Where do America’s foreign students come from?

Where do America’s foreign students come from?

This map from a report by the Brookings Institution shows the hometowns of international students studying at U.S. schools on F-1 visas, which are the most common visas for foreign students. The size of each circle shows the number of students from that city who came to the United States to study from 2008 to 2012. The cities that sent the most students were Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hyderabad and Riyadh, in that order. The U.S. schools that accepted the most students were the University of Southern California, Columbia University, and the University of Illinois. For more data, click below. A tip of the hat to Conrad Hackett.

– Max Ehrenfreund

Read more: http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2014/09/15/where-do-americas-foreign-students-come-from/

Despite Two Industry Bans, Billionaire Phil Falcone Is Eligible For $20 Million Payday

Via Steve Marcus / Reuters

Phil Falcone’s Harbinger Group, a holding company run by a billionaire banned from the hedge fund industry, said in a filing today that Falcone would be eligible for up to $20 million in compensation for the 2014 fiscal year as well as a base salary of $500,000 and a bonus of $750,000, according to a regulatory filing this afternoon. To get the entire haul, he would need to meet certain performance goals. Falcone has not taken any compensation from the Harbinger Group in three years. Falcone first made his riches as a hedge fund manager, where he was one of the wealthiest and flashiest in the industry.

In August, Falcone was banned from the securities industry for five years and his fund, Harbginer Capital Partners, had to pay more than $18 million in penalties in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Falcone and his fund admitted to letting Falcone secretly borrow more than $100 million from the fund to pay his taxes as well as executing a scheme to drive up the price of bonds in order to squeeze a bank that was betting the price would go down and encouraging its clients to do the same. The SEC said that Falcone would still be allowed to maintain his affiliation with Harbinger funds to oversee their winding down.

Following the SEC settlement, New York state’s financial and insurance regulator, the Department of Financial Services, banned Falcone from serving as an officer in any New York–based insurance company for seven years. Falcone’s Harbinger Group owns Fidelity & Guaranty Life, the Baltimore-based insurance company, which has a subsidiary based in New York, Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company of New York. Harbinger also owns a reinsurance company and a majority stake in Spectrum Brands, the consumer product company behind brands like George Foreman, Black & Decker, and Remington.

So what did Falcone do to become eligible for such a big payout from Harbinger?

3. Harbinger’s stock went way up.

Bloomberg

Harbinger’s stock, now worth $11.81, was at $7.70 at the beginning of the year. It’s been on a tear since then, up 53% compared with the Russell 2000 index, up only 40%.

5. Spectrum’s stock is up even more.

Bloomberg

Harbinger’s outperformance has largely been thanks to Spectrum’s own outperformance; the stock is up right over $70, from $44.30 at the beginning of the year, giving it a yearly increase of 57%.

7. Harbinger’s life insurance company, Fidelity & Guaranty Life, went public.

Bloomberg

Although Falcone is banned from the hedge fund game, that hasn’t stopped his holding company from following many other big investors in acquiring and taking public an insurance company. Fidelity & Guaranty Life is one of the insurance assets Harbinger holds; the other is a reinsurance company based in Bermuda. Insurance companies, because they take in money up front that they only have to partially pay back over the future, provide a ready and cheap source of funding for big investors like hedge funds, private equity firms, and holding companies. The insurer went public at $17 earlier this month and is now trading at just over $19 a share. The offering raised $166 million. And from Falcone’s perspective, that all might be worth $20 million — or more.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/after-two-industry-bans-phil-falcone-is-eligible-for-20-mill

The Entertaining And Cringe-Inducing Ways Urban Outfitters Describes Its Customers To Wall Street

Scott Eells / Getty Images

Anyone who has a band is an Urban Outfitters customer. So is the girl who has not yet realized that quirky is sexy. And a huge portion of the company’s $2.8 billion in annual sales comes from the “upscale homeless.”

