12 Things You Didn't Know About Webinars That Will Blow Your Mind

Ah, yes…the webinar. That online seminar that we know so well. The slides. The monotonous speaker. The boring topics. Pretty much sums up my webinars, at least!

And yet, webinars continue to thrive. We all know the reasons why. They’re inexpensive. Easily accessible. Relatively quick. Some people love them and some don’t. But there’s no question that webinars are here to stay. In fact, 73 percent of B2B marketers and sales leaders they say that a webinar is the best way to generate high-quality leads and 57 percent of them say they will continue to create webinars in 2018.

These facts were evident in GoToWebinar’s recently released 2017 Big Book of Webinar Stats.  The webinar service provider studied 351,000 online events conducted on their platform from over 16,000 of their customers.  So what did they find?  If your company does webinars get ready to be blown away…

1 – 61 percent of webinars are done for B2B purposes. They can be a great lead generation and educational tool for your customers, just so long as your customers are businesses.

2 – The best webinar titles include lists (10 ways or 101 ideas), or the words “how to”, “new” or “trends.”

3 – Their average customer does about 23 webinars per year. Remember – these are companies that are choosing webinars as a marketing strategy over other options. But twice a month seems reasonable. My company does about four per month.

4 – When it comes to marketing, 73 percent of a webinar’s attendees ultimately come from e-mail solicitations. A website listing and some search engine optimization is helpful but let’s admit it: e-mail is far from dead.

5 – You’re going to get the most sign-ups (69 percent) a week before the event with a third coming the actual day of the webinar. So focus your marketing on the 24-72 hours beforehand.

6 – However…15 percent of webinar registrants sign up as much as three to four weeks ahead of the event, so don’t be afraid to get the word out a month early.

7 – Most people register for a webinar on a Tuesday. Not sure why, but your marketing (and event day) should coordinate around that. Don’t worry if you can’t make that happen – Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays aren’t that far behind for registrants. But target your marketing between 8AM and 10AM (for the recipient) because that’s when the most people sign up.

8 – The most popular day for a webinar is…drumroll please…Thursdays!

9 – The most popular time for a webinar is…drumroll please…between 12PM to 3PM Eastern Time.

10 – The most popular length of a webinar is…drumroll please…60 to 90 minutes. Really? I thought shorter is sweeter but GoToWebinar found that people don’t mind longer online events. 60-minute webinars attract 2.1 times more registrations than 30-minute webinars, and 90-minute webinars attract 4.6 times as many. Over half of their webinars fall between 45 to 60 minutes.

11 – The vast majority of marketing webinars have fewer than 50 attendees. If you fall into this range, you’re doing fine.

12 – Actually it doesn’t really matter how many people attend your live event. 84% of B2B customers opt for replays over live webinars. So make sure you archive your webinars for future viewing.

I’d like to add a personal 13th:  I’ve found that more and more of our attendees like discussions rather than one person shuffling through slides. A roundtable.  A group conversation.  Maybe that’s related to the explosion in podcast popularity.  Or maybe it’s because people like to listen when they’re on the go and don’t want to be stuck staring at a screen.  Whatever, if you’re doing online events this year you should consider this change in format.

OK…mind blown. So is there any reason why we can’t make our online events successful in 2018?

Tezos organizers hit with second lawsuit over cryptocurrency fundraiser

(Reuters) – A second lawsuit was filed this week against the organizers of cybercurrency technology project Tezos, an initiative that raised $232 million to issue a cryptocurrency that does not exist and fund development of a transaction system that has no clear end date.

Tezos co-founder and CTO Arthur Breitman and his wife and co-founder Kathleen Breitman respond to questions during the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

The class action lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Florida by Coral Springs-based law firm Silver Miller, alleges that Tezos’ organizers broke U.S. securities laws and defrauded and misled participants in the online fundraiser, according to court documents.

Special Report: Read Reuters original investigation into Tezos

Many who put money toward the initial coin offering consider themselves investors, but the funds were raised as non-refundable donations.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday and made public on Wednesday. The defendants are Kathleen and Arthur Breitman, the co-founders of the project; their Delaware-based company Dynamic Ledger Solutions Inc, which owns the rights to the transaction system’s code; and the Tezos Foundation, a Swiss entity that was set up to carry out the fundraiser.

