Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Interactive Brokers Launches Bitcoin Futures Trading at the Start of Trading December 10th, 2017

Business Wire

Greenwhich, Conn. -  Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (NASDAQ GS:IBKR), a global electronic brokerage firm, began offering clients the ability to trade bitcoin futures at the start of trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange (CFE) on Sunday night, December 10th, 2017. In addition to offering bitcoin futures from the CFE, under the ticker symbol GXBT, the company plans to offer bitcoin futures from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) at the scheduled start of trading December 18th using the symbol BRR. IBKR was there at the start of trading and its systems operated normally.

“Interactive Brokers was on the buy side of the low print of 14,710,” said Thomas Peterffy, founder, Chairman and CEO of Interactive Brokers. “A Registered Investment Advisor on the Interactive Brokers platform purchased two March contracts in the first minute of trading.”
As of 9:15am ET on Monday, the company said that 201 of its accounts had placed 1,240 trades in bitcoin futures totaling 1,429 contracts representing approximately 50% of exchange recorded volume. The recorded value of all futures trades at Cboe exceeds $50 million.
The all-in commission rate, including exchange and regulatory fees, for bitcoin futures will be US $5.01 per contract for the Cboe product and US $15.01 per contract for the CME product. The CFE contract size is for one bitcoin, and the CME contract size is for five bitcoins. Old and new clients can learn more about trading bitcoin futures with IBKR and sign up for “Crypto” trading permission here.
Due to the extreme volatility of cryptocurrencies, clients will be unable to assume a short position. In addition, only limit orders will be accepted. IBKR’s margin requirement on long positions will be at least 50%. The company will continue to monitor concerns surrounding the market's ability to process bitcoin futures risk.
Clients can subscribe to live quotes for both Cboe and CME bitcoin futures.





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Tru by Hilton Continues Western Expansion with Las Vegas Opening

Business Wire


Las Vegas, NV - Hilton (NYSE: HLT) today celebrates the opening of Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport, marking a number of milestones for the brand including its eighth U.S. hotel, its largest location, and its westernmost property to-date. Managed by Dallas-based Prism Hotels & Resorts, Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport is located less than three miles from the Vegas Strip, offering access to some of the country’s most exciting restaurants and tourist attractions. With more than 470 hotels in various stages of development, Tru by Hilton has achieved the fastest-growing pipeline in the history of the hospitality industry. 
“Tru by Hilton is a true pioneer in the midscale segment and the very first to meet the needs of a previously underserved group of travelers who seek simplicity and value without compromising quality and design,” said Alexandra Jaritz, global head, Tru by Hilton. “We’re incredibly excited to continue our western expansion with Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport. This property opening is a testament to our robust pipeline, and we look forward to continuing this momentum heading into 2018.”
Owned by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, the six-floor, 166-room Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport is the largest Tru by Hilton hotel property to-date. Located at 6862 Gilespie Street, next to the McCarran International Airport, the hotel offers a 24-hour complimentary shuttle that includes stops at the airport and the Strip. Guests can enjoy a comfortable, spirited and affordable hotel experience with easy access to everything Las Vegas has to offer.
The hotel is also located steps from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) International Training Center (ITC), an incredible, state-of-the-art facility spanning more than one million square feet, also managed by Prism Hotels & Resorts.
“Tru by Hilton perfectly meets the needs of those coming for training at our facility, as well as travelers looking for something that has such an innovative product offering and design,” says Justin Weidner, Chief of Staff, United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
“Managing our new Tru by Hilton property, as well as the training facility for the UBC, has been an honor for Prism and an exciting opportunity to show our unmatched hospitality expertise as best-in-class operators,” said Steve Van, president, and CEO, Prism Hotels & Resorts.
Developed from the ground up using consumer and owner feedback, and brought to market in just 16 months from when it launched at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), Tru by Hilton is a brand-new hotel experience that is vibrant, affordable and young-at-heart. It is energetic, but it is relaxing and comfortable. It is familiar, and it is also unexpected. It is uniquely Tru.
Tru by Hilton thinks differently and is a game changer in the midscale segment, offering the following features:
  • All new-build hotels, which drive the consistency of experience for our guests.
  • Reimagined, enlarged lobby with more square feet of public space with areas to work, play games, eat or lounge.
  • Breakfast reinvented with a build-your-own complimentary "Top It" breakfast bar that has 30 sweet and savory toppings so guests can create their own healthy or indulgent morning masterpieces.
  • Rooms are smaller and more efficiently designed with comfortable beds and 55" TVs. Bright bathrooms feature spacious showers, along with premium bath amenities.
  • National and local brand gourmet snacks and drinks are available 24/7 in the "Eat. & Sip." market located in the heart of the lobby.
  • Tech-savvy hotel with mobile check-in, Digital Key, free Wi-Fi, remote printing, social media wall, lobby and market tablets, and accessibility to outlets everywhere.
  • A fitness center that leverages the latest fitness trends through barre, TRX bands, free weights, cardio and flexibility gear, plus guests can get workout ideas from the fitness center tablet.





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Medica Adds Children’s Mercy to Network for Select by Medica Plan in Kansas

Business Wire

Medica today announced it has added Children’s Mercy to its network for the Select by MedicaSM plan. Select by Medica is available to Kansas residents who live in Johnson or Wyandotte counties. Enrollment in the plan is available on the Kansas Health Insurance Marketplace (HealthCare.gov) for coverage on or after January 1, 2018.

