Carvana files for IPO

Online used-car retailer Carvana, known for its vehicle “vending machine” towers, filed Friday for an initial public offering of up to $100 million in Class A common stock.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Carvana has hired banks — including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo Securities, Deutsche Bank Securities and Citigroup — to underwrite the IPO, which is still subject to change. The filing did not say when the company plans to make the offering.

The move comes after years of rapid revenue growth for the company. The company reported annual revenue of $365 million in 2016, up exponentially from $4.6 million in 2013, when it began operating. It has sold about 27,500 vehicles through 2016, according to the SEC filing.

Carvana has operated at a loss during its entire history, the filing reveals. The company has racked up cumulative operating losses of $152.6 million, including a $93.1 million loss in 2016 alone.

The company said it expects to continue incurring losses in the near future as “we invest in and strive to grow our business,” Carvana wrote in the filing.

Used-vehicle glut

The IPO filing comes as a glut of used vehicles, driven by a wave of off-lease vehicles returning to market, is both encouraging used-car marketing startups and putting downward pressure on used-vehicle pricing.

The NADA Used Car Index dipped for the eighth consecutive month in February as concerns mount at companies including Ford Motor Co. and Ally Financial Inc. about the impact lower prices could have on earnings.

Carvana, of Phoenix, operates in 21 markets. Buyers who purchase a used-vehicle from the website can choose to either have their vehicle delivered to them or to pick it up at one of its glass-structured “vending machines” in markets such as Houston and Nashville.

Einhorn proposal doesn’t impress GM investors, survey says

BOSTON — Investors have given billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s plan to boost the value of General Motors shares a frosty reception with most surveyed saying his call for two types of shares would not raise the automaker’s worth, according to an Evercore ISI poll.

Einhorn, who runs hedge fund Greenlight Capital, this week proposed that GM create two classes of stock, one that pays a dividend and one that does not, to boost the No. 1 U.S. carmaker’s languishing share price. More investors would buy the shares, helping boost the company’s market capitalization, Greenlight contended.

But 53 out of 61 investors surveyed by investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI said they did not believe Greenlight’s proposal would lead to value accretion at GM. In fact, a significant majority of investors polled — 48 people, or 80 percent — said Einhorn’s plan could jeopardize the company’s credit rating. Of the investors surveyed, 34 percent were GM shareholders.

Greenlight on Friday called the survey “fundamentally flawed” and through a spokesman said it failed to understand the firm’s plan to unlock value at GM.

GM CEO Mary Barra rejected Einhorn’s plan, saying the company had reviewed it for seven months but considered it too risky.

Evercore ISI surveyed investors after Einhorn, whose Greenlight Capital has owned GM shares on and off for five years and has a 4.9 percent stake in GM, including options, released his presentation in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

Now Einhorn is taking his plan to GM shareholders more broadly through a proxy contest where he hopes to win seats on the board. Investors will vote on board members at the upcoming annual meeting and Einhorn would need to quickly mobilize many large owners to agree with his proposal in order to win enough votes for his slate.

While a number of investors in Einhorn’s own fund have applauded him for coming up with this novel approach, no major GM shareholder has yet publicly thrown their weight behind the plan.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is GM’s sixth largest investor with a 3.34 percent stake, has remained silent about Einhorn’s proposal. Greenlight Capital is the 17th largest investor.

Nearly all those polled, or 93 percent of investors, said they were satisfied with GM management’s plan to return some $7 billion to shareholders this year, through share buybacks worth $5 billion and $2.2 billion in dividend payouts.

GM’s stock fell 0.1 percent to $35.36 on Friday. GM pays an annual dividend of $1.52 per share.

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Einhorn’s GM share proposal didn’t impress investors, survey says

BOSTON — Investors have given billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn’s plan to boost the value of General Motors shares a frosty reception with most surveyed saying his call for two types of shares would not raise the automaker’s worth, according to an Evercore ISI poll.

Einhorn, who runs hedge fund Greenlight Capital, this week proposed that GM create two classes of stock, one that pays a dividend and one that does not, to boost the No. 1 U.S. carmaker’s languishing share price. More investors would buy the shares, helping boost the company’s market capitalization, Greenlight contended.