It is the second lawsuit in less than a month to hit the embattled project that in July raised funds in one of the largest ever initial coin offerings, a popular way for technology startups to collect money by issuing cryptocurrencies.

Neither Brian Klein, an attorney for the Breitmans, nor Johann Gevers, president of the Tezos Foundation, immediately responded to requests for comment.

The lawsuit quotes from a Reuters investigation and reports published in October that revealed details of a backroom battle between the Breitmans and Gevers over control of the project. The dispute has delayed the project. (reut.rs/2yGk6IT)

The lawsuit alleges that contributors to the fundraiser were not told that it could take more than three years for the Swiss foundation, which holds the funds, to purchase Dynamic Ledger Solutions and the project’s source code.

This time frame, revealed by Reuters, was not disclosed to investors despite being “a highly material fact,” the lawsuit alleges.

Plaintiffs are asking for a refund as well as damages, according to the lawsuit. It also alleges organizers sold unregistered securities.

“As a result of Defendants’ fraud, false representations and violation of federal and state securities laws in connection with the Tezos ICO, Plaintiff and the Class Members state their demand that the Contract be rescinded and canceled,” the lawsuit states.

Other law firms have said they are considering litigation.

Reporting by Anna Irrera and Steve Stecklow; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

GE: When Will Shares Become Attractive?

By Bob Ciura

To say that General Electric (GE) has had a difficult year would be an understatement. Shares of the industrial conglomerate have lost over 40% of their value year-to-date.

Chart

GE Year to Date Price Returns (Daily) data by YCharts

GE’s fundamentals have deteriorated in 2017, and the decline accelerated in the most recent quarter. GE has performed so poorly this year that it made the difficult decision to cut its dividend by 50%.

The dividend cut, while painful, allows GE to reset its capital allocation program. Along with cost cuts, it will free up billions of cash that GE can invest to improve its under-performing businesses.

GE has been in operation for more than 100 years. Prior to the dividend cut, GE had a dividend yield well above 3%. These qualities placed GE on Sure Dividend’s list of blue-chip stocks. You can see our entire list of blue chip stocks here.

It is reasonable to question whether GE still deserves recognition as a blue chip. But it is important to remember that GE is still a highly profitable company, with growth potential. If the stock continues to drop, it could soon become a value opportunity.

News Overview

At its 2017 investor meeting, GE announced a number of new policies. First and foremost, it cut its quarterly dividend by 50%, to $0.12 per share. GE also lowered its earnings guidance, below analyst consensus.

For 2017, GE expects earnings-per-share of $1.05-$1.10. For fiscal 2018, GE expects adjusted earnings-per-share of $1.00-$1.07, compared with analyst expectations of $1.14. GE has gotten to a position where it simply isn’t growing. The company had become a lumbering giant, with an overly complex web of businesses that could no longer be managed effectively.

GE will focus on three core businesses for growth: health care, aviation, and power. This makes sense, as these are GE’s three largest businesses, together comprising over 50% of annual revenue. These three businesses also have the strongest growth prospects moving forward.

As a result, while there was not much for investors to be encouraged about from the investor update, GE’s portfolio trimming could help position the company for a return to growth down the road.

Growth Prospects

GE’s strongest areas of growth moving forward are health care and aviation. The aviation and healthcare businesses posted 7% orders growth last quarter. GE’s industrial backlog grew by 3% for the quarter, to $328 billion.

Source: Investor Update Presentation, page 25

GE’s aviation business is the flagship of the industrial operation. At the same time, GE is hoping to improve performance in the power business, while continuing the strong performance of the aviation business.

Source: Investor Update Presentation, page 12

These two areas will fuel GE’s long-term growth. GE will also utilize asset sales to streamline its portfolio. The company will shed $20 billion of low-growth businesses over the next one to two years, such as transportation and lighting. The positive aspect of GE’s asset sales is that the company can improve its balance sheet.