Children’s Mercy features a staff of more than 750 pediatric specialists in 40 pediatric specialties. It was the first hospital in Kansas or Missouri to receive Magnet designation in 2003 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for superior nursing quality. Only 7 percent of U.S. hospitals receive the designation. It is affiliated with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and is the principal teaching hospital for the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Medica will add Children’s Mercy to its online directory of in-network providers in the next few weeks.
“We are delighted to add Children’s Mercy to our Select by Medica network,” said Geoff Bartsh, Medica vice president for individual and family business. “Children's Mercy, which consistently is ranked among the leading children's hospitals in the nation, represents the quality innovative care our members expect and deserve.”
In addition to Children’s Mercy, members with Select by Medica coverage can receive care from providers in the Saint Luke’s Health System.
Select by Medica is just one of two product options available to individuals and families in Kansas from Medica in 2018. Medica Connect is offered in the other 103 counties in Kansas.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

24,000 Midwesterners Enrolled in $0 Premium ACA Plans for 2018

Business Wire

Minnetonka, MN - About 24,000 people in the Midwest are now enrolled in $0 premium Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans for 2018. Most of these people live in Iowa and Nebraska, where Medica is the sole insurer. The ACA open enrollment period runs through December 15.
As of November 24, about 5,000 Iowans are covered in plans that will have no premium cost. And in Nebraska, about 17,000 people will have no premium costs. About 25 – 30 percent of enrollees in those states so far have qualified for $0 premium plans. In Kansas, slightly more than 1,200 people, about 15 percent of those enrolled, qualified for $0 premium coverage. The remaining enrollees with $0 premium plans are in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.
The $0 premium plans are based on an enrollee’s eligibility for premium tax credits, which are available only through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov). In general, the $0 premium plans are bronze metal level plans. To receive any assistance, individuals must create or update their accounts at HealthCare.gov. The Health Insurance Marketplace determines actual savings available.
“We recognize that 2018 is a very challenging year for people who purchase health insurance on their own and that premiums are very high,” said Geoff Bartsh. “It is important to remember that many consumers will be able to obtain health coverage at significant price reductions through premium tax credits. This is the last week of the open enrollment period and we can’t encourage people strongly enough to shop on healthcare.gov to learn what discounts may apply to them.”





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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Amazon Music and Legendary Rock Band U2 Redefine Broadcast Listening With Launch of The U2 Experience

Business Wire

Seattle, WA - (NASDAQ: AMZN) — Amazon Music today announces “The U2 Experience”: a first-of-its-kind broadcast for Amazon Music designed with the voice experience in mind. Launching simultaneously across multiple time zones on November 29 at 6pm EST, “The U2 Experience” is a new type of radio, filled with historical and new exclusive content produced by Amazon Music and available to U2 fans who tune in from the U.S., UK, Germany, and Austria, ending just before the release of the band’s upcoming album, Songs of Experience, on December 1. Only available during its one-time broadcast and exclusively on Amazon Music, “The U2 Experience” will be available at www.amazon.com/theu2experience and on the Amazon Music mobile app and Web Player for iOS, Android, Mac, and PC. In a new way of listening, the broadcast will also be available to all Prime members and Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers in the U.S. and UK through Alexa, on Amazon Echo devices, simply by asking, “Alexa, play The U2 Experience.”
“I hope you don’t need to know anything about U2, or anything about the context, to enjoy [Songs of Experience],” says U2 guitarist, The Edge. “I think it’s an album of just classic songs, great melodies great hooks, great lyrics. I think there’s very few bands in the history of rock and roll that have been around and made as many albums as we have with the same lineup…that perspective is unique, you know? On the last record [Songs of Innocence] we wrote about where we came from. How this band came together, Dublin of the late 70s early 80s, and this new record is the companion album. But it’s from this current perspective now... So many years later, what have we learned?”
For a limited time, fans will be able to drop into the broadcast and begin listening wherever the unique audio is currently in progress. “The U2 Experience” features a chronology of the band’s career, including commentary surrounding the significance behind iconic songs and legendary stories from the road, as told through live broadcast interviews with the band spanning nearly 40 years. Also included are some of the legendary rock group’s biggest hits, and live recordings of songs from The Joshua Tree and Songs of Experience, recorded during The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. The immersive audio show also includes a new and exclusive interview with U2 and Amazon Music’s global head of programming, Alex Luke, which took place during a stop in Sao Paolo, Brazil on tour this Fall.
“Few bands have as storied a career as U2, and we saw an incredible opportunity to build a broadcast for their fans," said Luke. "This all goes back to voice innovation, and what we've built is an immersive, ephemeral listening experience for our customers, with a wealth of interviews and content going back nearly 40 years.”
In a brand-new format for Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, Prime members and Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers in the U.S. and UK can simply ask, “Alexa, play The U2 Experience,” and will immediately be dropped into the broadcast, wherever the unique audio session is currently in progress. “The U2 Experience” is available to listen on the mobile app and Web Player in the U.S., UK, Germany, and Austria, to all customers with an Amazon Music account, with or without an Amazon Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, available only before the launch of U2’s new album, Songs of Experience, on December 1. Immediately following the show, the band’s new album, Songs of Experience, will be available to purchase on Amazon Music and stream for Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers.
“The U2 Experience” is the latest feature to launch within Amazon Music’s personalized natural language voice controls powered by Alexa, which has reimagined how customers experience music. When paired with Alexa, customers can ask for music by lyrics, mood, genre, era, and activities, simply by voice. Learn more about Amazon Music by visiting: www.amazon.com/music.
Start Times for “The U2 Experience”:
  • UK: Wednesday, 29 November 23:00
  • U.S.: Wednesday, 29 November 18:00 EST / 15:00 PST
  • Germany/Austria: Thursday, 30 November, 12:00am
From “The U2 Experience”:
Interview with Bono, 2017:
“Songs of Experience is kind of a rhyme. Your worldview when you’re 17 or 18, contrasted with where you are now. I was very strict, very black and white, with the way I saw the world, whereas now I’m not. I see it in very different terms. When I was a kid – I saw the world as us and them. I think Edge was the same. But now I realize that the biggest obstacles you come up against in your life are probably not what you thought they were. It’s probably you.” - Bono
Interview with The Edge, 1987:
“‘Bullet the Blue Sky’ is a great example of why I love being in a band, as opposed to trying to be a solo artist. And it’s because when Adam [Clayton] started playing that bass part… it is something I never, ever would have come up with in a million years. I think it is his greatest-ever bass part. He changed that piece of music, utterly, and made it what it is. The bass is of something totally different and unique.” – The Edge
Interview with Adam Clayton, 1981:
“I suspect we’ve always had this sound. We’ve always been U2. And you know, U2 is a thing that evolves constantly. And maybe a year from now, the sound will be slightly different from the sound on Boy. It’s impossible to tell because it’s a natural evolvement, all the time.”- Adam Clayton
About Amazon Music
Amazon Music is the destination for customers to have the most choice in how to access and listen to all their favorite music. In addition to streaming with Amazon Music Unlimited (standalone, on-demand music streaming service) and Amazon Prime Music (included in Prime memberships), where available, Amazon Music offers a wide selection of CD and Vinyl, including AutoRip on more than a hundred thousand albums, and tens of millions of MP3 songs to purchase and own. For more information on Amazon Music visit www.amazon.com/amazonmusic and follow @AmazonMusic.
About Amazon
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.



