Barnes & Noble to spin off Nook business
Barnes & Noble said it plans to spin off its Nook business, once viewed as the company’s best hope for surviving in an age of a dominant Amazon.com, as a separate public company. The announcement moves Barnes & Noble forward on a plan it has considered for nearly two years. Over the past two years, the retailer has brought in Microsoft and the publisher Pearson as minority investors in the Nook business, in part to help defray the costs of building and selling e-readers. But the Nook — which Barnes & Noble once trumpeted as its best answer to Amazon.com and its wildly popular Kindle device — instead fell increasingly behind.
Durable-goods orders slipped last month
Orders for U.S. durable goods tumbled 1 percent in May as demand for military equipment fell sharply. But excluding defense-related goods, orders actually rose, and orders in a key category that signals business investment also increased. The gains outside of military goods suggest business spending is picking up, which could give the economy a much-needed boost. The Commerce Department said that orders, excluding defense, rose 0.6 percent in May, after falling 0.8 percent in April. Orders for core capital goods, which reflect business investment, increased 0.7 percent, after a 1.1 percent drop. Demand for military goods is highly volatile and had surged in April, so the sharp drop in May wasn’t a surprise and was dismissed by many economists.
Ikea raising minimum wage for U.S. workers
Ikea, the Sweden-based global retailer of flat-pack furniture, plans to announce Thursday that it will raise the average minimum wage for its U.S. retail employees by 17 percent, to $10.76 per hour, beginning next year. The company said it’s overhauling how it determines wages for workers in each of its 38 U.S. stores and will now base its minimum pay on what’s considered to be a “living wage” in each local area, rather than on what competitors are paying. The move comes the same week that clothing retailer Gap rolled out its own increase, originally announced in February. The new minimum wage at Gap is $9, although it will rise to $10 next year.
Google reveals new version of Android
Google Inc. unveiled a new version of its Android software for smartphones and other devices as it battles Apple to be the foundation for mobile technology. The new version of Android, the first major update of the mobile operating system since last year, will let developers easily implement features such as animations and will include more privacy tools, Google executives said at the company’s annual developer gathering in San Francisco.
GoPro IPO raises more than $400 million
GoPro has climbed mountaintops and dived to ocean bottoms. Now it’s headed to Wall Street. The maker of wearable sports cameras, loved by mountain climbers, divers, surfers and other extreme sports fans, said it sold 17.8 million shares at $24 each in its initial public offering of stock. The IPO was priced at the high end of GoPro’s expected range and raised $427 million, valuing the whole company at about $3 billion. The stock will begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Thursday under ticker symbol “GPRO.”
FINRA bars firm over Ponzi scheme
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is barring a company from the securities industry for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 59 people, most of them current or retired NFL and NBA players. FINRA ordered Fuad Ahmed to pay $13.7 million to investors. It also barred Ahmed and his company, Success Trade Securities, from the industry for the Ponzi scheme and the fraudulent sale of promissory notes.
FROM NEWS SERVICES