GE is targeting a net-debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 2.5, which would be a healthy amount of leverage. An improved balance sheet would help keep GE’s cost of capital low and further reduce the burden on the company’s dividend.

The turnaround initiatives and cost cuts will help the company become more efficient. Management expects as much as 3% organic revenue growth in 2018, including 7%-10% growth in aviation. If GE’s earnings bottom out and return to growth, the stock could be an attractive value here.

Valuation & Expected Returns

GE stock has lost over 40% of its value year-to-date. With such a huge decline, value investors might begin to view the stock as a buying opportunity. GE might not be there yet, but it’s getting close.

Based on the midpoint of fiscal 2017 earnings guidance, GE stock trades for a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.6. GE is still valued slightly above its 10-year average price-to-earnings ratio, of 15.9.

Source: Value Line

As a result, it would not be surprising if GE shares continued to fall. Investor sentiment has become very pessimistic, meaning GE’s valuation could continue to contract.

However, at some point GE would become attractive. If GE traded at its average valuation over the past 10 years, it would have a share price of $16.45 based on the midpoint of 2018 guidance. This price is approximately 8% below the November 14th closing price of $17.90.

From a dividend perspective, a 3% dividend yield would be an attractive entry point for GE. At the new annual dividend rate of $0.48, this would result in a share price of $16.

Therefore, there is potential for further downside for GE stock. But at a price near $16, the stock is attractive on the basis of valuation and dividend yield.

Assuming GE returns to earnings growth in 2019 and beyond, the stock could generate positive total returns. Positive organic revenue growth, along with margin expansion and cash returns, could fuel returns as follows:

  • 1%-2% organic revenue growth
  • 0.5%-1% margin expansion
  • 2% share repurchases
  • 2.7% dividend yield

Based on this, total returns could reach approximately 6%-8% per year.

Dividend Analysis

The new quarterly dividend rate of $0.12 per share works out to a $0.48 per share annual payout. This is a 50% dividend cut, but will save GE approximately $4 billion per year. GE’s right-sized dividend is more in-line with the cash flow of the company, given the massive divestments that have taken place over the past year.

The bad news is the dividend yield drops significantly. GE’s forward dividend yield is 2.7%.

Source: Investor Update Presentation, page 16

The good news is, GE’s new dividend has much better coverage than the previous payout, which took up more than 100% of free cash flow. GE needed to cut its dividend. After the massive sale of multiple financial businesses as well as poor performance in power and oil and gas, the dividend cut was necessary. The new $0.48 per-share annual payout represents a free cash flow payout ratio of 60%-70%, which is manageable.

In a previous article, I argued investors should avoid GE at least until the results of the November 13th investor meeting. At that time, I stated that if GE were to cut the dividend, the stock could fall to $18 or below. Dividend cuts are typically accompanied by a drop in the share price.

Sure enough, GE did cut the dividend, and the stock has indeed fallen below $18. At this point, it is reasonable to wonder if the selling is overdone. After all, GE is still a massive company and is an industrial giant and economic bellwether. If GE continues to decline to a 3%+ dividend yield and a price-to-earnings ratio in the mid-teens, the stock becomes more attractive.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that GE has struggled over the past year. The reduced guidance and dividend cut are a disappointment, and are a reflection of the company’s poor financial performance. However, GE is not a doomed company. It remains one of the strongest brands in the U.S., with a leadership position across multiple industries.

GE is still a profitable company, and its turnaround initiatives will help slim down the company for an eventual return to growth. The balance sheet is in better shape as well. While there could be further downside risk for the shares, given the highly negative sentiment right now, at some point GE will become an attractive value.

There are many industrial stocks with longer histories of dividend growth than GE. Find out which ones are confirmed buys or sells with our service Undervalued Aristocrats, which provides actionable buy and sell recommendations on some of the most undervalued dividend growth stocks around. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

The Best Black Friday 2017 Deals You Can Buy At Home

Black Friday, Black November, Pre-Black Friday, Cyber Monday… The buzzwords for November’s big holiday sales are as plentiful as stuffing on Thanksgiving. And we’d like you to enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of getting shoved around at your local big box store just to save $20, hop on your PC! We here on WIRED’s Gear team have found some of the absolute best tech deals online before, during, and around Black Friday.