At least that’s how the management at Urban Outfitters views some of its core customers. While shoppers at its stores, which include Anthropologie and Free People, may not have heard themselves being described this way, investors and Wall Street analysts are quite familiar with the company’s hilariously specific descriptions of its core consumer. Urban Outfitters’ “upscale homeless” customers are people who rent rather than live on the street, Anthropologie shoppers are “the customer you want to have at a dinner table,” and Free People consumers travel “every spring to festivals, Coachella and Wanderlust being her favorite.”

At a September meeting with analysts, Sue Otto, an executive director at Urban Outfitters, joked that after 31 years studying customers of the brand, she may ultimately rack up more experience than Jane Goodall, the famed anthropologist who researched chimpanzees for 50 years. But Goodall never leveraged her research into selling $40 studded iPhone covers or $300 floaty dresses.

Read on to discover which species of retail shopper you are.

“The Urban customer … has a slight degree of angst.”

“The Urban customer, we always talk about, is the upscale homeless person, who has a slight degree of angst and is probably in the life stage of 18 to 26 … The Anthropologie customer is a bit more polished, a bit more older and she has much less angst … She tends to be a homeowner and she tends to be in a relationship and more likely than not, married with children.” — Chief Executive Officer Richard Hayne, September 2012 Analyst Day

Webcast of September 2012 analyst day / Via edge.media-server.com

“The Urban customer is really dressing to attract a mate. The Anthropologie customer is dressing for respectability in her community, with her friends and family.”

“We say that this is the customer you want to have at a dinner table. She’s an optimist. She’s aware of what’s going on in the world, but she chooses to focus on the positives, not the negatives … She shops at J.Crew, she shops at Nordstrom, she shops at boutiques … She may go to Banana Republic for a basic pant, but she’s not buying her wardrobe there. She’s not shopping at Ann Taylor. She’s certainly not shopping at Chico’s.” — Former Urban Outfitters CEO Glen Senk, November 2011 earnings call

Link to Earnings Call / Via shar.es

A dress for respectability… Anthropologie website / Via images.anthropologie.com

And another for snagging that mate. Urban Outfitters website / Via urbanoutfitters.com

“Our customer is from traditional homes and advantage, but this offers them the benefit of rebellion.”

“…Probably when they were little, they saw the older kids do something they thought was really cool, and they weren’t allowed to do it and now that they’re adults, it’s sort of like ice cream for breakfast, they can do whatever they want now. They’re out on their own, independent. So one thing that actually Urban Outfitters is selling now is Beavis and Butthead tees, which sort of surprised me because I was no fan of it, but maybe I was little bit older then, but that was in 1992 … They undoubtedly probably don’t know anything about Beavis and Butthead but simply remember that being something the older cool kids did and something, clearly, they were denied.” — Sue Otto, September 2012 Analyst Day

Via edge.media-server.com

The Urban shopper “leads a pretty cloistered existence.”

“Although they deem themselves worldly, they believe the way they see things personally is the correct way and everyone else feels exactly the same way.” — Sue Otto, September 2012 Analyst Day

Via edge.media-server.com

“At Urban Outfitters, we get it … ‘It’ is whatever walks through the front door.”

“That’s the easiest way to say what ‘it’ is. It is the incoming freshman, the struggling art school kid, the girl who dresses differently than her friends. The kid who has a band, anybody who has a band is our customer. I’m dead straight on that. And the girl who has not realized that quirky is sexy and that being a hipster is not simply a marketing tool, it’s someone that just does something differently than others.” — Kevin Lyons, executive creative director at Urban Outfitters, September 2012 Analyst Day

“The Free People customer is happy. She loves life.”

“She is independent yet loves being with her friends, her family, and her mate. She travels every spring to festivals, Coachella and Wanderlust being her favorite. She runs and practices yoga to stay fit and balanced. She is influenced by fashion but yet seeks inspiration from all over the world to put together a look that is her own. She is a mix of sweet, cool, and boho and everything in between. We target age 26…” — Meg Hayne, Free People president, September 2012 Analyst Day

Free People: Taking a break from those spring festivals and loving life. s7w2p1.scene7.com / Via freepeople.com

Whatever Urban Outfitters is doing seems to be working for the company.

