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Aug. 12 2016 12:15 PM

Some Rascal Masquerading as Wall Street’s Bud Fox Just Called in to a Corporate Earnings Meeting to Ask About Harambe

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

We’ve seen some crazy things on earnings calls before, but this has to take the cake.

During Ruby Tuesday’s second-quarter earnings call, an unidentified caller posed as Bud Fox, Charlie Sheen’s character from the movie “Wall Street,” and asked CEO JJ Buettgen if the burger chain’s business had been affected by the death of Harambe.

Aug. 10 2016 1:08 PM

SolarCity Is Planning to Sell Solar Roofs

Tesla is getting into the roofing business. Well, sort of.

CEO Elon Musk joined SolarCity’s second quarter earnings conference call on Tuesday. Musk is chairman of SolarCity, but Tesla is also in the process of buying the company in a deal worth $2.6 billion.

During the call, SolarCity’s CEO Lyndon Rive, who is also Musk’s cousin, said that SolarCity has plans to reveal two new products by the end of the year. Musk, though, elaborated and said that at least one of those new products is a solar roof.

“It’s a solar roof, as opposed to modules on a roof,” Musk said.

Rive confirmed that the company was indeed going to roll out a roofing integrated product.

Aug. 9 2016 12:22 PM

Japanese Messaging App Line Is Now Beating Facebook in Its Home Country

Messaging is already huge.

And Line is perfectly positioned to ride the trend to untold riches. The app—which has more than 200 million monthly active users globall—has four to five times the number of monthly active users as Facebook in Japan and is similarly popular in Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia.

David Gibson, an analyst at Macquarie Research, thinks the company’s stock price will shoot up 32 percent higher on the Japanese markets. The main attraction isn’t even the crazy popular messaging app, but rather it’s the ad platform behind it.

“Our report is differentiated from others in the market because we met with six major ad agencies to understand their attitude to the LINE Ad Platform,” Gibson said in a note to clients.

The biggest markets for mobile ads in Japan are Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo Japan. These markets are great but are not expanding, meaning prices are rising as more demand meets a stagnant supply.

Aug. 5 2016 2:45 PM

Why Nike Is Giving Up on Making Golf Equipment

Nike is ending its golf-equipment business, as the sport fails to connect with millennials.

On Wednesday, the athletic-apparel brand announced that it will transition out of selling golf clubs, balls, and bags. The company will, however, continue to sell golf footwear and apparel.

The news comes after a rough patch for Nike golfers, as well as a decline in interest in the golf industry as a whole.

Aug. 4 2016 3:58 PM

SeaWorld Is Trying to Give Its Inhumane Image a Makeover. It’s Not Working.

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

SeaWorld Entertainment reported dismal attendance numbers for the first half of 2016, and the stock is nose-diving.

SeaWorld reported earnings right in line with analyst expectations at $0.21 per share. However, it missed on revenue with a reported $371.1 million for the second quarter against analyst expectations of $375.1 million.

Additionally, the company lowered its guidance for profits this year, projecting EBITDA of $310 million to $340 million, lower than its previous projection of $335 million to $365 million.

The biggest factor, however, is attendance. Attendance at the company’s parks has been on the decline for some time after the documentary Blackfish took aim at SeaWorld’s controversial treatment of its famous orcas. This inspired backlash against the parks and contributed to the drop in attendance.

Attendance for the second quarter was down by 494,000 guests compared with the same quarter in 2015, a 7.6 percent drop.

The company had been heavily investing in a positive public relations campaign to turn around attendance and has even announced it will phase out its ownership of orcas and theatrical shows featuring the whales, its main attraction, because of animal welfare concerns.

CEO Joel Manby tried to explain the drop in a release accompanying earnings:

While implementation of our plan through the first half of 2016 is delivering early indications of progress outside of Florida, second quarter overall was below expectations we shared in May, primarily due to an accelerated decline in Latin American guests at our Florida park locations, an overall downturn in the Orlando market in the latter half of June, and the impact of Tropical Storm Colin. Latin American attendance is down approximately 40 percent, or 235,000 guests, year-to-date.

The release did not offer an explanation why Latin American attendance had dropped so significantly.

Following the news, SeaWorld's stock fell 13.75 percent, down $2.04, to $12.80 a share, as of 10:03 a.m. ET. The stock is now down over 50 percent over the past two years.

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Aug. 3 2016 1:43 PM

Starbucks Is Recalling 2.5 Million Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

On Tuesday, Starbucks issued a recall on its stainless steel beverage straws, after reports of mouth injuries.

The recall includes reusable stainless steel, Cold-to-Go drinking straws for both Grande and Venti sizes.

“Starbucks has received three reports in the U.S. and one in Canada of mouth lacerations to young children while drinking,” the company said in its recall announcement. “Consumers should not allow children to handle or use the stainless steel straws.”

The straw and items featuring the straw have been pulled from Starbucks’ online store. The coffee giant sold about 2.5 million units of the straws in the U.S., and an additional 301,000 in Canada.

Aug. 1 2016 2:38 PM

A McDonald’s in Wales Is Piloting a Drive-Thru for Pedestrians

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

McDonald’s is testing a drive-thru for customers without cars.

A McDonald’s in Llandudno, North Wales recently opened a drive-thru lane for pedestrian customers, reports the Sun. The test was reportedly an immediate success, leading to the restaurant making the walk-thru lane a permanent fixture.

July 29 2016 11:26 AM

Yahoo Is Being Sold, but It’s Hiring Like Crazy. Huh?

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

July 18 was a big day at Yahoo: It announced its second-quarter earnings and took the final bids for the auction of its core business, which eventually sold to Verizon.

But it appears that day marked the start of a new trend at Yahoo as well—a massive hiring spree.

July 28 2016 12:27 PM

Why Sports Authority’s Bankruptcy Has the Rest of the Retail Industry Feeling Spooked

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Sports Authority’s bankruptcy and total liquidation means more than just the end of an iconic sporting goods dealer.

It could spell trouble for retailers.

Bloomberg reports that Sports Authority’s collapse has made retailers concerned about the way they have been operating.

“You could make the argument that given the state of retail, everyone’s going to be analyzing—whether or not it’s retailers or lenders—what makes the most sense and, in particular, vendors,”  Mike Murray, senior managing director at Wells Fargo & Co, said to Bloomberg.

The consignment business model is one area that retailers are concerned about, as Bloomberg notes that Sports Authority explained in court documents that the business had $85 million worth of consigned items in stores at the beginning of its bankruptcy.

July 25 2016 12:39 PM

Nintendo’s Stock Plummeted After It Said Pokémon Go Would Have a Limited Effect on Its Business

This post originally appeared in Business Insider Australia.

Shares in Nintendo, which owns 32 percent of the global phenomenon Pokémon Go, have tanked in trade on the Nikkei.

The stock closed down by more than 17 percent on Monday, following a statement from the company late Friday that the financial impact of the smartphone game would be “limited.”

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