End of an Era

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A slice of Americana is about to “leave the stage.” For those of you who are too young to remember, Howard Johnson is not an old movie star. It was a bustling restaurant chain across the U.S. Sadly, the last of two remaining Howard Johnson restaurants will close on Sep. 6, making it the end… Read more »

CostCo Woes: Maybe or Maybe not?

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Costco started to transition from American Express to Visa as its exclusive credit card partner in June. As a result, delays and confusion have only gotten worse nearly two months later! Questions: 1. What were some of the biggest problems they faced? 2. Who is the issue of the new Costco Anywhere Visa and what… Read more »

Amazon and the 30 hour work week

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According to the Washington Post, the U.S. online retailer, Amazon, will try out teams that log 30-hour work weeks. But here is the catch: employees will receive the same benefits as those putting in 40-hour weeks, but get three-quarters of the pay. Questions: 1. Will this change be company-wide? 2. Last year the New York… Read more »

Orphan Drug Act

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Three decades ago, Congress listened to the plight of Americans sick with diseases so rare many people had never heard of them. They were victims of a pharmaceutical market failure — “orphans” ignored by drug companies because, the thinking went, tiny groups of patients would lead to trifling sales. Questions: 1. What is the Orphan… Read more »

Extortion or Business as Usual?

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Aetna announced this week that it pull a majority of its participation in the insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. Critics see this as payback to the Obama administration for blocking its proposed merger with Humana. This comes after Aetna CEO, Mark Bertoilini is on record as saying that selling insurance in… Read more »

Not a good defense when your conversations are being recorded!

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A Manhattan federal jury rejected claims by a former high-flying Wall Street executive that he was in the dark about his dad’s illegal trading of several health care mergers the banker son was privy to. Questions: 1. What is the maximum sentence that Sean Stewart faces? What is the likely sentence? 2. What amount of… Read more »

Be Afraid, be very afraid!

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Unilever is paying $1 billion for Dollar Shave Club, a five-year-old start-up that sells razors and other personal products for men. Questions: 1. Why does the author of this article say that all companies should be very afraid of this deal? 2. After Michael Dubin’s YouTube ad premiered, what happened in terms of orders and… Read more »

The End of Yahoo’s core business

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Yahoo announced, finally, that its core internet business would be sold to Verizon for $4.83 billion in cash. Questions: 1. What was Yahoo valued at in 2000? 2. Explain some of the forces that led to the end of Yahoo as we know it. 3. Who is the chief executive of Yahoo and how long… Read more »

Big Brother and Hedge Fund Land

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Ray Dalio, billionaire founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, claims that one of his firm’s core operating principles is “radical transparency, regarding employee grievances and concerns. However, according to Stevenson and Goldstein in this New York Times article, at least one Bridgewater employee sees the firm as a “cauldron of fear and… Read more »

Don’t Try this At Home!

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In a memorable episode of Seinfeld, two characters hatch a plot: instead of returning bottles in New York for a 5-cent refund, they round up a load of containers and run them to Michigan, where the return is double, at 10 cents each. Now Brian Everidge is accused of attempting to “return” more than 10,000… Read more »