Sales for its most recent year were about $2.8 billion, a 13% increase from the prior period, with most of that coming from Urban and Anthropologie. Here’s a breakdown of how its revenue looked for the year ended Jan. 31, 2013:

Urban Outfitters 10-K / Via investor.urbn.com

Urban Outfitters earning results / Via investor.urbn.com

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/sapna/the-entertaining-and-cringe-inducing-ways-urban-outfitters-d

Yahoo Burned Through $1 Billion In Cash Last Year

Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Yahoo’s fourth-quarter and full-year results are in — and the company still hasn’t turned around its display advertising business.

That’s despite the fact that Yahoo’s cash, cash equivalents, and investments in marketable securities dropped by $1 billion between the end of 2012 and the end of 2013. While Yahoo is still making money — it beat expectations on earnings — and also raising another $1 billion, it is spending a lot of money on buying startups like Tumblr and on its share buyback program, which was just raised to $5 billion.

Despite spending a small fortune on acquiring companies last year, Yahoo’s display advertising business fell 6% year-over-year, excluding traffic acquisition costs. That’s a core business for Yahoo that it is going to have to turn around once its post-Alibaba life begins.

“Our growth year is about two things: stream ads and digital magazines,” CEO Marissa Mayer said on the earnings call. She was referring to a new kind of advertising Yahoo is working on that will fit in with its various formats, like Yahoo Sports, Yahoo News and such. However, given that, Mayer said mobile revenue was “still not material, but the growth trend is really promising.”

The second component of that, digital magazines, referred to rich content from a series of starts the company has hired for its news divisions like Katie Couric, and new revamped sections like Yahoo Tech.

“Over time we do need and will become more efficient,” CFO Ken Goldman said on the earnings call. “At least in ‘13 and ‘14 the focus is getting the ship back to where we can grow again.”

Yahoo still has time to turn around its business, which it will likely continue to do by purchasing startups and finding an identity that will continue to exist once its share of Alibaba — one of the most hotly-anticipated IPOs — dries up. Its share of Alibaba is still demonstrating basically continuing to grow very quickly.

But while Yahoo’s stock has continued to perform well on the strength of its Alibaba stake, the company’s shares are still down more than 3% today after the earnings report.

Update: The post has been updated to include comments from CEO Marissa Mayer and CFO Ken Goldman on the earnings call.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mattlynley/yahoo-burned-through-1-billion-in-cash-last-year

Why Al Jazeera America Doesn’t Care About Its Low Ratings

Screenshot of Al Jazeera America’s logo on its network website. Al Jazeera America / Via america.aljazeera.com

In the five months since its August 2013 debut, Al Jazeera America has already lost more than half the viewers of its notoriously low-rated predecessor, Current TV. The network’s ratings crested at a measly 18,000 average daily viewers and have since fallen to just 13,000, a number the media has gleefully and repeatedly pointed out as pathetic.

Such an abysmal debut would be cause for panic at a normal network. But Al Jazeera America is not a normal network. With the deep pockets of Qatar providing financial support, commercial success is not a primary concern for the network. At least in the short-term, Qatar and Al Jazeera America are perfectly willing to tolerate low ratings in return for having a presence in the world’s largest TV market.

“For Al Jazeera America, if its editorial vision is right and correct, ratings are not
important,” said Wadah Khanfar, who served as director general of the main Al Jazeera network, which is a separate operation from its U.S. counterpart, from 2003-2011. “When I was with Al Jazeera for eight years the ratings were not the issue. We never had the ratings as an integral part of our vision regarding what should be done and what shouldn’t be done.”

