utorak, 29. ožujka 2011.

Spending Money :)

EBay would gain expertise in helping major retailers fill online orders and build relationships with big toy, electronics and book sellers which have helped Amazon grow.

EBay said on Monday it had offered GSI shareholders $29.25 per share in cash, a premium of 50.9 percent from the stock's closing price on Friday.

The deal would be eBay's largest acquisition since it bought Internet phone company Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005, and comes as growth in its main auctions business is slowing.

"It's one of the few fulfillment operations that could rival Amazon," BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis said. "Amazon is fulfilling its third-party sellers more and more. eBay is all third-party sellers."

On Nasdaq, GSI soared 50.7 percent to close at $29.20, while eBay fell 4.3 percent to $30.34 on concerns it may be paying too much and might eventually need to invest more money on GSI's technology. Both stocks held steady in extended trading.

Amazon shares edged down 1 percent to end at $169.35.

Among GSI's clients are Aeropostale Inc, Toys R Us, and TJX Cos Inc's Marshalls chain.

GSI, which owns Web businesses such as Rue La La and ShopRunner, also provides retailers with technology, payment processing and customer care services for their e-commerce operations.

Online shopping accounts for about 8 percent of total U.S. retail spending, rising 11 percent during the most recent holiday season, according to data firm comScore, almost twice the pace of bricks-and-mortar sales.

EBay estimated in February that its online marketplaces unit is set to grow into a $7-8 billion business by 2013, from $5.7 billion in 2010. In contrast, Amazon pulls in annual sales of more than $30 billion.

While PayPal has been a growth driver for eBay, the company has struggled with other deals, such as its purchase of 28.4 percent of classifieds site Craigslist, which led to a court fight after eBay launched its own classifieds business.

Still, Fred Moran, an analyst with Benchmark Capital, called the price "reasonable," saying it comes out to 13 times this year's expected earnings before certain expenses, which he said "is right in line with the e-commerce peer group."


As part of the deal, eBay would sell off GSI's licensed sports merchandise business, as well as 70 percent of Rue La La, which offers one-day-only Web deals to its members, and ShopRunner, a members-only online shopping service that offers free shipping.

EBay said those business were not important to its long-term growth strategy.

Those holdings would become part of a new company run by GSI founder and Chief Executive Michael Rubin. EBay said it would lend Rubin's new company $467 million, bringing the deal's value to $2.4 billion.

EBay said the acquisition, expected to close in the third quarter, would have little effect on its fiscal 2011 adjusted earnings forecast, and boost 2012 earnings. The deal would hurt 2011 net income by 30 cents to 34 cents per share, the company said.

GSI has until May 6 to solicit bids from other parties during the so-called "go shop" period.

While PayPal has been driving eBay's growth for years, the company is also trying to lift its more familiar marketplaces unit -- a high-margin but mature business that connects online buyers and sellers -- especially as Amazon has enjoyed double-digit revenue growth.

The GSI deal follows a number of other e-commerce deals in recent months. Amazon expects to close its purchase of Quidsi, operator of diapers.com, around April 1. In November, Oracle Corp said it would buy e-commerce software company Art Technology Group Inc for $1 billion.

Goldman Sachs & Co, and Peter J. Solomon Company are acting as financial advisers to eBay, while Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP is its legal adviser. Morgan Stanley is advising GSI and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is advising a special committee of GSI's board. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is acting as GSI's legal advisor.

ponedjeljak, 28. ožujka 2011.

Think About!!!

Teens who frequently use Facebook have more to worry about than lost homework time.

A new condition dubbed "Facebook depression" may affect teenagers who spend a significant amount of time on the social-networking site, researchers warned in the latest issue of Pediatrics Journal.

The problem, researchers found, was that the popular website's constant feed of status, picture and message updates gave users a skewed view of reality, which could make vulnerable kids feel like they aren't good enough.

Facebook, according to the study, can create a false reality because people normally post the best sides of themselves, or at least not the full story.

Users like 16-year-old Abby Abolt agreed.

