Friday, April 22, 2016

Yahoo for Sale - Verizon Considered Most Likely Buyer

You may have heard about Yahoo's plans to "spin off" their core web business. Over the past decade, the company lost the battle for market leadership to Google, which was once their smallest competitor, and has gone through several CEOs, still without any significant growth in sight. So, it makes sense that Yahoo wants to make a last-ditch effort to turn their luck around. However, as Tracey Lien stated in her recent L.A. Times article, Yahoo may have given up their plans to turn the business around. Instead, the web powerhouse could be looking to sell while the company is still worthwhile to potential buyers.

The various chief executives have tried everything to bring the company back to its former glory. Millions of dollars were spent to try to make Yahoo into a leader in media and technology, but that never really panned out, especially since the company largely missed the transition to mobile technology. Yahoo's websites get nearly a billion visitors per month, yet Yahoo has yet to gain the kind of big-money advertisers that Google and other competitors are known for snagging. Yahoo even tried starting a $42 million video program to compete with Netflix and YouTube but canceled it after disappointing results in the first season.

One of the company's most valuable assets, at least to analysts, is its $32 billion stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Unfortunately, Yahoo failed to successfully spin off that asset, which just led to more scrutiny by current and potential future investors. According to analysts, Yahoo's changes this month to their employees' severance packages are a telling sign that Yahoo is getting ready for a sale. According to tech analyst Jan Dawson, the only way Yahoo doesn't get sold is if they insist on a price that no one is willing to pay. Even then, Dawson continues, Yahoo could end up looking at a sale again in the near future.

At least 40 potential buyers have done in-depth research into Yahoo's finances, but some companies are looking like more likely buyers than others. Currently, the front-runner in the competition to purchase Yahoo is mobile and broadband company Verizon. Verizon has both means and motive, especially after acquiring AOL last year as part of its attempts to bolster its efforts to become a leader in the media sector. Other potential buyers include Daily Mail, a British tabloid newspaper with similar audiences as Yahoo; Microsoft, which tried to purchase Yahoo in 2008 for $45 billion; and CBS, which could use Yahoo's size to reach a larger audience. There are some rumors that Google could be interested, but Dawson doesn't believe that Google would want to invest a lot of money to gain a business so similar to what they already have.

Some private equity firms could also be interested in purchasing Yahoo, but if they did, it is likely that the company would be broken up and sold off in pieces in the near future. Each asset within the company would be built up, then sold in the right market for greatest potential profitability to the firm. No matter how it goes down, though, it is expected that Yahoo will find itself under new ownership at some point in the next several months. Yahoo has billions of visitors a year, thousands of employees, and has been valued at about $35 billion. Eventually, someone will buy the company. It's just a matter of time.

Find out more about us at Any Questions? Contact our Escrow Expert! Sepulveda Escrow Corporation (818) 838-1831. Follow our company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Millennials Better at Saving Than Previously Assumed

Millennials are often stereotyped as being bad with money. Many people view those 20-something-year-olds as frivolous spenders, more concerned with the here and now than with the future. However, according to recent research, Millennials don't actually deserve this classification. According to Jonnelle Marte's L.A. Times article, they are saving much more aggressively than in past years, and in some cases are saving more than their middle-aged counterparts.

In the study, "Millennials" were defined as consumers between the ages of 18 and 29, and the results blew away many assumptions previously made about their age group. About 62% of Millennials are saving more than 5% of their income for retirement, emergencies, or other future financial goals. This is a significant improvement from last year when only about 42% of Millennials put the same portion of their pay toward savings. Comparatively, it was found that about 50% of consumers between the ages of 30 and 49 were putting as much into savings.

Analysts believe that Millennials' interest in saving money for a rainy day may come from personal experience or what they saw family members go through. Many, especially those straight out of college, struggled to get a job during the recession. Others, even if unaffected themselves, watched as family members were hit by layoffs and saw how hard it was for parents or even grandparents to recover. Likely because of this, 40% of Millennials are putting their savings aside for an emergency, rather than for retirement or something else that would matter the most in the distant future. They know how hard it can be to survive if they unexpectedly lose their job, and as such, want to be sufficiently prepared.

How are Millennials able to save more money now than in previous years? Some are cutting their spending, realizing that instant gratification isn't worth potential financial struggles in the future. Others are getting better jobs or being promoted to better-paying positions in the recovering company, and therefore are earning more money and are more able to put some of it toward savings. Some went back to school when they found that they couldn't find work during the recession and are putting their degrees to use in getting jobs now.

Not all Millennials are choosing to put their money aside for emergencies. Many are saving in order to be able to afford big purchases in the near future. About 27% are saving for a future home, 26% are saving for a car, and 36% are saving to go on vacation. No matter what they are saving for, researchers agree that Millennials have come to understand the value of saving, often more than their older counterparts. When asked about their major goals, the majority chose "saving", while smaller, but still significant, portions chose "leading a healthy lifestyle" or "paying down debt." Saving money can have a positive impact on anyone's life, so it's a good thing that more individuals have come to realize the value of saving over spending.

Find out more about us at Any Questions? Contact our Escrow Expert! Sepulveda Escrow Corporation (818) 838-1831. Follow our company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Not All Tesla Customers Will Get Expected Tax Rebates on Model 3

Tesla's new electric vehicle, the Model 3, is making waves throughout the market. Thousands of buyers are looking to get their hands on the luxurious, energy-efficient, affordably-priced car. At $35,000 before any governmental rebates, the Model 3's price can't be beaten by other electric vehicle producers. Thousands of dollars in state and federal rebates are offered to buyers, thus making the car an even better deal, but the rebates are not as easy to get as a buyer might think. According to Rob Nikolewski's article in the L.A. Times, buyers shouldn't count on the rebates when determining whether they can afford to purchase Tesla's Model 3.

