Housing.com and PropTiger merge in an all-stock deal, raise $55 million in fresh capital
The Economic Times
News Corp-backed real estate website PropTiger has merged with Housing.com in an all-stock deal, bringing to an end the contentious saga of the Mumbai startup and creating one of the country's largest digital platforms for property listings. As part of the deal, the combined entity will raise $50 million from News Corp-owned online real estate advertising company REA Group and another $5 million from Japan's SoftBank, the primary investor in Housing.com. The fundraising will be executed at a valuation of about $250 million for the merged company, people familiar with the deal terms said, declining to be identified. Housing has been valued at about $70 million, unchanged from two months ago, when it raised $5 million in bridge funding from Soft-Bank, two of them said. PropTiger and Housing did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
From marketplace to market: Flipkart gears up for Nasdaq listing in 2018
E-commerce marketplace Flipkart has hired one of the Big Four audit firms to prepare for its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq. The consultant had begun due-diligence, which would last 18-24 months, people familiar with the development said. A Flipkart spokesperson declined to comment. Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, who was elevated as group chief executive officer (CEO) on Monday, said in a mail to employees that one of his key tasks was to see the IPO through. Bansal was replaced as CEO by Kalyan Krishnamurthy, an aide of Lee Fixel, founder of Tiger Global, the largest investor in Flipkart. The move is seen as Fixel's effort to cash his investment in Flipkart, first made in 2010. This will also provide an exit to other investors such as Accel Partners, DST Global and GIC. Flipkart is yet to post a profit, despite a revenue of Rs 15,000 crore in 2015-16, and does not qualify for an IPO in India because of the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s requirement of a minimum Rs 15 crore average pre-tax operating profit in at least three of the five preceding years. “For more than a quarter, the company has been working on meeting requirements of a Nasdaq listing. An IPO is possible in the next 12-18 months,” said a Flipkart executive. “As Flipkart moves towards a monetisation strategy in a stock exchange, there is a need for a professional CEO, who is seen in a better light by retail and institutional investors,” said Amarjeet Singh, partner, tax, KPMG in India. In 2015, Flipkart was working on an international listing, however, the company’s co-founder and current chairman Sachin Bansal said in April 2016 Flipkart would not go public soon. “We will take a call at the right time. At present, we do not need to,” he said. Experts said Tiger Global was trying to create build Flipkart’s image after a series of markdowns by key investors like Morgan Stanley, a management exodus and intense competition from Amazon. “Tiger Global, the biggest investor in the company, is trying for a listing before perception clouds judgement,” said an analyst. According to data platform Tofler, Flipkart India and Flipkart Internet together earned Rs 15,129 crore ($2.2 billion) in 2015-16, up from Rs 10,390 crore in 2014-15. Their losses mounted to Rs 2,850 crore from Rs 2,000 crore a year ago. Flipkart India is the wholesale cash-and-carry company, while Flipkart Internet is an e-commerce marketplace that books commissions on each sale.
McDonald’s cooks up new Indian breakfast menu including masala dosa burgers
The Economic Times
McDonald's is planning a breakfast revolution with a branded menu that will include culinary delights that range from the quaint — masala dosa burgers with molaga podi sauce — to the familiar — anda bhurji. The McBreakfast is aimed at luring consumers early in the day with new dishes, some of which will only be available in the morning, in the hope that this will help perk up business in a sluggish industry. The new menu, a combination of continental and Indian options, will be launched by the weekend, initially in Mumbai and then across India. "We continue to look at inspiration from Indian cuisine and bring it as a McDonald's format which will give you flavours from the west but the familiarity of Indian," said Amit Jatia, vice-chairman of Westlife DevelopmentBSE 3.09 %, which runs McDonald's restaurants in the west and south. The focus on breakfast isn't new for McDonald's. For instance, some of its restaurants have been opening early and dishing out egg, cheese and sausage muffins since 2010. And neither is the borrowing from Indian food. About two decades ago, McDonald's took a cue from street food and launched the Aloo Tikki burger, which went on to become one of the fastest-selling products in its stores. What's new, however, is the launch ofan entire range as a separate menu, according to McDonald's. Apart from masala dosa burgers, it will also sell spinach and corn and hash brown brioches, along with plain and masala scrambled eggs, waffles and hotcakes. The company had a similar strategy for coffee and hot beverages when it launched the McCafe three years ago as a distinct format. The latest move is also an attempt to adopt a healthier tack with most of the dishes being grilled, rather than fried.