"If you really didn't have that many friends and weren't really doing much with your life, and saw other peoples' status updates and pictures and what they were doing with friends, I could see how that would make them upset," Abolt told The Associated Press . "It's like a big popularity contest – who can get the most friend requests or get the most pictures tagged."

But cutting off the site might not be so easy. A 2010 Pew survey found that 72% of American teens have social network profiles.

A similar study led by Dr. Joanne Davilla at Stony Brook University found that texting, email and time spent on social networking sites can worsen teens’ moods and make them obsess over issues instead of moving past them.

"One of the things we are finding is that there are people who are at a greater risk to the negative interactions in social networking and consequently feeling depressed or sad afterwards," Dr. Davila told CBS Miami .

nedjelja, 27. ožujka 2011.

Taxes and paying them

The tax deadline is nearing and you don't have enough cash to pay up.

It would be easy to pull out your credit card - heck even the IRS promotes using plastic as "convenient" and "safe and secure."

But that doesn't mean it's a smart move.

In fact, using credit cards to pay your taxes is often the wrong way to go.

The reason: Credit card payments to the IRS are processed by third-party companies. These service providers charge fees randing from 1.9% to 2.35% or your tax bill, saddling you with additional costs that you may not have known about.

"That outweighs almost every reason to use a credit card," said Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com.

If your tax bill is relativey small, paying a nominal fee won't mater much. But the cost could add up. If you owe $6,000 in taxes and have a fee of 2.35%, it will add $141 to your bill.

"And unless you pay off that bill within your credit card issuer's grace period, you'll start getting charged interest at usually around 12% or probably more annually," said Vincent Cervone, a certified public accountant with VRC & Associates in lower Manhattan.

"Find a better way to dig up the money to pay your tax bill."

While charging taxes on your credit card might boost your rewards, those perks are unlikely to be big enough to justify the costs.

"The average reward is 1% of purchase, or 1 cent per dollar spent," Hardekopf said.

"This is much less than the 2.35% processing fee."

Using plastic to pay taxes could also hurt your credit score, noted John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com.

"The downside is if the new debt causes your credit card balance to become too close to the credit limit," he said. "In that case your credit scores will likely go down. Credit scoring systems can't tell the difference between credit card debt caused by a tax payment versus debt caused by a flat panel television or furniture."

Avoiding tax payments on credit cards is an especially good idea for impulsive spenders who would be better off writing a check.

"If the funds aren't available, they won't be spent," said Pamela Diamond, a CPA with Creative Wealth Builders in West Hempstead, L.I.

If you don't have enough money at tax time, look into alternatives to credit cards.

Paying with a debit card will probably cost you far less: a flat fee of around $4. The card must be a Visa Debit Card, or NYCE, Pulse or Star Debit Card.

You should also see if you qualify for an IRS installment payment plan. "If so, this may be the cheapest way to go," Cervone said.

nedjelja, 20. ožujka 2011.


There's a new red light district being created – just for the web.

On Friday, the the non-profit group in charge of internet addresses approved a movement to add the internet domain ".xxx" to a list of "generic top level domains" – similar to those those that end in .com, .net or .edu.

The move by the (ICANN), which has been in the works since the board voted against it in 2007, was a point of contention for adult entertainment webbies who claimed that the new domain adds additional financial pressure to register new domain names.

Many other detractors – including the US administration– are concerned the new domain is opening up the door for censorship, especially in foreign countries. The US has to date generally held the position of not intervening with the web, to avoid stifling growth and development.

"While some nations persist in proposing such measures as giving the authority to veto ICANN Board decisions, the United States is most assuredly opposed to establishing a governance structure for the Internet that would be managed and controlled by nation-states,".

But proponents of the domain insist it will not only help encourage better business practices, it will also use part of the registration fees to fight child pornography.

"At the moment, the consumer has no way of knowing who is operating to good standards or has viruses,".

While the move may encourage websites to go with the famous suffix, the change isn't mandatory. Porn sites can still be found under other domains, but under the .xxx they will be monitored to block spam and viruses.