Black Friday Ads For 2017

The Best Black Friday Deals We’ve Found (So Far)

TCL 55-inch 4K Roku LED TV – $400 ($200 off)

Date: Available Now

Buy on Amazon

A lot of TV deals will float around throughout the holidays, and you probably can find a way to save another $50, but this TCL is a solid 55-inch 4K TV with built-in Roku (which you’ll want anyway), and it’s down to $400. It will be difficult to find many TVs that offer this size and feature set for the price.

Amazon Echo Show + Cloud Cam – $300 ($50 off)

Date: Available Now

Buy on Amazon

We just reviewed the Amazon Cloud Cam and liked it a lot. With it, you can monitor your home from afar using Alexa. The Echo Show is basically another Alexa speaker, but with a 7-inch screen on it. Camera + Screen + Alexa. You can put the pieces together.

Kindle Paperwhite – $90 ($30 off)

Date: Nov. 19

Buy on Amazon

On Nov. 19, the Kindle Paperwhite will get a $30 discount. The Kindle is still the definitive digital way to read books (much better than a phone or tablet screen), and the Paperwhite has every essential Kindle feature you’ll want. It’s small, has touch, and has a light-up screen, making it our favorite overall Kindle.

PlayStation 4 Console Bundle – $200 ($100 off)

Date: Nov. 19-27

Buy on Amazon

Thanks to the Xbox One X, we’ve seen a slew of Xbox One discounts, but this generation’s most popular console is also getting a deep discount for the holidays. The standard black PS4 Slim is $100 off for an entire week. Sony is also heavily discounting its DualShock controllers (all colors) and a Skyrim PS4 + VR bundle at most retailers.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus – $50 ($20 off)

Date: Nov. 22 9 p.m. ET – Nov. 27

Buy on Amazon

Roku has become the de-facto standard for streaming media, and it’s fancy 4K TV models are not only under $100, but down to $50 for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you need an upgrade, or have a relative that is just getting into streaming, a Roku is an ideal way to watch Netflix and all the other streaming services.

Jaybird Freedom F5 – $50 ($100 off)

Date: Nov. 23-25

Buy on Best Buy

If you need a new pair of earbuds, or want to see if you like wireless, we recommend picking up this deal. We loved these buds, and at one third their regular price, you should, too. If you’re afraid of them selling out, they’re currently on a Pre-Black Friday sale of $70—also an awesome price.

Apple MacBooks and iMacs – $800 ($200 off)

Date: Nov. 23-25

Buy the MacBook Air for $800 ($200 off) on Best Buy. Buy the iMac for $800 ($200 off) on Best Buy

Best Buy is the place to be for Apple deals this holiday. During Black Friday, it will discount the MacBook Air and iMac by $200.

Amazon Fire HD 8 – $50 ($30 off)

Date: Nov. 23

Buy on Amazon

In our Fire HD 8 review we said it’s the best tablet you can buy for the price, by far, and that was at $80. At $50, it’s now as cheap as the standard Fire 7, (and is a far better device). If you’re an Amazon person and could use a tablet for TV, movies, reading, or music, this is the best value you’ll find.

Xbox One S Console Bundle – $190 ($60 off)

Date: Nov. 23

Buy on Best Buy, Microsoft Store (extra game included)

A number of retailers will offer the Xbox One S for $190 on Black Friday. This is a record low price, and unless you have a 4K TV with HDR, there’s no reason to get a One X over a One S this holiday. Microsoft’s Store has the best deal of the bunch. It includes a free game and one month Game Pass.

KitchenAid Mixer – $200 ($300 off)

Date: Nov. 23-25

Buy on Best Buy

You can certainly find cheaper mixers, but KitchenAid’s classic 450W mixer with bowl-lift is still highly regarded. We even love the model without arms. This model is deeply discounted for Black Friday weekend and if you’re in the mixing mood, check it out.

