Business briefs: Barnes & Noble CEO Lynch steps down

  • Updated: July 8, 2013 - 7:22 PM

Barnes & Noble CEO Lynch steps down

Barnes & Noble Inc. Chief Executive William Lynch resigned amid profit losses and sales declines as the largest U.S. bookstore chain tries to navigate the shift to digital books. Lynch, who also stepped down from his seat on the board, resigned effective immediately, the New York-based company said after the markets closed. Chief Financial Officer Michael Huseby was appointed CEO of the company’s Nook Media unit and president of the company. Barnes & Noble named Lynch CEO in March 2010 after he joined the company the previous year to oversee its Web unit. He focused on building the company’s Nook digital device division. After some initial success, sales of Nook devices fell during the holiday shopping season.

Key advisory firm endorses Dell buyout plan

Institutional Shareholder Services, the biggest proxy advisory firm, recommended that Dell Inc. investors accept Michael Dell’s $24.4 billion leveraged buyout offer. The recommendation is something of a surprise and a potentially big victory for the man who founded Dell in his college dormitory room 29 years ago. ISS is still considered an influential voice in corporate elections, though investors have occasionally overridden its recommendations. Advisers to both the buyers and to a special committee of Dell’s board had assumed that the report would be unfavorable to the deal, in which Michael Dell and the investment firm Silver Lake would pay $13.65 a share.

Buffett donates $2.6 billion to foundations

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investment guru known as the Oracle of Omaha, is donating about $2.6 billion in stock to five charities as part of a plan to give away the bulk of his wealth before he dies. The chairman of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway has watched his fortune soar this year as the company’s stock jumped more than 25 percent. In March, Forbes magazine pegged his wealth at $53.5 billion. The bulk of the annual donation, about $2 billion, went to the Gates Foundation, the philanthropic organization set up by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Buffett also donated millions to his own foundation and the charities set up by his three children.

Credit card use pushes consumer credit up

U.S. consumer credit surged in May on a surprise increase in credit card use. U.S. consumers increased their debt by a seasonally adjusted $19.6 billion in May, up from a $10.9 billion gain in April, the Federal Reserve said. The gain was broad-based and was well above Wall Street expectations of a $12 billion gain. Monthly debt rose at an 8.3 percent annual rate in May, compared with a 4.6 percent rise in the prior month. This is the largest percentage gain since a 9.0 percent gain in May 2012. Credit card debt jumped $6.6 billion in May, or an annual rate of 9.3 percent, also the strongest reading in a year. This was up from a 1.1 percent gain in April.

Ackman planning to make another play

William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management is raising money in the next 10 days for a special purpose vehicle to buy the stock of a large U.S. company, according to a letter sent to investors. The target is a large-capitalization, investment-grade U.S. corporation that principally operates in one business, Ackman wrote in the letter, without naming the company. Even so, the stock trades at a lower multiple than its closest competitor. The activist fund will be capped at $1 billion and will invest alongside the New York-based firm’s main hedge funds. The last fund Ackman raised for a single-stock investment, a $2 billion vehicle that invested in Target Corp. in 2007, lost 90 percent of its value over the next two years.

T-Mobile boosts iPhone’s market share

T-Mobile helped increase the iPhone’s share of the smartphone market in the latest three-month period, according to a survey released Monday. Apple’s U.S. smartphone market share increased 3.5 percentage points in the three months that ended in May from the same period last year, according to consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel. The iPhone accounted for 41.9 percent of U.S. smartphone sales in the latest period, up from 38.4 percent a year before. That increase in market share aligns with the launch of the iPhone on T-Mobile, the last major U.S. carrier to begin selling the smartphone.

Thomson Reuters ends early looks at index

Thomson Reuters Corp. said it would suspend the early access it sells to some clients of its twice-monthly consumer confidence index. The company, which conducts the widely watched Survey of Consumers with the University of Michigan, said it made the change at the request of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. His office has been investigating the practice of allowing some high-speed traders to pay to receive the data two seconds before other paying clients. Thomson Reuters said it was cooperating with the probe.

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