Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Google's Tax Avoidance Move

Google Appliance as shown at RSA Expo 2008 in ...
Google Appliance as shown at RSA Expo 2008 in San Francisco. It was only a computer case with no parts inside.-Daniel A (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bermuda has no corporate income tax, and one of the companies that has most recently benefited from this is Google. The company moved around $10 billion on profits to the small island country, and managed to avoid around $2 billion in income tax.

Both the US and the UK government have frowned upon this method of tax avoidance, perhaps because both countries are fighting huge deficits at the moment. A recent move which may go some way towards dealing with these tax avoidance measures is one by the European Union to blacklist certain tax havens, and to promote anti abuse rules.

Most European governments disapprove of the tax avoidance strategy that Google and other companies have adopted, according to Richard Murphy, of UK based Tax Research LLP. He went on to say that either services will need to be scaled back, or other taxpayers will somehow have to pay more to compensate for Google's non payment of their taxes.

On the other hand, Google points out that it has invested in several European countries with great success, and that it is complying with all the tax laws. In addition, Google has invested heavily in east London tech companies and currently has around 2,000 employees in the UK.

Netflix Has Plans To Avoid Share Takeover

Netflix has integrated its streaming player in...
Netflix has integrated its streaming player in many consumer electronics devices including the XBox 360 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Monday, some shareholders of Netflix announced a plan to gain majority shares of the company but Netflix has a plan to stop this event from occurring.

The plan is simple and is called the poison pill. If anybody tries to purchase a large amount of Netflix shares without consent of the board, Netflix can create more shares, making the takeover attempt much too costly.

Several days ago Carl Icahn bought 10% of the firm, which immediately sent up red flags at Netflix. He said the company would be great bait for many of the technology giants of the internet, including Amazon, Google, Verizon, and Apple.

If any group or investor tries to buy more than 10%, the poison plan will be put into action. Carl Icahn has a 9.98% stake right now.

Carl Icahn was not happy with the decision by the Netflix board. He said it was a bad ruling, discriminatory, and that the shareholders actions were too decided by the board.

Netflix does agree that they make a juicy target for other big companies, even thought they did poorly last quarter. Such a takeover might actually boost profits.

Larger companies might offer financial and technological support so  Netflix can give cheaper content to their customers.

The Yahoo CEO - Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In October 2012, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, made her first report on earnings during a conference. She reported that she was happy with the company's progress in the third quarter. She also shared that Yahoo has been working with Microsoft to improve the search capabilities. However, the folks on Wall Street are still interested in the plan for reviving the company's revenue growth.

The former CEO had a more media centric approach but today, the company is revamping its products and underlying technology. Just last July, one day before the company's second quarter earnings were released, Mayer was hired. Therefore, she was not a part of Yahoo's review of the second quarter results. Mayer has recruited a Google advertising executive, Mr. Castro who is to start work in January 2013 as the chief operating officer. Mayer has also hired a new chief financial officer. In addition, this new CEO will be giving employees free meals, like Google does, and free smartphones. She has also been considering revamping Yahoo's home page. Compared to the previous year, Yahoo ended this third quarter with 12% less employees.

Mayer has been working hard to keep stockholders contented by distributing some of the proceeds from Yahoo's $7.6 billion deal for selling half of the company's stake in the Alibaba Group. It is projected that Yahoo will have earnings of 26 cents per share on a revenue of $1.08 billion. Therefore, Mayer seems to be doing a good job with Yahoo and is seeking to continuously improve the site.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Candy Crush Is Going Public

English: A view from the Member's Gallery insi...
English: A view from the Member's Gallery inside the NYSE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Candy Crush Saga, the gaming phenomenon, is about to go to the New York Stock Exchange in the form of a stock offering. The IPO paperwork was submitted to the Securities Exchange Commission by King Digital Entertainment.

Over the last three years King Digital Entertainment has made millions of dollars, and this is thanks to games such as Papa Pear Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and Pet Rescue Saga. 

Users of the Candy Crush app has made it the most popular app associated with the website Facebook. Candy Crush is expected to become the largest, as well as the most successful interactive online franchises of all time. 

There are frequent, small transactions that help make Candy Crush a major success. Gaming sessions are played individually, and they are designed to be quick and free. However, if players want to receive additional lives, as well as be able to beat levels quicker, then they can pay a small fee to receive an item within the game, and this item will help them move quicker throughout the game. Users can choose to play Candy Crush whenever they want to, as the game provides that convenience. The best thing about Candy Crush is that it does not show any signs of losing popularity.

