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Sears pensioners hope to recoup their losses in $509M lawsuit

A court decision has given Sears Canada retirees hope they can recoup some of the millions of dollars missing from the now-defunct retailer’s underfunded pension plan. An Ontario Superior Court judge on Monday gave the green light to two lawsuits targeting U.S. billionaire businessman, Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund, ESL Investments, in connection with $509 million in dividends paid to Sears Canada shareholders in 2013. The lawsuits — each initiated on behalf of Sears creditors including pensioners — centre on the same claim that the $509-million payout was detrimental to the company and orchestrated by Sears Canada’s largest shareholders — Lampert and ESL — for their own benefit. The…

Wells Fargo computer glitch blamed as hundreds lose their homes

Wells Fargo says a computer glitch is partly to blame for an error affecting an estimated 545 customers who lost their homes. The giant bank filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month, revealing it incorrectly denied 870 loan modification requests. About 60 percent of those homeowners went into foreclosure. Legislators, housing advocates, regulators and most importantly, the people who lost their homes – people like Jose Aguilar – are asking how this happened. “It’s been very hard for me. It’s something I wouldn’t wish upon anybody,” Aguilar told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. These days, Aguilar can…

Honeywell got $40M in tax breaks to stay in N.J. but it’s leaving anyway

Honeywell International, Inc. confirmed Friday it is moving its corporate headquarters from Morris Plains to Charlotte, North Carolina, but that most jobs — at least for now — will remain in New Jersey. The planned relocation comes just three years after the company received a $40 million tax credit to keep its headquarters in New Jersey, in a deal brokered and heralded by then-Gov. Chris Christie. Morris Plans Mayor Frank Druetzler told NJ Advance Media the impending move, first reported on Thursday, caught him by surprise. “This one came out of left field,” said Druetzler, who is ending his 32-year…

Arrest of ousted Nissan Chairman Ghosn invites conspiracy theories, talk of ‘a coup,’ among auto executives

If all had gone according to plan, Carlos Ghosn would have been winging his way to Amsterdam on his corporate jet Wednesday night en route to a potentially critical meeting of senior members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance — of which he has long served as CEO. Instead, the 64-year-old executive is in solitary confinement occupying a tiny cell in the Tokyo Detention Centre, where he’s been stuck since Nov. 19 when he was arrested minutes after arriving in the Japanese capital for a visit to alliance member Nissan’s headquarters. Following what was described as a “months-long” investigation, which Nissan said…

Jobless Future: DHL will invest $300 million to quadruple robots in warehouses in 2019

DHL Supply Chain, a logistics division of DHL, today announced it will invest $300 million to modernize 60 percent of its warehouses in North America with more IoT sensors and robots. Robotic process automation, and software made to reduce workflow interruptions will also play a role. Such technology is already in operation in 85 DHL facilities, or roughly 20 percent of warehouses across North America. Funding announced today will bring emerging technology to 350 of DHL Supply Chain’s 430 operating sites. The company has more than 35,000 employees in North America. Robots from companies like Locus Robotics that were made to…

Another digital publisher bites the dust… Mic has laid off the majority of its staff

Mic is laying off the majority off its staff while the digital publisher works on a deal to sell the remainder of its assets to Bustle Digital Group. Mic CEO Chris Altchek announced the layoffs at a staff meeting this morning. Until today the company had employed more than 100 people. I’ve asked Mic to provide details on the layoffs, including the total number of people who will lose their jobs. Cory Haik, Mic’s publisher, has already left the company. I’m told that under the proposed terms of the Bustle deal, Altchek and co-founder Jake Horowitz would stay on after…

General Motors layoffs are slap in the face to taxpayers and workers

General Motors is making a huge mistake — despite massive profits, the company is making American workers pay for its own failed vision. In 2009, GM’s poor business model resulted in bankruptcy, forcing the American people to pull the company back from the brink of financial ruin with a $20 billion bailout. Almost a decade later, despite thriving under President Trump’s booming economy like many other manufacturers, the company is now revising its business model at the expense of its American workforce. GM has also benefited enormously from President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but even that wasn’t enough…