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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. to Buy Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. in $2.9 Billion Merger Agreement

Business Wire

ATLANTA & MINNEAPOLIS - Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (“ARG”) and Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (Nasdaq: BWLD) (“BWW”) today announced that the companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which ARG will acquire BWLD for $157 per share in cash, in a transaction valued at approximately $2.9 billion, including BWW’s net debt. The agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors, represents a premium of approximately 38% to BWW’s 30-day volume-weighted average stock price as of November 13, 2017, the latest trading day prior to news reports speculating about a potential transaction
Statement by Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. 

"Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the most distinctive and successful entertainment and casual dining restaurant companies in America,” said Paul Brown, CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. “We are excited to welcome a brand with such a rich heritage, led by an exceptionally talented team. We look forward to leveraging the combined strengths of both organizations into a truly differentiated and transformative multi-brand restaurant company.”
Statement by Sally Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc.

“We are excited about this merger and confident Arby’s represents an excellent partner for Buffalo Wild Wings,” said Sally Smith, CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings. “This transaction provides compelling value to our shareholders and is a testament to the hard work and efforts of our talented Team Members and franchisees. We are confident that the strength of our two industry-leading brands, under the sponsorship of Roark Capital – an experienced restaurant and food service investor – will enable us to capitalize on significant growth opportunities in the years ahead.”

Transaction Details
The transaction is not subject to a financing condition and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018, subject to the approval of BWW shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals.
Following the close of the transaction, BWW will be a privately-held subsidiary of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. and will continue to be operated as an independent brand. Paul Brown will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the parent company.
Arby’s is majority owned by affiliates of Roark Capital Group (Roark), an Atlanta based private equity firm that focuses on investing in franchised and multi-unit businesses in the restaurant, retail, and other consumer sectors. Affiliates of Roark are committing all of the equity that, together with the proceeds of debt financing, will be necessary to complete the transaction.
Certain funds advised by Marcato Capital Management, LP, which own approximately 6.4% of the outstanding shares of BWW, have entered into an agreement to vote in favor of the transaction.
Advisors
Barclays is serving as financial advisor and White & Case LLP is serving as legal counsel to ARG. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as financial advisor and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP is serving as legal counsel to BWW.
About Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc., founded in 1982 and headquartered in Minneapolis, is a growing owner, operator, and franchisor of Buffalo Wild Wings® restaurants featuring a variety of boldly-flavored, made-to-order menu items including its namesake Buffalo, New York-style chicken wings. The Buffalo Wild Wings menu specializes in 21 mouth-watering signature sauces and seasonings with flavor sensations ranging from Sweet BBQ™ to Blazin’®. Guests enjoy a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere that includes an extensive multi-media system for watching their favorite sporting events. Buffalo Wild Wings is the recipient of hundreds of "Best Wings" and "Best Sports Bar" awards from across the country. There are currently more than 1,250 Buffalo Wild Wings locations in 10 countries. For more information, visit BuffaloWildWings.com
About Roark Capital Group
Roark focuses on investing in franchised and multi-unit businesses in the retail, restaurant, consumer and business services sectors. Since inception, affiliates of Roark have invested in 62 franchise/multi-unit brands, which collectively generate $27 billion in annual system revenues from 29,000 locations in 50 states and 78 countries. For more information, please visit www.roarkcapital.com