Airtel accuses Trai of being ‘mute spectator’ to extension of Jio free services
India’s largest telecom services provider (TSP) Bharti Airtel Ltd has filed an additional affidavit with the telecom appellate tribunal, accusing the sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) of attempting to wipe out competition by acting as a “mute spectator” to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s move to extend free services. “Free services being offered by the said TSP (Jio) are ex-facie predatory as they have been introduced solely to drive out competition rather than encourage it...,” Airtel said in its affidavit filed before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on 9 January. “Trai has failed to act against the said TSP, and is in fact allowing its own orders to be violated by the said TSP, which continues to offer illegal free services in spite of Trai’s direction. This will lead to wiping out the competition in the market and is thus against the interest of the telecom industry,” it said. On 23 December, Airtel first moved the TDSAT. In its 25-page petition, it asked the quasi-judicial body to direct Trai to ensure that Jio does not provide its free voice and data plan beyond 31 December. It alleged that violation of Trai’s tariff orders has been continuing since March 2016, causing “significant prejudice and day-to-day loss” to it and “affecting its network” as it has to bear asymmetric traffic due to the free call offer by Jio. Jio first launched an inaugural free voice and data plan beginning 4 September and later extended it till 31 March.
Flipkart’s PhonePe crosses 10 million downloads on Google Play Store
Flipkart-owned mobile payments start-up PhonePe Internet Pvt. Ltd has crossed over 10 million downloads on Google Play Store, after it witnessed a rapid growth in downloads and transactions following the government’s decision to scrap old high denomination currency notes on 8 November. In an interview on Tuesday, PhonePe founder and CEO Sameer Nigam said the payments app has launched in nine languages and is also poised to launch on Apple’s mobile app store. PhonePe has already launched the beta version of the app on Apple’s iOS. “We bet really long on UPI (unified payments interface) and immediately after demonetisation with HDFC and SBI and all major banks coming on the network, we’re best placed to actually exploit the ready network. And that’ll help us grow both our transaction pace, as well as value—and that’s grown by about 80X in the last nine weeks,” said Nigam, adding that PhonePe hit the 10-million downloads figure on Monday. The Unified Payments Interface is a quick and easy way to send and receive money on the phone using a virtual address. The latest landmark from PhonePe comes on the heels of the biggest management overhaul in the history of Flipkart, India’s most valuable Internet start-up, which on Monday appointed its first-ever so-called professional (and non-founder) chief executive, elevating former Tiger Global Management executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy to the hot seat.
Former INSEAD students set up fund to invest in alumni start-ups
Two INSEAD alumni have started a new investment firm called InseadAlum Ventures in Singapore with a capital of nearly $700,000 to invest in start-ups founded by ex-students of the international business school. InseadAlum Ventures will invest between $35,000 and $140,000 in each start-up and will help develop it to a point where it can raise further seed or Series A funding, a media statement said. The firm is founded by Deepak Shahdadpuri, managing director of Singapore-based venture capital firm DSG Consumer Partners, and Will Klippgen, co-founder of investment firm Cocoon Capital. The fund announced its first investment in UK-based smart thermostat start-up Switchee Ltd where it participated in a $580,000 seed round of funding. “We are extremely pleased to become part of the InseadAlum Ventures portfolio. We look forward to working with Will and Deepak, and to leveraging their extensive expertise and that of the INSEAD community as we grow Switchee further,” said Switchee’s managing director and an INSEAD graduate, Adam Fudakowski. The investor base of InseadAlum includes successful alumni entrepreneurs like Jani Rautiainen, co-founder of PropertyGuru, South-east Asia’s largest property portal; and Aloke Bajpai, principal founder of India’s largest online travel search portal iXiGO.com.
