FINANCE

VeriFone to acquire Hypercom

BY CSA STAFF

San Jose, Calif. — VeriFone Systems, a global leader in secure electronic payment solutions, and Hypercom Corp., the high-security electronic payment and digital transactions solutions provider, Wednesday announced a definitive agreement under which VeriFone will acquire Hypercom in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $485 million, including net debt assumed by VeriFone.

“Consistent with our vision as a global leader in secure electronic payment solutions, we have placed strategic focus on replicating our North American success in key markets in continental Europe,” said VeriFone CEO Douglas G. Bergeron. “Hypercom has established itself in a number of important European markets, and this acquisition is an excellent and complementary way for us to accelerate our overseas growth, increase innovation and build value for our shareholders.”

The transaction is subject to approval by Hypercom shareholders and customary regulatory approvals, and is anticipated to close in the second half of 2011.

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OPERATIONS

Best Buy offers free online shipping

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Best Buy has become the latest retailer to offer free shipping for select online orders for the holidays.

The chain said the offer, which is good through Dec. 21, is valid on hundreds of thousands of items, including all CD’s, Blu-Ray and DVD movies, as well as gaming software and accessories.

Other retailers have begun offering free shipping programs to entice shoppers to open their wallets this holiday season, including Wal-Mart Stores, J.C. Penney and Target Corp.

In addition to the free online shipping offer, Best Buy recently launched an enhanced Store Pickup Plus program, which features such benefits as same-day pick-up in-store, allowing customers to designate a friend or family member to pick up their items in-store or ship out-of-stock items to their local Best Buy at no additional cost.

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OPERATIONS

Williams-Sonoma chairman emeritus, former CEO, Howard Lester dies

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco — W. Howard Lester, chairman emeritus and former CEO of Willliams-Sonoma, died Nov. 15 from cancer at his home in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 75.

Lester purchased the company with a partner in 1978, when it generated $4 million in annual sales and had four stores. During his time as CEO, from 1978 to 2001, and later as chairman, Lester took Williams-Sonoma public and expanded it to 600 stores and more than $3.4 billion in sales, the company said yesterday in a statement.

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