Bayer to Cut 12,000 Jobs…

Bayer AG plans to cut 12,000 jobs and exit its animal health business in an effort to mollify Wall Street, which has punished the company over the tidal wave of lawsuits that came alongside the $63 billion takeover of Monsanto Co. The German company announced a rash of moves, including exiting the sun-care and foot-care segments, that it said would boost its core pharma and agricultural businesses. The cuts, including a significant number in Germany — where layoffs are politically sensitive — represent about 10 percent of the workforce. The shares fell 2.3 percent as of 5 p.m. in Frankfurt…

Dick’s Sporting Goods will rid 10 stores of “virtually all” hunting items….mulls dropping hunting gear all together

The jury is still out as to whether Dick’s Sporting Goods will extend a controversial move to clear hunting supplies from its stores, including shotguns, ammunition, cross bows and rifle scopes. The retailer, which stopped selling assault rifles earlier in the year, in late August said it would also rid 10 Dick’s stores of “virtually all” hunting items. The stores involved were those where hunting sales had fared the most poorly. “We’ll have to wait and see how the 10-store test does,” CEO Edward Stack said during an earnings call Wednesday. That said, Stack noted, Dick’s is “looking at a…

Probing a mysterious network of dropshippers, evangelicals, crapgadgets, and semi-vacant Manhattan department stores

Jenny Odell is an artist and critic whose Bureau of Suspended Objects report on dropshipping (previously) was a fascinating dive into the weird, scammy world of crapgadgets and farcically poorly made fashion items sold through a network of “influencers” and turnkey ecommerce tool. Now, Odell has stumbled into a much weirder, much scammier, much murkier world, when she started investigating the parents of one of her Stanford students were receiving a steady stream of mysterious packages addressed to “Returns Department, Valley Fountain LLC.” Odell’s investigation revealed a bizarre network of shitty, overpriced off-brand gadgets sold through thousands of Amazon stores,…

Auto giant announces closing iconic plants to slash workforce in bid for electric self driving future

Today General Motors announced they are restructuring their global business. As part of that restructuring, they plan to shut down production at five facilities in North America and reduce their salaried workforce by 15%. This will include a quarter of their executives. GM believes that new technology is the future: “GM’s (GM) new motto is “Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion,” signaling a shift to self-driving, electric vehicles. But the restructuring is also about making cars people want now. Customers are increasingly shunning sedans in favor of SUVs and hatchbacks. The company said the plan would make it more efficient,…

Goldman Sachs closes deal for $83 million apartment complex ( a mile away) same day as Amazon picks location for new HQ

Amazon.com Inc.’s announcement that it’s opening a major new office in a New York neighborhood sent developers into a frantic scramble this month to snap up real estate nearby. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was way ahead. On the very same day the online retailer concluded its long, highly publicized search for a second headquarters, placing part of it in Long Island City, the bank quietly finalized a deal to provide $83 million for a massive new apartment complex less than a mile away, in Hunter’s Point South. The timing was an “absolute coincidence,” says Margaret Anadu, the head of Goldman…

Insurance companies are spying on patients through their sleep apnea machines to make sure they’re using them, and experts warn it’s part of the industry’s playbook to make patients pay more

Last March, Tony Schmidt discovered something unsettling about the machine that helps him breathe at night. Without his knowledge, it was spying on him. From his bedside, the device was tracking when he was using it and sending the information not just to his doctor, but to the maker of the machine, to the medical supply company that provided it and to his health insurer. Schmidt, an information technology specialist from Carrollton, Texas, was shocked. “I had no idea they were sending my information across the wire.” Schmidt, 59, has sleep apnea, a disorder that causes worrisome breaks in his…

Black Friday for Sears has become a ‘ghost town’ as it tries to make it through to another holiday season

The inside of Sears at the Galleria White Plains mall on Black Friday looked mostly the same as it has for the past few years. Yellow tags highlighted doorbuster sales. Rows of washers and dryers stood gleaming. Sparkling Christmas ornaments were on display. But the glaring omission at 7:00 a.m., an hour after opening, were the shoppers. “This place looks like a ghost town,” noted Brandon Warkenthin, who made the trip to Sears in White Plains, New York, from the Bronx to check out deals on appliances. He rarely comes to Sears, often only on Black Friday. “It was a…

