FINANCE

Twitter plans IPO

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Twitter publicly announced its intention to file for an IPO with a tweet yesterday afternoon.

“We’ve confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO,” stated the tweet. “This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale.”

According media reports, Twitter has 200 million users and secondary sales of its stock have valued the company as high as $10 billion. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations limit confidential IPO filings to companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue, giving some indication of Twitter’s actual current earnings. Twitter does not have to immediately file for an IPO and can keep all related documents confidential until 21 days before it starts formally pitching the IPO to major Wall Street investors.

Twitter is increasing in importance as an e-commerce tool. The recent second quarter 2013 Monetate E-commerce Quarterly indicates Twitter experienced the fastest growth among all social networks in referrals to e-commerce sites, moving from 5.4% of social referrals in second quarter 2012 to 9.64% in second quarter 2013 – a 77% gain. In addition, Twitter recently hired former Ticketmaster president Nathan Hubbard to take the new role of head of commerce and reportedly plans to enable direct shopping through postings within tweets.

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CVS unveils health insurance outreach program

BY CSA STAFF

CVS unveiled the details of a company-wide information and outreach program to help customers navigate their insurance options under the new healthcare law during a store visit in Orlando with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The program includes retail events and brochure displays at more than 7,500 CVS/pharmacy stores and 650 MinuteClinic locations. Information is also available online at cvs.com/insurance.

"Providing information about new health insurance coverage opportunities is in keeping with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health," stated Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, who led the tour with Sebelius. "Over the coming months, our pharmacists and stores will be serving a key role in providing a point of activation for customers to learn more."

A recent CVS Caremark survey found that pharmacies will be a primary resource to meet the needs of uninsured Americans, with 68% of those surveyed expecting retail pharmacies to offer health insurance information in store and/or online. Among those asking for help, Hispanics and the youngest group surveyed (aged 18 to 35) were significantly more likely to say they need help understanding the exchanges.

"Families look to their local pharmacy as a place they can go to for honest, straightforward advice they can trust," stated HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Americans trust their pharmacists for tell-it-like-it-is advice about their health, and pharmacies, like CVS, have a special role in these efforts. We thank CVS Caremark and CVS stores nationwide for their commitment to providing Americans with the information they need about the Health Insurance Marketplace."

CVS/pharmacy will also be hosting approximately 5,000 in-store events with health insurance experts, including representatives of state exchanges and local health plans. In addition, in September, representatives from Get Covered America will be available at CVS/pharmacy Project Health free health screening events.

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Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter to buy select Piggly Wiggly stores

BY CSA STAFF

Bi-Lo Holdings and Harris Teeter announced plans to acquire select Piggly Wiggly-branded stores. Bi-Lo plans to acquire 22 Piggly Wiggly stores in South Carolina and coastal Georgia. Harris Teeter plans to purchase six locations and a future store location in the Charleston, S.C., area.

"We look forward to welcoming these new associates to the Bi-Lo Holdings family and to building on the strength of these stores," stated Randall Onstead, president and CEO of Bi-Lo Holdings. "We will continue to fine-tune our company and network of stores so that we can reinvest in what matters most for our customers — the freshest foods, the best deals and really connecting to their neighborhoods."

Bi-Lo’s transaction is expected to close in fourth quarter 2013. Upon its completion, the acquired stores will be rebranded under the Bi-Lo banner name.

Harris Teeter’s transaction is expected to be completed in October and expects to close the acquired stores for three to four days for stocking and training of employees.

“These store locations and the dedicated associates who work in them make this an especially attractive transaction for Harris Teeter,” said Thomas W. Dickson, chairman of the board, and CEO of Harris Teeter. “We plan to remodel and expand a number of these locations to create brand new Harris Teeter stores to serve our customers.”

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