But 53 out of 61 investors surveyed by investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI said they did not believe Greenlight’s proposal would lead to value accretion at GM. In fact, a significant majority of investors polled — 48 people, or 80 percent — said Einhorn’s plan could jeopardize the company’s credit rating. Of the investors surveyed, 34 percent were GM shareholders.

Greenlight on Friday called the survey “fundamentally flawed” and through a spokesman said it failed to understand the firm’s plan to unlock value at GM.

GM CEO Mary Barra rejected Einhorn’s plan, saying the company had reviewed it for seven months but considered it too risky.

Evercore ISI surveyed investors after Einhorn, whose Greenlight Capital has owned GM shares on and off for five years and has a 4.9 percent stake in GM, including options, released his presentation in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

Now Einhorn is taking his plan to GM shareholders more broadly through a proxy contest where he hopes to win seats on the board. Investors will vote on board members at the upcoming annual meeting and Einhorn would need to quickly mobilize many large owners to agree with his proposal in order to win enough votes for his slate.

While a number of investors in Einhorn’s own fund have applauded him for coming up with this novel approach, no major GM shareholder has yet publicly thrown their weight behind the plan.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is GM’s sixth largest investor with a 3.34 percent stake, has remained silent about Einhorn’s proposal. Greenlight Capital is the 17th largest investor.

Nearly all those polled, or 93 percent of investors, said they were satisfied with GM management’s plan to return some $7 billion to shareholders this year, through share buybacks worth $5 billion and $2.2 billion in dividend payouts.

GM’s stock fell 0.1 percent to $35.36 on Friday. GM pays an annual dividend of $1.52 per share.

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Two million workers receive 4% pay rise

Pay slip

Minimum pay for workers aged 25 and over is rising by more than 4% as the National Living Wage increases from £7.20 an hour to £7.50.

For somebody working full-time, the 1 April increase means a pay rise of nearly £600 a year to about £14,625.

But business groups have again raised concerns that prices may rise to cover the cost.

Meanwhile pay levels in general are failing to keep pace with the rising cost of living.

The rise comes on the first anniversary of the introduction of the National Living Wage which increased minimum pay sharply for workers aged 25 and over.

The National Minimum Wage, which began in 1999 and now covers workers aged 16 to 24 and apprentices, is also rising by 5p or 10p an hour from now depending on age.

This means 21 to 24-year-olds will only receive a 1.4% pay rise, and 18 to 20-year-olds will get a rise of less than 1% – although the minimum wage did rise significantly in October.

When both policies were introduced business groups raised fears that the extra burden would lead to job losses.

Yet, in a report last year, the Low Pay Commission said that there was “no clear evidence” of an impact on employment.

In fact, it said that sectors with low-paid workers such as retail, cleaning and horticulture had seen employment rise.



Some workers have been critical of companies that have changed pay deals in the last two years, so reducing some of the benefit from the minimum wage rise.

One long-serving supermarket worker has said she is £100 worse off every month.

“My employer decided they would cut hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays from double time to time-and-a-half,” said, who did not want to give her full name.

“I work 25 hours a week. Almost a third of those hours are on a Sunday.”

She hit financial difficulties and sought help from debt charity Christians Against Poverty.


The CBI, which represents businesses and suggested the introduction of the National Living Wage was a “gamble”, said it was supportive of a living wage but research suggested half of its members had been impacted by the rising minimum pay level.

This meant job creation had not risen as fast as may have been the case.

More significantly, the extra cost had resulted in price rises, restrictions on other staff rewards and perks, and scaling back investment.

Inflation has actually been well below the government’s 2% target for much of the last year, and retailers said they were required to compete on price while paying some staff more.

The British Retail Consortium said: “It is important to recognise the significant additional costs associated with the policy. Our analysis shows that, across the retail industry as a whole, the National Living Wage costs up to £1.5bn to £3bn a year.

“Another uplift in the policy comes at a time of increasing competition, nearly four years of price deflation in shops and within an industry with very small profit margins. Therefore, it is important that future increases in the National Living Wage take account of wider economic conditions and are manageable for retailers.”

Average pay rates for all ages have been creeping up but have outstripped the rising cost of living for some time.