Google Home Mini – $30 ($20 off)

Date: Nov. 23-25

Buy on Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Jet.com

In our review, we praised the Google Home Mini, though we wish it sounded better. This is a fantastic, cheap way to get a Google Assistant speaker in your house. If you want a better speaker, Walmart will also discount the standard Google Home by $50 during Black Friday.

Skullcandy Uproar Wireless Headphones – $25 ($25 off)

Date: Nov. 23

Buy on Walmart, Amazon

These wireless headphones won’t redefine audio, but they’re a bargain at $25. They have great reviews and should give you a great all-around sound without breaking the bank.

Apple iPad and iPad Mini ($80-$125 off)

Date: Nov. 23-25

Buy the iPad Mini 4 (128GB) for $275 ($125 off) on Best Buy

Buy the iPad (32GB) for $250 ($80 off) on Walmart

Tablets are still fun to have around the house to watch Netflix, get recipes for cooking, and toy around with. iPad is, by far, the best tablet to own. Both the newer $330 larger 10-inch iPad and more compact 8-inch iPad Mini 4 are going on sale.

HP Laptop with 8GB RAM, Intel Core i5, 2TB drive – $360 ($200 off)

Date: Nov. 23

Buy on the Microsoft Store

This HP laptop checks most of the boxes for a decent Windows 10 laptop, including having a touchscreen, a decent amount of RAM, and a very good Intel Core i5 processor. HP claims it will get about 8 hours of battery life.

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When LeBron's shoes speak, everyone listens. It's time for you to lace up, too.

October 17, 2017, was a winning night for LeBron James, and it had nothing to do with the Cavs defeating the Celtics. Where James made the biggest splash wasn’t with his athletic prowess but with his fashion statement.

When a photo of his jet-black LeBron 15 Nike shoes emblazoned with the word “EQUALITY” in gold letters hit social media, his influencer cred got the viral version of a slam dunk. Now you’re lucky if you can find any LeBron 15 Nikes. Unless you’re willing to hock those precious NBA season tickets, you might as well accept that you’ve allowed this ball to whiz past you.

Marketers everywhere could have a field day analyzing this triumph. Nothing was said, yet the statement was loud and clear: This beloved athlete supports equality with style. Want to join him? Get out your credit card, and start swiping through Nike’s hottest offerings before they’re gone.

No wonder brands have long relied on everyone from Olympians to college stars to hype their products. In an era where everyone — including all those wonderfully divisive political figures — leans heavily on social network interfaces, businesses are wise to plot ways to hit the viral lottery. Obviously, Nike made the right choice; the LeBron 15 has remained a bestseller, which is why the company has contracted with James for upward of $1 billion.

While not everyone can afford LeBron James’ price tag, it’s possible for just about any organization to boost product frenzy by taking a few strategic steps:

1. Collate audience data to determine your message.

In order to craft a relevant message, you first have to determine what your audience wants. During a sporting event, fans all over the stadium are using their mobile devices to share this exact information — a fact that companies like Umbel, FanThreeSixty, and ProSuite use to their advantage. The companies’ platforms gather data from fans’ mobile activity during sporting events to determine what they’re sharing, discussing, and enjoying to build a picture of who the team’s fan base truly is.

Wade through all the information you can glean about your strongest targets. That way, you’ll have a courtside understanding of the most relevant messages for your audience, making it easier to envision your ideal buyer persona.

2. Narrow your target persona for each image.

Even with all the right data at your fingertips, countless small details can affect how much certain audiences respond to your content. After using data to uncover a brand’s target audiences, savvy marketing firms like to craft and test unique creative messages for each customer persona until they find the perfect formula that inspires action. Even performing A/B testing on the smallest of adjustments — such as background color — can drastically impact engagement.

Chart which individuals are going to be drawn to which images, as well as why they are likely to gravitate toward your messaging. Then you can craft a post that’s designed to specifically appeal to whichever customer segment you want.

3. Tap into trending news — wisely.

Images go viral for wide-ranging reasons; be cautious when devising yours. Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad upped the hype, but it didn’t exactly shine a positive light on the corporate beverage maker. Instead, the spot fizzled out because it lacked a deep understanding of what Pepsi drinkers really felt about a politically and racially charged issue.