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Friday, November 24, 2017

Amazon’s Cyber Monday Brings Incredible Deals and Convenient Delivery

Press Release

Seattle, WA - (NASDAQ: AMZN) – On Friday, Amazon revealed a preview of its Cyber Monday deals to close out the “Turkey 5” – those five popular shopping days starting Thanksgiving and continuing through Cyber Monday. On Cyber Monday, customers will find more than 30 Deals of the Day and thousands of Lightning Deals across more than 30 categories including toys, electronics, fashion, beauty, kitchen, sporting goods, and more, in addition to incredible prices on Amazon Devices and products from small businesses and entrepreneurs, at amazon.com/cybermonday. Starting tomorrow, customers can also discover new deals every day throughout Cyber Monday Deals Week, and continue to choose from more than one hundred million items eligible for free shipping every day. This includes eligible orders of $25 or more on items shipped by Amazon, as well as from small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon. Last year on Cyber Monday, Amazon customers ordered more than 64 million items worldwide – a record-breaking 740 items per second, and customers worldwide purchased roughly 36 toys per second on mobile devices alone!
Customers can also shop Cyber Monday deals using the Amazon App, and set Watch a Deal alerts to ensure they never miss a deal. Voice Shoppers can shop select Cyber Monday deals even earlier, beginning at 5pm PT, Sunday, Nov. 26 – just ask Alexa.
Here’s a sneak peek at just some of the deals that will be available on Cyber Monday, while supplies last. And don’t forget– customers can easily give back to their favorite charity while shopping through smile.amazon.com.