Overstock surges 26% after CEO says it will sell retail business by February to focus on crypto

Overstock plans to sell its decades-old retail business in the next few months to make way for a full-blown bet on blockchain. The previously announced sale plans could go through as soon as February, the company’s CEO told The Wall Street Journal in a report published Friday. Overstock founder and CEO Patrick Byrne — an ardent believer in the technology that underpins bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — declined to name any of the potential buyers. Shares of Overstock surged as much as 26 percent Friday but the stock is down 66 percent this year. Byrne founded Overstock in 1999 to…

Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses

Sears is seeking court approval to pay executives as much as $19 million in quarterly bonuses while the company struggles to restructure in bankruptcy. Three top executives could get nearly $1 million each if the company goes out of business. If Sears remains in business, they could get nearly $500,000 each for hitting the top performance targets. Sears filed two different types of bonus plans in bankruptcy court Thursday. The first is for the top 18 “key” executives, who would collectively get as much as $2.1 million per quarter. The bonuses would only be paid in full if Sears reaches…

PATHETIC: Bass Pro Shops pulls Trail of Tears rifle amid complaints

Bass Pro Shops pulled a used 1978 Winchester rifle commemorating the Cherokee Trail of Tears from one of its Arkansas store’s shelves and apologized to the tribe after a photo of the gun led to calls to boycott the outdoor gear chain. A customer in Rogers, Arkansas, posted photos of the rifle on Twitter, leading to accusations that Bass Pro was profiting from the tragic forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation that began in 1838. More than 4,000 Cherokee died during the more than 1,000-mile walk to what is now Oklahoma in what is known as the Trail of Tears.…

WSJ: Bayer financed Monsanto deal with debt to avoid shareholder vote, analysts say

According to analysts, Bayer AG financed the purchase of Monsanto Corp. “primarily with debt to avoid a shareholder vote on the transaction.” 1 Nothing screams, “I do what I want!” more than cutting out your shareholders! The way this deal was brokered is a shift from Bayer’s previously conservative approach to mergers and acquisitions. The transaction was financed with a bridge loan of $57 billion, underwritten by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., HSBC PLC, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (There was also an equity component of about $19 billion raised via an…

Apple Signals “Disappointing Demand” As It Cancels Production Boost For iPhone XR

Just days after Apple unexpectedly announced it would no longer disclose quarterly unit sales data for its iPhones – a move which spooked markets over fears of declining demand and sent Apple’s market cap back under $1 trillion – on Monday we got another indication of why Tim Cook decided to do away with the long-running practice: according to the Japan’s Nikkei, Apple signaled “disappointing demand” for the new iPhone XR, telling its top smartphone assemblers Foxconn and Pegatron to halt plans for additional production lines dedicated to the relatively cost-effective model that hit shelves in late October. “For the…

The Next Big Market Risk: Here Comes A Sharp Slowdown In Stock Buybacks

Stock buybacks may be back as blackout session ends, but suddenly companies’ appetite to repurchase their own shares appears to be slowing sharply. After an initial record surge in the amount of US corporate cash repatriated from offshore jurisdictions (if only for accounting purposes, as the bulk of said cash was already largely invested in domestic securities via offshore entities) following Trump’s tax law overhaul and tax repatriation holiday, the movement of foreign cash has slowed sharply. This comes at a time when record notional corporate buybacks have not only surpassed total capex spending for the 2nd quarter in a…

Business As Usual: Soros Lent Trump $160 Million For Hotel Project

Tim Kaine is taking some right-wing heat for getting dinner with the son of lefty billionaire and top GOP villain George Soros. “NEW SOROS SEED RISES: Tim Kaine Dines with Billionaire Son,” blared a Drudge Report headline. It linked to a Breitbart News piece saying the pair broke bread as Trump’s rise “TERRIFIES WORLD ELITE.” But if Kaine is friendly with Alex Soros, it probably doesn’t compare to the good times Donald Trump has shared with Soros’s dad. Over the years, the two billionaires have had tabloid-friendly professional dealings, teaming up to build one of North America’s most recognizable skyscrapers—and…

