In the News 22.01.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
Friday 22nd January, 2016
The Secret Deal to Merge Net-a-Porter with Yoox
Prologue: For months, the fashion world has speculated as to why Natalie Massenet suddenly exited Net-a-Porter, just weeks before a merger was consummated between the company she founded and Yoox, founded by Federico Marchetti. As it turns out, the real battle was not between the two former rivals, but between Net-a-Porter and Compagnie Financière Richemont, the powerful Swiss luxury goods conglomerate which invested in Net-a-Porter in the early days of the company and then acquired the business in 2010. Massenet’s original investor,Carmen Busquets, and several other current and former employees of Net-a-Porter, Yoox and Richemont spoke to BoF about the multi-billion-euro deal announced last March — and why it was so troubling for so many of them. To protect their relationships, most of these people spoke on the condition of anonymity. Massenet, Marchetti and representatives for Richemont all declined to comment — but the exclusive story pieced together here reveals that as the business relationship between Richemont and Net-a-Porter deteriorated, and Richemont sought to merge Net-a-Porter with Yoox without Massenet’s knowledge, things went from bad to worse.
Read the rest of this article at Business of Fashion
Stars—They’re Just Like Us!
IT WAS TO BE A MAGICAL, enchanting month for us. Jupiter, the giver of gifts and luck, was moving into Virgo midmonth in alignment with the sun, where it would multiply the beneficence of the gassy planet and rain fortune down upon us. Mercury and Venus were in retrograde, complicating email and love, but a group of small planets was gathering in our sixth house of work and assignments and health. If we were dating, we should get married soon. If we had a contract to sign, we should hold off. The current conditions were sunny, very warm, and humid, with a high of eighty-four and winds blowing at six miles per hour. Twenty-two across, “Too eager, or needing more evidence, for Freud?” was O-V-E-R-D-E-T-E-R-M-I-N-E-D.
We threw out the crossword (Thursday, too hard) and asked our boyfriend, reading For Marx on the couch, when he started to believe in astrology. If “believe” was strong—and it was—when, at least, had astrology ceased to be an embarrassing thing to consult without irony? He put down his book and sighed. “Irony is overrated,” he said. “Besides, you have to choose your irrationality or it will choose you. Did you know,” he continued, “that Althusser was a Libra? It explains why we get along so well. I love Libras. My mom’s a Libra.”
Read the rest of this article at n+1
INSIDE FACEBOOK’S AMBITIOUS PLAN TO CONNECT THE WHOLE WORLD
THE STERN WOMAN behind the press desk at the United Nations is certain I’ve made a mistake about the person I’m here to see. “Mr. Mark Zuckerberg?” she says. “Who’s he?” ¶ He’s an Internet executive, I tell her. He started Facebook. It’s the second week of the United Nations’ General Assembly. Several hundred reporters crowd into the press holding area. Nearby, on the main plaza, heads of state stroll by. In this place, it seems, Mark Zuckerberg might as well be Mark Smith.¶ She checks her dog-eared schedule, then makes a call, enunciating into the receiver: “ZOO-ker-burg. Mark ZOO-ker-burg.” Silence. “Yes, the Facebook guy.” More silence, during which it occurs to me the UN is like the opposite of Facebook. If it had motivational posters on the wall, they’d read: Move slow and break nothing. Finally, she hangs up and turns back to me. Zuckerberg is on the program after all, she concedes, speaking just before German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Read the rest of this article at Wired
Alexander Litvinenko: the man who solved his own murder
The Millennium hotel is an unusual spot for a murder. It overlooks Grosvenor Square, and is practically next door to the heavily guarded US embassy, where, it is rumoured, the CIA has its station on the fourth floor. A statue of Franklin D Roosevelt – wearing a large cape and holding a stick – dominates the north side of the square. In 2011 another statue would appear: that of the late US president Ronald Reagan. An inscription hails Reagan’s contribution to world history and his “determined intervention to end the cold war”. A friendly tribute from Mikhail Gorbachev reads: “With President Reagan, we travelled the world from confrontation to cooperation.”
Read the rest of this article at The Guardian
THE LAST DAYS OF TARGET
The untold tale of Target Canada’s difficult birth, tough life and brutal death
The grand opening of Target Canada was set to begin in one month, and Tony Fisher needed to know whether the company was actually ready. In February 2013, about a dozen senior-level employees gathered at the company’s Mississauga, Ont., headquarters to offer updates on the state of their departments. Fisher, Target Canada’s president, was holding these meetings every day as the launch date crept closer. The news was rarely good. The company was having trouble moving products from its cavernous distribution centres and onto store shelves, which would leave Target outlets poorly stocked. The checkout system was glitchy and didn’t process transactions properly. Worse, the technology governing inventory and sales was new to the organization; no one seemed to fully understand how it all worked. The 750 employees at the Mississauga head office had worked furiously for a year to get up and running, and nerves were beginning to fray. Three test stores were slated to open at the beginning of March, followed shortly by another 21. A decision had to be made.
Fisher, 38 years old at the time, was regarded as a wunderkind who had quickly risen through the ranks at Target’s American command post in Minneapolis, from a lowly business analyst to leader of a team of 400 people across multiple divisions. Launching the Target brand in a new country was his biggest task to date. The news he received from his group that February afternoon should have been worrying, but if he was unnerved, Fisher didn’t let on. He listened patiently as two people in the room strongly expressed reticence about opening stores on the existing timetable. Their concern was that with severe supply chain problems and stores facing the prospect of patchy or empty shelves, Target would blow its first date with Canadian consumers. Still, neither one outright advocated that the company push back its plans. “Nobody wanted to be the one to say, ‘This is a disaster,’” says a former employee. But by highlighting the risks of opening now, the senior employees’ hope was that Fisher would tell his boss back in Minneapolis, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, that they needed more time.
Read the rest of this article at Canadian Business