Amazon Devices
  • Save $50 on Echo Show, only $179.99
  • Save $30 on All-New Echo Plus, only $119.99
  • Save $20 on All-New Echo, only $79.99
  • Save $20 on Echo Dot, only $29.99 – the lowest price ever for Echo Dot
  • Save $50 on Amazon Tap, only $79.99
  • Add a TP-Link smart plug to any Echo purchase for only $5 ($20 off)
  • Save $20 on All-New Amazon Cloud Cam, only $99.99
  • Save $40 on Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, only $89.99 – and save an additional $10 when you buy two Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, only $169.98
  • Save $30 on Fire 7 Kids Edition, only $69.99 – and save an additional $10 when you buy two Fire 7 Kids Edition tablets, only $129.98
  • Save $50 on All-New Fire HD 10, only $99.99 – the lowest price ever for the Fire HD 10
  • Save $30 on Fire HD 8, only $49.99
  • Save $20 on Fire 7, only $29.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle Paperwhite, only $89.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle, only $49.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle for Kids Bundle, only $69.99
  • Save $15 on Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, only $24.99
Electronics
  • Premium brand 49-inch 4K UHD smart TV, only $329.99
  • Sony 55-inch 4K UHD smart TV, only $598
  • Sony 49-inch 4K UHD smart TV, only $528
  • Sony 43-inch 4K UHD smart TV, only $478
  • 55-inch 4K UHD TV, only $224.99
  • LG Electronics 55SJ8500 55-inch 4K smart UHD TV, only $796.99
  • LG Electronics OLED55C7P 55-inch 4K smart UHD TV, only $1,696.99
  • LG Electronics OLED65C7P 65-inch 4K smart UHD TV, only $2,696.99
  • TCL 43-inch 1080p smart TV, only $239.99
  • TCL 49-inch 1080p smart TV, only $279.99
  • 40-inch 1080p smart TV, only $179.99
  • Save on select Sennheiser headphones
  • Save 30% on Monoprice & Reprap Guru best-selling 3D printers
  • Save up to $200 on select Yamaha digital pianos and keyboards
  • Save 30% on TrackR pixel Bluetooth tracking devices
  • Save up to 30% on select monitors from Dell, Samsung, ASUS, and more
  • Save up 40% on select Netgear routers, modems, and more
  • Save 30% on the WD 6TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive
Toys
  • Save up to 30% on select LEGO sets
  • Save up to 50% on select Hasbro games, Nerf products, Play-doh, and more
  • Save with deals from Green Toys, ALEX Toys, V-Tech, Thames and Kosmos, Laser Pegs, and more
  • Save up to $70 on Piper Computer Kit
  • Wonder Workshop Cue Robot, only $179.99
  • Osmo Genius Kit, only $79.99; Osmo Creative Kit, only $55.99
Home Furnishings
  • Save up to 30% on select robotic vacuums
  • Save up to 25% on select Dyson vacuums
  • Save more than 40% on Hoover upright vacuum
  • Save up to 20% on Casper Sleep Memory Foam Mattress
  • Save up to 40% on select Black & Decker kitchen electrics
  • Save up to 30% on select Hamilton Beach kitchen electrics
  • Save up to 30% on select Farberware cutlery sets
  • Prime members, save 15% on select Rivet furniture and décor, available exclusively from Amazon
  • Prime members, save 15% on Stone & Beam furniture and décor, available exclusively from Amazon
  • Save $60 on AmazonBasics Big & Tall executive chair
  • Save up to 20% on Simpli Home Hamilton rectangular storage ottoman bench
  • Save more than 40% on AeroGarden Harvest Wi-Fi
Fashion
  • Save up to 30-50% on Prime-exclusive clothing, shoes, and handbags
  • Save up to 60% on select athletic and casual shoes
  • Save up to 55% on select Calvin Klein clothing
Smart Home
  • Save $40 on Philips Hue White Starter Kit + Motion Sensor
  • Save more than 25% on Sengled Element Classic Dimmable Smart LED Bulb
  • Save more than 20% on Yale Assure Lock
Video Games
  • Save up to 60% on hit games, including Call of Duty: WWII, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Injustice 2, and Overwatch
  • Save up to 50% on select Nintendo Switch accessories
Books, TV & Movies
  • Save up to 40% on Kindle Unlimited membership. Enjoy unlimited reading from over one million titles on any device
  • Save during the biggest Kindle Daily Deal of the year! Up to 85% off on hundreds of Kindle best-selling books, including Theft by Finding and Glass Houses
  • Save 40% on new release movies and TV seasons, as well as catalog best-sellers available to rent or purchase and instantly stream on Amazon Video
Pets
  • Save 20% on PetFusion Memory Foam Dog Beds
  • Save 50% on Kurgo Loft Dog Jackets
  • Save 25% on Fluval 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit
  • Save 45% on PetSafe Dog Training Collars
Sports & Outdoors
  • Save up to 30% on camping gear from Coleman, including the Coleman NXT Lite Table Top Propane Grill, the Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent, and the Coleman Premium Powerhouse Dual Fuel Lantern
  • Save up to 50% on select Adidas clothing, shoes, and gear
  • Save more than 25% on select ProForm Cardio Equipment
  • Save 25% on Bushnell Rangefinder
  • Save on Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Binocular
  • Save on select Callaway golf balls
  • Save more than 35% on select Trademark cornhole
  • Save on Firefield 5x50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular
  • Save on Wheeler 89-Piece Deluxe Screwdriver Set
  • Save more than 20% on select JOOLA table tennis tables
  • Save more than 20% on Tumbl Trak Addie beam
  • Save up to 30% on select fishing and boating products
  • Save 50% on Mission logo hoodie
  • Save on the Simmons ProSport 10x 42mm Roof-Prism waterproof/fogproof binoculars (Black)
Tens of Thousands of Deals from Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs: Customers can shop from tens of thousands of deals from small businesses, including deals from startups and entrepreneurs in the Amazon Launchpad and Amazon Exclusives programs, as well as Artisans selling on Amazon Handmade:
  • Save 20% on select items from Artisans on Amazon Handmade
  • Save more than 40% on AncestryDNA Genetic Testing Kit
  • Save more than 35% on Tea Forte Premium Teas and Accessories
  • Save 45% on Mission VaporActive Alpha Athletic Apparel
  • Save 30% on Anova Bluetooth Sous Vide
  • Save $30 on Anki Cozmo
  • Save 20% on Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
  • Save 25% on Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook - Executive
Buy one photo book or calendar with Amazon Prints and get two free: Beginning Nov. 26 for a limited time, customers can buy one photo book or calendar, and get two items in the same category of equal or lesser value for free. Design a high-quality, custom calendar to stay connected with loved ones all year long. Calendars can be personalized with photos of family and friends, colorful backgrounds, text, and embellishments for a unique and easy to create gift, plus free delivery with Prime. Go to www.amazon.com/prints to learn more.
IMDbPro Prime Exclusive Annual Membership: Beginning Nov. 25 for a limited time, Amazon Prime members can save 59% on an annual IMDbPro membership, the leading resource for the entertainment industry. Stay connected with contact details for over 300,000 industry professionals and companies, access profile pages for more than four million people and cast and crew listings for more than two million titles, and track over 25,000 in-development and production titles not available on IMDb. Go to www.imdbpro.com to learn more.
New Ways to Shop
  • Voice Shop to Get Early Access to Deals: Customers who voice shop with Alexa will get an exclusive shopping window several hours earlier than the general public with access to some of the best deals starting at 5pm PT, Sunday, Nov. 26. Available on the Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap, as well as screened devices such as the all-new Amazon Fire TV, all-new Fire HD 10 Tablet, Echo Show, and soon to be released Echo Spot, it’s as simple as asking Alexa. Customers can voice shop with Alexa for tens of millions of Prime-eligible items every day of the year. Changed your mind? No problem, any physical product purchased with your voice is eligible for free returns. Customers must be Prime members with default payment and shipping information. To learn more, visit amazon.com/voiceshopping.
  • Amazon Devices + Whole Foods: Customers can also shop for Amazon devices, take advantage of Cyber Monday deals and more at over 100 Whole Foods Market stores. In addition, staffed Amazon Pop-Up stores at Whole Foods Market stores in Chicago (Ill.), Rochester Hills (Mich.), Davie (Fla.), Pasadena (Calif.), and Denver (Colo.) allow customers to try out devices in-store and to learn about services like Prime and unique content on Prime Video.
  • Amazon Books: Whether customers want to discover a new book for the holidays, test drive a device, or purchase Amazon.com Gift Cards, Amazon Books offers gifts for everyone. As an extension of Amazon.com, Amazon Books offers many of the same great online deals, including some of the best deals of the year in celebration of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Beginning on Black Friday through Nov. 27, Amazon Books customers will get a $10 credit on Amazon.com when they spend $30 or more on books in-store, and beginning on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, through Dec. 24, Amazon Books will offer customers the ability to purchase a new book to be donated to a local literary charity supporting children in need. Customers can also browse in-store features like Great Books to Give, Seasonal Readings, Most-Wished-For Children’s Books on Amazon.com, Hidden Gem Gifts, customer favorites from Amazon’s Holiday Toy List and Amazon’s Electronics Gift Guide, as well as features like Page Turners: Books Kindle Readers Finish in 3 Days or Less, Local Bestsellers, and 100 books to read in a lifetime. Amazon Books is located in Seattle, Bellevue (Wash.), New York City (on 34th St and at Columbus Circle), Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Chicago, Walnut Creek, Boston (Dedham and Lynnfield), Portland, and Paramus (N.J.).
  • Treasure Truck: Available in 25 select cities, Treasure Truck is a new way for customers to shop this holiday season. Customers can opt-in to receive notifications from the Amazon App for special must-have offers from Treasure Truck, order the item, and pick-up at the truck all season long. Each time the truck rolls, one hand-picked offer will be available including gifts for the adventurer, foodie, host, kids, and techie, as well as delicious seasonal food items, and more. Look for the truck at various locations this holiday season.
  • Amazon.com in Spanish: Customers can shop, browse, and search for deals across 30 categories in Spanish. Customers can update their language settings in their Amazon App, as well as visit Amazon.com and click the ‘globe’ button – located in the navigation bar at the top of their Amazon home screen – to set and begin shopping in their preferred language. Preferred language settings will be saved for future site visits under ‘Your account’ settings.
Fast Shipping, Deals, and More with Prime: Prime is designed to make your life better every day including the convenience of fast, free shipping and great entertainment. Prime members can shop thousands of Lightning Deals with 30-minute early access and, with the Amazon Prime credit card, members will earn even bigger rewards this holiday season. Members in more than 5,000 cities and towns can also enjoy Free Two-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime, as well as Prime FREE One-Day Shipping and Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery on more than one million items in orders of $35 or more. And, with Prime Now, Prime Members in more than 30 U.S. cities can benefit from one-and two-hour delivery. In addition, Prime members in 37 cities and surrounding areas across the U.S. now have access to Amazon Key, the new service that radically improves the convenience of receiving deliveries. Amazon Key allows Prime members to have eligible packages securely delivered inside their homes without having to be there.




