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Finance News - part 7

Yen Falls After Postwar Record High

Yen Falls After Postwar Record High

FINANCE

  • Yen falls again to 76.5 on August 19
  • Record Japanese M&A cross-border transactions this year
  • 80% of Japanese operating profits come from abroad
  • Government announces $100 billion loan fund to weaken yen

After continued worries of a soaring currency, Japan saw its yen fall to 76.5 on August 19, after it had recently reached a post World War II record high against the dollar.

The decline came as Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced that he is prepared to take strong action to curb the currency's strength. Since the announcement, the yen has fallen from 79.04 on August 4 to 76.8 today.

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Ethan Allen Sales, Profits Up In Fourth Quarter

Ethan Allen Sales, Profits Up In Fourth Quarter

FINANCE

  • Ethan Allen reports 9% sales increase in fourth quarter
  • Analysts recommend holding stock, CEO “cautiously optimistic”
  • Ethan Allen seeks global expansion, hires Arne Borrey as new VP international business

Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. posted its fourth quarter results, which reveal a sales increase of $89 million for the company and a profit gain of 91 cents per share for investors.

Fourth quarter earnings rose from $0.07 per share in quarter three to a pleasing $0.21 per share, with annual earnings reaching $0.58 per share. Its quarterly profit reversed a net loss of over $26 million, or 91 cents per share.

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LinkedIn: Revolutionizing Careers and the Stock Market?

LinkedIn: Revolutionizing Careers and the Stock Market?

FINANCE

  • Initial earnings impressive, with profit at $4.5 million and revenue up over 115%
  • Shares hit a high of almost $106 on August 3
  • LinkedIn could revolutionize both careers and stock market

LinkedIn has further beat expectations with initial earnings showing profit of $4.5 million, or close to 4 cents a share, in its second-quarter. Further, revenue rose by over 115% from $54.9 million in the same quarter last year to $121 million.

These results contrasted with analyst predictions of a 1 to 4% share net loss, and were a slight increase from its $4.3 million profit as a private firm in the second quarter of 2010.

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Williams-Sonoma to Make British Debut Next Year

Williams-Sonoma to Make British Debut Next Year

FINANCE

  • Williams-Sonoma to open shop in London within first half of 2012
  • WSM rating downgraded by S&P and Stock Scouter
  • UK becoming popular alternative for overseas expansion

San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma retail chain is making plans to bring its gourmet cookware and upmarket furnishings to the United Kingdom. Williams-Sonoma hopes to debut its first UK store in London, seeking a 5,000 to 8,000 square foot unit for its new shop.

Williams-Sonoma, which currently operates a mail-order service to over 75 countries, has appointed Property Agent Harper Dennis Hobbs to assist in securing their first store, which is set to launch within the first half of 2012.

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UBS to Cut Jobs, Push Back Profit Target

UBS to Cut Jobs, Push Back Profit Target

FINANCE

  • UBS to alter or remove its 2014 profit target
  • European debt crisis blamed for investment bank losses
  • UBS CEO announces plans to reduce costs, cut 5,000 jobs

Switzerland's largest bank UBS has announced plans to cut jobs and push back their 2014 profit target. Net income fell to 1.02 billion Swiss francs ($1.27 billion) in the second quarter.

Analysts overestimated the company's net income by 27 million Swiss francs. One year ago, net income was 2.01 billion Swiss francs, roughly double that of this year's amount. Net profit dropped 49% due to a strong Swiss franc and slow trading in currencies and commodities. UBS stock fell 12% over the past year.

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Electronic Signature Company EchoSign Acquired by Adobe

Electronic Signature Company EchoSign Acquired by Adobe

FINANCE

  • With acquisition of electronic signature firm, Adobe to discontinue its cloud-based electronic signature service
  • EchoSign service cuts document signature time to minutes rather than days
  • Deal could help improve Adobe's financials following recent downgrade by Goldman Sachs

Adobe has acquired EchoSign, a Palo Alto-based firm that is a leader in the provision of on-demand electronic signature services, for an undisclosed sum.

Adobe will include EchoSign's electronic signature technology in its document exchange services platform, which includes the file transfer service SendNow, the form-creation tool FormsCentral, and CreatePDF, which is used to generate PDF documents online.

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Fiat and Chrysler Move Closer Toward Merger

Fiat and Chrysler Move Closer Toward Merger

FINANCE

  • Fiat regains majority 54% ownership of Chrysler
  • Fiat holds option to buy remaining shares by June 2012
  • Investor concern over Fiat debt lowers stock value

Fiat has renewed its majority ownership to nearly 54% in Chrysler after buying back 6% from the US Treasury and Canadian Government for $710 million. Fiat aims to up its stake to 59% by the end of 2011, and hopes the final merger will be sealed mid next year, when it has an option to buy the remaining shares.

Fiat lost 10% ownership to the US and Canadian governments following the Chrysler bankruptcy bailout plan in the summer of 2009. The bailout debt was $12.5 billion, of which Fiat has already paid $11.2 billion back to the US Treasury, six months ahead of schedule.

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BlackBerry Maker RIM Cuts 2,000 Jobs

BlackBerry Maker RIM Cuts 2,000 Jobs

FINANCE

  • BlackBerry maker RIM to cut 11% of global workforce
  • First quarter profits plunged 10% with market share down 5%
  • RIM stock prices closed at an all-time low in May 2011 after PlayBook recalls

Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) plans to cut 2,000 jobs, or roughly 11% of their global workforce, after first-quarter profits plunged 10%. Financial pressure also came from market share loss, which fell nearly 5% in three months, and declining stock prices, which were cut in half this year.

RIM shares were at $26, or down nearly 2%, on the Toronto Stock Exchange following the announcement on July 25.

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Borders World Closes The Book on Print Sales

Borders World Closes The Book on Print Sales

FINANCE

  • Borders closes doors on just under 400 stores, almost 11,000 jobs lost
  • Creditors owed more than $270 million
  • Digital book sales overtake print copy sales
  • Closure opens retail rental space totaling 10 million square feet

Bookstore giant Borders has begun the process to liquidate its 399 remaining stores across the US. Having filed for bankruptcy last February when it closed a third of its outlets, Borders subsequently failed to find itself a bidder.

According to Publishers Weekly, private equity firm Najafi Companies had made a $215 million bid earlier this month, but the chain opted to sell itself to liquidators Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC.

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Allergan Strikes Deal With Vicept Therapeutics

Allergan Strikes Deal With Vicept Therapeutics

FINANCE

  • Allergan to acquire Vicept Therapeutics for $75 million
  • Vicept's V-101 could be first-approved topical treatment for rosacea
  • Cell-based assay will be used for testing Allergan's star product, Botox

Drug specialist Allergan Inc. will purchase all remaining shares and assets of Vicept Therapeutics, a privately-held dermatology company. The strategic acquisition will include an upfront cash payment of $75 million by Allergan, plus up to $200 million in aggregate payments.

Allergan's stock (AGN) steadily increased shortly after the announcement, closing at $84.02 on July 19. The aim of the agreement is for Allergan to expand its skin therapy treatment segment. Vicept's main research product is V-101, a topical cream that will be used to treat the erythema, or redness, that is associated with treatment of rosacea.

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