Experts are predicting a sustained period during which prices will rise faster than wages, leaving people worse off in real terms.

This is particularly acute for public sector workers. Earlier this week, the NHS pay review body recommended a 1% pay rise in line with the government’s restriction on public sector pay.

The latest official statistics showed that rising average regular pay, before bonuses, matches the inflation rate, at 2.3%.

Closer inspection of the data shows that this was made up of a 1.4% average pay rise in the public sector compared with a 2.6% rise in the private sector.

Traditionally, the route to a significant pay rise has been moving jobs.

However, the Resolution Foundation think-tank suggests that inertia and stuttering pay growth – particularly for younger workers who started work during the recession – may continue for some time.

“We’d usually see some kind of bounce-back for wages or people starting to move jobs more. That hasn’t happened as quickly as we would expect,” said Conor D’Arcy, policy analyst for the Resolution Foundation.

“One of the key questions for the next few years is whether we will start to see people in general – but particularly younger workers – start to move around more trying to find higher wages, and that having a positive upward pressure on wages.

“Or will we see this becoming the new normal, with people either not confident enough to swap jobs or just happy where they are?”


New minimum pay rates:

  • £7.50 per hour – 25 yrs old and over (National Living Wage)
  • £7.05 per hour – 21-24 yrs old (National Minimum Wage)
  • £5.60 per hour – 18-20 yrs old
  • £4.05 per hour – 16-17 yrs old
  • £3.50 for apprentices under 19, or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship

You can hear the full story on on Saturday at 12:00 BST or on Sunday at 21:00 BST

Central banks ‘must communicate better to regain trust’

Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist of the Bank of England

Central banks must improve the way they communicate if they are to regain society’s trust, the Bank of England’s chief economist says.

Andy Haldane said central banks wielded considerable power and their responsibilities “may never have been greater”.

But mounting criticism and calls to reverse their independence also posed risks to their legitimacy, he said.

As such, banks had to rethink “how and with whom” they engaged.

In a speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Mr Haldane said: “Trust is the lifeblood of all things monetary and financial, including central banks.

“And incredulity is Kryptonite for central banking Supermen (and the odd Superwoman), rendering ineffective their policies and unaccountable their actions.

“Building trust and legitimacy is among the most pressing issues facing central banks today.”

According to Mr Haldane, there had been a revolution in central bank communications in recent years, with much wider and deeper engagement with society.

He cited the Bank’s decision to give “forward guidance” on its policy actions from 2013, and its move to publish full transcripts of Monetary Policy Committee meetings from 2015.


He also noted that last year, the Bank visited nearly 5,000 companies and charities, and hosted a conference at which it “openly” engaged with a wide cross section of the public.

But he said recent developments meant banks’ engagement strategies needed to go further.

“First, the global financial crisis has dealt a trust-busting blow to many institutions, including central banks,” he said.

“Second, the way trust is built has been fundamentally reconfigured. Where once trust was anonymised, institutionalised and centralised, today it is increasingly personalised, socialised and distributed.”

He said central banks now needed to find new ways to engage with social groups “currently out of reach” – adapting to “new social norms and technological possibilities”.

He suggested they should communicate using “simpler language” that engaged a wider audience and cut out complex jargon.

He also said they could make better use of new technologies, such as educational online games and polling apps, to understand the views of society – particularly the young.

“It is an irony, and not one lost on me, that this speech is a classic example of one-way central bank communications,” Mr Haldane concluded.

“Worse still, it comes in at around 11,500 words.”

“Perhaps central bankers, like this one, have always been better at preaching than practising. If so, that needs to change.”

Fuji Heavy officially changing name to Subaru Corp.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. has a new, albeit familiar, name.

Effective April 1, the maker of Subaru vehicles will be known as Subaru Corp.

The move, announced last May, is meant to bolster branding at a company that makes everything from industrial products to helicopters but draws the vast majority of its cash from Subaru vehicles. Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster.

“In recent years, our effort has been expanded from making good products to delivering distinctive value which only Subaru can bring to customers,” said Fuji CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said in a statement. “This change in company name declares Subaru’s determination to thrive as a brand that delivers value.” The company held renaming ceremonies at its head office in Tokyo as well as three other Japanese facilities on Friday.

