Charter to Buy Time Warner for $55 Billion

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Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Charter to merge with Time Warner Cable. The deal values Time Warner Cable at $78.7 billion.

Charter will provide $100.00 in cash and shares of a new public parent company equivalent to $0.5409 shares of CHTR for each Time Warner Cable share outstanding. The deal values each Time Warner Cable share at approximately $195.71 based on Charter’s market closing price on May 20, or approximately $200 based on Charter’s 60-trading day volume weighted average price. In addition, Charter will provide an election option for each Time Warner Cable stockholder, other than Liberty Broadband Corporation or Liberty Interactive Corporation, who will receive all stock, to receive $115.00 of cash and New Charter shares equivalent to 0.4562 shares of CHTR for each Time Warner Cable share they own.

In addition, Charter and Advance/Newhouse Partnership today announced that the two companies have amended the agreement which the two parties signed and announced on March 31, 2015, whereby Charter will acquire Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion. That agreement, as amended, provides for Charter and Advance/Newhouse to form a new partnership of which New Charter will own between approximately 86% and 87% and of which Advance/Newhouse will own between approximately 13% and 14%, depending on the Time Warner Cable shareholders’ cash election option described above. The consideration to be paid to Advance/Newhouse by Charter will include common and convertible preferred units in the Partnership, in addition to $2 billion in cash. The common and convertible preferred partnership units will each be exchangeable into shares of New Charter. The Charter-Advance/Newhouse transaction is expected to close contemporaneously with the Charter-Time Warner Cable transaction.

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Let’s Beat Cyber Crime

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More than 1,000 Organizations Join IBM to Battle Online Threats.

IBM have announced that more than 1,000 organizations across 16 industries are participating in its X-Force Exchange threat intelligence network, just one month after its launch. IBM X-Force Exchange provides open access to historical and real-time data feeds of threat intelligence, including reports of live attacks from IBM’s global threat monitoring network, enabling enterprises to defend against cybercrime.

IBM’s new cloud based cyber threat network, powered by IBM Cloud, is designed to foster broader industry collaboration by sharing actionable data to defend against these very real threats to businesses and governments. The company provided free access last month, via the X-Force Exchange, to its 700 terabyte threat database – a volume equivalent to all data that flows across the internet in two days. This includes two decades of malicious cyberattack data from IBM, as well as anonymous threat data from the thousands of organizations for which IBM manages security operations. Participants have created more than 300 new collections of threat data in the last month alone.

“Cybercrime has become the equivalent of a pandemic — no company or country can battle it alone,” said Brendan Hannigan, General Manager, IBM Security. “We have to take a collective and collaborative approach across the public and private sectors to defend against cybercrime. Sharing and innovating around threat data is central to battling highly organized cybercriminals; the industry can no longer afford to keep this critical resource locked up in proprietary databases. With X-Force Exchange, IBM has opened access to our extensive threat data to advance collaboration and help public and private enterprises safeguard themselves.

In the past month since the launch of IBM’s threat intelligence network, there have been more than 1,000 data queries per day from organizations around the world. These organizations include six of the world’s top 10 retailers and five of the top 10 banks, as well as the top 10 companies across the automotive, education and high-tech industries. By freely consuming, sharing and acting on real-time threat intelligence from their networks and IBM’s own repository of threat intelligence, users can identify and help stop threats.

The IBM X-Force Exchange features a collaborative, social interface enabling users to easily interact with, and validate information from, industry peers, analysts and researchers. Also with a library of APIs, security analysts can facilitate programmatic queries between the platform, machines and applications, helping businesses to operationalize threat intelligence

and take action.

For example, a Fortune 1000 retail chain is using the X-Force Exchange to collect and analyze threat intelligence – streamlining from seven separate sources of threat data to just one – enabling the chain to significantly reduce the time required to identify and investigate each potential threat.

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Good Morning Monday, Hello Cyber Attack

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Drop in detected malware attacks in organisations coincides perfectly with weekends.

New research in the annual NTT 2015 Global Threat Intelligence Report shows a massive increase in malware detections on Monday mornings when users reconnect their devices to the corporate network. This trend supports the contention that the security perimeter in organisations is dissolving. This is because end users increasingly use their devices both inside and outside the corporate security perimeter. In fact, the user is today’s new organisation perimeter. What’s more, IT and security management can no longer count on well-defined network security perimeters to protect their organisations.

The Global Threat Intelligence Report contains analysis of over six billion security events worldwide gathered during 2014 by NTT Group companies including Dimension Data, Solutionary, NTT Com Security, NTT R&D, and NTT Innovation Institute (NTTi3).

Matthew Gyde, Dimension Data’s Group Executive – Security, says threats targeting end users are higher than ever. In addition, security vulnerabilities are mostly related to end-user systems and not servers. “It appears that successful exploits occurs over the weekend when end users – and their devices – are outside the security controls of the corporate network. This indicates that traditional security controls are effective at protecting the corporate network, however assets that transition between corporate and external access points are at greater risk.

