TIME

Family Dollar Rejects Dollar General Offer

Family Dollar has cited antitrust issues

MATTHEWS, N.C. (AP) — Family Dollar is rebuffing Dollar General’s takeover bid, citing antitrust issues. The discounter’s board remains supportive of its existing deal with Dollar Tree.

Family Dollar Stores Inc. Chairman and CEO Howard Levine said in a statement Thursday that its board and advisers reviewed Dollar General Corp.’s offer and determined it wasn’t likely to be completed on the terms proposed.

On Monday Dollar General — the nation’s biggest dollar-store chain — offered about $8.95 billion for Family Dollar. The company said at the time that it believed it could quickly address any antitrust issues and was willing to divest up to 700 of its stores in order to get the necessary approvals.

Last month Family Dollar agreed to an $8.5 billion deal with Dollar Tree Inc.

TIME russia

Russia Is Closing McDonald’s Restaurants Over Health Violations

The oldest of Moscow's McDonald's outlets, which was opened on Jan. 31, 1990, is closed on Thursday, Aug. 21.
The oldest of Moscow's McDonald's outlets, which was opened on Jan. 31, 1990, is closed on Thursday, Aug. 21. Alexander Zemlianichenko—AP

But the crackdown comes amid tit-for-tat sanctions between Russia and the West

Russian regulators are targeting McDonald’s restaurants in a crackdown that authorities say is a matter of food safety.

But the closure of several Russian McDonalds restaurants and unscheduled checks of several others comes on the heels of tit-for-tat sanctions between Russia and Western countries over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Earlier this month, Russian authorities banned a wide array of food imports from the United States, the European Union and several other countries after Western powers enacted economic sanctions against Moscow.

According to Reuters, the Russian state food safety agency temporarily shuttered four restaurants on Wednesday, including the world’s busiest McDonald’s store in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, citing breaches of sanitary rules. On Thursday, the agency said it was conducting checks on other outlets across the country.

The agency has denied that its actions are politically motivated, according to Reuters.

“We are aware of what is going on. We have always been and are now open to any checks,” a spokesperson for McDonald’s in Russia told Reuters. The chain operates 438 restaurants in the country.

[Reuters]

TIME Companies

Get Ready, SoundCloud Users: Ads Are Coming

Lorde performs during Lollapalooza 2014 at Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2014 in Chicago.
Lorde performs during Lollapalooza 2014 at Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2014 in Chicago. Theo Wargo—Getty Images

But you may soon be able to skip the ads by paying for a subscription

SoundCloud, the popular free music-sharing platform that’s helped artists like Lorde skyrocket to fame, is introducing advertisements to its service.

The company said Thursday that select content creators will be able to authorize playing ads beside their tracks and collect some of the revenue from those ads. The ads will first roll out in the U.S., but they’re expected to appear for international users soon, SoundCloud announced.

Ads mark a big step for the music streaming service, which has struggled to monetize its vast user base that includes some 175 million listeners a month. Until now, the service has earned revenue by charging some of its most active content providers.

SoundCloud Chief Business Officer Jeff Toig told the New York Times that most of SoundCloud’s ad revenue will go to content providers, including Sony/ATV, BMG, the comedy show Funny or Die, and independent rapper GoldLink, for example. SoundCloud has already signed up Red Bull, Jaguar and Comedy Central to run ads on the platform, according to the Times.

But you may soon be able to skip the ads, if you’re willing to pay. The Times reports that, over time, the service plans to roll out subscription plans for listeners who want to skip the ads, much like you can do on Spotify, another music-streaming service.

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 More Companies That Are Hiring Like Crazy Right Now

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Tetra Images—Getty Images/Brand X

These companies are growing like crazy

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Business is a tricky game, and there’s no telling how long it can take to grow any small company. But when companies are able to strike their market when it’s incredibly hot, rapid growth in a short amount of time is inevitable.

These 10 companies have done just that, and the results are going to be incredible. Bonus: If you get in on the ground floor, you can say you helped make it all happen. Check them out, and land your next job at one of them.

1. Handybook

Where: New York

If you live in New York, you’ve likely seen this company’s ads all over the subway. This is just one way that Handybook, an online service that connects its users to top-notch professionals who help get household chores done, is making waves across over 26 cities in the U.S. With more and more professionals wanting to spend time at work and with family, this company is providing a resource that everyone is benefiting from. Get ready to see major growth.

See the Jobs

2. iCracked

Where: Redwood Shores, CA

Admit it: You’re as hooked to your phone as we are, and when something goes wrong, it’s the only thing on your mind until its fixed. iCracked makes repairing iPhones, iPads, and iPods super easy and convenient. With on-demand iTechs, customers around the world can get the help they are desperate for with the click of a button.

