National News

What would it mean if Dollar General went 'hostile'?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-02 13:34

There’s a bidding war in the dollar store space. The target is Family Dollar, the stores with the mostly red logos. The courters: Dollar General, with the bright yellow letters, and its green-logo competitor Dollar Tree.

Dollar General, already rejected by Family Dollar, has increased its takeover price to $9.1 billion. If this fails, word on the street is it could pursue a rare hostile takeover.

At this point, Family Dollar has turned down the highest-priced offer.

“Just like in a family, if two families are trying to negotiate over marriage, and somebody comes with a slightly higher dowry, but you think the marriage might be better — or she’s actually in love with somebody different — you might not take the highest offer,” says Michael Goldstein, finance professor at Babson College.

At issue is the rejecting company’s board of directors. When the board says no, an acquiring firm can go around it. That’s what’s known as going hostile.

“What you’re doing at that point is you’re making an offer directly to the shareholders,” says former investment banker Donna Hitscherich, now at Columbia Business School.

By now, the acquirer is hostile to the board, yet making nice with the shareholders.

“The shareholders are the owners of the company,” Hitscherich says. “It’s their capital that’s been committed. So if they determine to sell, they can do that.”

The acquirer offers shareholders a certain number of dollars per share. If enough shareholders agree to sell, the takeover goes through.

There are risks. In a hostile case, a would-be takeover company is flying half-blind.

Securities lawyer Bill Caffee says, in a friendly deal, the two firms exchange lots of information and research.

“And if you’re going hostile, obviously you’re not,” Caffee says. “You’re just kind of shootin’ into the wind. And looking at their public filings and saying, ‘We think it’s worth X dollars and here we go for it.’”  

Also, if word of a hostile takeover leaks out, hungry investors can push up the target’s stock price.

Since that’s how deals are valued, that ups the acquisition price.

A Suspected Ebola Patient On The Run In Liberia

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 13:19

A brief video captures the chaos of Ebola in Liberia. A suspected patient, who allegedly fled a treatment center, is pursued by health workers and wrestled into a truck.

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Double Mastectomies Don't Increase Cancer Survival Rates

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 13:14

Young women diagnosed with breast cancer are increasingly choosing to have both breasts removed. A big study says that doesn't improve their survival odds any more than less drastic treatments.

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Sounds From The First Day Of School

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 13:11

Millions of children are heading back to school, and to mark the traditional start of the school year, we've asked reporters from member stations around the country to bring us the sounds.

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North Korea Grants Interviews With American Detainees: To What End?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 13:09

Two U.S. news organizations, CNN and the Associated Press, were granted interviews with three men detained by North Korean authorities.

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State Dept. Officials Work To Verify Islamic State's Beheading Video

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:50

In a new video released by the militant group Islamic State, American journalist Steven Sotloff appears to be killed by extremists associated with the group.

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New U.S. Rules Protect Giant Bluefin Tuna

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:43

To reduce the number of giant bluefin tuna killed by fishing fleets, the U.S. is putting out new rules about commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the western Atlantic.

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Should Local Police Get The Military's Extra Armored Trucks?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:35

The Pentagon has been transferring mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to local police. Built to protect U.S. forces from roadside bomb blasts at war, these huge vehicles aren't always welcome.

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Another American Doctor In Liberia Tests Positive For Ebola

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:10

He's the third American to contract the disease while working in Liberia. In this case, the doctor, who was part of the Christian aid group SIM, was treating obstetrics patients.

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Detroit's Fiscal Future Rests With A Federal Judge

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:08

Detroit's future comes down to this: a federal trial over the city's plan to emerge from largest municipal bankruptcy ever in the U.S. As Detroit Public Radio's Quinn Klinefelter reports, city officials argue the plan is the best way to propel Detroit into prosperity — but some major creditors aren't pleased with it.

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Faced With Ukrainian Turmoil, NATO Considers New 'Rapid Reaction Force'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:08

In response to unrest in eastern Ukraine, NATO is considering forming a rapid reaction force — a topic that will be discussed at a summit this week in Wales. But how will Russia react, and is this the right move for the alliance? To learn more, Audie Cornish speaks with Steven Pifer, the director of Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at the Brookings Institution.

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Changes At The 'Post' Mark A Break From Paper's Storied Past

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:08

Tech billionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post, has announced he's replacing the paper's current publisher with Frederick Ryan, one of the founders of Politico.

