Morning Money Memo…
It’s merger Monday and today’s big deal is in the retail industry.
Dollar Tree is buying rival discount store Family Dollar for about $8.5 billion. Among the big winners is billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who announced last month that he had purchased more than 9 percent of Family Dollar shares.
Stockholders of Family Dollar Stores will receive $59.60 in cash and the equivalent of $14.90 in shares of Dollar Tree for each share they own. The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close by early next year.
Shares of Family Dollar jumped more than 20 percent after the merger was announced this morning. With flat living standards and cautious consumers, dollar stores have seen their sales rise in recent years.
Zillow Plans to Buy Trulia
Zillow says it plans to buy its online real estate rival, Trulia, for $3.5 billion in an all-stock deal. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.
The combined company will maintain both the Zillow and Trulia consumer brands, offering buyers, sellers, homeowners and renters access to information about homes and real estate, and providing advertising and software products for real estate professionals.
“Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals,” said Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff. “Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships.”
Malls React to Shrinking Retailers
Many shopping malls have been facing tough times as some struggling retailers either close large stores or reduce the size of their outlets.
There’s even a website, deadmalls.com, which documents “the demise of many of these great giants of retail.”
Some mall operators are fighting back with new entertainment sites to attract shoppers. These include family bungee jumping, ice rinks, batting cages and expanded food courts at large indoor malls.
Fast Food Workers Add Civil Disobedience to the Menu
Fast food workers from across the country have voted in suburban Chicago to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation by including civil disobedience.
More than 1,300 workers gathered Saturday in Villa Park, Illinois. They voted to add sit-down strikes and restaurant occupations to their campaign to win $15-an-hour wages and a union.
Industry officials say a $15-an-hour wage would hurt job creation, and that the solution is more education and job training. Cindy Enriquez said at the convention that the $8.25 she makes an hour at a McDonalds in Phoenix makes her dream of going to college impossible.
The workers’ effort is supported by the Service Employees International Union. Their actions so far have included one-day strikes and a protest outside this year’s McDonald’s shareholder meeting.
Hopes for Stocks
Investors on Wall Street are hoping for some improvement today following Friday’s disappointing close. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 123 points to close at 16,960.
Stock futures fell slightly this morning. Since the beginning of this year the broad based S&P 500 has gained 7 percent.
Big Week for Economic Surveys and Corporate Reports
This is a big week for economic surveys, with new data expected on home sales, prices, 2nd quarter economic output and the monthly employment report from the Labor Department on Friday.
Solid corporate earnings have been keeping the five-year bull run going on Wall Street. Seventeen major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results this week. Eight firms report Tuesday, including Aetna, Merck, Pfizer, Reynolds American and UPS.