Gyde says controls that address this trend must focus on the user and their devices, regardless of location, and points out that seven of the top 10 vulnerabilities identified were on end-user systems. End users

become a liability and that’s because their devices often have many unpatched vulnerabilities.”

According to Gyde, the malware industry is maturing, with malware becoming commoditised and available through dark net marketplaces. This means the barrier to entry for cybercriminals is a minimal financial investment, but for a potentially large return.

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Why is Competitive Intelligence still a Practice?

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We hear from Patrick Reinmoeller from the Cranfield School of Management at Cranfield University, about the strategy behind why competitive intelligence is still a practice.

Despite being essential to strategy, competitive intelligence is often tainted by scandals that erupt because of excessive or illegal use of techniques associated with the practice, for example spying on competitors. The latest study I conducted at Rotterdam School of Management with Prof Shaz Ansari from Judge Business School questioned the practice of competitive intelligence. We tried to understand why businesses still engage in an opaque activity where there is no palpable evidence on the return on investment.

Our research led us to find that the reasons why companies protect their investments from competitors are not always rational. We looked at a practice that lies at the core of how companies develop strategy, competitive intelligence (CI).

We looked at large US companies, such as IBM, Intel, Motorola, and Procter and Gamble, and we were able to trace the development of CI in this market between the 1980s until the early 2010. Four observations were striking.

First, we found that firms who had suffered excesses like dumpster diving or corporate espionage were among those becoming thought leaders and an example of best practice. These cases often laid the foundation for rapid adoption and scaling up of CI organizations within companies and diffusion between companies.

Second, we found no clear cost-benefit analysis that went beyond anecdotes of damage suffered and benefits of CI. Emphasizing the perceived risk of not having CI seemed enough to justify even considerable investments. The benefits of the practice were seen as so obvious that they did not need detailed assessment.

Third, strong beliefs in the efficacy of CI did not only lead to adoption and diffusion. Beliefs also made it very difficult to abandon a practice. Once diffusion of CI had become more widespread, later becoming standard practice, it was risky to stop doing what everyone else was doing. Unilateral abandonment of what is seen as common sense is difficult.

Fourth, companies who embraced CI have learned how to provide CI related products and services. This economic logic of seeing CI as a business opportunity is an interesting turn in the development. Intelligence is no longer about protecting business interests, it has become the business interest that offers many opportunities.

In essence, we found more psychology and less economics that could explain the rise of a management practice and its resistance to scandals. It may be good to heed the lessons learned by predecessors, examine beliefs and check assumptions before plunging head first into an expensive arms race.

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Less of the Harmful Chemicals

Beautycounter has banned more than 1,500 ingreedients linked to health concerns in its cosmetics and skin care products, setting a new standard for high performance, health focused beauty products.

Based in Santa Monica, Calif, Beautycounter is lead­ing the way to better beauty, putting performance and health first. A certified B Corporation, Beauty­counter develops and sells chic, professional-grade cosmetics and skin care products made without ingredients linked to health concerns. The company has banned from its products more than 1,500 harm­ful ingredients linked to cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive toxicity, skin irritation, cumulative exposure risk and other hazards. Beautycounter was founded in 2013 by Gregg Renfrew, a forward thinking entrepreneur known for turning concepts into thriving businesses. She sold her successful bridal registry company, The Wedding List, to Mar­tha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she served the company in executive management. Gregg has served as a new concept advisor and consultant to Bergdorf Goodman, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson, Intermix, Lela Rose, and Jessica Alba, among other high profile corporate and entertainment clients.

Just two years ago, few cosmetics labs had any experience with Beautycounter’s unconventional ap­proach to beauty products made without ingredients linked to health concerns.

“We’re turning decades of conventional thinking in the cosmetics industry on its head in a quest for better beauty, and our growing customer base proves that the market is ready for the change”

Today Beautycounter, one of the only certified B Corporations in the cosmetics industry, announced it has sold more than one million skin care and cosmetic products since launching in 2013. Beauty­counter sales have grown 325% year over year since Q1 2014, and the company expects to reach two million units sold by the end of 2015.

“We’re turning decades of conventional thinking in the cosmetics industry on its head in a quest for better beauty, and our growing customer base proves that the market is ready for the change,” said Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter’s founder and CEO. “When we started Beautycounter, some people were telling us our vision was impossible. Now we’re well on our way to reducing harmful chemicals in people’s daily lives through our expanding product lines.”

Beautycounter has banned more than 1,500 ingredi­ents that are linked to or suspected of contributing to serious health concerns. Examples of ingredients on Beautycounter’s Never List include phthalates, BPA, BHA, formaldehyde and synthetic colors and fragrances. Only 11 such chemicals are currently banned from skin care products in the United States, while the European Union has banned or restricted more than 1,300 ingredients.

As Congress considers legislation that would update federal cosmetics laws for the first time since 1938, Beautycounter’s growing sales are a clear indication that the company is ahead of regulators, and con­sumers are voting every day for safer products.