Herbalife: scheme or genuine business?

Francisco Mancebo of Rock Racing wore the yell...
Francisco Mancebo of Rock Racing wore the yellow jersey in Stage 2 of the Tour of California 2009 but gave it up after placing 27th in Santa Cruz. He won King of the Mountain (Green Jersey and 2 smooches from the podium girls) and the Herbalife Spring Jersey (red jersey and two more smooches from the pretty girls). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Herbalife is a worldwide nutritional company whose products are solely marketed by independent distributors. Some people ask whether Herbalife is a genuine money making opportunity or a Ponzi scheme. The company clarifies that it is an authentic enterprise which reward its members for making sales. 

Independent distributors and members of the company buy its products to sell them to their customers. The higher the sale, the higher is the reward amount. Furthermore, the company gives bulk discount to sellers to make particular amount of sales. Members can recruit new members to expand their business and make more sales. Earnings are based on an individual's retail sales. When a particular member reaches a supervisor level, his earnings are based on sales of recruited members; this is a form of MLM or multilevel marketing. 

The members and distributors of the company are businessmen and not employees of the company. However, each and every member and distributor is responsible to abide by the Herbalife rules, and legal requirements of the country where its products are sold.

Mark Hughes, who later died in 2000 as a result of accidental overdose of alcohol, founded the company in 1980. The company has flourished and gained substantially from 1988 with zero value to over 4 billion dollars by the end of 2010. The company did endure some financial problems in 2009 as a result of economic downturn. 

Herbalife experienced high volatility at the stock market when it opened up higher by 4 percent and was reduced to 1 percent on the same afternoon, and finally reaching up 7 percent higher at the end of the day. This high volatility was due to investors perception about the company's repurchasing of stock.

The company re-audited its consolidated financial statements for fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012 through PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, independent registered public accounting company. Additionally, the company also audited its performance over financial reporting. 

Unfortunately, Bill Ackman, one of Herbalife's critic released an extensive study on fake practices and recruitment on one of the biggest sellers of Herbalife products in Canada. Ackman, the owner of Perishing Square, added that he will continue to publish deceptive details about Herbalife. 

Despite the criticism of Ackman, Herbalife has managed to grow by leaps and bounds. Moreover, the company operates under fair practices and is 100 percent legal. The company states that it is certainly authentic and not a scam or scheme as out cried by its critics.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wal-Mart Acquires OnRiot For Social Media Sites

Wal-Mart Supercenter Torreon
Wal-Mart Supercenter Torreon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
OneRiot is a social and mobile ad targeting startup now owned by Walmart.   While the financial terms of the acquisition have not been revealed, the startup is joining with Wal-mart Labs.
OnRiot has changes its model of doing business, by closing down the search portal that used real-time and now monetizes exclusively through the use of real time advertising.  The startup has also moved to provide a service targeting social services using apps with embedded mobile ads.

OneRiot first made its peak into the world of advertising during 2009 with the introduction of RiotWise.  This ad format placed the emphasized content into position using the real-time feed.  Later they introduced Trending adds by RiotWise.  These streaming adds correspond to the topics that are trending in the user's social web.  They are self refreshing and a self service edition of RiotWise.

Today, OneRiot provides opportunities for advertisers to target segments of their audience on mobile devices.  This allows targeting for busy moms, techies, sports fans and fashionistas.  Use of targeting and segmentation allows the advertisers to focus on the interest profiles of their audience, conversations and social influences.  The audience profiles of OneRiot are created through mining as well as analysis of public social streams such as Twitter.

The capability for this style of data mining was the attraction for Wal-mart to Onriot.  Walmart has announced that OneRiot has developed useful technology that can help advertisers make the most of Facebook and Twitter.  The ads displayed are customized to interest of customers.

Wal-mart seems to have made interesting investments in the areas of social media, mobile devices and targeted spaces.  Earlier in year, they acquired Kosmix.  This company also joined Walmart Labs, and is now integrating the technology into both the mobile and online offerings of the company in sites such as Facebook, the e-commerce website and other places on the web.

