Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stock Market Newsletter

If you're concerned about having enough money to live off of when you retire, or you simply want to save as much as you can, then it's an excellent idea to invest in the stock market. Stocks and bonds have the potential to increase your savings exponentially; and for many, it can be exciting to see invested money grow. Of course, in order to fully benefit from the stock market, you'll want to begin investing as soon as possible. For many career-goers and even everyday consumers with 9 to 5 jobs, this means setting up a 401-k plan. This is a special government-backed retirement fund that your employer will often contribute to. You can decide to invest part or all of this money into a mixture of low and high risk stocks, and any dividends (income) you generate from this type of investment setup is yours to keep - or perhaps use for future stocks.

Two important terms to know in regards to the stock market are common stocks and preferred stocks. You'll see this terms referenced often in a stock market newsletter and on financial blogs. When you purchase a common stock, you are investing in a company and receiving partial ownership -- in the form of voting rights -- in return. But dividend payments are not a guarantee. If you want to make sure you earn money from your invested money, choose a preferred stock. While a preferred stock does not give you voting rights within a company, it does guarantee dividend payments.

You can begin investing in the stock market with as little as 500 dollars, or even a little less. Of course, the more you have to invest, the more likely it is that your early investments will pay off and you'll see return dividend payments. Generally invested money goes directly to companies who are in need of capital in order to grow their products and services. By investing in them, you're helping them make more money, which in turn can make you more money.

Of course, not all stocks are equal in terms of how much they cost, how much they could potentially earn you, and what the risks are. If you're new to the stock market, consider a small portfolio that contains a mix of low-risk and high-risk investments. By mixing things up, you're less likely to suffer from losses, but at the same time you'll get a good feel for how stocks can play out.
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Bobby Kotick

Robert A. Kotick, also known as Bobby Kotick, is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s largest gaming companies. He also serves on The Coca-Cola Company board of directors. He performs both roles in conjunction with his non-profit involvements.

Kotick is a Long Island, New York, native who divorced his wife in 2012. A single father of three, he now resides in California with his family. In 2011, he had a cameo role in the biographical sports drama “Moneyball,” starring Brad Pitt.

Kotick’s career began in 1983, when he was a University of Michigan student. With financial backing from business mogul Steve Wynn, he created software for the Apple II computer. On the advice of Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs, Kotick left college to pursue entrepreneurial interests.

In 1987, Kotick attempted to acquire Commodore International, a manufacturer of home computers and electronics. He planned to convert the Amiga 500 into a 16-bit video game system. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in buying the company. He eventually purchased a controlling interest in Leisure Concepts, a licensing agent for Nintendo, and renamed the company 4Kids Entertainment. 

With his business partner, Brian Kelly, Kotick bought a 25 percent stake in Activision in 1990. He became the company’s CEO in 1991. He also founded International Consumer Technologies, which became an Activision subsidiary in 1995. For five years, starting in 2003, Kotick served as a Yahoo! board member. He currently serves as a board member for the Center for Early Education, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Tony Hawk Foundation.

In 2008, Kotick engineered a merger between Activision and Vivendi Games, which included the Blizzard brand. In 2013, Activision Blizzard purchased several million shares of Vivendi stock to become an independent company. In 2009, “Forbes” magazine reported Kotick’s salary as $3.2 million including benefits, options and incentives. By 2013, he became the second highest-paid CEO in America, earning nearly $65 million in stock. 

Kotick uses his company’s position to push for changes that would benefit the gaming community. In 2009, he threatened to stop creating PlayStation 3 games if Sony did not reduce the price of their home video game console. He urged the United Kingdom (UK) to reward Activision with tax incentives for investing in the country’s game developers. He also launched a competition with $500,000 in prize money for developers working with new platforms.

Under Kotick’s direction, Activision Blizzard launched the Call of Duty Endowment in 2009. This non-profit organization helps American soldiers transition to civilian life after their military service. Its mission is to create thousands of jobs for veterans returning from Afghanistan and the Middle East. The advisory board is composed of veterans from various branches of service.

According to a writer for the gaming blog “Kotaku,” Kotick is “the most hated man in video games.” He is somewhat controversial in the gaming community. This is due, in part, to a business strategy that focuses on franchises to the exclusion of games that cannot guarantee sequels. He has also received criticism for not playing his games, although he confessed to a gaming passion in the “Kotaku” report.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Private Equity Firm

In the financial world, layer upon layer of complication once stood out as the trademark of economic finesse and financial agility. This scenario once used to be viewed with scrutiny by outsiders such as the media and consumer advocates, feeling that a high degree of sophistication was required to understand the intricacies of the market with its ebbs and flows due to market fluctuations. However, even the average consumer can have a greater understanding of what it takes to not simply observe the market in action but to take part in the market in action.