Disclaimer: Kevin Surbaugh was a shareholder of WholeFoods before Amazon cashed him out in its purchase of the grocery chain.

--- go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kiplinger.com Unveils Rankings of Most, Least Tax-Friendly States for Retirees

Press Release



—2017 ‘Retiree Tax Map’ Offers Easy, Interactive State-By-State Guide—
 
Washington, D.C.— Kiplinger.com has revealed its annual list of the most and least tax-friendly states for retirees. Kiplinger’s 2017 Retiree Tax Map—available at Kiplinger.com/links/retireetaxmap—reveals senior tax breaks across all 50 states, and compares taxes on income (including Social Security benefits, pensions and other forms of retirement income), property, everyday purchases and estates.


“Where you live in retirement matters just as much to your tax bill as what you have,” says Sandra Block, Senior Editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “Retirees and near-retirees can use Kiplinger’s Retiree Tax Map to plan ahead and determine which locations fit best based on their sources of income, spending habits and value of their estate.”


The 10 Most Tax-Friendly
States for Retirees:
1.    Wyoming
2.    Alaska
3.    South Dakota
4.    Mississippi
5.    Florida
6.    Pennsylvania
7.    Nevada
8.    New Hampshire
9.    Kentucky
10.  Georgia
 
The 10 Least Tax-Friendly
States for Retirees:
1.    Minnesota
2.    Connecticut
3.    Kansas
4.    Vermont
5.    Nebraska
6.    New Mexico
7.    Utah
8.    Maryland
9.    Indiana
10. Wisconsin


The Retiree Tax Map is a sister project to Kiplinger’s annual Tax Map—which outlines each state’s income taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, “sin” taxes (for products such as alcohol and tobacco) and other tax rules and exemptions.



--- go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Great Plains Energy and Westar Energy Shareholders Approve Merger at Special Shareholder Meetings

Business Wire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. & TOPEKA, Kan.-- Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) and Great Plains Energy Incorporated (NYSE: GXP), the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light (“KCP&L”), today announced at their respective shareholder meetings that shareholders overwhelmingly approved the proposals necessary for the merger between the two companies. More than 90 percent of the shares voted at each company approved the transaction.
“We are excited about today’s approval from shareholders of both Great Plains Energy and Westar Energy. This vote indicates that both companies’ shareholders believe in our combined ability to create a stronger regional energy provider, positioned to better serve all of our customers,” said Terry Bassham, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Great Plains Energy and KCP&L. “This new combined company will ensure we keep ownership of our utility assets in our region to grow local economies.”
“Customers and shareholders will benefit by combining Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy into a strong Midwest utility,” said Mark Ruelle, president and chief executive officer of Westar Energy. “Our geography and history of partnership position us to bring efficiencies and savings by joining our operations. We continue to make progress toward completing the transaction in the first half of 2018.”
Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy announced a revised transaction in July 2017 after the Kansas Corporation Commission denied the companies’ original request to combine in April. This revised agreement involves no transaction debt, no exchange of cash, and is a stock-for-stock merger of equals, creating a company with a combined equity value of approximately $15 billion.
The merger is expected to help maintain reliable, low-cost energy for the company’s 1 million Kansas customers and nearly 600,000 customers in Missouri. Additionally, with one of the largest renewable energy portfolios in the nation, the new combined company will be a clean energy leader, supplying nearly half of its retail sales from emissions-free electricity.