Anuj Puri quits JLL India; Ramesh Nair takes over as CEO, country head
Anuj Puri, chairman and country head of JLL India, the country’s largest property advisory firm, has decided to quit to start his own real estate venture. Chief operating officer Ramesh Nair will take over Puri’s position on 1 March. Puri joined JLL in 2007 when his company Trammell Crow Meghraj (TCM) merged with the Indian arm of global real estate firm JLL. This formidable partnership gave rise to the largest real estate services company on the Indian subcontinent, the company said in a statement on Monday. “It’s been an incredible 10 years at JLL, but now is the time to step back and reflect before moving in a new direction,” said Puri who has been in the real estate business for 22 years. He will head the company till 28 February. In a telephonic interview, Puri said he “wants to become an entrepreneur once again,” and start his own real estate venture, without revealing details. “We have done stunningly well. I have done to the level that I could bring it within JLL and I thought from here onwards it needed different skill sets to take it to the next level. It has been going on in my mind for nearly 14-15 months and for about nine months ago, I agreed with JLL that I will call it quits,” Puri said. “Going forward, the business requires a more technology-focused, more younger person to be able to drive and that’s where Ramesh was the right fit,” he added. As chief executive officer (CEO) and country head, Ramesh Nair will be responsible for overall direction, strategy and growth of JLL’s India business. “He joined JLL in 1999, has risen swiftly through the leadership ranks and has been a member of the India Leadership Council since its inception in 2008,” the company said. He will report to JLL’s Asia Pacific CEO Anthony Couse. In 2013, he was promoted to the role of chief operating officer, India and became an international director in 2014. “Anuj Puri has been a great asset to JLL over the past 10 years, and has imparted a distinct identity to the firm due to his large industry stature and contributions… I look forward to working with Ramesh closely—and to seeing him put into action exciting new growth plans for our India business, which is almost Rs3,000 crore in size,” Couse said.
Virat Kohli hints at launching new sports, lifestyle products
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli has hinted at launching new labels and products in the lifestyle and sports categories as he continues to build an empire off the field. “I need to have a life after cricket. And not knowing what I want to do in life, I’ve started with stuff that I can connect to and resonates with me,” he said. Kohli, 28, endorses 17 brands currently. On Monday, smartphone maker Gionee said that it had signed on the cricketer. Other brands that he endorses include Swiss luxury watch maker Tissot, men’s ethnic clothing brand Manyavar, Punjab National Bank, MRF Tyres, Colgate’s SuperFlexi Toothbrush and real estate developer Nitesh Estates. While Kohli’s three-year contract with German sportswear maker Adidas AG is over, his team is in talks with two other leading brands to further consolidate his endorsements portfolio.
FreeCharge to be wallet partner for Jaipur LitFest
The Economic Times
FreeCharge, India's fastest growing digital payments platform, announced Tuesday its association with Zee Jaipur literature festival as the exclusive wallet partner to provide a swift and secure way to make cashless payments during the festival this year. FreeCharge has partnered ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), the world's largest free literary festival, with a vision in line with the growth of digitisation and ensuring secured payments in the fastest and most effective way possible. "We are thrilled to be associated with the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. It's a unique amalgamation of cultures, books and opinions from across the globe. This will be the first cashless edition of the Festival, and we are proud to enable that. We are determined to enhance the Festival experience for attendees with less than ten second transactions and exciting offers built exclusively for them," Govind Rajan, CEO, FreeCharge, said in an official statement. FreeCharge will be partnering with all JLF vendors across books, food and beverage, merchandise and stationery categories to ensure seamless cashless payments coupled with daily exciting offers, all in less than 10 seconds. Customers will be able to choose from the enormous assortment of different food stalls and booksellers for their favorite without having to worry about cash.
Capgemini launches competition for early stage startups
The Economic Times
Capgemini has started a competition that will give five early-stage startups a chance to secure $50,000 in equity free funding, networking opportunities, access to experts and the opportunity to become a partner with the French IT services firm. Entrants have until the end of February to take part in the global competition through the website www.innovatorsrace50.com. Then ten startups will be chosen each from five categories -- govtech and social enterprises, fintech and mobility, consumers and well-being, digital processes and transformation, and data and security. The fifty startups will then be whittled down to ten, two from each category after personal meetings with experts. In April and May, the ten finalists will get an opportunity to meet tech and industry experts in five of Capgemini's Applied Innovation Exchanges in London, San Francisco, Munich, Mumbai and Paris.
