Wal-Mart’s New Change is Making a Dash for it; Glassdoor’s Latest List Might Just Have You Rethinking Your Workplace; Mega Merger Round Two

 

A dash of this… 

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Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Big news from Wal-mart today. Huge news, in fact. The retail giant is changing its name… to Walmart. Are you stumped? Okay. Here’s a hint: The company is ditching the dash in its name. Or hyphen. Or line.  Or whatever you want to call that thingy in the middle of its name that’s been there since the retailer was incorporated back in 1969. And not that Wal-mart has anything against dashes, hyphens or lines, mind you. It’s just that Walmart, or Wal-mart, depending on how much you care about the dash, feels that legally changing its name to omit the dash emphasizes the fact that it sells merchandise both online and off. Got it? Neither do I. But I’m guessing Wal-mart must have done some hefty research to arrive at this conclusion. This conclusion being that if you want to give Amazon a run for its money then hyphens be damned. Apparently they don’t exactly scream out e-commerce leader and thus the little unassuming line will be getting the boot come February 1. And if you happened to have grown attached to the name “Wal-mart Stores,” then I have bad news for you. The company will also legally be droppping the word “stores” from its official name. And presumably there is research to support this move as well. Go figure.

How’s that cubicle looking?

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Image courtesy of James Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s that time of year again where you get to be reminded that you, in fact, do not work for a great company and it’s time to get off your butt and do something about it. Glassdoor did a little research via anonymous employee reviews and came out with a list of the top companies, according to their employees. And wouldn’t you know it – a social media company that goes by the catchy name of Facebook tops the list for the third year in a row. And if you think employees like working there just for all the amazing cafeterias then you’d be partly right. It seems the company’s mission-driven culture and impact on the world really resonates with its employees. Over at Bain & Company it’s all about company culture and competitive compensation packages. Which explains why the consulting firm came in at number two. Other names you know on the list: In-N-Out Burger takes spot number 4. Besides the tasty milkshakes and Double-Double burgers and fries employees enjoy on daily basis, they also get paid vacation time and 401(k) plans, among many many other perks. Google comes in at number 5 and I’m guessing the massages and excellent parental leave plans have something to do with that impressive ranking. Even yoga apparel maker Lululemon lands on the list at the number 6 spot. How zen. A newcomer to the list is St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Given the company’s mission, to help heal sick children, the company culture of literally trying to save as many lives as possible makes this a place where people love to work.  To see if your company made the cut or you just want to do a little research on where you’ll be applying for your next job, check out Glassdoor’s Best Places to work list.

Da-merger…

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Image courtesy of Tony Dowson/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today’s mega healthcare merger is brought to us by UnitedHealth and DaVita, as the battle for healthcare dominance continues to make Wall Street swoon with all the billions involved. Not to be outdone by the $69 billion CVS Health/Aetna deal announced earlier this week, UnitedHealth Group has plans all its own for its nifty not-so-little unit called Optum. Optum is plunking down close to $5 billion in cash for another nifty entity called DaVita Medical Group, which is a subsidiary of the aptly named DaVita Inc.  Now, what’s so special about DaVita Medical Group that’s got UnitedHealth throwing billions at it? The company has hundreds of urgent care centers, surgery centers and medical clinics across the country that, besides providing invaluable services, also, presumably, bring in tons of cash.  Apparently, these mega-mergers are meant to benefit consumers by offering a host of services and benefits at lower costs than what companies can offer on their own. While the verdict’s still out on that bit, plenty of healthcare professionals are also waiting with bated breath to see if and how it will impact them, either positively or not. Until then I would advise you to just stay healthy.

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CVS Not Getting Smoked; Home Depot Data Breach? Check; Viva La Truce!

Quitter…

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You might want to think about skipping CVS today if you were jonesing for a cigarette. Well maybe you should consider skipping the cigarette altogether, but I digress. Since really this is all about how CVS is kicking the cigarette habit out the door from all of its 7,700 plus establishments. It’s also launching a campaign to get people to be quitters – of smoking, that is. CVS is hoping that with its new “wellness” initiative it will attract even more consumers to those thousand of stores. And CVS is gong to need all the customers it can get as this move is expected to cost $2 billion in annual revenue. That’s a lot of wellness to make up for. Besides dumping its tobaacco products, CVS is also dumping the name CVS Caremark and is now going by CVS Health. Got that? The move was initially slated for October 1, but I guess they decided the sooner, the better (to lose that $2 billion). By the way, Walgreens has not announced a similar plan.

Breached…

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Home Depot officially joins the illustrious ranks of companies who’ve been targeted (no pun intended – well, maybe just a little) with a data breach. To be fair, however, the issue is still under investigation after some “unusual activity” was noted. Hmmm.  Apparently a large cache of sensitive info made its murky little way onto some dubious black market sites. Of course, customers will not be responsible for any charges incurred as a result of the breach. Because it would be rude to hold a customer liable for such a thing. Just to be on the safe side, Home Depot is taking a page from its fellow data breach victims and is offering free ID protection. The home improvement company is just hoping its breach will be nothing comapred to Target’s $150 million breach, from which it is still reeling. The theft is thought to have been perpetrated by Ukranian or Russian hackers. How this is known I really couldn’t tell you. But some very official sources have said said this and probably could tell how they know but are probably not allowed to share such information, I presume. And of course, the stock took a a 2% hit over this recent revelation.

Making up is fashionable to do…

Image courtesy of John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The long awaited truce has finally arrived. Of course, I am referring to the one between the world’s numero uno luxury brand LVMH and equally luxurious and ridiculously expensive retailer Hermes. What? That’s not what you thought I meant? Were you expecting a different truce? Anyways, after four years of intense, but supremely fashionable courtroom drama, the two sides have reached a very posh agreement where everybody wins. LVMH has graciously (and grace never goes out of style) agreed to sell off most of its 23.2% stake in the 177 year old, family controlled, Hermes, to the tune of over $4 billion. Also LVMH will not pursue a takeover, for the next five years anyway. It all started when LVMH kept scooping up Hermes stock in an attempt to takeover the illustrious maker of those outrageously expensive handbags. Except that it acquired all that stock in a way that didn’t require it to declare its stock acquisitions until it was almost too late, for Hermes that is. And who could blame LVMH? After all Hermes’ annual revenue consistently increases by at least 10% every single year.