--- go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Westar Energy Declares Dividend

Press Release

Topeka, Kan.,  –  The Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) Board of Directors
today declared a quarterly dividend of 40 cents per share payable Jan. 2, 2018, on the company’s
common stock. The dividends are payable to shareholders of record as of Dec. 8, 2017.



--- go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Now is the Time to Join a Ffast Growing Cryptocurrency Movement

Opinion:

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 --- go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Youngevity International Announces Record Third Quarter Revenues

Marketwired

Highlights: International Revenue in Direct Selling Division Up 36% Led by Asia; Coffee Division Revenue Up 29.2%; Green Coffee Distribution and Café La Rica Drive Growth
SAN DIEGO, CA--  Youngevity International, Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI), a leading omni-direct lifestyle company, today reported financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2017.
Steve Wallach, CEO and Co-Founder of Youngevity, stated, "I am pleased to see the performance of our international markets contribute to the top line of our direct selling business. We have invested heavily in establishing a global footprint and we believe that we will begin to enjoy returns on these significant investments in the coming quarters. I am equally pleased to see the revenue growth taking place in our Coffee Division, especially the sales success taking place with our Café La Rica™ Brand. We expect the strength of this brand has significant potential to bring shareholder value."
Youngevity President and CFO Dave Briskie stated, "We invested heavily in creating a platform that is capable of creating top line revenue growth throughout a number of verticals and in various markets across the globe. We anticipate that we will be able to leverage our platform and drive top line growth. With that said, as we complete 2017 and move through 2018 we will focus on our plans to improve our profitability, expand our liquidity, and strengthen our balance sheet."
THIRD QUARTER 2017 FINANCIAL RESULTS
For the three months ended September 30, 2017, our revenue increased 1.9% to $44,395,000 as compared to $43,562,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016. During the three months ended September 30, 2017, we derived approximately 85% of our revenue from our direct sales and approximately 15% of our revenue from our commercial coffee sales. Direct selling segment revenues decreased by $622,000 or 1.6% to $37,954,000 as compared to $38,576,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016. Commercial coffee segment revenues increased by $1,455,000 or 29.2% to $6,441,000 in the current quarter as compared to $4,986,000 for the same period last year. This increase was primarily attributed to increased revenues in our green coffee business.
For the three months ended September 30, 2017, gross profit decreased approximately 2.3% to $25,764,000 as compared to $26,368,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016. Overall gross profit as a percentage of revenues decreased to 58.0%, compared to 60.5% in the same period last year.
For the three months ended September 30, 2017, our operating expenses increased approximately 6.9% to $27,581,000 as compared to $25,792,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016.
A breakdown of operating expenses is as follows: Distributor compensation decreased 3.9% to $17,391,000 from $18,101,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016. This decrease was primarily attributable to the decrease in direct selling revenues and lower commissions paid on discounted items. Sales and marketing expense increased 28.1% to $4,074,000 from $3,181,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016 primarily due to expenses related to the Company's twentieth anniversary convention held in Dallas, Texas in August 2017 and increase in wages and related benefits. General and administrative expense increased 35.6% to $6,116,000 from $4,510,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016 primarily due to increases in costs related to legal fees, computer and internet related costs, international expansion, investor relations, wages and related benefits, amortization and stock based compensation costs.
For the three months ended September 30, 2017, total other expense decreased by $36,000 to $541,000 as compared to other expense of $577,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2016. Total other expense includes net interest expense, the change in the fair value of warrant derivative and extinguishment loss on debt.
For the three months ended September 30, 2017, the Company reported a net loss of $1,068,000 as compared to net income of $67,000 for the same period last year.
Adjusted EBITDA
EBITDA (earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization) as adjusted to remove the effect of stock based compensation expense, the change in the fair value of the warrant derivative and extinguishment loss on debt or "Adjusted EBITDA," decreased to a negative $359,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2017 compared to $1,620,000 for the same period in 2016.
Fiscal 2017 Nine Months Results
For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, our revenues increased 0.3% to $124,655,000 as compared to $124,264,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016. During the nine months ended September 30, 2017, we derived approximately 86% of our revenue from our direct sales and approximately 14% of our revenue from our commercial coffee sales. Direct selling segment revenues decreased by $3,659,000 or 3.3% to $106,734,000 as compared to $110,393,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016. Commercial coffee segment revenues increased by $4,050,000 or 29.2% to $17,921,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, as compared to $13,871,000 for the same period last year. This increase was primarily attributed to increased revenues in our green coffee business and coffee roasting business.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, gross profit decreased approximately 4.6% to $71,732,000 as compared to $75,162,000 for the same period last year. Overall gross profit as a percentage of revenues decreased to 57.5%, compared to 60.5% in the same period last year. The decrease was primarily due to increased social selling discounts offered in the current year in the direct selling segment and additional costs incurred due to increased direct labor costs, repairs and maintenance, and depreciation expense in the commercial coffee segment.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, our operating expenses increased approximately 6.6% to $76,625,000 as compared to $71,899,000 for the same period last year, primarily due to increases in convention and distributor events costs, legal fees, increased wages and related benefits and increased marketing expenses.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, total other expense increased by $1,123,000 to $3,727,000 as compared to $2,604,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016. Total other expense includes net interest expense, the change in the fair value of warrant derivative and extinguishment loss on debt.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, the Company reported a net loss of $5,857,000 as compared to net income of $109,000 for the same period last year.
Adjusted EBITDA
EBITDA (earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization) as adjusted to remove the effect of stock based compensation expense, the change in the fair value of the warrant derivative and extinguishment loss on debt or "Adjusted EBITDA," decreased to a negative $851,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 compared to $6,420,000 for the same period last year.
Conference Call Information
Management will host a conference call today at 4:15 PM Eastern Standard Time (1:15 PM Pacific Standard Time), to discuss the Company's third quarter financial results, for the quarter ended September 30, 2017. Investors can access the conference call by dialing: 877-388-7629. No access code is needed to join the call. It is advised that you dial-in at least five minutes prior to the call.
The conference call will be recorded and available for replay shortly after the conclusion of the call. An archived replay of the call will be available for approximately 6 months in the Investor Relations section of Youngevity International's website: http://ygyi.com/calls.php.
Non-GAAP Financial Measure - Adjusted EBITDA
This news release includes information on Adjusted EBITDA, which is a non-GAAP financial measure as defined by SEC Regulation G.
Management believes that Adjusted EBITDA, when viewed with our results under GAAP and the accompanying reconciliations, provides useful information about our period-over-period growth. Adjusted EBITDA is presented because management believes it provides additional information with respect to the performance of our fundamental business activities and is also frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of comparable companies. We also rely on Adjusted EBITDA as a primary measure to review and assess the operating performance of our Company and our management team.
Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure. We calculate adjusted EBITDA by taking net income, and adding back the expenses related to interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization, stock based compensation expense, loss on extinguishment of debt and change in the fair value of the warrant derivative, as each of those elements are calculated in accordance with GAAP. Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as a substitute for net income (loss) (as determined in accordance with GAAP) for the purpose of analyzing our operating performance or financial position, as Adjusted EBITDA is not defined by GAAP. A reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net loss is provided in the tables at the end of this press release.
 