One of those layers of complication would have to be private equity firms. Private equity firms are part of the highly intricate universe of finance, representing a small but powerful slice of the economic pie chart. These firms are usually pony up the dollars for mergers and acquisitions. Some function more in the sense of a venture capitalist firm by putting up the initial funding for startup companies such as mobile technology companies or online multimedia channels.

Essentially, private equity firms raise the capital necessary for operations with a return on investment (ROI) in mind. Typically, private equity firm investors will receive a return for their investment in one or more forms. One form of return on investment is a windfall payout due to the sale of the company and its assets to a private investment firm or competitive corporation. Another form of payment may come in the form of equity shares that are held in trust with the private equity firm, obtaining a minority stake or controlling interest in a company.

Private equity firms are typical made up of individuals with high net worth or foundations, pension fund managers and insurance companies. These types of partners in such ventures have the access to and depth of capital to accumulate and acquire smaller companies via buyouts and hostile takeover measures, tactics that may not work without immediate access to the capital. These types of investors do not only have deep pockets for large sum investments but they also have a heavy tolerance for the extensive negotiations and the delay of corporate transitions typically found in corporate culture due to mergers, acquisitions, turnarounds, selloffs and pivots. With such partners on board, private equity firm managers can explore numerous options for making investments that pay off well for both the firm and its partners.

One such example is the Blackstone Advisory Partners Limited Partnership (LP). John Studzinski Blackstone Advisory Partners' Senior Managing Director and Global Head has previous experience with HSBC Bank and Morgan Stanley & Company. Studzinski brings a plethora of experience to the table, serving as the Head of the Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory Unit of Blackstone. His previous experience in building and maintaining relationships with corporate clients on a global scale make Studzinski an appropriate leader for the helm at Blackstone Advisory Partners LP, an international financial firm with the ability to operate and manage companies on almost every continent of the globe.

With a global corporate climate that is bubbling with new innovations in biotechnology and Web-based solutions, private equity firms are among the movers and shakers of new economy. These firms are poised to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that will arise within these and other sectors of the market.
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Important Things To Keep In Mind For Online Business

Today people prefer shopping for products online. No one wants to get out from the cosy and comfortable homes and be a part of the crowd. Discount coupons, new deals, innovative marketing techniques keep them interested. Let's check out a few methods of successfully starting an online business.

A Slow-Loading Webpage
If your webpage does not load completely within four seconds, you are going to lose at least 25 percent of your prospective consumers. By 10 seconds, that number will be exponentially escalating past 40 percent, according to KISS Metrics. Therefore, one of the biggest technical errors that you cannot afford is to have is a website consisting of pages that do not load as quickly as possible.

Hidden Shipping Costs
Another fatal error that you can commit is hiding your shipping costs. Yes, it is true that you are able to effectively lure your customers in by advertising a competitive sales price without including the shipping cost. However, studies have also proven that you are at risk of losing over 20 percent of your interested shoppers that come very close to reaching the checkout page until they realize that you did not mention shipping expenses, according to Savvy Panda. The same study brought up another interesting point by confirming that excessively high shipping costs will cause you to lose close to 45 percent of consumers. Therefore, make sure that your shipping costs are competitive and visible.

You Do Not Have a Guest Checkout Option
Eight out of 10 major retailers offer guest checkout options on their websites, according to While it is true that it would be wonderful for all of your paying customers to take the time to register for an online account on your eCommerce website, the last thing that you want to do is to force them to sign up.
Remember, your consumers are shopping on your website in the first place to save time and money. If they feel as if they are being forced to spend several additional minutes signing up for something that they simply do not feel is very important or even meaningful at the time, they will definitely consider calling the whole thing off.

Compatibility with Popular Browsers
When it comes to your overall eCommerce website design, the pages and links might be flawless. You might have everything working within it beautifully with no visible signs of flaws or errors. However, you need to keep in mind that an internal view is not the only case that matters. You need to also make sure that you test it on a wide variety of browsers to make sure that there isn’t one browser that is not compatible with your website. You do not have any control over which browsers your customers will use to find you. However, you want to make sure that regardless of the browser that they choose, your visitors are able to access your website without running into any errors or complications.

Online Inventory is Not Updated
There are not very many things that can frustrate an interested buyer more than finding out that the product that they have fallen in love with is actually not available. This can actually become so overwhelmingly frustrating that they decide to abandon their shopping carts and your website right then and there. Make sure that you update your online inventory on a regular basis. If it is featured on your website, you should have it available. 

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