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Clear Demand, 360pi partner on real-time price management

BY Dan Berthiaume

Scottsdale, Ariz. – Big Data pricing solution vendor Clear Demand is partnering with competitive price intelligence provider 360pi. Under this joint initiative, 360pi’s real-time price intelligence is fed into Clear Demand’s pricing platform, which in turn alerts retailers to competitive price changes, including compliance with product-line and pricing rules, and helps manage competitive price strategy.

“We collect billions of pricing and product data points for our retail clients – that’s big data,” said Alexander Rink, 360pi’s CEO. “Increasing price transparency and price dynamism across categories means these numbers are growing exponentially, adding to the challenge facing retailers. We are extremely pleased to work with retail pricing and analytics leader Clear Demand to help retailers understand what’s happening, and then take effective and sustainable action in near real-time.”

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Icahn demands Family Dollar sale

BY Dan Berthiaume

Matthews, N.C. – Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who recently engaged in a high-profile effort to force EBay to separate its PayPal business, is now demanding that Family Dollar sell itself. Icahn, who recently disclosed he has a 9.4% stake in the discount retailer, sent an open letter to Family Dollar chairman Howard Levine saying that it is imperative the company be put up for sale immediately.

In the letter, Icahn cited reasons including underperforming stock, the likelihood of “significant interest” from entities who would realize “massive synergies” from purchasing Family Dollar, and advantageous stock market and interest rate environment. Inevitable consolidation in the dollar store industry, and what he sees as support from a vast majority of Family Dollar shareholders. Icahn also said he wants three of his representatives added to the Family Dollar board immediately and will take his proposal for a sale directly to shareholders if management doesn’t support it.

“Bringing our proposal for an immediate sale of Family Dollar directly to stockholders will allow them to evaluate the merits of our suggestion and permit them a say in the future of their company, an approach that all responsible fiduciaries should support,” Icahn wrote. “Nevertheless, we view that as a last resort. We welcome an opportunity to engage directly with you and your financial and legal advisors to discuss constructively the merits of our ideas. But time is of the essence. We hope to hear from you shortly.

Family Dollar has already adopted a “poison pill” shareholder’s rights plan in preparation for possible maneuvering by Icahn. In a written response to his letter, the Family Dollar board struck a defiant tone.

“As previously announced the company is undertaking an in-depth business review to identify opportunities to strengthen our value proposition, increase operational efficiencies and improve financial performance,” said Family Dollar. “While this business review is ongoing, we continue to take immediate, strategic actions as appropriate to improve our performance. We are confident that these steps will position Family Dollar to deliver stronger returns for our shareholders.”

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Walmart teams up with payLo by Virgin Mobile

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart continues to press on the mobile phone front with an exclusive deal with Virgin Mobile. As of Saturday, June 21, Virgin Mobile’s payLo will offer customers domestic unlimited voice or unlimited texting for $20 per month.

For budget-conscious consumers who don’t need a smartphone, payLo offers affordable devices and value-driven monthly plans. Customers who purchase a Kyocera Kona or Samsung Montage in participating Walmart stores or at Walmart.com can choose between two exclusive $20-per-month offers:

  • $20 Unlimited Talk (includes unlimited voice and 50 messages)
  • $20 Unlimited Text (includes unlimited messaging and 50 minutes of voice)

“The no-contract market continues to grow, most visibly with smartphones, but many customers find value with unlimited plans without the extra bells and whistles,” said Angela Rittgers, VP, marketing, Sprint’s Prepaid Group. “Through this exclusive offering, payLo is providing the best choice in basic wireless for millions of customers.”

In addition to the two $20 exclusive offerings, Walmart customers can also choose the existing $30 Talk & Text plan or the $40 Unlimited Talk & Text plan. Additional minutes, messages and data will be available at existing rates of $0.10/min, $0.15 for text messages, $0.25 for picture messages and $1.50/MB for web access.

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