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Report: Lululemon considers going private

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver – Lululemon Athletica Inc. is reportedly considering going private. According to the Wall Street Journal, advisors to Chip Wilson, founder, director and former CEO and chairman of Lululemon, have been speaking with private equity firms including Leonard Green & Partners about possibly taking the retail chain private, although no specific deal is imminent.

Lululemon has a market capitalization of $6 billion, and going private would require reimbursing that value plus a premium. In June, Wilson announced that he voted against the re-election of Michael Casey and RoAnn Costin to the board of Lululemon. He also said he was concerned that the board is not aligned with the core values of product and innovation on which Lululemon was founded.

Wilson founded Lululemon in 1998 and has a 27% share in it. He had been living in Australia when he was asked by the company to return and deal with a quality control issue over the sheerness of its signature Yoga pants that resulted in a product recall during 2013.

Neither Wilson nor Lululemon has publicly commented on reports of going private.

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Walgreens, Rite Aid June same-store sales rise

BY Dan Berthiaume

Deerfield, Ill. – Same-store sales at both Walgreens and Rite Aid increased in June, compared to the same period a year earlier. Same-store sales grew 7.5% at Walgreens and 3.9% at Rite Aid.

Calendar day shifts helped boost same-store sales at Walgreens, while the introduction of new generic drugs had a negative impact. In addition, Walgreens had June sales of $6.28 billion, an increase of 8.9% from $5.77 billion for the same month in fiscal 2013.

Meanwhile, prescription count growth helped fuel same-store sales at Rite Aid, whose total drugstore sales for the four-week period increased 3.5% to $1.995 billion compared to $1.927 billion for the same period last year.

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Facebook buys video ad company LiveRail

BY Dan Berthiaume

Menlo Park, Calif. – Facebook has agreed to acquire LiveRail, an advertising technology company that helps companies serve better ads in the videos that appear on their websites and apps. LiveRail, founded in 2007, also provides marketers with access to premium video inventory and data to help decide where to show their ads.

In a press release, Facebook said that LiveRail’s video supply-side platform (SSP) “ultimately offers is a complete advertising solution for video publishers,” and that it is excited for the future of video advertising.

Facebook has been active with digital display ads, including recent forays into a mobile ad network and ads targeted by user browsing history. But although Facebook has done some video advertising in its news feeds, purchasing LiveRail demonstrates a much wider interest in video ads moving forward. Rival Google has been heavily involved in video advertising. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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