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Report: Conflict of interest may endanger Signet-Zale acquisition

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – A previously undisclosed conflict of interest may endanger the proposed $1.4 billion purchase of jewelry retailer Zale Corp. by rival Signet Jewelers. According to the New York Times, Bank of America, which represented Zale in talks with Signet, failed to disclose it had made an unsolicited presentation to Signet in October 2013 where it advised Signet to consider purchasing Zale.

The deal, under which Zale stockholders would receive $21.00 per share in cash, has been unanimously approved by the Zale board of directors. Zale’s investor TIG Advisors LLC has called the deal "grossly unfair," saying the jewelry retailers should be able to get $28.60 a share in cash and stock.

In a statement on May 15, Zale said there is “significant risk and uncertainty” to its own turnaround plan, which was designed as a stretch plan to challenge management if the chain were it to remain independent.

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Americans unsure of social media privacy

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Many Americans are unsure of the level of privacy afforded by social media communications. According to a new survey of 1,141 U.S. adults from research and consulting company YouGov shows that 57% of respondents did not think social media was a good method to send private messages.

In addition, older users are less likely to venture into the realms of private messaging than younger users. Two-thirds (67%) of 18-34-year-olds have used Facebook’s private messages compared to only 41% of those 55 and older.

Older users are also unsure about the status of messages. Twenty-seven percent of those aged 55 and older are not sure when their messages are private and when they are public compared to only 16% of 18-34-year-olds. Many people (50%) assume that any message, even if it starts as a private message, might be made public.

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Reflexis partners with IBM on Watson-based task management

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dedham, Mass. – Reflexis Systems Inc. is developing an application made with IBM Watson called Reflexis StorePulse that will issue alerts and tasks to regional and local store managers, based on local event and weather information, among other data, to plan their locations accordingly. The application is aimed at helping to maximize sales by ensuring each store has its finger on the local pulse.

Reflexis StorePulse and Watson enable retailers to achieve an accurate picture of what is likely to happen at stores and provide a higher quality of associate, boosting customer engagement and leading to greater profit.

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