This is not the first name change in the company’s history.

Chikuhei Nakajima established the Aircraft Research Laboratory in 1917. In 1918, it was was renamed the Nakajima Aircraft Factory. In 1931, it was incorporated as Nakajima Aircraft Co. Ltd.

After World War II, the company reorganized as Fuji Sangyo Co. Ltd. in 1945 and made the switch from aircraft manufacturing to civilian goods, the company said.

In accordance with the Enterprise Reorganization Act in 1950, Fuji Sangyo Co. Ltd. split into 12 companies, which included Fuji Kogyo , Fuji Jidosha Kogyo and Utsunomiya Sharyo .

Those three companies would then join Omiya Fuji Kogyo and Tokyo Fuji Sangyo to form Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. on July 15, 1953.

Fuji’s automobile business began in 1958 with the introduction of the Subaru 360 minicar.

Comcast launches pay-as-you-go prepaid internet service

prepaid.jpg

Comcast is taking internet service the way of the burner phone, with the company opening up its Xfinity Prepaid Internet Service to all Xfinity users on Thursday. Announced via a press release, the pay-as-you-go service will be available as part of a partnership with Boost Mobile.

Users must first purchase an $80 starter kit that comes with a wireless gateway and 30 days of service. After that, they can buy a seven-day internet refill for $15, or a 30-day refill for $45. The service provides download speeds of up to 10 Mbps, and upload speeds of around 1 Mbps.

“This offering is all about providing customers a flexible and predictable service that can accommodate individual lifestyles and financial needs,” John Dixon, vice president of the consumer services group at Comcast, said in the release. “Our prepaid service gives people more control over their monthly bills and lets families get easy Internet access for their home whenever they want it.”

SEE: Terahertz wireless could help cover the planet with internet that’s 10X faster than 5G

Interested users must be 18 years old and located in an area that is already covered by Comcast’s network. If you are a Boost Mobile customer, you will also get a $5 discount on the cost of refills for the time being, the release said. The kit and refills will be available at select Xfinity and Boost Mobile stores.

According to the release, the service is targeted at people whom the FDIC may have categorized as “unbanked.” This means that, although they may have a bank account, they may not have a credit card or other financial systems in place typically required to sign up for internet services.

The service could also be a good option for cord cutters, remote workers who frequently travel, or folks who work from home and maybe want access to a second wireless network specifically for getting certain tasks done.

The Comcast prepaid service could also be a good alternative to hotspot products, in certain instances. Although, Verizon also just announced its prepaid service for FiOS as well, meaning Comcast has some competition in the space.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Comcast just released its Xfinity Prepaid Internet Service to all users in its network, offering 10 Mbps download speed and 1 Mbps upload speed.
  2. Users buy an $80 starter kit that comes with a gateway, and then seven or 30-day refills for $15 and $45, respectively.
  3. The service could be used as an alternative to hotspots for cord cutters who don’t want a contract.

The Future is Now: Honda, Lexus premiere game-changing tech for April 1

Let’s say you’re driving along and suddenly a dog runs into the road in front of your vehicle. What do you do? You hit the horn, right?

Fortunately for drivers of the 2018 Honda Odyssey,the minivan will soon be able to warn the animal of an approaching vehicle with a personalized canine car horn.

It is one of seven emotive horn options integrated into the steering wheel that will become standard in the Odyssey lineup.

See video here or click below.

Thanks to exhaustive research by expects within the company, “Car Horn Emojis” are no longer a dream — they’re a reality.

The emojis, which may apply in myriad real-life situations, including gratitude if someone lets you into the lane; chagrin for rush hour traffic; or anger, applied especially when the Honda driver has been cut off.

Though they have been around for almost a century, car horns have never before been so personalized. Honda made use of data compiled by social scientists and audiologists to identify when the horn can best communicate the driver’s emotions.

The most popular emoji is the “Happy Honda Honk,” which allows drivers to exchange brief, friendly hellos to one another. Be careful not to lean on the wheel, however, as the emoji horn for dogs is silent to humans, and may initiate a call-of-the-wild situation.