On the other hand, James’ “EQUALITY” shoe statement successfully rode a similar trend: the intermingling of politics and sports figures. The shoes worked because they were subtle — albeit unmistakably political — product placements properly worn in the right forum.

4. Partner with the right influencer.

James and Nike couldn’t be a better fit. Who’s your business’s perfect “face”? Every company can get the benefit of influencer marketing, perhaps one of the most exciting types of marketing methods available. If you’re just entering the waters, focus on Instagram and Facebook for big impacts, as suggested by more than half of influencers in a 2016 poll. Whom should you pick? Look for someone with power among your target personas and design irresistible messaging that rocks.

5. Allow your images to speak for themselves.

Nobody likes to be told what to think, so avoid verbosity. James didn’t have to open his mouth to spark tremendous fanfare; he allowed his footwear to do the talking. Nike realized long ago that words clutter up emotion-packed photos; therefore, use phrases and sentences judiciously. Otherwise, your intentions will feel forced rather than organic.

You could be one image away from sales glory. All it takes is thoughtful planning and a deeper understanding of what makes your audience tick. Now get out there and hit nothing but net.

Uber board strikes agreement to pave way for SoftBank investment

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc’s [UBER.UL] warring board members have struck a peace deal that would allow a multibillion-dollar investment by SoftBank Group Corp to proceed, and would resolve a legal battle between former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and a prominent shareholder.

A photo illustration shows the Uber app on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph, in London, Britain November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Venture capital firm Benchmark, an early investor with a board seat in the ride-services company, and Kalanick have reached an agreement over terms of the SoftBank investment, which could be worth up to $10 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Uber board first agreed more than a month ago to bring in SoftBank as an investor and board member, but negotiations have been slowed by ongoing fighting between Benchmark and Kalanick. The agreement struck on Sunday removes the final obstacle to launching the tender offer.

SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate that has become a heavyweight in Silicon Valley tech investing, is leading a consortium of investors that plans to invest $1 billion to $1.25 billion in Uber, and in addition, will buy up to 17 percent of existing shares from investors and employees in a secondary transaction. The terms are expected to be signed on Sunday, one of the people said, although the tender offer would likely take weeks to complete.

Uber is valued at $68 billion, the most highly valued venture-backed company in the world. SoftBank’s roughly $1 billion investment of fresh funding is expected to be at the same valuation. The secondary transaction, or the purchases from employees and existing investors, would be at a lower valuation.

A spokeswoman for Benchmark did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a spokesman for Kalanick declined to comment. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Completing the SoftBank deal would allow Uber to open a new chapter after a year of controversy, including the resignation of Kalanick, the ouster of several top executives, sexual harassment and discrimination allegations, and multiple federal criminal probes. The deal is also tied to new governance rules that aim to more equally distribute power and bring more oversight to the company.

“Uber had a remarkable first six or seven years, a bumpy past two years, and now the Softbank deal allows for a full reset,” said Bradley Tusk, an Uber investor and political strategist who works with tech companies.

The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

It would also be a major victory for Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who often served as a mediator to help broker the agreement, according to a third person familiar with the matter.

To allow the deal to go forward, Benchmark has agreed to immediately suspend its lawsuit against Kalanick, which it filed in August in an effort to diminish the ex-CEO’s power at the company and force him off the board, one of the sources said.

Upon the successful completion of the SoftBank investment, Benchmark would drop the lawsuit entirely, the person said.

In turn, Kalanick must receive majority board approval should he want to replace the board seats over which he has control, according to the source. In addition to his own seat, Kalanick controls two more, which are occupied by Ursula Brown, the former Xerox Corp CEO, and former Merrill Lynch & CO Inc [BACML.UL] CEO John Thain. Kalanick appointed them in September without first consulting with the board.

“Ending the litigation is a big step forward if it finally ends the specter of Kalanick retaking control,” said Erik Gordon, an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Uber’s board already approved a slate of governance reforms that are contingent on completion of the SoftBank deal. They include removing super-voting rights that gave Kalanick and his allies outsized power, adding new independent directors and increasing the size of the board to 17.