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Islamic State Video Appears To Show Beheading Of A New U.S. Journalist

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:08

The Islamist extremist group Islamic State has released a new video that purports to show the beheading of an American journalist named Steven Sotloff, whom the group threatened to kill two weeks ago.

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For Men's Rights Groups, Feminism Has Come At The Expense Of Men

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 12:08

Men's rights movement leaders say they're pushing back against the excesses of feminism and highlighting the problems of men and boys. Critics argue that misogyny is lurking just below the surface.

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Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker on our export economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-02 11:07

American cities exported $1.4 trillion in goods and services in 2013, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That includes everything from manufacturing to secondhand goods, scrap, mining and agriculture.

Two states benefit most in dollars and in number of jobs from the export economy: Texas and California. That may not be a surprise, given the vast area and population in both places, but some of the cities showing growth from exports may be: Kansas City, Missouri; Youngstown, Ohio; Detroit. 

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker joined Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal to dig into the findings. 

What kinds of jobs are being created by exports?
Of the goods jobs, 88 percent of them are manufacturing jobs that are created. Those are good jobs. But in general, the exporting jobs that are being created pay 13 to 18 percent more than the average job. We're very excited about that, and 1.6 million Americans have new jobs since 2009 because of exports. 

I ask this question against the backdrop of an economy growing at 4.2 percent on an annualized rate, we learned last week...
Isn't that exciting?

It's great news, but here's the thing, to your report: You can't export your way to growth, right? Because everything we export, somebody else has to buy. With the dollar at highs and with slowdowns in Europe and Asia, how confident are you that this export-led growth can continue?
I am confident. We have doubled exports to over 30 countries around the world. There are a lot of countries that want our goods and services, and one of the things we want to do is help our companies export, because that'll continue to support the kind of GDP growth we've been seeing. 

One of the things that happens when exports are a topic of conversation is that the Export-Import Bank comes up, that government agency that helps finance exports for a lot of American companies. There's a great political brouhaha right now in Washington over whether to renew the charter when it comes due. Why do we need the government to be helping in this way?
It's absolutely imperative that we reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, and I'll tell you why. Sixty other countries have export-import banks. The Export-Import Bank over the last five years has supported the creation of 1.2 million jobs in the United States. We can't afford not to have this tool in our tool chest. 

Speaking of who is doing these jobs, last time we spoke [January 2014], I asked you about the prospects for immigration reform. You said you were confident it would be done in the first half of this year. I'm going to give you the opportunity for a Mulligan here, Madam Secretary. 
Well, the reason for supporting immigration reform has not gone away. First of all, we have a moral responsibility to deal with the 11 million undocumented individuals living in our country. But we also have an economic opportunity that comes with immigration reform.

If you look from a more technology and STEM standpoint, we know that over 50 percent of students in most STEM fields that are getting a master's or Ph.D. are immigrants. So this is crazy. We're educating all these terrific young people, they're here in the country. If they want to stay, why shouldn't we encourage them to stay? It would be good for our businesses, too. They need this kind of talent. I know where we're at, but I believe that pragmatism and the reality will win out [...] and that we will get some kind of action on immigration reform. 

I won't ask you to speak for your boss, but do you anticipate that action to be executive action from the White House, most likely after the election?
Well you know what, since you hang out with my boss, I'll let you ask him that question. 

Narendra Modi's 100th day as prime minister

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-02 10:56

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi marks his first 100 days in office today, a period that offered high hopes for a pro-business administration.

"His election was indeed a time of great optimism, and I would say that not much has changed. A lot of that optimism continues to be," says Sruthijith KK, editor of Quartz India. "There is some concern that he hasn’t done enough, but there are enough indications that he is laying the groundworks slowly and steadily to be able to then leapfrog and do much bigger things."

KK says Modi plans to put a think tank in place to help figure out how the economy needs to be structured, and the different ways the states and central government can share revenues. However, that plan has not been established yet.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

When A Home Poses Health Risks, The Floor May Be The Culprit

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 09:43

Homes with dirt floors can make people sick. Replacing them with concrete floors helps cut risks but isn't always affordable. A new project in Rwanda relies on a low-cost alternative.

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Islamic State Claims It Has Beheaded Second American Journalist

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-02 09:29

The Islamist militant group had threatened to kill Steven Sotloff if the U.S. continued to conduct airstrikes in Iraq. Sotloff's mother released a video last week pleading for the release of her son.

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