FINANCE

BJ’s net income up, raises guidance

BY CSA STAFF

Natick, Mass. — BJ’s Wholesale Club reported third-quarter earnings Wednesday that beat Wall Street expectations on improved revenue from gas and merchandise rose. The warehouse club operator raised its earnings guidance for the year.

BJ’s net income rose to $23 million for the three months ended Oct. 30, up from $17.4 million a year ago.

Revenue rose 5% to $2.63 billion from $2.51 billion last year, just shy of the $2.64 billion expected by analysts. Same-store sales rose 2.5%, or 1.5% excluding gas sales.

There has been speculation that BJ’s might put itself up for a potential auction or seek other business alternatives since Leonard Green & Partners bought a nearly 10% stake in the company in July and said it was going to look for ways to improve shareholder value. Rumors heated up last week after a report said BJ’s had hired Morgan Stanley as a financial adviser in a potential auction to sell itself off after receiving an offer from Leonard Green.

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FINANCE

VeriFone to acquire Hypercom

BY CSA STAFF

San Jose, Calif. — VeriFone Systems, a global leader in secure electronic payment solutions, and Hypercom Corp., the high-security electronic payment and digital transactions solutions provider, Wednesday announced a definitive agreement under which VeriFone will acquire Hypercom in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $485 million, including net debt assumed by VeriFone.

“Consistent with our vision as a global leader in secure electronic payment solutions, we have placed strategic focus on replicating our North American success in key markets in continental Europe,” said VeriFone CEO Douglas G. Bergeron. “Hypercom has established itself in a number of important European markets, and this acquisition is an excellent and complementary way for us to accelerate our overseas growth, increase innovation and build value for our shareholders.”

The transaction is subject to approval by Hypercom shareholders and customary regulatory approvals, and is anticipated to close in the second half of 2011.

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OPERATIONS

Best Buy offers free online shipping

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Best Buy has become the latest retailer to offer free shipping for select online orders for the holidays.

The chain said the offer, which is good through Dec. 21, is valid on hundreds of thousands of items, including all CD’s, Blu-Ray and DVD movies, as well as gaming software and accessories.

Other retailers have begun offering free shipping programs to entice shoppers to open their wallets this holiday season, including Wal-Mart Stores, J.C. Penney and Target Corp.

In addition to the free online shipping offer, Best Buy recently launched an enhanced Store Pickup Plus program, which features such benefits as same-day pick-up in-store, allowing customers to designate a friend or family member to pick up their items in-store or ship out-of-stock items to their local Best Buy at no additional cost.

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