While Mark Coatney, the senior vice president of digital at Al Jazeera America, said that he couldn’t speak to how the network’s top brass, including Chief Executive Ehab Al Shihabi and the Qataris, view its ratings performance, he did concede that he and his colleagues benefit from what he described as a unique operating environment. “At least some of those pressures, even the pressures of being in a publicly held company like CNN is, it’s true that we aren’t subject to those in the same way, which is helpful. It does allow some kind of freedom,” he said.

Coatney, however, did say that Al Jazeera America must eventually evolve into a self-sustaining business. “Personally, even from a journalism perspective, I always think you’re in a better position if you’re paying your own way,” he said. “I appreciate any resources but I also want to make sure that we pay the bills.”

He’s right, of course. The ultimate goal isn’t to simply have a presence in the U.S. television market — it is to have a news network with enough influence to impact the nation’s social and political discourse. Al Jazeera America will eventually have to find an audience large and loyal enough to achieve that end. But ratings aren’t the only way to accrue influence and impact, and juxtaposing the costs associated with operating a network with how information and audiences are spreading across the internet and social media, it begs the question: Why bother having a network at all?

An Al Jazeera America representative declined to make network executives available for this story and declined to comment beyond an emailed statement that read: “We are very proud of the objective, fact-based, in-depth journalism we are producing. We are investing in programming, talent and marketing. Our research shows there is a desire for this in the marketplace. We are in this for the long term and we believe we’ll have a strong business with this channel for years to come.”

Two parts of that statement stand out as revealing. The first is the notion that viewers desire another cable TV news network since anecdotal evidence suggests the opposite. The cable TV dial is lousy with news networks, among them Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, HLN, EuroNews, and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze to name a few. Moreover, the cable news audience has been in a steady decline for years, with ratings gains coming from networks stealing viewers from each other instead of growing the total audience with new viewers.

A good test of whether or not Al Jazeera America is what viewers have been longing for will unfold over the next few months now that the network has secured distribution on Time Warner Cable, putting it in an additional 12 million U.S. households. That means Al Jazeera America is now in about 55 million of the nation’s roughly 110 million TV homes, so if there is indeed an appetite for what the network is serving being in more homes should de facto equate to higher ratings.

The seemingly innocuous comment that Al Jazeera America is “in this for the long term” is also revealing. It underscores that the network, which trails its main news networks competitors Fox, MSNBC, and CNN — whose total day audiences last month ranged from 1.2 million for Fox on the high end and 335,000 for CNN on the low end — does not intend to be pressured by short-term concerns.

“They will sustain this channel longer than a pure bottom line operation,” said Abdallah Schleifer, a longtime NBC Cairo bureau chief and executive producer of Control Room, a documentary about Al Jazeera, of Qatar. “Their sense of time is longer.”

Trailer for interview with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on “Talk to Al Jazeera” that aired Sunday, December 15. Al Jazeera America / Via youtube.com

Khanfar, Schleifer and others interviewed for this article were careful to note that the journalism Al Jazeera produces, both abroad and now in the U.S, is not Qatari propaganda. Khanfar said that when he was running Al Jazeera the network’s only mandate was to produce a unique brand of journalism not found in the mainstream media. Still, he conceded that his annual meetings with Qatar’s finance minister to negotiate the bulk of the network’s budget came with the expectation of getting something in return.

“No state in the world is a charitable organization,” Khanfar said. “Qatar has got a lot of branding.”

Putting the impact of the network more bluntly, Schleifer said: “Jazeera helped make Qatar famous, it wasn’t the other way around.”

What is true about the relationship between Al Jazeera and Qatar internationally is also true with regard to its U.S. network, which is to say that for now it would rather accumulate prestige than profit. Supporting evidence for the argument can be gleaned from Mohamed Nanabhay, who led digital operations for Al Jazeera’s English-language network (which is also separate from Al Jazeera America) from 2009 to 2012.

“You could be there and just not worry about the commercial side of the business and not worry about the viability of the organization just because it was funded well,” Nanabhay said.