See the Jobs

3. Thinkful

Where: New York

Founded in 2012, Thinkful uses mentorship to teach students one of the most useful and necessary tools: coding. With easy to access web and mobile apps, users are provided with one-on-one training and a curated curriculum. The world is moving toward tech, and Thinkful is going to be part of it because of its awesome tools.

See the Jobs

4. Recombine

Where: New York

Recombine’s goal is to improve health outcomes based on actionable and responsible genetic testing. Using genetics as its platform, this company is able to help its patients make the best decisions for their families. Founded by experts in fertility, clinical genetics, bioinformatics, and computer science, Recombine knows exactly what it’s doing when it comes to the intersection of technology and science.

See the Jobs

5. OwnLocal

Where: Austin, TX

Print media is facing unprecedented challenges to its model, and OwnLocal has an ambitious goal: to be the digital ad agency for local media and help bring the whole industry into the digital age. And with more than 400 media companies using the platform, it’s clear the company is on the right track.

See the Jobs

6. Findr Group

Where: New York and Los Angeles

Named one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. in 2013, there’s no question that Findr Group is going places. This full-service marketing agency helps clients effectively communicate with their audiences; clients including the likes of DISH Network, Prudential, and Caesars Entertainment. Get ready to see the company’s name—and potentially yours—on campaigns all over the world.

See the Jobs

7. TicketLeap

Where: Philadelphia

With events of all kinds taking place every day in every city, TicketLeap is making experiences way easier to enjoy and take part in. With apps for both Andoid and iOS, clients are able to control their ticketing experience with do-it-yourself technology. This company view culture as the world’s biggest asset, and its products reflect that.

See the Jobs

8. Virool

Where: San Francisco

Virool is a powerful video service that allows over 100 million viewers to connect to a global network of content. Plus, with affordable low-price campaigns, users can distribute their own YouTube video content to a series of online publishers. With multimedia leading the way for everything web-related, there’s no doubt that this company is going to seriously take off.

See the Jobs

9. Voxy

Where: New York

In a continually more globalized world and economy, Voxy is helping people learn different languages in an easy, realistic way. Forget about textbooks and weekly classes—this company provides an innovative context-based approach to language acquisition. You know that this company is going to be big whenBusiness Insider names it as one of the “10 Best U.S. Tech Companies to Work For.”

See the Jobs

10. Contently

Where: New York

This software company, founded in 2010, helps independent journalists find work in a bad economy and locates talent and content for publishers’ platforms. Its tools are helping bridge the gaps of content creation, allowing for a broader audience to find out what’s going on in the world from people who love sharing news.

See the Jobs

TIME Careers & Workplace

Top 10 Qualities of Extremely Successful People

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Martin Barraud—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

By Lolly Daskal

If you really want to bring success into your life, you should cultivate yourself just as you’d cultivate a garden for the best yield.

The attributes here are shared by successful people everywhere, but they didn’t happen by accident or luck. They originate in habits, built a day at a time.

Remember: If you live your life as most people do, you will get what most people get. If you settle, you will get a settled life. If you give yourself your best, every day, your best will give back to you.

Here are the traits that the highly successful cultivate. How many do you have?

1. Drive

You have the determination to work harder than most and make sure things get done. You pride yourself on seeing things getting completed and you can take charge when necessary. You drive yourself with purpose and align yourself with excellence.

2. Self-reliance

You can shoulder responsibilities and be accountable. You make hard decisions and stand by them. To think for yourself is to know yourself.

3. Willpower

You have the strength to see things through–rather than vacillate or procrastinate. When you want it, you make it happen. The world’s greatest achievers are those who have stayed focused on their goals and been consistent in their efforts.

4. Patience

You are willing to be patient, and you understand that, in everything, there are failures and frustrations. To take them personally would be a detriment.

5. Integrity

This should not have to be said, but it’s seriously one of the most important attributes you can cultivate. Honesty is the best policy for everything you do; integrity creates character and defines who you are.

6. Passion

If you want to succeed, if you want to live, it’s not politeness but rather passion that will get you there. Life is 10 percent what you experience and 90 percent how you respond to it.

7. Connection

You can relate with others, which in turns makes everything reach further and deepen in importance.

8. Optimism

You know there is much to achieve and much good in this world, and you know what’s worth fighting for. Optimism is a strategy for making a better future–unless you believe that the future can be better, you’re unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.

9. Self-confidence

You trust yourself. It’s as simple as that. And when you have that unshakeable trust in yourself, you’re already one step closer to succeeding.

10. Communication

You work to communicate and pay attention to the communicators around you. Most important, you hear what isn’t being said. When communication is present, trust and respect follow.

No one plans on being mediocre; mediocrity happens when you don’t plan. If you want to succeed, learn the traits that will make you successful and plan on living them out every day.

Be humble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless. That is who you are, and who you have always been.

More from Inc:

The 8 Best Industries for Starting a Business

If This Guy Made $1M Wearing T-shirts and Selling his Name, What’s Holding You Back?