JOBLESS FUTURE: Pizza Hut reveals a concept delivery truck with a built-in robotic kitchen

WTF?! If you thought using a pair of sneakers to order pizza was one of Pizza Hut’s stranger ideas, they’re looking to surprise you yet again with the “Tundra Pie Pro,” a concept delivery truck that houses a full robotic restaurant crew in the back. While the technology industry typically leads the charge when it comes to AI and automation innovation, the food service industry has a lot to gain from experimenting with the tech as well. That’s precisely what Pizza Hut is doing now, according to an Engadget report. The pie-making retail chain is currently looking into the viability…

Whirlpool asks bankrupt-Sears for inventory back

Home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool wants its inventory back from now-bankrupt retailer Sears. Whirlpool – which makes washing machines, refrigerators and dish washers, among other appliances – sent a letter to Sears last week asking that the retailer return items it had received from Whirlpool in the 45 days leading up to its Oct. 15 bankruptcy filing, according to The New York Post. Whirlpool said that Sears has no right to the products since the company was insolvent when it ordered them, requesting the retailer refrain from selling or disposing of them. Whirlpool did not have a comment on the report.…

Apple bars Bloomberg from iPad event as payback for spy chip story

Apple and Amazon are already starting to make retaliatory moves on Bloomberg Businessweekfor its claims that the two companies’ servers were hacked by China. Amazon pulled its Q4 ads from Bloomberg’s website, cutting off significant ad revenue. Meanwhile, Apple has decided to give Bloomberg the old Gizmodo treatment — by banning the company from next week’s “There’s More in the Making” event. Bloomberg usually attends all of Apple’s keynotes and has been given numerous exclusive interviews. Now the company will just have to watch the keynote like everybody else. Buzzfeed reports that Bloomberg was not invited to Apple’s fall event. Apple declined to comment but the move is obviously a diss for…

Apple CEO: Being gay ‘Is God’s greatest gift to me’

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said in a CNN interview this week that being gay “is God’s greatest gift to me.” While mainstream and gay media are greeting Cook’s statement as breaking news, the Apple CEO made precisely the same declaration exactly four years ago when he penned a  ‘coming out’ article for Bloomberg Technology on October 30, 2014, saying: So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me. Steering away from controversy, Cook avoided answering interviewer Christiane Amanpour’s question about the level of tolerance for gay…

The FBI is reviewing Tesla’s Model 3 production numbers…

The FBI is reviewing Tesla’s Model 3 production numbers as part of an ongoing criminal probe into whether the company misled investors, according to a Wall Street Journal report published Friday. Federal agents are reviewing Tesla’s stated Model 3 numbers dating back to early 2017, the Journal reports, citing unnamed sources. Tesla had previously said it provided documents to the Department of Justice regarding CEO Elon Musk’s controversial take-private tweet — a blunder that ultimately cost Tesla and Musk a combined $40 million in fraud settlement fees. Now Tesla says it also provided information to the Department of Justice regarding…

Gibson Guitars set to successfully emerge from bankruptcy

Finally, some positive news for iconic guitar company Gibson as their devastating slip into bankruptcy is set to come to an end. For over 100 years one of the forewords in the guitar industry was Gibson. Their iconic guitars have been played by some of the biggest rock stars all around the world and, for some considerable amount of time, it looked as though the company was in ruins having declared for bankruptcy. Despite CEO Henry Juszkiewicz attempting to assure fans that the debt was run of the mill, he then suggested the situation was more likely an ‘internal coup’…

Sears owes these 7 suppliers — and many more — millions in payments

A decade of falling revenues and store closures raised red flags for Sears’ suppliers. “I suspect, but cannot confirm, it was risky for suppliers to sell their products through Sears,” Peter Edlund, senior vice president at DiCentral, a supply chain software company, told Supply Chain Dive in an email. “Why would they sell their wares through a struggling brand?” That was a question many vendors pondered and some acted on by scaling back inventory shipments to Sears or expanding their distribution to other outlets. Still, a lot of money is left in the lurch, with the retailer owing millions of…