Telcos’ fight for a shrinking pie will end up in disaster
It won’t be long before Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s total investment exceeds Rs 2 trillion, or around $30 billion. While Jio’s capital expenditure has always looked massive, perhaps what is not as widely appreciated is the fact that the industry’s total revenues stand at around $27 billion. To add to this, incumbents are forced to upgrade their networks to match Jio’s generous offers, and as a result, investments chasing mobile voice and data revenues have ballooned lately. At the same time, the revenue and profit pie is shrinking. Wireless revenues of incumbents are set to fall by around 5% sequentially in the December quarter, thanks largely to Jio’s decision to offer its services free. And regardless of when it starts charging customers, peers such as Bharti Airtel Ltd have already started cutting tariffs. It is unlikely that average usage will increase substantially. As such, revenues can be expected to continue declining in the near term. In this backdrop, what would be the assumptions under which Jio and other large telcos can generate passable returns? Analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities provide a reality check with some numbers. Assuming a pre-tax return on capital employed (RoCE) target of 10%, and depreciation at 8% of capital employed, Jio would need to generate $5.4 billion in Ebitda on its capex of $30 billion. And assuming a generous 45% Ebitda margin, Jio would need to reach revenues of $12 billion. To generate an RoCE of 18%, as Mukesh Ambani suggested in an interview earlier, the Ebitda needed would be $7.8 billion. This would mean revenues need to be around $15.6 billion, assuming that higher revenue entails better margins of around 50%. This can only happen if India’s telecom market expands rapidly after shrinking in financial year 2017-18. A decent 30% market share for Jio means industry size needs to be as much as $52 billion in about five years (the period involved in Kotak’s analysis). This is nearly double the current market size, and a rather unlikely scenario, given where penetration levels are already. The other possibility is that the fierce price war results in some large casualties, leaving Jio with a 40-50% share of the market. But none of the large incumbents is even close to thinking of giving up. Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone India Ltd are well funded, and the former has made rapid strides to protect its turf. Idea Cellular Ltd, although relatively less capitalised, is exploring the sale of its tower assets to raise funds. As such, the battle for market share is expected to remain intense. Unfortunately, this will drive down tariffs as well as profits. As Kotak’s analysts write in a note to clients, value creation can happen “if one can resist the monopoly-appeal or winner-takes-all mindset.”
MobiKwik offers zero surcharge at petrol pumps to boost digital payments
Domestic mobile wallet platform MobiKwik on Tuesday announced zero surcharge on all transactions at petrol pumps and LPG gas payments. "The announcement of zero surcharge on all petrol pumps and LPG transactions will benefit consumers and will motivate them to continue using digital payments," said Upasana Taku, Co-founder of MobiKwik, in a statement. MobiKwik is currently accepted across petrol pumps and gas stations in 20 cities that includes all major Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum pumps in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Hyderabad, among others. The company also powers digital payments for LPG companies like Indane, Bharat Gas and HP. MobiKwik has also launched a lighter version of its app named MobiKwik lite in Hindi, English and Gujarati for tier 2 and tier 3 cities across India.
India Auto Sales Plunge Most in 16 Years on Modi’s Bank Note Ban
India’s automobile sales fell the most in 16 years last month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unprecedented clampdown on cash prompted consumers to delay their purchases of cars, motorcycles and trucks. Automobile sales fell 19 percent to 1.2 million units in December, the biggest drop since the same month in 2000, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers in New Delhi. Passenger vehicles sales dropped 1.4 percent while scooters and motorcycles -- a key indicator of rural demand -- fell 22 percent, the biggest monthly contraction on record. “Demonetization has had its impact on the industry although we feel it is a temporary phase,” Vishnu Mathur, director general of SIAM, told reporters in New Delhi. India’s budget, scheduled for Feb. 1, should include measures to increase disposable income of consumers to improve sentiments, he said. The drop in auto sales is yet another indication that Modi’s move to suck out 86 percent of the currency in circulation is slowing Asia’s third-largest economy. The industry will miss its 12 percent sales-growth target if Modi’s budget doesn’t include sops for the industry, Mathur said. Gross domestic product is expected to expand 6.8 percent this fiscal year, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 18 economists. That’s slower than the 7.7 percent expansion predicted before Modi’s Nov. 8 move.