Uber plans to run newspaper ads informing investors about the share purchase, and SoftBank will propose a price at which it will buy stock. The company has threatened to invest in ride-hailing rival Lyft if it doesn’t get the Uber deal done.

The deal gives early investors such as Benchmark, whose Uber stake is worth nearly $9 billion, the opportunity to cash out a very lucrative investment.

Reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco and Greg Roumeliotis in New York. Additional reporting by Liana Baker in San Francisco.; Editing by Diane Craft

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Qualcomm draws up plans to rebuff Broadcom's $103 billion offer: sources

(Reuters) – U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) is making preparations to reject rival Broadcom Ltd’s (AVGO.O) $103 billion bid as early as this week, four people familiar with the matter said on Sunday, setting the stage for one of the biggest-ever takeover battles.

A building on the Qualcomm campus is seen, as chip maker Broadcom Ltd announced an unsolicited bid to buy peer Qualcomm Inc for $103 billion, in San Diego, California, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Qualcomm’s board of directors could meet as early as Sunday to review the unsolicited acquisition offer and decide on its strategy, the sources said. The preparations for the board meeting indicate that Qualcomm is poised to rebuff the bid as insufficient as early as Monday, although it may decide to spend a few more days this week to prepare its full response to Broadcom, the sources added.

Qualcomm Chief Executive Steven Mollenkopf has spent the past few days soliciting feedback from Qualcomm shareholders, and feels that Qualcomm’s $70-per-share bid undervalues the company and does not price in the uncertainty associated with getting the deal approved by regulators, according to the sources.

Broadcom CEO Hock Tan, who said earlier this month he would redomicile his company to the United States from Singapore, has stated he is open to launching a takeover battle. The sources said Broadcom was preparing to submit a slate of directors by Qualcomm’s Dec. 8 nomination deadline. That would allow Qualcomm shareholders to vote to replace the company’s board and force it to engage with Broadcom.

FILE PHOTO: A sign on the Qualcomm campus is seen, as chip maker Broadcom Ltd announced an unsolicited bid to buy peer Qualcomm Inc for $103 billion, in San Diego, California, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Broadcom has also been deliberating the possibility of raising its bid for Qualcomm, including through more debt financing, some of the sources said, although it was not clear when Broadcom would choose to make such a move.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Qualcomm and Broadcom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Qualcomm provides chips to carrier networks to deliver broadband and mobile data. It is engaged in a patent infringement dispute with Apple Inc (AAPL.O), and is also trying to close its $38 billion acquisition of automotive chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI.O) after signing a deal in October 2016. Broadcom has indicated it is willing to acquire Qualcomm irrespective of whether it closes the NXP deal.

NXP shares have been trading above Qualcomm’s offer price, as many NXP shareholders, including hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, have been holding out for a better price. Qualcomm does not plan to significantly raise its price for NXP as a defensive strategy to make its acquisition by Broadcom more expensive, according to one of the sources.

Qualcomm shares closed at $64.57 on Friday, while Broadcom ended at $264.96.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Liana B. Baker in San Francisco; Editing by Peter Cooney

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

This Famous Company Found an Ingenious, Emotionally Intelligent Way To Improve School Attendance

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Kids sometimes don’t want to go to school.

Their reasons might vary from “Don’t want to” to “Don’t feel like it.”

Sometimes, though, it’s because they’re feeling ashamed or even being bullied.

And sometimes, the reason is both blindingly simple and painful.

The kids don’t have clean clothes. 

It could be because their parents can’t afford a washer and a dryer. It could be because they can’t afford to fix their broken machines.

It could also be because, as one little girl admitted: “Our electricity got cut off.”

In stepped Whirlpool to offer schools washers and dryers, so that kids could bring their washing into school and have it done there. 

Perhaps some parents and kids might find it embarrassing at first to admit that they need to have their clothes washed at school. 

Then again, perhaps the more parents that use the machines, the less embarrassing it is.

It’s not as if recent economic times have closed the gap between rich and poor, is it?

