What Shakespeare Can Teach You About Reviews

A drifting barge was about an hour away from hitting BP’s oil installations at the Valhall oilfield in the North Sea, a spokesman said on Thursday.

When asked about the risk of an oil spill, company spokesman Jan Erik Geirmo said: “It depends on which platform the barge hits as there are several installations in the field, but there is no oil stored on the platforms, it’s transported by pipelines.”

The remaining platform staff was expected to be evacuated within the next 15 minutes, he told the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by William Hardy)

What Ancient Greeks Knew About Events That You Still Don’t

Investor enthusiasm for highly valued private tech companies waned substantially in the fourth quarter last year, with new data revealing that the growth of the so-called ‘unicorn’ herd slowed dramatically.

Just nine tech companies last quarter became unicorns, or venture-backed companies valued in the private market at $1 billion or more, according to data released on Thursday by CB Insights, which tracks venture capital and angel investments globally into private companies.

That compares to 23 companies that became unicorns in both the second and third quarters last year.

“Sentiment got very negative” toward the end of the third quarter, Anand Sanwal, CB Insights CEO and co-founder, said in an email. “And while we expected that would manifest in the funding stats, we were surprised to see the hit so quickly – in just the next quarter.”

With an abundance of cash available in the private market, startups have stayed private much longer than in previous tech booms, sustained by funding rounds of hundreds of millions, and even billions, of dollars. Along the way, their valuations swelled.

According to CB Insights, there are 144 unicorns globally with a cumulative valuation of $525 billion.

But market turbulence last summer brought anxieties about those valuations to the forefront, and investors began showing more discretion.

San Francisco mobile payments company Square Inc took a 42 percent discount in its initial public offering in November, stoking fears that the public market would not support highly priced tech companies.

The data from CB Insights offers new evidence that investors have responded by tightening their purse strings. In the fourth quarter of last year, there were 39 financing deals of $100 million or more. There were 72 such deals in the third quarter and 65 in the second quarter.

These so-called mega-deals first appeared in 2014, according to venture capital analysts.

“Some of these big deals are cannibalizing what would have been IPOs,” said Tom Ciccolella, U.S. venture capital leader at consulting firm PwC.

Overall venture capital funding fell 29 percent to $27.3 billion in the fourth quarter from $38.7 billion in the third quarter. The number of financing deals also dipped from 2,008 to 1,743.

7 Reasons Abraham Lincoln Would Be Great At Google Hangout

Apple suppliers Cirrus Logic Inc and Qorvo Inc estimated third-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations, exacerbating fears about softening iPhone demand.

Cirrus shares slumped 9.5 percent to $24.25 in after-market trading on Thursday, while Qorvo’s fell 12.4 percent.

Cirrus said it expected third-quarter revenue of about $347 million, well below analysts’ average estimate of $385.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Chipmaker Qorvo said it expected third-quarter revenue of about $620 million, well below the average analyst estimate of $723.7 million.

Japanese daily Nikkei, citing parts suppliers, said output of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models would be cut by about 30 percent in the January-March time frame so dealers could offload stock.

(This story corrects the first paragraph to say Cirrus and Qorvo estimated third-quarter, not current-quarter, revenue below analysts’ expectations. It also corrects the headline to conform.)

Blogging Mistakes That Will Cost You $1m Over The Next 10 Years

The alliance between automakers Renault and Nissan will launch more than 10 cars with self-driving technology over the next four years in the United States, Europe, China and Japan, the partnership’s leader said on Thursday.

The alliance also said it hired technology executive Ogi Redzic to lead its connected car efforts as senior vice president for connected vehicles and mobility services. Redzic most recently worked at mapping business Nokia HERE overseeing the automotive business group.

Vehicles with self-driving technology will debut this year, said Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and chairman of the Renault-Nissan alliance. The cars will have a feature called “single-lane control” that allows them to drive autonomously on highways without switching lanes.

Renault-Nissan will also launch an app for mobile devices this year that allows users to interact remotely with their cars, such as by controlling music or the car’s temperature.

By 2018, Ghosn said the alliance will start selling vehicles with “multiple-lane control,” meaning they can autonomously change lanes on highways and navigate heavy traffic. By 2020, the alliance will have cars that can drive through city intersections and heavy city traffic on their own.

Several companies, including Tesla Motors (TSLA.O) and Google Inc (GOOGL.O), are working to build self-driving cars and technology that allows users to control their cars from their smartphones.

Renault-Nissan is a partnership between Paris-based Renault and Japanese carmaker Nissan that combined the companies’ engineering teams. They still operate as two separate companies.

How China Made Me A Better Salesperson Than You

Yahoo is working on a plan to cut its workforce by at least 10 percent and it could start the process as early as this month, Business Insider reported, citing sources.

“We are not confirming this rumor or commenting further”, Sarah Meron, a spokeswoman for Yahoo told Reuters on Thursday in an e-mail.