L’Oréal to Acquire Three U.S. Skin-Care Brands for $1.3 Billion
L’Oréal is bolstering its U.S. business in the dynamic active cosmetics segment. The world’s largest beauty company said on Tuesday that it has signed a definitive agreement with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. to acquire the CeraVe, AcneFree and Ambi skin-care brands for $1.3 billion in cash. The trio of labels – with their respective focuses on dry skin, acne, and dark spots and brightening – generates yearly revenue of about $168 million combined and puts L’Oréal head-to-head with Nestlé’s blockbuster Cetaphil brand. Analysts deem the new labels make a propitious fit. “The acquisition will almost double the size of L’Oréal’s Active Cosmetics Division in the U.S. – a market where the group is still relatively under-represented, given the lack of its natural distribution platform – pharmacies, for instance,” said Eva Quiroga, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. “These will compliment L’Oréal’s active skin-care portfolio with brands that are positioned more in the ‘accessible price segments,’ distributed in mass channels, drugstores, beauty stores and online,” wrote Céline Pannuti, an analyst at J.P. Morgan Cazenove, in a research note. “The acquisitions also broaden L’Oréal’s presence in baby care and sun care in the U.S. market, where for example, CeraVe witnessed a nearly threefold growth in sun care over 2010 to 2015, reaching $27 million,” continued Nicholas Micallef, senior beauty and personal care analyst at Euromonitor International. “With such performance, this is a double win for L’Oréal, as it reinforces its position in these categories with targeted products.” CeraVe, founded in 2005, was developed with dermatologists. It comprises a line of skin-care products, including cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens, healing ointments and a range for babies, with medium retail price points between $7 to $22, and estimated annual sales of $140 million, according to J.P. Morgan Cazenove. L’Oréal considers CeraVe to be among the fastest-growing skin-care brands in the U.S., with average gains over the past two years of more than 20 percent. AcneFree, with medium product prices ranging from $6 to $33, markets and distributes a collection of over-the-counter cleansers and acne treatments in the country, while Ambi, at $6 to $13, includes skin care created for multicultural consumers. All three brands are built on strong relationships with health professionals and are widely distributed, highlighted Frédéric Rozé, president and chief executive officer of L’Oréal USA.
Day of the Titans: Trump Meets Arnault, Jack Ma
Luxury and e-commerce were on President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda Monday at Trump Tower as he met separately with LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and Alibaba’s Jack Ma. It was Trump’s first meetings with such high-level fashion industry moguls and the ostensible aim was to talk up the president-elect’s goal of growing jobs in the U.S. And he summed up both meetings in his typical way. Here’s Trump on Arnault: “One of the great men, you know that, right? And they all love this country. They’re going to do some wonderful things in this country,” he said, adding “jobs, a lot of jobs.” And here’s the president-elect on his meeting with Ma: “We had a great meeting and [he is] a great, great entrepreneur, one of the best in the world. And he loves this country and he loves China. You just saw what happened with Fiat, where they’re going to build a massive plant in the United States, in Michigan, and we’re very happy, and Jack and I going to do some great things. Small business, right?” The chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton told the press assembled in the Trump Tower lobby that he is considering expanding his factories, including two in the U.S. Arnault is looking at sites in North Carolina and Texas and Trump said he is also considering a location in the Midwest. “We may expand our factory that we have in California and build one either in Carolina or in Texas,” Arnault said. “We have built some Louis Vuitton products for 25 years in California, in San Dimas, and we’re going to expand because of the success of the product,” he added. “We are looking at two possibilities, but it will be done shortly.” The San Dimas site, opened in 1990, includes two leather goods workshops. Each Louis Vuitton workshop, whether in France or overseas, typically employs around 250 craftsmen. Details of the discussions between the president-elect and Arnault were scarce, but a person familiar with the matter said Trump had proposed the meeting some time ago. It was part of a series of appointments with major fashion figures that have included Ma as well as the top editors from Condé Nast last week. Beyond jobs, Arnault and Trump are said to have discussed the global economic situation and economic relations between the U.S. and Europe, the source said. Arnault does have a major financial interest in meeting with Trump in terms of the Louis Vuitton flagship at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Stores in the area around Trump Tower at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street have been severely impacted by security precautions put in place to protect the president-elect. Some retailers in the neighborhood have said their business has declined by 30 percent or more because shoppers are being scared off. Arnault’s son, Alexandre, was also seen with his father in the Trump Tower lobby and likely was at the meeting with the president-elect. He was said to be toting an example of LVMH’s latest acquisition, a Rimowa suitcase. This wasn’t the first time the luxury titan has met with a president. Arnault met with President Obama at the White House in 2011 when he traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive the Corporate Citizenship award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Jobs were also the main topic of discussion during Trump’s meeting with Alibaba executive chairman Ma and its president Michael Evans. Sean Spicer, incoming White House press secretary, said, “During the meeting, the president-elect, Mr. Ma and Mr. Evans will be discussing how Alibaba can create one million U.S. jobs by enabling one million U.S. small businesses to sell goods in the Asian marketplace.” Spicer did not elaborate on a call with reporters on how the new jobs would be created. Many Chinese and foreign companies already sell on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, such as Taobao and Tmall. Ma said the meeting was “productive.”