The cumulative historical experiences related by these former Al Jazeera executives, as well as the comments made by Coatney and the statement provided by Al Jazeera America, suggests that the same blueprint Qatar has used in operating the network around the world is being applied to its new U.S. network. Indeed, Coatney described to Buzzfeed the few all-hands meetings he’s witnessed since his arrival at Al Jazeera America. Hosted by the network’s CEO, Ehab Al Shihabi, these meetings usually start with some housekeeping and then break into Q&A. While the questions often focus on the details of the operation, Coatney said that they sometimes drift to broader issues like what success for the network will look like in five or ten years.

Tellingly, when the question about the network’s future was asked recently, it was fielded not by the CEO, who controls the pursestrings, but instead by Kate O’Brian, the network’s president and head of editorial.

Al Jazeera America anchor Ali Velshi. Ramin Talaie / Getty Images

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/why-al-jazeera-america-doesnt-care-about-its-low-ratings

What Cable TV’s Family Ties Mean For Time Warner

Jim Urquhart / Reuters / Reuters

Kimberly White / Reuters / Reuters

 

Liberty Media’s John Malone and Comcast’s Brian Roberts

Despite its hundreds of millions of subscribers and hundreds of billions in annual revenue, the U.S. cable television industry has always been a mom-and-pop operation. Not unlike the Hearst, Murdoch or Graham family dynasties of the newspaper industry, the cable industry is controlled by a few very powerful, if less recognizable, families.

Thanks to dual class voting structures, Comcast’s Roberts family, Cablevision’s Dolan family and Liberty Media’s John Malone, among others, have been able to retain ironclad control of their companies even though they are public and, in theory, owned by shareholders. (See the chart below from a report by Macquarie Equities Research for a breakdown of family economic vs. voting interest.)

Macquarie Equities Research

Indeed, the lack of family ownership, and therefore voting control, is part of the reason why Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable TV distributor with 12 million subscribers, is currently being targeted for a takeover. And it is no coincidence that the two most likely buyers of it, either independently or in tandem, are Comcast and Liberty Media.

As the second chart below illustrates, Malone and the Roberts family have both reshaped and risen to the top of the cable TV industry through dealmaking. And while the Dolan family hasn’t been very active dealmakers, they have been pioneers in terms of industry innovation.

But as technology has reshaped the industry, many cable TV families have followed the lead of their newspaper counterparts and exited the business in recent years, leading Macquarie Equities Research analyst Amy Yong to speculate in a note this week that the Dolan family may seek to leverage the interest in Time Warner Cable to “enter into the M&A mix and use this opportunity to sell.”

It should be not at all surprising that if that were to happen, the Roberts family or Malone would be the most likely buyers.

Macquarie Equities Research

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/peterlauria/what-cable-tvs-family-ties-mean-for-time-warner

Here’s how likely it is that a robot will take your job

Here’s how likely it is that a robot will take your job

One misperception about technological change is that the people who lose their jobs are all in low-paid professions. While manufacturing employment has fallen due to automation, there are very low-paid, menial tasks that are next to impossible to automate (such as janitorial work) and high-paid professional fields which could see automation reduce employment (such as radiology).

The above table, listing professions based on their likelihood of seeing technologically-prompted job losses going forward, makes this point well. Yes, telemarketers and retail workers will see their jobs automated away. But so will technical writers and accountants, both solidly upper-middle-class professions. Even economists see a reasonably high likelihood of automation-caused job loss. Dentists and the clergy, however, are safe — for now.

Click “Know More” to read Ryan Avent’s excellent article on what we can learn from the last time automation disrupted the economy in a big way — the Industrial Revolution— and what is missing from the usual narrative about it.

Read more: http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2014/01/17/heres-how-likely-it-is-that-a-robot-will-take-your-job/

Apple Finally Has A Head Of Retail

Paul Hackett / Reuters

Apple has hired Angela Ahrendts, the CEO of luxury retailer Burberry, to run its retail operations — filling a spot that has been vacant for about a year.