Yes, for Whirlpool this is an ad. It’s also something that school teachers are saying improves school attendance.

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The people who run the so-called Care Counts program say that in 90 percent of cases it improved attendance.

At-risk kids attended school for two more weeks a year.

Of course, some might feel it’s a sad indictment of our social and educational systems that such a situation might have arisen.

However, the program now seems to be expanding to more schools in more parts of the country.

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So many times, brands try to piggyback on social issues solely in order to make themselves look good.

How often does an event occur that captures the public’s imagination or grief and every brand on earth insists on tweeting its own take on the subject?

In this case, it seems that Whirlpool actually bothered to consider what genuine good it could do for others.

Which seems startlingly sane and refreshing.

Louis C.K. Responds After New York Times Report and Being Dropped by Netflix, The Orchard

Hollywood studios are moving quickly to distance themselves from Louis C.K. one day after a bombshell The New York Times report surfaced allegations from multiple women who accused the comedian of masturbating in front of them without their consent. On Friday, the comedian admitted that the allegations against him are true and issued an apology (see below).

The independent film studio The Orchard said in a statement on Friday that it “will not be moving forward with the release of I Love You, Daddy—the movie that Louis C.K. wrote, directed, and starred in—which was supposed to hit theaters November 17. The studio previously cancelled the movie’s New York premiere event on Thursday in advance of the Times‘ story.

The Orchard paid a reported $5 million to acquire worldwide distribution rights to the film in September after the movie made a well-received debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. (The deal was the largest to come out of that festival this year.) Even before yesterday’s huge allegations, Louis C.K. had been drawing criticism over I Love You, Daddy, which features some questionable content and offensive language, including a storyline where a character’s 17-year-old daughter has a romantic relationship with a 68-year-old man.

Meanwhile, multiple media giants also took a step back from Louis C.K. on Friday. Netflix announced that it will not move forward with a planned stand-up special featuring the comedian, who signed a deal with the streaming service to create two comedy specials earlier this year. The first of those two stand-up specials started streaming on Netflix in April.

“The allegations made by several women in The New York Times about Louis C.K.’s behavior are disturbing,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement provided to Fortune. “Louis’s unprofessional and inappropriate behavior with female colleagues has led us to decide not to produce a second stand-up special, as had been planned.”

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On Friday afternoon, Louis C.K. issued a statement verifying the accounts of five women who accused him of sexual misconduct in The New York Times‘ report. Here is the comedian’s full statement:

I want to address the stories told to the New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not.

These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.

I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position.
I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it.
There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.

I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work.

The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them. I’d be remiss to exclude the hurt that I’ve brought on people who I work with and have worked with who’s professional and personal lives have been impacted by all of this, including projects currently in production: the cast and crew of Better Things, Baskets, The Cops, One Mississippi, and I Love You Daddy. I deeply regret that this has brought negative attention to my manager Dave Becky who only tried to mediate a situation that I caused. I’ve brought anguish and hardship to the people at FX who have given me so much The Orchard who took a chance on my movie. and every other entity that has bet on me through the years.
I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother.

I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.

Thank you for reading.

Time Warner’s HBO said it is removing the comedian from its lineup of performers for Jon Stewart’s annual fundraiser Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism when it airs on the cable network later this month, and HBO also said it is “removing Louis C.K.’s past projects from its On Demand services.”

And 21st Century Fox’s FX Networks, which airs the comedian’s comedy series Louie (along with projects Louis C.K. executive produces, like Better Things and Baskets) said in a statement on Thursday that the network is “obviously very troubled by the allegations” against the comedian and that “the matter is currently under review.”

Nvidia Corp reports 54.6 percent rise in quarterly profit

(Reuters) – Nvidia Corp reported a 54.6 percent rise in quarterly profit, driven by strong demand for its graphics chips used in gaming devices, data centers, autonomous vehicles and also by cryptocurrency miners.

A NVIDIA logo is shown at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake – RC1C8FF654B0

Net income rose to $838 million, or $1.33 per share, in the third quarter ended Oct. 29, from $542 million, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $2.64 billion from $2 billion.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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