The Top 5 Reasons Small Businesses Fail

5 Often Quoted Tips for Powerful Presentations

7 Things Well-Liked People Always Do

TIME gratuity

And America’s Best Tippers Live In…

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Finnbarr Webster / Alamy

Data from the mobile payments company Square reveal some huge regional differences in the generosity of customers

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Miguel Helft

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New Yorkers are stingy with their cabbies (though not quite as stingy as their neighbors in New Jersey). Indeed, New Yorkers are among the worst tippers in the country in a number of categories — but not when it comes to personal hygiene. For some reason, a visit to the barber or stylist inspires generosity in the Empire State. Folks in Seattle and Portland reserve that same kind of giving spirit, no surprise, for their baristas, and Floridians and Texas extend it to their bartenders.

The observations derive from tipping data collected for FORTUNE by Square, the San Francisco-based mobile payments company, whose smartphone and tablet credit card readers have become a feature of thousands of small businesses across the country.

Interestingly, some tipping trends are fairly uniform across the country. Beauty and personal care professionals tend to receive the biggest tips — on average closer to 20% than to 15%. Taxis and limousines skew lower, with average tips below 16% in many states. Tips at restaurant bars show the most variability, with New York fast-food joints receiving an average of 14.77% and bars and lounges in Texas getting 19.66%.

For the full list, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME Apple

The Apple Ad That Will Probably Make You Cry

It just won an Emmy

+ READ ARTICLE

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt

I never understood the Internet’s hostility to “Misunderstood,” the holiday TV ad from Apple that took home the 2014 Emmy Award for best commercial at the Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday.

“Of course, we’re talking about Apple here,” wrote Ken Segall, the former creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day, shortly after the spot aired.

“So there’s no shortage of critics eager to tell us why the commercial fails. Take your pick: it says little about the product, any smartphone can make a movie, or the spot is a depressing statement about human values.

“Good grief.

“Most of these people mistake their personal opinion, instinct, values and/or taste for actual marketing talent. There are tens of millions of people who will stop in their tracks at this commercial and wipe a tear from their eye. As a result, they will feel slightly more attached to Apple, which is the marketing purpose of this spot.

“Far from depressing, this ad is wonderfully optimistic. In the most human terms, it says that the right technology can bring people closer together. It’s a perfect thought for the holidays.

“If you want to get a read on the ad’s effectiveness, just Google around a bit. The reactions have been almost universally glowing. In the best of times, that would be impressive enough. But these positive reviews come at the end of a year in which the buzz has not been kind to Apple.

“This ad is a holiday card from Cupertino. It lines up perfectly with the values Apple has communicated for years. It’s not about technology — it’s about quality of life.” (From Apple thinks different for Christmas.)

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME Saving & Spending

This 1 Mistake Could Cost You Hundreds of Dollars

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Read the fine print—or pay

Everybody hates bank fees, but what’s even more worse is not knowing when or why you’re getting dinged with those charges.

In a new study, the website WalletHub.com finds the average checking account has 30 different fees that can ding you, and banks aren’t always transparent about the details. “Some banks disclose their fees only after a customer has opened an account,” the site warns. “Others disclose their fees in inconspicuous sections of their websites.”

In particular, those $35 overdraft fees that can be triggered by buying something as small as a cup of coffee can really pack a wallop, yet many of us don’t bother paying attention to the fine print that spells out the details of how financial institutions process transactions. We should, though — a new interactive tool from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows how seemingly insignificant differences in transaction-processing practices can make the difference between having enough money in your account to tide you over until your next payday or getting socked with more than $100 in fees.

Pew looks at three different variables: Letting people overdraw their balances when they make purchases or ATM withdrawals versus declining these attempts, processing transactions in the order they happen versus in order of highest-to-lowest dollar amount and offering a $5 “grace period” threshold before an overdraft fee kicks in versus no threshold.

In a trio of scenarios, Pew follows three hypothetical customers in a scenario many Americans are all too familiar with: navigating the demands of daily expenses with less than $200 until the next paycheck comes. In each case, everything is identical for the variable under scrutiny.

The differences are huge. For instance, a customer whose bank processes transactions in the order they happen winds up getting hit with a single $35 fee — while her alter ego who banks with an institution that practices high-to-low transaction ordering gets nailed for FOUR $35 fees when conducting the exact same transactions.

The other two examples show a similar disparity. For many of us, the difference between ending the month 10 bucks in the black versus more than $80 in the red is huge, especially if our spending habits are such that this happens frequently.

Consumer advocates criticize banks for their overdraft practices, pointing out that the customers who pay the bulk of these charges tend to be younger, minority customers who are poorer to begin with and often don’t have the financial education to know a raw deal when they see one. Fewer than 10 percent of bank customers are responsible for three-quarters of overdraft charges, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “[This] is especially pertinent as the CFPB continues to study overdraft and will release new rules based on these studies in 2015,” Pew says.