The layoffs, which would result in more than 1,000 people leaving the tech giant, is set to affect Yahoo’s media business, European operations, and platforms-technology group, Business Insider said on Wednesday.(read.bi/1ZawbOm)

This move follows activist investor Starboard Value LP’s letter to Yahoo on Wednesday ramping up pressure on Yahoo, taking aim at Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer and her leadership team and raising the prospect that a proxy battle is approaching.

Starboard implied that Mayer and her officers needed to go, without naming her specifically.

The activist investor also threatened to shake up the board if Yahoo’s stock continued to suffer.

Yahoo spokeswoman Rebecca Neufeld said the company will provide more details on its turnaround plan prior to its fourth quarter earnings call later this month.

Starboard, which owns about 0.75 percent of Yahoo, has been pushing for changes at the Internet company since 2014, urging it to separate its Asian assets and auction off the core business.

The investor, together with other shareholders, has demanded Yahoo separate the Asian assets, including stakes in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) and Yahoo Japan Corp (4689.T), and conduct an immediate public auction of the core business, including search and advertising businesses.

But Yahoo is resisting, instead pursuing a tax-free spinoff of the core business, which could take at least a year.

Yahoo had appointed management consulting firm McKinsey & Co, in November, to help with the reorganization of its core businesses.

The company also had plans to make big changes to its media unit, restructuring and consolidating it, including making cuts and shuttering some efforts.

In December, Yahoo shelved plans to spin off the Alibaba stake and said it would create a separate company that would house Yahoo’s Internet business and its stake in Yahoo Japan.

Pizza On A Budget: 10 Tips From The Great Depression

Rare disease drugmaker Shire Pharmaceuticals Plc (SHP.L) is preparing to announce its roughly $32.5 billion acquisition of U.S. peer Baxalta International Inc (BXLT.N) as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal would come after Reuters first reported on Dec. 22 that Shire’s latest offer for Baxalta had met the latter’s valuation expectations. It would be one of the healthcare sector’s largest mergers in 2016.

The cash-and-stock deal will value Baxalta at around $48 per share, with a cash component just shy of $20 per share, the people said on Thursday.

Baxalta shares were trading on Thursday just under $39 and Shire stock was at $190.45 a share.

Both parties are confident tax concerns arising from Baxalta’s spin out from Baxter International Inc (BAX.N) will not be an impediment to the transaction but are waiting for a formal legal opinion to come through before signing their merger agreement, the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Shire and Baxalta declined to comment.

The acquisition would mark the culmination of a long pursuit hinged partly on how much cash Shire could offer without triggering additional taxes for Baxalta. Reuters first reported Shire’s renewed effort to court Baxalta in November.

Shire has been eyeing the maker of rare disease drugs since July, when it proposed an all-stock deal for just over $45 per share that was rejected by Baxalta’s board.

Baxalta was initially concerned that accepting a cash offer too soon after being spun off from parent company Baxter could violate rules designed to prevent spinoffs from being used to dodge taxes.

Baxalta develops biotech treatments for rare blood conditions, cancers and immune system disorders. The deal would advance Shire’s strategy of building out a broad platform within the rare diseases space.

Are You Embarrassed By Your Productivity Skills? Here’s What To Do

Naspers, the largest listed company in Africa, said it was not worried about Netflix’s arrival in South Africa, adding it believed the market for video on demand was large enough to accommodate more players.

Africa’s most advanced economy, where a rapid expansion of fiber optic broadband in more affluent neighborhoods has allowed streaming of movies and TV series, was one of more than 130 new markets Netflix entered this week.

Naspers launched its own Showmax video-on-demand unit in August that has been airing a mix of international and local content to build a base of subscribers.

“It’s good news that we have another major player in the market who’ll generate additional interest in internet TV,” Naspers’ Showmax spokesman Richard Boorman said on Thursday.

Netflix enters a market where not only Naspers has a foothold, but four other players, including mobile phone operator MTN, has launched video-on-demand services in the past year and a half.

Naspers has not disclosed any detailed figures about the uptake of Showmax, saying only it has been positive.

As a new segment in South Africa a major challenge has been to get consumers to understand what subscription video on demand is and how it works, said Boorman.

Naspers sees the market for on-demand content growing as the cost of smartphones and tablets fall, faster mobile connections become available and South Africa gets more fiber to the home.

Create Better Affiliate Marketing Campaigns With The Help Of Your Pet

Micro-blogging site Twitter filed a lawsuit in an Ankara court on Thursday, seeking to annul a fine by the Turkish authorities for not removing content Turkey says is “terrorist propaganda”, a source familiar with the case told Reuters.

A Turkish official said much of the material in question was related to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which Ankara deems as a terrorist organization.

A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed the company has taken legal action over the fine without providing further details.

Ankara has taken a tough stance on social media under President Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party he founded. It has temporarily banned access to Twitter site several times in the past for failing to comply with requests to remove content.

But the 150,000 lira ($50,000) fine, imposed by the BTK communications technologies authority, was the first of its kind by Turkish authorities on Twitter.

Twitter, in its lawsuit, is arguing that the fine is against the law and should be annulled, the source said.