Just this week, Tesla allowed potential customers from around the world to put down a $1,000 deposit in order to reserve their Model 3, which won't actually hit the market until December 2017. In the first 3 days, over 270,000 customers reserved their future vehicle, drawn in by its price, appearance, and the Tesla brand name. Many also took into account potential rebates that they expect to receive from the government, which Nikolewski considers an unfortunate oversight. According to him, most of the government rebates could run out by the time people get behind the wheel of their Model 3.

Southern Californians can receive $7,500 from federal subsidies and $2,500 from state subsidies when purchasing one of Tesla's electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the subsidies are only allowed for a certain number of customers. After 200,000 Tesla vehicles have been sold, the government will start to phase out the subsidies until, eventually, there will be none left. Additionally,  the state recently announced that wealthy buyers (a head of household income of greater than $340,000 or a single filer income greater than $250,000) will not qualify for the state rebates at all. So, some buyers are trying to play the odds to have the greatest chance of getting the $10,000 in tax rebates.

One customer in Santa Monica, Paul Scott, decided to go for the $50,000 version of the Model 3, which comes "fully loaded." Scott's logic in ordering the most expensive model is that he assumes that Tesla will produce their more expensive models earliest, which means that he will have a greater chance of getting the rebates before they run out. Either way, Scott asserts, he is fully willing to buy the car, whether he gets the tax credit or not. Other buyers, however, don't even seem to realize that the tax rebates are not a definite source of income. They are assuming that the price will automatically be $10,000 less, and are making their purchasing decisions with incorrect numbers, a mistake that they will regret.

Tesla needs to make the terms much more clear for customers. While $35,000 is still an incredibly low price, especially for a high-end, energy-efficient vehicle that grants owners the use of Tesla's supercharger stations, customers will not be happy if they find out that they won't be able to get the $10,000 in tax credits that they had expected. For all we know, California may decide to raise the number of individuals to which they will grant rebates, in order to encourage more potential buyers into greener vehicles. So, it is possible that a lot more than 200,000 customers will get tax credits. Either way, Tesla needs to make the situation as transparent as possible so as to avoid upsetting customers and losing potential customers forever.

Find out more about us at Any Questions? Contact our Escrow Expert! Sepulveda Escrow Corporation (818) 838-1831. Follow our company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Disneyland to Incorporate Surge Pricing in Response to High Demand

Nearly 40 years ago, Robert Crandall, the then chairman of American Airlines, first employed a "dynamic pricing" system through which customers could get "super saver" fares, which adjusted based on demand and seat availability, among other factors. Since then, dynamic pricing has spread throughout many markets, which has caused surge pricing to be more of a normal part of the economy. As described by James Peltz, in his L.A. Times article, Disney became one  of the most recent companies to join airlines, online retailers, and ride-sharing applications in employing dynamic pricing.

While Disney's decision to incorporate surge pricing at Disneyland and its other theme parks may have come as a surprise to many customers, business analysts saw it as the sensible move for the company. Airlines are able to fill more seats without becoming overbooked using dynamic pricing because the pricing strategy encourages customers to buy seats on days where demand is usually lower. In that way, both customers and airlines can benefit. Customers are able to get a discounted price while airlines are able to sell tickets and fill seats on an otherwise underbooked flight. In much the same way, Disney will be able to control daily traffic to some extent.

Under the new policy, visitors will have prices ranging from a 4% discount on low-traffic days to a 20% surcharge on exceedingly busy days. This plan allows Disney to follow the same laws of supply and demand that all businesses do. Disney's supply is limited since they can only allow a certain number of visitors at any given time. Very often, especially in the summer months, when many people are out of school or are able to take time off from work, more people want to enter the parks than can be safely admitted, so some have to be turned away. This is bad for business, because it reduces the number of tickets Disney can sell, and it leaves potential customers with a bad taste in their mouth and make them less likely to want to return to the park in the future.

So, rather than turning away potential customers, surge pricing can convince customers that their day of enjoyment at the park might be more worthwhile if rescheduled to a different day. If they visit the park on a low-traffic day, the visitors will not only receive reduced prices, they will also be in a much less crowded park, which will allow them to enjoy more rides and attractions. Dynamic pricing has become more prevalent in the society because of improvements in computing technology. American Airlines was able to employ surge pricing originally because they had a computing system that allowed them to easily compare prices and availability, enabling them to sell seats at competitive prices. For most businesses, dynamic pricing was impossible until their data became much more computerized.

From ride-sharing services like Uber to the stock market to auto dealerships, dynamic pricing has spread throughout most markets. Data is key in determining competitive pricing. Teams use data from previous games and sales of merchandise in order to determine which games will be most in demand, and therefore should have the most highly-priced tickets. Pricing for hotels can be determined based on the events happening in the area and the level of demand for short-term housing. In general, improvements in computing technology have made pricing a huge part of sales and have improved the profit margins of many businesses. In the future, dynamic pricing will likely spread to every business, thus giving customers a choice. A potential customer may not like the increased price, but when it comes down to it, they can either take it or leave it. Every customer has the choice whether to purchase something or not.

Find out more about us at Any Questions? Contact our Escrow Expert! Sepulveda Escrow Corporation (818) 838-1831. Follow our company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+.