The CFPB says it’s still looking at how these fees impact bank customers. “We need to determine whether current overdraft practices are causing the kind of consumer harm that the federal consumer protection laws are designed to prevent,” CFPB director Richard Cordray said in a statement last month, saying the agency’s most recent research “compound[s] our concerns” about whether overdraft practices leave vulnerable customers at risk.

Until the CFPB acts, it’s buyer-beware out there, so don’t forget to read the fine print.

TIME Money

Bank of America To Pay a Record $16.65 Billion Fine

Bank Of America Reports Loss Due 6 Billion Dollar Legal Charge
Spencer Platt—Getty Images

$7 billion of it will go to consumers faced with financial hardship

Updated: 10:40 a.m.

The Justice Department announced on Thursday a $16.65 billion fine on Bank of America to settle allegations that it knowingly sold toxic mortgages to investors.

The sum represents the largest settlement between the government and a private corporation in the United States’ history, coming at the end of a long controversy surrounding the bank’s role in the recent financial crisis. In issuing bad subprime loans, many say, the bank helped fuel a housing bubble that would ultimately burst in late 2007, devastating the national and global economy.

“We are here to announce a historic step forward in our ongoing effort to protect the American people from financial fraud – and to hold accountable those whose actions threatened the integrity of our financial markets and undermined the stability of our economy,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference announcing the settlement.

Since the end of the financial crisis, the bank has incurred more than $60 billion in losses and legal settlements.

Of the latest settlement, $7 billion will go to consumers faced with financial hardship. In turn, the bank largely exonerates itself from further federal scrutiny.

However, not all is forgotten. The New York Times reports that federal prosecutors are preparing a new case against Angelo Mozilo, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Countrywide Financial, which Bank of America acquired in mid-2008.

As the country’s largest lender of mortgages, Countrywide Financial purportedly played a large role in distributing the bad loans. Mozilo has already paid the Securities and Exchange Commission a record $67.5 million settlement.

 

TIME Opinion

The Secret to a Viral Ad? Just Make It Really, Really Terrible On Purpose

Latest culprit: A so-bad-it's-good ad for a mall

+ READ ARTICLE

Unless your wifi has been down, chances are high that you’ve already seen a truly awful ad for Missouri’s East Hills Shopping Center — complete with off-pitch singing, singsong chanting about “boots and pants,” fluorescent green words and clothing so synthetic that it’s one lit match away from bursting into flames.

It’s so bad, it’s good. But… is it too good to be true?

“Please don’t debunk this for me, I need to have faith in something during these trying times,” my friend Jordan wrote on Facebook, voicing the collective prayer of the snark-loving people of the internet as they click the video’s play button over and over and over again. (Actually titled “Terrible Mall Commercial,” the spot has been viewed on YouTube more than 1.5 million times in less than three days.)

While the commercial is, in fact, a real back to school ad for the Missouri mall, the man who made it knew exactly what he was doing.

“The whole time we pitched this idea we said, ‘maybe it will go viral.’ And it did,” Suddenlink Media’s Chris Fleck told a local FOX affiliate. Mr. Fleck said. “If you can entertain and get your message in, you’ve accomplished your goal. I just love that it’s getting this much response. That’s what commercials do, they get response.”

And this isn’t Fleck’s first rodeo. Here’s a spot in which Cecil Myers of Cecil Myers Mitsubishi raps his way into your heart:

“If you talk to [Meyers], he’ll tell you that I made him famous,” Fleck said.

This begs the question, is something that is terrible on purpose still terrible? Has this ad, sparkling as the bedazzled jeans it promotes, lost its luster?

“It makes me feel like throwing my computer out a window, or inventing a time machine and destroying ARPANET,” my friend Jordan said upon finding out.

The Mad Men of the digital era have been creating intentionally bizarre ads, made to go viral, for years. Rhett and Link, the ad duo behind the 2011 hit for Ojai Valley Taxidermy, even got a TV show on IFC entirely about creating strange local commercials for small businesses.

But while ad producers might be calculating, the local businesspeople who actually star in this particular breed of ads maintain a sweet sincerity.

Real East Hill Mall tenants starred in the back-to-school spot, and they don’t appear to be in on the irony when they’re touting their purchases by chanting “backpacks, backpacks, come get your backpacks.”

“It’s insane — the fact that it was even on YouTube is crazy to me,” Tyson “boots and pants” Huff-Garza told FOX 26. “It’s super funny, very cheesy and gets the point across.”

And that sincerity is just what differentiates the “so bad it’s good enough to Gchat to all of my friends” ads, from the “so bad it’s boring enough to close the YouTube tab after ten seconds” ads.

We might all be pawns, but you have to appreciate that craft.

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