How Sears Was Gutted By Its Own CEO…

By now, Prospect readers probably know the basic story of the demise of Sears. The company that pioneered the 20th-century version of e-commerce—the catalog—did not succumb to 21st-century innovations like Amazon and Walmart. Rather, it was dismantled piece by piece by Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund titan (and former Yale roommate of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin) who purchased it in 2005. Lampert and his hedge fund engaged in relentless financial engineering to suck out all the value from Sears and leave a desiccated husk, which now could face possible liquidation in bankruptcy. But just how much did Lampert vacuum out?…

Levi’s HATES Freedom…

Americans eager to take political direction from a multinational pants manufacturer were in luck this week. On Tuesday, PRWeek, a public relations trade publication, published an interview with Levi Strauss & Co. Chief Communications Officer Kelly McGinnis and Everytown for Gun Safety Public Affairs Director Stacey Radnor. The interview shed further light on the apparel giant’s partnership with billionaire gun control financier Michael Bloomberg’s front group and their well-choreographed efforts to attack Americans’ right to keep and bear arms. Last month, the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert drew attention to Levi’s (which also owns Dockers) decision to abandon its rugged all-American image by donating more that $1 million to gun…

‘Complete control’: Apple accused of overpricing, restricting device repairs…’Right to repair’ movement fights to put fixes back in hands of consumers

Apple often overestimates the cost of repairs to its products and threatens third-party shops who are willing to fix them for a fraction of the price, a CBC News investigation has learned. Customers who enter an Apple Store with a seemingly minor hardware problem, such as a flickering screen, are often faced with a large bill because they are told they need to replace major parts of the device. Apple only allows its devices to be repaired by Apple Store technicians or “authorized” service centres in order for them to remain within warranty. Jason Koebler, who regularly covers Apple as the…

Scorpion venom is the most expensive liquid in the world — here’s why it costs $39 million per gallon

 The venom from a deathstalker scorpion can be deadly. It can also make you quite a bit of money. Here’s why. Following is a transcript from the video: Narrator: The deathstalker is one of the most dangerous scorpions on the planet, and what makes it so dangerous also happens to be the most expensive liquid in the world. This stuff costs $39 million per gallon. Now, even if you had the money, you couldn’t just go and buy a gallon of the stuff, because you can only get it in tiny, minuscule amounts. $130 will get you a droplet…

Panasonic creates face mask so employees can work distraction-free…..go back to work SLAVE

Panasonic‘s Future Life Factory is developing wearable blinkers, designed to limit your sense of sound and sight, and help you focus on what’s directly in front of you. The prototype device, called Wear Space, is designed to keep people distraction-free when working in busy spaces or open-plan offices by blocking them off from their immediate surroundings. It was created by Panasonic’s design studio Future Life Factory, in collaboration with Japanese fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga. Panasonic hopes that by using the partition to cut the user’s horizontal field of vision by about 60 per cent, it will encourage them to concentrate on the work…

Comcast Under Fire For Using Bullshit Fees To Covertly Raise Rates

For several years now cable and broadband providers have been using hidden fees to covertly jack up their advertised rates. These fees, which utilize a rotating crop of bullshit names, help these companies falsely advertise one rate, then sock the consumer with a significantly higher-rate post sale (often when locked into a long-term contract). The practice also allows the company to falsely claim they’re not raising rates on consumers. They omit that they’re talking about the above the line rate being charged, implying that anything below the line (where real fees like taxes are levied) is outside of their control.  For example,…

Here’s what will happen to your Sears warranty if the company goes bankrupt

Albert Barrera of Odessa, Texas, walked into a Sears store last year with a pressing question for the manager: “If Sears closes, who will service my refrigerator?” Barrera had bought a Kenmore refrigerator for $529 several months earlier, and along with it, he purchased a three-year service warranty that cost $229 — almost half as much as the refrigerator. But he later started to worry that Sears could go out of business and that his warranty would be canceled as a result. He says the store manager failed to alleviate his fears. “He had no answer for me and assured…