A Bitcoin of Sunshine, Bancorp’s $200 Million Mess and TreeHouse Foods Has a Healthy Appetite

Move over marijuana!

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The hottest new item to get California legalization has nothing to do with cannabis and a whole lot to do with money. The Sunshine State and its very emlightened Governor Jerry Brown just signed a bill into law legalizing alternative currency. Sure, bitcoin is at the forefront of this list, but it’s far from the only currency that stands to gain from this new legislation. Think Amazon Coins, Starbucks Stars and the ever-industrious community currencies designed to help give small business a nice little boost. In other bitcoin news bits, the IRS, peculiarly enough, isn’t requiring US taxpayers to report their bitcoin holdings in their Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report (FBAR) which are due today, even though every other piece of information is required on that report. Then there’s the bitcoin extortionist who is trying to extort several business with demands of payments of one bitcoin. If the demand is not satisfied by a certain date, the price goes up to three bitcoins. Ironically the would-be extortionist (who could use a lesson or two on executing that particular felony) used the US postal service to mail his demands for the virtual currency. Not really sure how that works and I’m guessing it’s not going to.

Another one bites the dust…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

US Bancorp becomes the latest bank to pay up hundreds of millions of dollars for approving bad mortgages under the False Claims Act. The bank joins an illustrious and exponentially growing list of misbehaving banks including Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and SunTrust Mortgage. Between 2006 and 2011, US Bank certified oh so many loans for the Federal Housing Administration that oops! didn’t actually qualify. Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery didn’t mince his words about his feelings toward the bank: “By misusing government programs designed to maintain and expand homeownership, US Bank not only wasted taxpayer funds, but inflicted harm on homeowners and the housing market that lasts to this day.” I’m guessing he wont be taking out any mortgages with the bank in the near (and far) future. But on the bright side, the bank did graciously cooperate with the Department of Justice to whom it will pay $200 million. Isn’t that a relief?

Crunch time…

Image courtesy of antpkr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of antpkr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

TreeHouse Foods is buying Flagstone Foods for the very appetizing price of $860 million. Hey! Why that’s $660 million more than what US Bancorp has to pay for screwing over taxpayers. Anyways, TreeHouse, maker of store label brands, non-dairy creamers and pickles  – among other products, of course – is eager to sink its limbs into the $7 billion healthy snacks industry and figured a purchase like this is the way to go. (I, too, was shocked that healthy snacks was a multi-billion dollar industry, especially, since I prefer M&Ms and Coca Cola myself.) After all, the Minneapolis-based company that puts out all kinds of trail mixes and dried fruits had almost $700 million in sales for 2013. TreeHouse is hoping this tasty move will churn out $750 million in annual revenue.

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