Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello there, here’s some advice on how NOT to fire people

Hello there, here’s some advice on how NOT to fire people: "Never use a trinity of abstract nouns. It shows you know what you are saying is inadequate.
“Collectively,” the memo ends, “the clarity, focus and alignment across the company, and the opportunity to deliver the results of that work into the hands of people, will allow us to increase our success in the future. Regards, Stephen.”
It won’t, Stephen. Collectively, a trinity of almost identical, empty mass nouns and the opportunity to deliver something that is not specified is not going to increase anything. Except possibly the dismay, disdain and distrust of the people who work for you.
And just as a bonus, here is rule number eight. Don’t end a memo with “regards”."

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It seems bankers cannot be banked on to be virtuous

It seems bankers cannot be banked on to be virtuous: "Their contempt for the rules is graphically demonstrated in a series of email conversations released yesterday, revealing the collusion between the unnamed traders and managers. The picture they paint is of people who knew they were doing wrong but were confident they would get away with it. For some, it appeared to be a bit of a laugh.
“Every little helps . . . It’s like Tesco’s,” said one trader to his manager about a request to manipulate Libor.
“Absolutely, every little helps,” replied the Lloyds manager.
And this is the response from a Lloyds employee, on being told another trader would be setting “an obscenely high” figure: “Oh dear . . . my poor customers . . . hehehe!!
The Libor scandal came to light two years ago. Since then, seven banks have been hit by hefty fines for their part in the rate-rigging, including Barclays and the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland."

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Path for Skirting U.S. Taxes Widens With REIT Blueprint - Bloomberg

Path for Skirting U.S. Taxes Widens With REIT Blueprint - Bloomberg: "The shares of the biggest U.S. phone companies, including AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), rose today amid prospects the Internal Revenue Service will allow them to pursue another tactic: placing some operations in tax-advantaged vehicles known as real estate investment trusts, or REITS. Last week, shares of containerboard makers such as International Paper Co. (IP) soared on speculation they will use another tax-free structure known as a master limited partnership, or MLP.

Companies are finding all kinds of ways to escape America’s 35 percent corporate rate, from acquiring a mailbox in Ireland to using a 54-year-old tax break originally meant to allow middle-class people to invest in real estate.

The use of foreign addresses, known as “inversion,” is getting increasing attention in Washington this year as corporations like Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Walgreen Co. (WAG) consider such a move. Congressional Democrats held a press conference today to announce a new proposal to deny government contracts to some inverted companies, and Obama last week labeled such companies “corporate deserters.” Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said last week he may be open to short-term action to address inversions."

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Facebook worth 128 times its profits? That's beyond optimistic – it's euphoric | Technology |

Facebook worth 128 times its profits? That's beyond optimistic – it's euphoric | Technology | "After so many years of economic gloom, it’s nice to have some good news. On Thursday, such tidings came in the form of a surge in the valuation of Facebook, which climbed to more than $192bn in the wake of good first-quarter earnings.

This means that, as of Friday morning, the social network is now worth more, at least on paper, than Toyota ($189bn), AT&T ($184bn), Coca-Cola ($180bn), Disney ($150bn) and even Bank of America ($164bn).

How could that have happened?

Valuing a company

The total value of a publicly-listed company is pretty easy to work out: you just take its share price, and multiply it by the number of shares it has issued. That tells you what investors think its worth – it’s the price where buyers and sellers equal out.

What a company “should” be worth is a little tricker. For private companies, say a small family-run grocery store, the convention is, roughly speaking, that a business is worth some multiple of how much profit (or sometimes just cash) it generates.

So for a shop that does steady trade over time, a fair price might be about five years’ worth of profits. If the business can show it’s been growing rapidly each year, and is making more and more money, we might decide seven or eight years’ profit is fairer. There’s no exact science."

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