Apple’s original head of retail, Ron Johnson, first left Apple to be CEO of J.C. Penney in June 2011. He was replaced by John Browett, who ended up being a bad fit for the position and was let go around this time last year during a major reorganization at Apple. Chief creative officer Christopher Bailey will take Ahrendts’ place at Burberry as CEO.

Ahrendts will start at her new job in spring 2014, reporting directly to Tim Cook. She’ll also run Apple’s online stores, per the company’s announcement. Ahrendts was on a list of several executives speculated to take the job, which included the likes of John Culver, president of Starbucks Coffee China and Asia Pacific; Paul Gainer, executive vice president of Global Disney Store; and Jeanne Jackson, president of Direct to Consumer at Nike. Johnson’s name was also often thrown around as a potential replacement, given his disastrous exit from J.C. Penney. (Johnson told Bloomberg Television today that Ahrendts was a “terrific choice” and she will be “exceptionally well-received.”)

Last month, Burberry began using the new iPhone 5s as part of a promotional marketing campaign where it shot photos and video of Burberry’s runway show using the phone. At the time the company said it was “paving the way for significant changes in how [customers] capture and share their content.”

Apple has been aggressively expanding its retail operations, particularly in China. Revenue for Apple’s retail stores this most recent quarter ending in June was $4.1 billion, about the same this quarter a year ago. Each retail store brings in about $10 million in revenue, 120 million visitors in 2012 (nearly as many as Disney’s parks in 2011). Even stepping down from a CEO role, Ahrendts will oversee a roughly $19 billion business (for its 2012 fiscal year) — nearly 9 times that of Burberry’s $2.3 billion retail business in 2012.

Ahrendts has been CEO of Burberry, which focuses more on luxury fashion — and even has the phrase in its tagline — than more mainstream outlets, since 2006. She was one of the highest-paid executives on the FTSE, according to The Daily Mail, bringing in £16.9 million last year (or about $27 million).

Here’s what Tim Cook said about her in a memo to employees, according to 9to5Mac:

She shares our values and our focus on innovation. She places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people. She believes in enriching the lives of others and she is wicked smart. Angela has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record. She led Burberry through a period of phenomenal growth with a focus on brand, culture, core values and the power of positive energy.

It’s tough for Apple, which has the world’s highest sales per square foot at $6,050, according to researcher RetailSails, to find executives from retail companies that come even remotely close to that. Burberry has said it averages about £1,000 per square foot, which is about $1,600. To put that in perspective, Tiffany & Co. is around $3,000 while Lululemon is closer to $2,000. Burberry lands below Coach and above Michael Kors.

“Burberry is kind of a high-end luxury brand, there’s been this discussion about Apple for the last couple of quarters as, are they high-end or looking for mass market,” said S&P CapitalIQ analyst Scott Kessler. “This indicates very clearly what Apple is focused on. You could see Apple taking more control over its distribution.”

Ahrendts has been instrumental in driving up Burberry’s in-store productivity by connecting its online and offline worlds, so that customers can access thousands of items once only available online in person, or receive something that’s out of stock in stores via mail in 48 hours. While this now seems hardly revolutionary, retailers, generally, have been slow to seize such technological advances in recent years, especially with hundreds — not thousands — of locations, and lagging e-commerce platforms.

She has also overseen the development of Burberry “private client associates” in flagship stores, who give extra service to ultra-high net worth customers who may not even want to go into stores and want products brought to them. The company ended last year with 100 of those, Ahrendts said in a November 2012 conference call.

“It’s a very different way of shopping and service will be one of the biggest differentiators in driving productivity long term,” she said at the time.

Ahrendts, a 53-year-old parent, is a graduate of Ball State University and hails from the small town of New Palestine, Indiana. Prior to Burberry, she served as an executive vice president at Liz Claiborne, giving Apple a retail executive not only savvy in digital and brick-and-mortar sales but also fashion — the sort of skew Apple might seek if it seeks to break into the market for wearable technology like the supposed “iWatch.”