The content Turkish authorities have asked to be removed includes tweets in relation to the PKK, which is also considered a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, a Turkish official said. Some tweets are related to the far-left DHKP-C.

“We have shown 15-20 tweets from several accounts to Twitter as examples. We have imposed the fine because Twitter failed to comply with the court order,” this official said.

Transport Minister Binali Yildirim said on Wednesday that Turkey would not give up on its demand for Twitter to pay the fine.

The government has also introduced legislation making it easier for such bans to be imposed. Turkey is among the top countries with the highest number of content-removal requests to Twitter, data from U.S.-based company shows.

My Life, My Job, My Career: How To Podcast The Spartan Way

Deutsche Telekom is facing growing pressure from investors and lawmakers to ensure proper treatment of workers at its American business T-Mobile US.

The German company’s biggest subsidiary has enjoyed two years of rapid expansion in a fiercely competitive U.S. market that has seen it overtake its closest rival Sprint in terms of subscribers.

But it has been accused by its main labor union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), of flouting employees’ rights and was last year found to have engaged in illegal work practices in two U.S. National Labor Relations Board cases.

T-Mobile, which has about 45,000 employees, says it abides by the law and denies mistreating workers.

Two major investors in Deutsche Telekom have expressed concern to the company about the treatment of T-Mobile employees, according to sources. Lawmakers in Washington and Berlin have, meanwhile, called on the German government – which controls 30 percent of Deutsche Telekom – to put pressure on the company to ensure its U.S. business respects workers’ rights.

Pension fund manager APG Asset Management, which owns 0.15 percent of Deutsche Telekom, told Reuters it had requested an update on T-Mobile’s treatment of workers in light of rulings by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the CWA allegations. “Based on this (update), we will consider our position,” it said, without elaborating.

In 2011, APG removed Wal-Mart from its portfolio, citing working conditions and insufficient willingness to allow staff to unionize.

“Human capital management is very important to us,” said APG sustainability specialist Anna Pot. “It is an important indicator of the quality of management.”

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) – Deutsche Telekom’s fourth-biggest shareholder with a 1.6 percent stake – has also expressed concerns to the company about the treatment of U.S. workers, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

NBIM said it had a policy of not commenting on specific investments or companies.

A senior manager at another top-30 Deutsche Telekom shareholder, who declined to be named because his employer does not allow him to discuss individual investments, said it was also concerned about the treatment of U.S. workers, but had not raised the issue with the German company.

Deutsche Telekom declined to comment, saying discussions with its shareholders were confidential.


Following complaints from the CWA, a judge on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in March that a number of T-Mobile’s national policies were illegal.

The violations included those that prohibited employees from discussing wages with colleagues, speaking to the media about their work environment and seeking help from co-workers to gather evidence in disciplinary proceedings.

T-Mobile is appealing against the rulings on two of the 11 practices judged illegal, but has accepted the decisions on the other nine. At the time, it said the judge’s rulings on the 11 policies were only on “a technical issue in the law”, adding: “There are no allegations that any employee has been impacted by these policies.”

7 Surefire Ways Email Segmentation Will Drive Your Business Into The Ground

From the carnitas crisis of early 2015 to the more recent E. Coli outbreak. And now, tough love from Wall Street. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc’s (CMG.N) shareholders have never had it so bad.

At least six brokerages slashed their price targets on the burrito chain operator’s stock on Thursday, a day after the company said it was served with a grand jury subpoena related to a probe into a norovirus incident at one of its restaurants.

Chipotle’s stock, once a Wall Street darling, has lost a third of its value since the end of October, when an E. Coli outbreak linked to its restaurants was first reported.

The shares were down 1.6 percent at $420.02 on Thursday.

Chipotle’s announcement on Wednesday highlighted deepening problems at the chain, which has been plagued by a spate of food-borne illnesses among other issues since October.

Last year started on a sour note, when the company said it would not serve its popular “carnitas” at some restaurants after it found that a key supplier was not complying with its animal-welfare standards.

BTIG analysts on Thursday cut their price target by $134 to $530 and said the consistent negative news flow was keeping investors on the sidelines.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank, who cut their price target to $400 from $480, said until Chipotle identified the source of the outbreak, fundamentals would continue to remain challenged.

Barclays cut its target to $465 from $540.

“Given the series of negative headlines and outsized media/social attention, we believe the time frame for a complete Chipotle recovery is extended,” Barclays analysts wrote in a note.

Chipotle said on Wednesday it was further reducing its fourth-quarter same-store sales forecast, mainly due to media attention surrounding another norovirus incident at a Boston restaurant in December.

The company said it now expects same-store sales to fall 14.6 percent in the fourth quarter, its first ever decline.

Maxim Group analysts said on Monday it was unlikely that same-stores would become positive until 2017.

Despite all its problems, Wall Street analysts still have a largely positive outlook on the stock. Only two of the 34 analysts covering the stock have a “sell” rating. Thirteen recommend a “buy” or higher rating, while 19 a “neutral” recommendation.

While the median price target has fallen to $495 from $766 in the last 90 days, it is still well above the current stock price.

There were no changes in recommendations on Thursday.