Kelley Blue Book Used Cars

2010-2011 Kia Soul photographed in Chantilly, ...
2010-2011 Kia Soul photographed in Chantilly, Virginia, USA. Category:Kia Soul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kelley Blue Book's online website, at kbb.com, recently declared the KIA Soul to be among the "coolest" cars in its price range ($18,000 or less.) KBB considers cars for their awards using the criteria of fuel efficiency, technology features, and style. Kia Motors America, the manufacturer, proudly announced that their car has earned this accolade in each of the last two years. The fact that KBB has impartially recognized the car's stylishness, affordability, features and "coolness" does not come as a big surprise to the company--consumers have noted these advantages also, making the Kia Soul among the most popular consumer choices in Kia's line. The cars popularity has generated a lot of customer traffic to Kia's car lots, both new and used.

The judges summed up their decision by describing the Kia as both fun to own and to drive. The final selection was made from a list of various makers' automobiles. The award for 2010 groups cars according to car value, and uses the Kelly Blue Book values for new cars, separate from the more well known Kelley Blue Book Used Cars. Their book uses the prices at which new cars are actually sold, rather than the suggested retail price--the "sticker" price put on cars by the manufacturers and car dealers.

This is not the first award the car has received, although being the "coolest" is special. It has also been recognized as the Best Family Car, Top Family Car, Top Safety Pick and Best Hatchback. These awards represent opinions from various organizations totally independent of each other and KBB. Features such as Bluetooth integration, iPod friendly audio input jack and adaptations for wireless phone are examples of the advanced technology features that got the attention of the judges in each of these organizations. These are all features you can examine when you want to find out what makes a car the coolest one around.

Kia Soul comes in a variety of versions, each with different types and combinations of features. They are the Soul, the Soul+ or Soul! There is also a Soul Sport model. The style and features aim to please young buyers, especially young buyers with very active lifestyles. The car's association with the well known Geek Squad, which drives it along with Volkswagens and Chevrolets, has also enhanced its public image and popularity. The Kia Soul is in some very good car company--other winners recently have included the Mazda3, the Mitsubishi Lancer, and Honda's Civic and Fit models.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Back To School Shopping With Sales Tax Holidays

In 2005, North Little Rock voters approved a t...
In 2005, North Little Rock voters approved a two-year, one-percent sales tax for construction of the Dickey-Stephens baseball stadium on land adjacent to the Broadway Bridge. In 2007, it became the home of the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team affiliate of the MLB Anaheim Angels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the United States, parents of school age children know very well what that term "Back-To-School" means. This is a time during the first part of August that parents must make purchases of school supplies and clothing in order to prepare their children for school. Luckily, for those in the sixteen states that offer it, this also means special sales tax holidays to help families financially. Whether they are buying uniforms, school supplies or books, parents can take advantage of buying the items tax-free during this time. During the first weekend of August, residents in North and South Carolina, Virgina, Alabama, Florida, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Iowa, Oklahoma and Missouri have this advantage. Texas and Georgia have their sales tax holidays the second weekend of August. Maryland chooses to have its holiday the entire week of August 11 through 17, while Connecticut participates the week of August 18 through 24.

Retailers often choose to include extraordinary sales during this time to increase their revenue. Parents should look at this shopping time as having the sales potential of Black Friday. This means get to the store early and be prepared.

Shopping for back-to-school items can be very costly. However, for those who are lucky enough to live in a state that has a tax holiday, the stress of spending money can be eased.

Information About Investing In Google

English: The corner of Wall Street and Broadwa...
English: The corner of Wall Street and Broadway, showing the limestone facade of One Wall Street in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Recently Brent Callinicos, Vice President of Google, recently posted on his blog that reminded accountants and treasurers that their sale of Motorola's set top box business is a terminated operation. However, those who are thinking about investing in Google do not seem to be taking this into account. For instance, a lot of Wall Street's analysts who cover Google haven't echoed these thoughts.

The result of the failure to recognize this ceased business operation is that the price of stock shares have dropped by approximately 1 billion dollars, which means that the profit per share is down by approximately 0.40 cents. Even Doug Anmuth from J.P. Morgan has lowered his numbers to 11.4 billion dollars in revenue and 10.19 dollars in EPS for the month of December. The street average is 12.3 billion dollars and EPS of 10.54 dollars.

It is anticipated that Google will provide their outcome after they close on January 22. This may cause those who are investing in Google to become somewhat confused, especially when they first receive the numbers. This is because it may seem as though Google has missed both the top and the bottom line. Of course, this depends upon the results' effect.

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