“This is an amazing development and totally unexpected place for a tech company to search for a CEO,” Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, a luxury research firm, said in an e-mail. “As for whether she has the chops, we will see. After all, we haven’t see Apple technology retailing experience translate well to mass retail, i.e. J.C. Penney. At the same time, Burberry is a very technology-savvy luxury marketer and the misstep I think for Ron Johnson was stepping from very specialized and relatively high-end retail environment into the world of mass marketing. Ahrendts should have a much easier transition from Burberry to Apple.”

In 2012, Greater China represented Burberry’s fastest growing major market and this consumer was prominent throughout the retail network, according to its 2012 annual report. Ahrendts’ experience in international sales and high-end retail dovetails with Apple and Cook’s emphasis on expanding into emerging markets with retail, particularly China.

“A lot of people vis-a-vis Apple think about it as a race to the bottom, but in China and other emerging markets there are high-end, luxury-type consumers,” Kessler said. “That’s what you need to keep in mind, she’s had a lot of experience there.”

Under Ahrendts, Burberry’s stock price rose sharply and sales more than tripled. Ahrendts and Burberry have also already gained many fans in U.S. tech circles, with the company frequently being highlighted by companies like Salesforce.com during its annual Dreamforce conference and Google as part of its campaigns. The Silicon Valley tech world is, in the long run, quite small — so it’s not hard to imagine Ahrendts’ credibility built up through these relationships was enough to woo Apple and Cook.

Essentially, while Apple has a large online operation, the Apple Store serves as a major showroom to impress first-time and less-certain Apple product buyers, especially in countries where carrier stores and subsidies are less common. Apple CEO Tim Cook also said he wants to double the number of retail stores Apple has — currently 405 — over the next two years.

Updated, 12:02 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect more information about the Burberry CEO.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mattlynley/apple-finally-has-a-head-of-retail

Vornado Selling 14 Million J.C. Penney Shares In “Not-Too-Distant Future”

Bloomberg / Getty Images

Vornado Realty Trust said it will sell its remaining 14 million shares of J.C. Penney in the “not-too-distant future,” confirming speculation that it would follow activist investor Bill Ackman out of the stock.

“That company’s gone through a lot of angst with Bill Ackman having taken control, having recently sold his 20% block in the company,” Joseph Macnow, Vornado’s executive vice president of finance and chief administrative officer, said at a Barclays conference on Monday. “Our block, the remaining block, is not a long-term hold for Vornado. We will be out of J.C. Penney in the not-too-distant future.”

Vornado, which joined Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management in pressing for changes at J.C. Penney starting in 2010, sold 10 million of the shares in March, almost half its stake. While Ackman left the retailer’s board after a bitter public dispute last month, Vornado chairman Steven Roth stayed on.

Mark Semer, a Vornado spokesman, said in an e-mail to BuzzFeed that the company has no comment on the timing of the sale or whether Roth will remain on the board.

Vornado’s decision comes as prominent hedge funds buy into J.C. Penney, including Glenview Capital, J. Kyle Bass’s Hayman Capital, and Soros Fund Management. Macnow noted the liquidity of J.C. Penney shares.

J.C. Penney’s current chief executive officer, Mike Ullman, who took control again after a disastrous 17 months under ex-Apple retail chief Ron Johnson, is doing well in his interim position, Macnow said.

“He has done a very good job of pulling it back together because Ron Johnson’s philosophy, while splendid, tore apart the company and confused the customer,” he said at the conference. Vornado has not taken a position on “contentious activity” among board members on J.C. Penney’s future, he said.

Vornado, which was the second-biggest J.C. Penney shareholder before its March sale and remained in the top 10 as of last month, sold its most recent batch of stock at $16.40 a share. The shares closed at $13.94 each on Sept. 11.

Vornado, with about $2.8 billion in revenue last year, is one of the largest U.S. owners and managers of commercial real estate.

Update – Sept. 12, 1:22 a.m., EDT: This update included Vornado’s response.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/sapna/vornado-selling-14-million-jc-penney-shares-in-not-too-dista