Safe Harbor Statement
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In some cases forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "should," "potential," "continue," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates," and similar expressions, and includes statements regarding the expected growth in international markets in the coming quarters providing a return on our significant investments in establishing a global footprint, the strength of the Café La Rica Brand having significant potential to bring shareholder value, and leveraging our platform to drive top line growth, our plans to improve our profitability, expand our liquidity, and strengthen our balance sheet. These forward-looking statements are based on management's expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations and assumptions from those set forth or implied by any forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, among others, our ability to continue our international growth, our ability to expand our sales of the Café La Rica™ coffee, our ability to leverage our platform to drive top line growth, our ability to improve our profitability, expand our liquidity, and strengthen our balance sheet, our ability to continue to maintain compliance with the NASDAQ requirements, the acceptance of the omni-direct approach by our customers, our ability to expand our distribution, our ability to add additional products (whether developed internally or through acquisitions), our ability to continue our financial performance, and the other factors discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2016 and our subsequent filings with the SEC, including subsequent periodic reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. The information in this release is provided only as of the date of this release, and we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release on account of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.
Table Follows
Youngevity International, Inc. and Subsidiaries          
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations          
(In thousands)          
(Unaudited)          
                       
  Three Months Ended September 30,     Nine Months Ended September 30,  
  2017     2016     2017     2016  
                               
Revenues $ 44,395     $ 43,562     $ 124,655     $ 124,264  
Cost of revenues   18,631       17,194       52,923       49,102  
  Gross profit   25,764       26,368       71,732       75,162  
Operating expenses                              
  Distributor compensation   17,391       18,101       49,496       50,871  
  Sales and marketing   4,074       3,181       10,650       7,619  
  General and administrative   6,116       4,510       16,479       13,409  
    Total operating expenses   27,581       25,792       76,625       71,899  
Operating (loss) income   (1,817 )     576       (4,893 )     3,263  
  Change in the fair value of warrant derivative   1,519       369       788       535  
  Interest expense, net   (1,752 )     (946 )     (4,207 )     (3,139 )
  Extinguishment loss on debt   (308 )     -       (308 )     -  
    Total other expense   (541 )     (577 )     (3,727 )     (2,604 )
Net (loss) income before income taxes   (2,358 )     (1 )     (8,620 )     659  
Income tax (benefit) provision   (1,290 )     (68 )     (2,763 )     550  
Net (loss) income $ (1,068 )   $ 67     $ (5,857 )   $ 109  
Net loss per share basic and diluted $ (0.05 )   $ -     $ (0.30 )   $ -  
                               
                               
                               
   
     
Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measure    
Adjusted EBITDA to Net (Loss) Income    
(In thousands - unaudited))    
     
  Three Months Ended September 30,     Nine Months Ended September 30,  
  2017     2016     2017     2016  
Net (loss) income $ (1,068 )   $ 67     $ (5,857 )   $ 109  
Add:                              
  Interest   1,752       946       4,207       3,139  
  Income taxes   (1,290 )     (68 )     (2,763 )     550  
  Depreciation   419       341       1,183       1,119  
  Amortization   712       537       2,047       1,746  
EBITDA   525       1,823       (1,183 )     6,663  
Add:                              
  Stock based compensation -options and warrants issuance   327       166       812       292  
  Change in the fair value of warrant derivative   (1,519 )     (369 )     (788 )     (535 )
  Extinguishment loss on debt   308       -       308       -  
Adjusted EBITDA $ (359 )   $ 1,620     $ (851 )   $ 6,420  
                               
                               




Disclaimer: Kevin Surbaugh is an independent sales representative of Youngevity.
--- go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.