FINANCE

1-800-Flowers to acquire Harry & David

BY Marianne Wilson

Carle Place, N.Y. — 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire gourmet food and gift retailer Harry & David Holdings for $142.5 million in cash.

The deal includes Harry & David’s brands and websites as well as its headquarters, manufacturing and distribution facilities and orchards in Medford, Oregon, a warehouse and distribution facility in Hebron, Ohio, and 47 Harry & David stores.

Harry & David’s current senior management team will remain with the business, which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of 1-800-Flowers.

“We are extremely pleased to be adding the iconic Harry & David name to our growing family of great gifting brands.

“Harry & David has steadily grown its top and bottom-line for the past several years, with revenues reaching nearly $400 million in its most recent reported fiscal year,” said Jim McCann, CEO, 1-800-Flowers.

The combined company will have total annual revenue of more than $1 billion.

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FINANCE

Dollar General raises bid for Family Dollar to $9.1 billion; willing to close more stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — The battle for Family Dollar moved into higher gear on Tuesday with Dollar General raising its bid for Family Dollar to $9.1 billion, or $80 per share, up from $78.50 per share in its previous offer. Dollar General also warned that it would attempt a hostile bid if Family Dollar refused to enter into talks regarding the new offer.

"In the event you refuse to engage with us regarding our revised proposal, we will consider taking our persuasive and superior proposal directly to your shareholders," Dollar General CEO Rick Dreiling said in a letter to Family Dollar’s board on Tuesday.

Dollar General also addressed possible antitrust concerns regarding the proposed acquisition by saying it was willing to divest up to 1,500 stores — or double the 700 locations it originally proposed — in a move to designed to satisfy antitrust regulators.

“We are confident that our enhanced proposal sufficiently addresses any concerns that led Family Dollar’s board of directors to reject our prior proposal without any discussions between our companies,” Dreiling stated.

Family Dollar had rejected the earlier bid from Dollar General in favor of a lower offer of $8.5 billion from Dollar Tree, saying that regulators were less likely to stand in the way.

Family Dollar said it has received Dollar General’s latest bid and will review it.

“Family Dollar’s board of directors, in consultation with its legal and financial advisers, will review and consider the revised proposal,” the company said in a statement.

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News

Three Steps to a Smooth CIO Transition

BY Dan Berthiaume

It’s no secret that the position of retail CIO is frequently in a state of flux. For a variety of reasons, retail CIOs will shift their career with a different company, meaning at some point most retail IT professionals will probably find themselves transitioning to a new top boss.

While the prospect of having to work under a new CIO may seem daunting, the transition process does not have to be awkward or painful. In fact, with the right approach, retail IT practitioners can enjoy a smooth changeover that sets the stage for a harmonious and productive working relationship. Here are three critical steps to a smooth CIO transition

1. Document Best Practices

The biggest fear employees have any time a new boss arrives is that things will be done differently. However, change is not necessarily a negative, and it’s only logical that someone hired to run a department would bring their own ideas and processes. At the same time, certain existing internal procedures may be highly beneficial and worth saving.

There is nothing a new chief executive hates more than hearing from their underlings than, “but this is how we’ve always done it.” However, by carefully selecting and documenting a few key in-house best practices and presenting them in a professional and diplomatic manner, IT employees stand a good chance of maintaining the measures that genuinely help them do their jobs better. If a practice cannot be easily documented, it’s probably not worth saving

2. Have an Open Mind

The odds of an unintelligent or uninformed person achieving the position of CIO are small. Therefore, IT professionals need to have an open mind when the new CIO inevitably suggests new systems, architectures, processes or philosophies. Even if a successful best practice is carefully and accurately documented, the new CIO may still prefer to modify or replace it to better align with their own vision.

It is not easy for a seasoned IT professional to alter or abandon a practice they know works. But it may be necessary. By having an open mind upfront, employees will make it much more likely that the CIO will have an open mind later on when they hit their own adjustment obstacles and find themselves in need of some fresh perspective.

3. Let the Business Guide Your IT Actions

Obviously, everyone wants to impress the new CIO. One of the best ways of doing so is to present yourself as an innovator, someone on the cusp of the latest technologies disrupting the retail paradigm.

Any good retail IT professional should be up-to-date with the latest and greatest technology innovations hitting the industry, but this does not mean they should automatically endorse them. An employee who blindly promotes the adoption of leading-edge systems and practices may initially present themselves as an innovator, but will soon expose themselves as a self-promoting trend follower. The true innovators are the IT professionals who stay abreast of what’s happening in the industry and adopt the new technologies and methodologies that actually serve the needs of the business.

Let the business guide your IT actions and you’ll find yourself on the path to success no matter who the CIO is.


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