Not to be outdone, Lexus said this week said it would throw its luxury hat in the ring of radar and lane monitoring technology with the launch of Lane Valet.

The semiautonomous system operates in conjunction with 802.11 p V2V wireless data protocol to temporarily connect with the vehicle that doesn’t know the meaning of the “fast lane” to safely relocate it.

The lane change is prompt and tactful, and in some cases Lexus drivers don’t even need to slow before the move is complete, Brian Dolain, general manager of Lexus product and consumer marketing, said in a release.

“An appropriate vehicle speed without excessive braking offers optimal fuel efficiency, better traffic flow and decreased driver frustration,” he wrote.

Given the unprecedented progress these companies have made just before April, tech expert Faye Knuze with So Real Analytics Inc. said there’s no telling what will roll out before the end of the year.

“It’s just a really exciting time for the industry,” Knuze wrote in an email interview. “Both the ‘Car Horn Emojis’ and the Lane Valet seem almost too good to be true.”

And just for the record, everything you just read is total fiction perpetuated by some creative jokesters at Honda and Lexus. Happy April Fools’ Day.

Trump trade crackdown ‘not about China’

US President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign two executive orders targeting the US trade deficit, ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit.

One order will include a study looking at causes of the deficit by examining unpaid duties and foreign trade abuses.

Administration officials said Beijing was not the focus, but China is the largest source of the US trade deficit.

The orders will also seek to combat dumping by foreign countries, which is considered a form of trade cheating.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council, previewed the orders at the White House on Thursday night.

The president is expected to sign the orders on Friday,

“These actions are designed to let the world know that this is a president taking another step to fulfil his campaign promise,” Mr Ross said.

Mr Trump spent a large part of his presidential campaign railing against the US trade deficit and foreign trade deals.

Mr Ross will lead a comprehensive review accounting for the sources of the $502.3bn trade deficit and report back to the White House after 90 days.

The study will look at whether cheating, trade deals, lax enforcement and World Trade Organization rules play a role in the deficit, according to Mr Ross.


The orders also will focus on stricter enforcement of the US anti-dumping laws and countervailing duties, or the penalties imposed on foreign governments who violate trade rules, as well as pirated and counterfeited intellectual property owned by US companies.

The pair of orders are expected a week before Mr Trump meets the Chinese president at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Mr Navarro insisted the orders had nothing to do with Mr Xi’s visit, but the US’s highest trade deficit is with China at $347bn a year.

“Nothing we’re saying tonight is about China. Let’s not make this a China story. This is a story about trade abuses, this is a story about an under-collection of duties,” Mr Navarro said.

Mr Trump night that his first meeting with Mr Xi would “be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits…and job losses”.

“American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives,” .

The half trillion-dollar deficit slightly increased from 2015, according to the Commerce Department.

The trade gap reached a record level since 2012 last year, though the imbalance remains below its previous high in 2006.

UK BMW workers back strike over pensions

Mini production line

UK workers at BMW have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike in a dispute over pensions, the Unite union has announced.

BMW workers making engines and the Mini and Rolls-Royce motorcars plan to strike over plans to close their final salary pension scheme.

The union says the proposal could see some UK workers lose up to £160,000 in retirement income.

BMW said it was “disappointed” but remained “open to negotiations”.

The action involves up to 3,500 workers at plants in Oxfordshire, Chichester, Birmingham and Swindon.

The firm builds over 200,000 Minis a year at its plant in Cowley, Oxford, nearly 4,000 luxury Rolls-Royce models at Goodwood in West Sussex and about 200,000 engines at Hams Hall near Birmingham.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “BMW needs to reflect on this extraordinary vote in favour of industrial action and the real possibility that its UK workforce will strike for the first time under its ownership in the coming weeks.

“We would urge BMW to stop pinching pensions and negotiate a settlement which is good for the business and good for the workforce.”

The firm wants to close two final salary pension schemes from June and move staff to another scheme which new starters have been part of since 2014.

A BMW spokesperson said: “BMW Group has always prided itself in providing excellent pensions for its staff and wants to act now to protect future pension provision for its UK workforce.”

The strike was backed by 93% of BMW employees in the Unite union who voted in the ballot.

Union officials will meet in the coming days to discuss strike dates.