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PwC US: Total deal value and volume surges in Q1

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Multibillion dollar transactions drove U.S. retail and consumer deals during the first quarter of 2013, according to PwC US.

For the three month period ending March 31, 2013, there were a total of 27 deals in the retail and consumer sector with disclosed values greater than $50 million, accounting for $39.8 billion in deal value. Deal volume increased 59% from the 17 deals during the first quarter 2012, while deal value rose 590% from $5.8 billion in first quarter 2012.

Deal value was driven by the purchase of HJ Heinz by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital Partners Ltd (a total value of $28 billion including the assumption of approximately $4.5 billion of debt). Excluding the Heinz transaction, total deal value for the quarter was still more than double that of the prior year’s first quarter.

On a sequential basis, deal activity in the retail and consumer sector declined in volume from the highs in the fourth quarter 2012 due in part to the pressure to execute deals in 2012 before the fiscal cliff and pending tax increases, according to PwC.

“The potential negative impact of the fiscal cliff on transactions during the first quarter of 2013 was more subdued than anticipated as deal activity was up significantly compared to the first three months of 2012,” said Leanne Sardiga, partner and PwC’s U.S. retail & consumer deals leader. “The attractiveness of the retail and consumer sector as a whole, along with continued availability of capital from both corporate and private equity players, contributed to a positive retail and consumer deals environment. The jump in total deal value was driven by several multibillion dollar transactions.”

Total retail and consumer industry IPO proceeds raised in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2013 came in strong, far exceeding the comparative period in 2012.

Total proceeds raised during first quarter 2013 were $1.8 billion, up 50% from proceeds of $1.2 billion in fourth quarter 2012 and up more than 300% from the $431 million raised in first quarter 2012. Volume in the first quarter of 2013 was on par with the fourth quarter of 2012 with six IPOs closing and up slightly from the first quarter 2012, which had five IPOs close.

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RadioShack woos younger consumers with Beats By Dr. Dre

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH, Texas — RadioShack is teaming up with Beats By Dr. Dre, the popular brand of headphones and HD sound systems, on a new advertising campaign featuring recording artist Robin Thicke’s hit single "Blurred Lines" and the Beats by Dr. Dre Pill portable Bluetooth speaker.

The 30-second commercial ties into a special in-store offer that will allow RadioShack customers and music fans to download an exclusive remix of "Blurred Lines" with the purchase of any qualifying product.

The electronics retailer is leveraging the popularity of the Beats By Dr. Dre brand to reestablish its relevance, particularly among younger consumers.

"Partnering with a strong brand like Beats marks one of the ways RadioShack is broadening our customer appeal," said Jennifer Warren, SVP and CMO for RadioShack. "Teaming up with Beats on this campaign invites more consumers to discover RadioShack as a destination for the hottest music accessories, including the Pill and Beats headphones."

Since its release March 20, Thicke’s single "Blurred Lines" has gone viral, racking up more than 8 million views on YouTube and VEVO.com. Thicke is currently in the studio finishing up his sixth studio album, still untitled and with a release date expected soon.

Consumers purchasing any qualifying Beats by Dr. Dre product, mobile phone, tablet or MP3 player in-store at a participating RadioShack location between now and June 22 will receive an exclusive "Blurred Lines" remix download. In addition, consumers will get $10 back when they spend $30 or more at participating RadioShack locations through June 1.

The ad will appear on networks such as MTV, VH1, Spike and Comedy Central. It will also run during the NBA Finals on ESPN and ABC.

The TV spot can also be found on RadioShack’s techspecs blog and on the Beats by Dr. Dre Facebook page. Exclusive behind-the-scenes footage taken during filming of the "Blurred Lines" video will also be posted during the promotion.

RadioShack also plans to launch a social contest later in the campaign that will give consumers the chance to win two tickets to a future Robin Thicke concert.

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Smart appliances from Whirlpool

BY CSA STAFF

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Global appliance leader Whirlpool Corporation has launched a line of smart appliances with 6th Sense Live technology.

The company’s flagship Whirlpool brand is making smart home management a reality in the Chicagoland area with the release of a suite of smart appliances along with a free mysmartappliances app, which is already available in the iTunes app store.

The convergence of technology with everyday household appliances is evolving to optimize energy consumption and allow consumers to manage everyday household tasks from their smart phones.

Whirlpool’s latest connected appliances include a smart refrigerator, smart dishwasher and smart washer and dryer. Each has the ability to be controlled using an app and will communicate with the emerging Smart Grid.

“Smart grid-enabled appliances have evolved into a broader conversation around the connected home and home management. Consumers want to connect to their homes in a meaningful way and benefit from functions that allow them to save energy and monitor their appliances even when away from home,” said Warwick Stirling, Whirlpool Corporation’s global director of sustainability. “As connectivity becomes more of a priority in our daily lives, seamless home management is what 6th Sense Live technology provides. We’re proud to provide our consumers with the peace of mind that they can manage daily, essential tasks from anywhere with ease.”

Whirlpool brand’s new appliances come with Smart Assistant features such as Vacation Assistant, Remote Start/Pause and alerts or text messages. They also offer notifications and alerts via smart phones and tablets and deliver real-time information, such as what cycle the smart dishwasher is on as well as energy rates and consumption.

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