS

  • Decision comes after failure to find other alternative
  • Wet Seal posted third-consecutive year of loses
  • Retailer and rivals facing slumping teen market

Teen-focused clothing and accessories retailer Wet Seal is closing 338 stores, two-thirds of its locations, effective immediately, after it failed to find other financial options to avoid bankruptcy.

For the first nine months of 2014, the 338 stores represented $316 million in net sales. The retailer did not announce which locations were closed.

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Coach Buys Stuart Weitzman for $574 Million

Coach Buys Stuart Weitzman for $574 Million

BUSINESS

  • Purchase expands Coach’s footwear offerings
  • Stuart Weitzman has strong international presence
  • Coach facing increased competition from rivals

Luxury handbag and accessories company Coach Inc. has agreed to purchase women's luxury footwear company Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC for $574 million, adding to its product offerings.

Coach will pay $530 million in cash upfront with another $44 million payable when revenue targets are met over the next three years. Stuart Weitzman is owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners.

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U.S December 2014 Auto Sales Strong

U.S December 2014 Auto Sales Strong

BUSINESS

  • Year total reached as high as 17.3 million vehicles
  • Average selling price increased to $34,367
  • Nissan and Honda also reported increased December sales

Automakers saw strong December sales in the U.S. and reached a projected annualized selling rate of between 16.5 million and 17.3 million vehicles sold for 2014, the best year since 2006. In 2000, sales reached a record 17.4 million vehicles.

Increased consumer confidence caused by low interest rates and decreased unemployed boosted car sales. An estimated 1.5 million were sold in December. Sales have grown 58% since 2009.

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FCC Delays Time Warner Cable, Comcast Deal

FCC Delays Time Warner Cable, Comcast Deal

BUSINESS

  • TWC did not provide documents in a timely manner
  • Parts of regulatory review would need to be reopened
  • Charter Communications deal also delayed

The Federal Communications Commission has postponed making a decision on Comcast Corp.’s $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc.

Nearly 7,000 page of documents were withheld by TWC because of what the FCC is calling an inappropriate claim of attorney-client privilege. An additional, 31,000 documents were withheld because of a vendor error.

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Blackberry and Boeing Partner to Make Self-Destructing Smartphone

Blackberry and Boeing Partner to Make Self-Destructing Smartphone

BUSINESS

  • Phone would be used by government agencies
  • Features numerous security features
  • Future of Blackberry still in question

Canadian telecommunication company Blackberry and aircraft manufacturer and defense contractor Boeing have partnered to develop a self-destructing smartphone for use by government agencies and any other group that needs a high level of security.

The “Black” phone has been in the planning stages since 2012 and includes a number of safety features including data that will erase of the case is tampered with, biometric scanners, phone call encryption, solar recharging and the ability to have satellite or radio capability. The phone makes calls via satellite.

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American Apparel Considered Takeover Offer

American Apparel Considered Takeover Offer

BUSINESS

  • Takeover being seriously considered
  • Board creates plan to deflect hostile takeover bids
  • CEO was fired in mid-December for misconduct

U.S. clothing retailer and manufacturer American Apparel Inc. is considered a takeover by an unidentified party for $1.30 to $1.40 per share. This values the company at $226 million-$243 million.

The proposal requires Chief Executive Dov Charney return to the company. He was fired Dec. 16. It is backed by private-equity firm Irving Place Capital, according the The Wall Street Journal.

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Couche-Tard Buys The Pantry for $860 Million

Couche-Tard Buys The Pantry for $860 Million

BUSINESS

  • Increases U.S. presence
  • The Pantry was about to go up for auction
  • Retailer has preference for stores with fueling stations

Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has purchased U.S. convenience chain The Pantry Inc. for $860 million in cash, expanding its U.S. presence. The deal, including assumption of debt, has an enterprise value of $1.7 billion.

The Pantry was in the process of preparing itself to go up for auction, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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