Oblonsky Named CEO of Nine West and Bandolino Divisions
Joel Oblonsky has been named chief executive officer of Nine West and Bandolino division of Nine West Holdings, Inc., effective immediately. Oblonsky stepped down in September as president of Ralph Lauren’s Polo and Lauren Footwear brands, posts he held since 2007. He also served as president of Lauren Accessories since 2009. Earlier he was president and chief operating officer of Nina Footwear Corp. from 2004 to 2007, and from 1991 to 2004, held a variety of management roles within Nine West Group, where he served as president of Bandolino from 1999 to 2002. “We are very excited to have Joel return to Nine West as ceo of the Nine West and Bandolino division,” said Ralph Schipani, interim ceo of Nine West Holdings. “Joel has a deep understanding of operations and strategy, bringing two decades of senior leadership experience in footwear and accessories. We believe Joel is a great fit for Nine West and Bandolino given his familiarity with our brands and his track record of profitably growing businesses, and we look forward to his immediate contributions.” A company spokeswoman couldn’t comment on whom Oblonsky succeeds in the role, or whom he reports to. Nine West Holdings has a portfolio of brands that includes Nine West, Anne Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt and l.e.i. The company is owned by Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm.
Macy’s Partners With ‘Say Yes to the Prom’ for Dresses and Jewelry
Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications, has teamed up with Macy’s to be the exclusive retailer for the new “Say Yes to the Prom” dress and jewelry lines. Featured as a shop-in-shop in Macy’s juniors department, the “Say Yes to the Prom” collection will consist of 28 different styles of dresses from two manufacturers, Bee Darlin and City Triangles, all under the “Say Yes to the Prom” label. Dresses, in junior sizing from 0 to 15, retail from $149 to $189, while jewelry, which includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets and hair pieces, retails from $10 to $28. Both the jewelry and dresses will be available at macys.com on Feb. 1 and at Macy’s, beginning Feb. 15.The “Say Yes to the Prom” retail tie-in is part of a larger TLC philanthropic initiative created by Discovery Communications, which is in its sixth year. The initiative serves nearly 1,000 underserved and academically high-achieving students across the country, providing a complimentary dress or tuxedo for the high school prom. It also includes one-on-one style sessions with TLC’s Monte Durham and Betsey Johnson and mentorship, scholarship and internship opportunities as students prepare for their next journey: college and careers. The initiative was spawned by the popular “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC, which has a devoted fan base with millions of viewers who have turned in weekly for 14 seasons to find the perfect dress for their weddings. According to Leigh Anne Brodsky, executive vice president of Discovery Global Enterprises, the company started talking to Macy’s more than a year ago about the “Say Yes to the Prom” collaboration. “This is a franchise that’s so much a part of the zeitgeist. When you say, ‘Say Yes,’ people know what it is. It’s become part of the vernacular,” she said. Macy’s liked the idea because it was not just a flashy TV show, but that it would appeal to Millennials because “it actually has some heart to it and some meaning to it,” she said. “’Say Yes to the Prom’ has a pro-social component, which is a big attraction for Macy’s,” she added. Brodsky described the initiative as a 360-degree program that has several different touch points, including digital, television, retail and e-commerce. The pop-up shops range from 400 to 500 square feet in 150 Macy’s doors, and 800 to 1,000 square feet in the top 50 doors. The stores will also provide prom tips on mannequin hangtags. Life-size paper doll cutouts for “Say Yes” selfie moments feature dresses from the “Say Yes to the Prom” line. Girls can snap a selfie and post to social media.
This mystery Dubai startup is only hiring under 25s
Dubai's largest property developer, Emaar, has set the upper age limit on new hires for a venture called e25. "25 future leaders under the age of 25 will establish and manage a new start up to take the performance of Emaar to new heights," e25 says on its website. It's far from clear how e25 is planning to achieve that lofty goal. Emaar declined requests for more detail. Candidates are being asked to fill out an online application form, giving basic personal information such as education and nationality. They also have to answer a single question in less than 1,000 words on how to exceed expectations when shaping the future of Emaar. The advertisement lists high academic performance, entrepreneurial spirit and creativity as some of the requirements for the roles. The United Arab Emirates does not have legislation on age discrimination in the workplace. The Arab world is suffering from the highest rate of youth unemployment globally. It stood at 30.6% in 2015, more than double the global average of 12.9%. The problem may get even worse. The International Labor Organization says even energy exporting countries in the region could see a rise in unemployment among young people as economic growth slows in response to lower oil prices. Emaar is best known for developing Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world. But its chairman, Mohamed Alabbar, has recently shifted his focus to the digital world. Last year, he announced plans to create Noon, a new e-commerce platform based in Riyadh, in partnership with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. He also partnered with Yoox Net-A-Porter to bring the online luxury retailer to the region.