Williams was found in his California home Monday. The cause of death is believed to be suicide, according to a statement by the Marin County Sheriff's Office.
The retailer will pay a fine of $525,000 in connection to charges that its flagship store in New York was disproportionately suspecting black and Hispanics of credit card fraud and shoplifting.
Haider al-Abadi, a prominent politician for the past decade, has been nominated as prime minister. But a potential confrontation looms with Nouri al-Maliki, the man who's had the job for eight years.
Lynn Eldredge has had six different jobs since he was laid off from a tractor manufacturer in 2000. Fourteen years later, he makes the same amount of money at his current job that he did back then.
The World Customs Organization, an international association of customs and law enforcement agencies, is out with its annual report on seizures of illegal goods and counterfeiting.
The product most likely to be counterfeited or illegally traded last year was pharmaceuticals, at a whopping 76 percent of all seizures.
The most counterfeited brand, on the other hand, was Nike. Followed by Apple, Rolex, Samsung and Adidas
BuzzFeed, the website that blessed us with the listicle revolution, just raised $50 million from some very prominent venture capitalists. That investment values the company at an estimated $850 million. To put this in context, the Washington Post recently sold for $250 million dollars. So, how did that valuation happen?
For one thing, BuzzFeed boasts that 150 million people visit it every month. By contrast, the New York Times gets 53.8 million visitors, according to comScore. But it's not just the number of visits that’s valuable, it's who those visitors are. Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries, said most of BuzzFeed’s audience is 35-and-under, a demographic that’s catnip to advertisers.
"It’s been harder and harder for advertisers to reach a younger demographic," Sweeney said. "The younger folks are the ones who are spending more time on the Internet, more time off of traditional media like newspapers, magazines or television."
A lot of BuzzFeed’s traffic comes from people sharing its stories on social media sites. Sweeney says that's a risky strategy. BuzzFeed’s audience would be decimated if social media sites excluded its content.
But investors are betting that BuzzFeed will grow beyond listicles, said Ethan Kurzweil, a venture capitalist at Bessemer Venture Partners. He said investors expect BuzzFeed to become a go-to-platform that offers all kinds of content from video to news and who knows what else.
"I assume they’re betting on a modern media tech company," Kurzweil said. "Sort of a modern People Magazine, ESPN all in one, all in one, all in one property."
In fact, BuzzFeed is using its newest round of funding to expand into movies, said Rebecca Lieb, an analyst at the Altimeter Group. She says don’t expect BuzzFeed to compete with 20th Century Fox or Paramount by making traditional films.
"I really don’t think that’s going to be the case," she said.
Lieb predicts BuzzFeed will redefine movies and create ones that cater to its digital-first audience.
Kinder Morgan oversees a vast network of oil and gas pipelines in North America. It's actually a family of companies and now they're consolidating. The "why" is complicated but the upshot isn't: the new corporation wants to spend more money acquiring even more pipelines. Because, it turns out, there's a shortage.
Kinder Morgan already operates or owns a piece of some 80,000 miles of pipelines in North America. Barbara Shook says its founder clearly wants more.
“Mr. Kinder kept talking about acquisitions and acquisitions and acquisitions during the conference call with analysts this morning,” says Shook, senior reporter-at-large with the Energy Intelligence Group. Disclosure: Shook owns shares in one of the Kinder Morgan companies.
She says the corporate restructuring will make it cheaper for Kinder Morgan to borrow money. That’s money Kinder Morgan can use to buy a precious commodity: other pipeline companies.
“We were caught short in terms of our transportation infrastructure for energy,” says Bob McNally, president of the Rapidan Group. He says the U.S. oil and gas boom changed everything – both the scale of the boom and where it’s happening.
“The parts of the country where we’re increasing production of oil and gas are not areas where we produced oil and gas before,” he says.
Think of all that natural gas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Think of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Montana.
Paul Sullivan, an energy security expert at Georgetown University and the National Defense University, says there aren’t enough pipelines to move it all.
“I think the proof that there is need for more is the amount of oil that is moving by rail,” he says, adding that so much oil is moving by rail that corn and other agricultural goods are getting squeezed out. Plus, derailments have a devastating effect.
“Moving oil by rail is more expensive and it’s also less safe,” Sullivan says.
Which is why companies like Kinder Morgan want to lay the groundwork for more pipelines.
There’s a new front in Amazon’s battle with its vendors. Because of a reported pricing dispute, some of Disney's DVDs and Blue-rays are no longer available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Book publisher Hachette is in a similar position. Its spat with the e-commerce site has become highly public, with each company publishing scathing letters about the other side. (Amazon's here, Hachette's here, and a group of 900 authors supporting Hachette here).
If this were a Disney movie, some would cast Amazon as the bad guy, like the evil fairy Maleficent (OK, she's less evil this time around, but still). Others would say it’s a Captain America-esque hero, fighting for lower prices for consumers.
Physical discs of both new Disney films are currently unavailable for pre-order on Amazon, though they are available for pre-purchase through the company's instant video service.
But, says Ed Brodow, the author of Negotiation Boot Camp, Amazon’s tactics aren’t good or bad – they’re business. Amazon, like all companies its size, is flexing its muscle to get the best deals possible.
“That’s what people do in negotiation all the time, they use their leverage,” says Brodow. “Amazon has a tremendous amount of leverage.”
Wal-Mart employs similar muscle, says Michael Pachter with Wedbush Securities.
“Wal-Mart pays as low a price as anybody wholesale for any product that it sells, and it’s able to do so by exercising its market muscle,” he says. “Amazon is trying very hard to be Wal-Mart-like.”
Pre-orders are important for Disney because it will impact their first-day sales rankings, but Pachter doubts customers will miss the option much.
Not everyone agrees.
Amazon’s aggressive tactics risk its reputation with its customers, says Michael Norris, an independent publishing and media consultant.
“It’s really remarkable to me that a company that claims to be very consumer-centric finds absolutely nothing wrong with inconveniencing millions of consumers,” he adds.