OPERATIONS

Poll: Amazon leads reputation rankings

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — In a survey released Tuesday, Amazon.com topped America’s list of companies with great reputations, joined by Apple and Google in the top five.

The 2013 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, which polls the general public about the reputations of the 60 most visible U.S. companies, put Amazon in the top spot for the first time, although it consistently has earned high rankings. Amazon edged out Apple, which ranked first last year and second in 2013.

Walt Disney Co., Google, and Johnson & Johnson completed the top five.

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • 16% of the public feels the reputation of corporate America showed some improvement, 7% percent more than in 2012, while 49% said it declined, which was 11% less than last year.
  • Only six companies achieved RQ scores of 80 and above, which signifies a great reputation, 25% fewer companies than in 2012 and nearly two-thirds less than just two years ago.

"The public seem to have become pragmatically realistic with their expectations of corporate America," said Robert Fronk, EVP reputation management at Harris Interactive, publisher of the Harris Poll. “And we characterize this year’s overall findings as the great muddling of corporate America."

AIG and Goldman Sachs repeated as the bottom two reputation positions. Best Buy and Honda experienced the greatest decline in RQ scores, 6.76 and 4.73 points, respectively.

RQ measures six dimensions that comprise reputation and influence consumer behavior. The dimensions and the 2013 leaders are:

  • Social Responsibility: Whole Foods
  • Emotional Appeal: Amazon.com
  • Financial Performance: Apple
  • Products & Services: Amazon.com
  • Vision & Leadership: Apple
  • Workplace Environment: Google

Amazon earned nearly 100% positive ratings on all measures related to Trust. More than 50% of respondents also recall discussing Amazon with friends and family in the past year, and nearly 100% of these conversations were positive.

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OPERATIONS

American Express launches ‘pay-by-tweet’ venture

BY Staff Writer

New York — American Express has launched a new venture with Twitter, that could lead to a whole new category of shopping.

The partnership enables American Express cardmembers to sync eligible cards with Twitter, giving them the ability to use special #hashtags to buy American Express Gift Cards and products from Amazon, Sony, Urban Zen and Xbox 360. American Express’ proprietary Card Sync technology powers the experience. Card Sync first launched on Twitter last March to deliver couponless savings to Cardmembers who tweet special offer #hashtags from merchants.

The $25 American Express Gift Card can be purchased using a synced American Express Card starting today for only $15 by tweeting #BuyAmexGiftCard25 (quantities limited, offer expires 3/3/13, limit one per Cardmember). The remaining catalog of products goes on sale Wednesday, Feb. 13 at noon, EST, when the full list of special product #hashtags will be released and highlighted as "favorites" on the @AmericanExpress Twitter page. Cardmembers can sync their Cards in advance by visiting sync.americanexpress.com/twitter.

"Based on the initial success of Amex Sync for offers, we know there is significant power in combining our assets with Twitter’s platform to bring value to Cardmembers and merchants," said Leslie Berland, SVP digital partnerships and development at American Express. "Now, we’re leveraging our unique technology and closed-loop network to introduce a seamless solution that redefines what’s possible in the world of social commerce."

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S.Hance says:
Mar-12-2013 06:14 am

Twitter is the second famous
Twitter is the second famous social network sites. Twitter is easy accessible sites also for others. - Peter F. Spittler

S.Hance says:
Mar-12-2013 06:14 am

Twitter is the second famous social network sites. Twitter is easy accessible sites also for others. - Peter F. Spittler

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FINANCE

OfficeMax gets $129M in proceeds from investment

BY Staff Writer

Naperville, Ill. — OfficeMax has received approximately $129 million in cash proceeds related to its October 2004 investment in Boise Cascade Holdings, LLC. Since 2004, OfficeMax has held two classes of securities in BCH, non-voting equity securities ("Series A Units") and voting equity securities ("Series B Units").

BCH will redeem all of the Series A Units held by OfficeMax for $112 million, equal to the original investment amount of $66 million plus $46 million of total accrued dividends. As previously disclosed, OfficeMax had been recording income earned from the 8% annual dividend yield on the Series A Units as a reduction of operating, selling and general and administrative expenses in its Corporate & Other segment. This dividend income ceased upon completion of the redemption of the Series A Units on Feb. 12.

OfficeMax also continues to hold a 20.4% ownership interest in the Series B Units of BCH, which do not accrue any dividend. OfficeMax has accounted for the Series B Units under the cost method as a $109 million investment on its consolidated balance sheet since October 2004. BCH has declared a distribution of approximately $85 million payable on Feb. 12 to the holders of its Series B Units, of which OfficeMax’s share of proceeds is approximately $17 million. This distribution on the Series B Units will be recognized as income by OfficeMax and will not reduce the $109 million investment amount.

Ravi Saligram, president and CEO of OfficeMax said, "We’re very pleased to have monetized a portion of this non-core Boise asset. Together with the removal of the Lehman-backed timber notes and reducing the unfunded pension liability, we have made great strides in optimizing our balance sheet over the past several months. We are considering the best way to utilize these proceeds to maximize shareholder value."

Following the redemption of the Series A Units and the distribution on the Series B Units, BCH will continue to hold approximately $28 million of cash and own 29,700,000 common shares of Boise Cascade Company (BCC), which completed its initial public stock offering today.

Bruce Besanko, EVP, CFO and chief administrative officer of OfficeMax said, "Following the receipt of these proceeds, we’ll retain our BCH Series B Units which represent an indirect ownership interest of approximately 6 million shares or approximately 14% of the common equity of Boise Cascade Company."

OfficeMax has carried a $180 million deferred book gain on its consolidated balance sheet related to its investment in BCH in October 2004. The redemption of the Series A Units is expected to trigger recognition of a pre-tax operating gain of approximately $68 million representing the portion of the deferred gain attributable to the Series A Units. The remaining $112 million of deferred gain attributable to the Series B Units will remain on OfficeMax’s consolidated balance sheet until such time as the Series B Units are sold or redeemed. OfficeMax does not expect it will be required to pay any cash taxes as a result of the redemption of the Series A Units and the distribution on the Series B Units.

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