FINANCE

CVS says FTC clears its buyout of Universal American unit

BY CSA STAFF

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. said Tuesday that federal antitrust regulators cleared its planned acquisition of insurer Universal American Corp.’s Medicare Part D prescription drug business.

CVS and Universal American said the Federal Trade Commission has ended a mandatory review of the $1.25 billion deal. Universal American shareholders and state regulators still need to clear the deal.

The companies announced the transaction Dec. 31, and they expect it to close by the end of the second quarter.

CVS, of Woonsocket, R.I., said it wants to acquire the Medicare Part D business because more Americans will have Medicare prescription drug coverage as the population ages.

Universal American will retain its Medicare Advantage and traditional insurance businesses.

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OPERATIONS

Forest City names Charles Ratner chairman, David LaRue president/CEO

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Forest City Enterprises announced Tuesday that, as part of the company’s succession planning process, current president and CEO Charles A. Ratner will become chairman of the board, and will be succeeded as president and CEO by David J. LaRue, currently executive VP and COO.

The changes will be effective following Forest City’s annual meeting of shareholders on June 10.

Concurrent with the CEO succession, current co-chairmen Albert B. Ratner and Samuel H. Miller will each become co-chairman emeritus and will no longer serve on the board. Both will remain active in their respective areas of the business.

"David LaRue is an experienced and visionary leader with the broad strategic, operational and financial acumen to direct Forest City in the next phase of its growth and evolution," said Ratner, 69.

Ratner noted that LaRue will be the first chief executive in Forest City’s 90-year history, including 50 years as a publicly traded company, who is not related to the founding family.

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News

Survey: Global PC-based POS market up

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — The global PC-based point-of-sale market grew a solid 6.9% in 2010, according to new research from IHL Group, a global research and advisory firm.

Shipments grew in all four major worldwide regions (North America, Europe/Middle East Africa, Latin/South America, and Asia/Pacific). Strong double-digit growth in the Asia/Pacific region was driven by new shipments in China, India, Korea, and Indonesia, according to the research.

"It was a strong year overall, but several threats appear on the horizon for this market," said Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group. "New mobile devices, inspired by the Apple iPad price point of $500, are a significant threat to the traditional POS market, particularly for specialty stores and hospitality establishments. Our recent research studies found that upwards of 50% of specialty retailers are looking to deploy handheld POS devices to replace many of their standard POS systems."

"In addition, increasing oil prices due to unrest in the Middle East will sap consumer’s wallets, which will challenge retail sales in other segments beyond fuel," added Buzek. "Every penny of sustained increase in fuel prices takes $1.6 billion annually out of the pockets of consumers in the U.S. alone. If we go to a sustained $4.00 a gallon price point for a year, that is over $100 billion lost from the retail economy within the next year. That’s the equivalent of Macy’s, Staples, McDonald’s, Publix, and Pizza Hut being removed from the U.S. economy. Worldwide, the impact could be far greater, all putting a drag on retail and ultimately POS spending."

Other key findings of the research include the following:

  • The shipshare of POS units with embedded operating systems from Microsoft increased to 34.1% worldwide.
  • Overall, 87.4% of POS terminals shipped were on DOS or Microsoft Windows platforms.
  • The shipshare of Linux terminals dropped from 10.1% in 2009 to 8.4% in 2010 worldwide but remains a popular choice in China, Russia, and several other countries around the world.
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