Expanding Product Line

Beautycounter’s skin care and cosmetics line expansion is a significant factor in its sales growth. In 2015 Beautycounter will introduce more than a dozen new products. Notably, on May 1, Beautycounter introduced Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer, its first product with SPF protection. Other recently released products include hand wash and lotion, body butter and a range of spring color cosmetics. Many more new products with added functionality targeting new consumer segments will be introduced throughout the year.

Beautycounter’s growth also reflects a shift in consumer demand toward brands that value more than simply maximizing profits. A 2014 Nielsen study revealed that brands with a strong commit­ment to social responsibility saw their sales increase faster than those without such a commitment. Beautycounter’s B Corporation certification by the non-profit B Lab means the company meets rigorous standards of social and environmental.

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Savvy Investor

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Savvy Investor is an Instant Hit with Institutional Investors By Andrew Perrins, CEO, Savvy Investor.

A new type of professional social media is growing rapidly. The new professional network for pensions and investment professionals has proved an instant success, with 2000 registered members, only two months after launch.

Savvy Investor represents a new breed of professional social media. A knowledge network, focusing on providing institutional investors with the best white papers and professional research from around the web. With most social media, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, content is disposable and instantly forgotten. A knowledge network is different. The focus is on content with substance, educational and of lasting value. Savvy Investor is a new type of industry portal, focused on helping investors to work smarter, hence the name!

The Savvy Investor website www.savvyinvestor.net aims to provide an educational platform which enables institutional investors to work smarter. Members have access to a searchable library of over 8000 white papers and articles, curated from around the web or published directly to the site by investment managers and consultants.

Chief Executive Andrew Perrins, formerly an actuary and asset allocator with Abbey Life and Chase Manhattan, said; “The early response to Savvy Investor has completely surpassed our expectations. We’ve only just started marketing the site, but a lot of our new members are already coming by word of mouth, and it seems to be taking on a life of its own. I’m pleased for our team, who have worked so hard to build a site which has the networking functionality of LinkedIn, but is founded upon excellent content, all within a compliant framework. We’ve been delighted by the response, particularly from US, UK, Canadian and Australian investors. In the last few days we’ve begun to see the larger asset managers like State Street and Natixis establishing their company profiles and using the site as a publishing platform to post their research.”

Membership of Savvy Investor is free, but access to the site is provided only to pension funds, other institutional investors and their service providers. Members must register using their professional email address, which is then verified. Membership is geographically diverse; broadly 40% North America, 30% UK, 20% Europe (ex UK), 10% Australia and ROW.

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Tagetik Accelerates Aggressive Growth in North America

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Tagetik, a visionary leader in global performance management software solutions, today announced Anton Niculescu as general manager of Tagetik North America, to lead business and operations across the region. Mr. Niculescu will drive Tagetik’s expansion in the region, continuing the company’s previously announced international growth initiatives, and its sustained momentum of 13 straight years of double-digit revenue growth.

Tagetik also announced the opening of its new North American headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. The location more than doubles the size of Tagetik’s former headquarters to accommodate significant growth in the number of employees last year and the anticipated doubling of staff in 2015. At the same time, the company announced the opening of its first Canadian office in Toronto and plans to open additional regional offices before year’s end.

With the addition of Mr. Niculescu, Tagetik brings on board an experienced leader and expert in corporate performance management (CPM) with a strong track record of building world-class teams that deliver unparalleled customer success in a high growth business. Most recently, Mr. Niculescu served for more than three years as director of the highly regarded IBM Software Lab in Bucharest, Romania as the European performance management leader and centre of excellence executive at IBM Business Analytics. Prior to that role, he was senior vice president of global professional services at Clarity Systems (acquired by IBM). During his tenure at Clarity, Mr. Niculescu grew the global professional services team to more than 280 professionals and presided over more than 400 successful software implementations across a breadth of finance processes including budgeting, planning, reporting, consolidation and disclosure management.  

“Tagetik’s global growth is being driven by the ability to address the needs of CFOs to guide strategic direction with improved performance, reduced risk, greater efficiency and better business results. That calls for executives with deep knowledge of financial processes and software implementation, which makes Anton superbly qualified to lead our North America business efforts,” said Manuel Vellutini, co-CEO, Tagetik. “As general manager of Tagetik North America, Anton is chartered with executing on our commitment to growth while maintaining the dedication to customer success that has been a cornerstone of our achievements in all geographies.”

“Our innovative unified performance management platform has established Tagetik as the natural choice for finance organizations that have complex requirements but also want the ease of use of the cloud,” said Anton Niculescu, general manager, North America, Tagetik. “I believe Tagetik is unique in its ability to address the complex needs of today’s finance organization and I’m excited about the great opportunity to leverage my experience to accelerate our growth and footprint in the North American market.”

“North America is a key strategic region for Tagetik’s expansion and momentum,” said Marco Pierallini, co-CEO, Tagetik. “Our extensive investment in this important market will be spearheaded by an experienced, proven leader who can build our team, our infrastructure and our customer base. We are confident that under Anton’s leadership and with his understanding of our customers’ needs, Tagetik will meet our ambitious goals for both growth and customer success.”

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