It will be knit one, purl two for Wall Street regulators next month… While Facebook prepares itself for one of the all-time biggest initial public offerings (IPO) ever, another favourite company of your mom’s is also getting ready to go public. Michaels, the Texas-based arts and crafts superstore and favourite of scrapbooking aficionados across North America, is set to file an IPO application with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) next week. No word on whether the documents are being prepared in cross-stitch or stamp-n-stencils.
Speaking of Wall Street, what Canadian is the toast of Manhattan these days? None other than Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD)… Six years ago, TD opened a Wall Street branch and today it has more than $11.6 billion in deposits; in fact, that one location has more deposits than 93% of US bank branches. TD plans to become New York’s third largest retail bank over the next four years, adding 50 new branches and hundreds of staff. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere…
This just in, apparently diamonds are not forever… at least not for two of the world’s biggest mining companies. Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) and BHP Billiton (LSE:BLT) have put their diamond divisions on the selling block, including their mines in the Northwest Territory. Diamond prices rose 18% last year, yet Rio and BHP are bit players in an industry dominated by Alrosa and De Beers. BHP’s Ekati mine and Rio’s Diavik, both near Yellowknife, are vintage properties with perhaps only 10 more years of bling potential. De Beers already has a big, sparkling new mine in the area. Will Russian-based Alrosa snap up the old mines, or will it be Harry Winston (TSX:HW) who already owns 40% of the Diavik mine? We wait with bated breath to see who will pop the question.
Meanwhile, heads and eyes are rolling at the latest financial report from Research In Motion (TSX:RIM)… RIM had a lot of explaining to do, seeing as it lost its lead as #1 smartphone seller in Canada last year. In 2011, 2.08 million BlackBerrys were sold on its home turf, compared to 2.85 million iPhones. The news was grim however, as CEO Thorsten Heins reported the company brought in $4.2 billion in revenue over the quarter - less than the $4.6-$4.9 billion expected. Mr. Heins warned that the next few quarters will not be much easier as they rock and roll through some big changes…
That’s right, change - hold onto your BlackBerry sister… Mr. Heins declared that RIM cannot succeed by trying to be “everybody’s darling and all things to all people.” RIM will go back to its roots and focus on serving its enterprise customers with business and security needs, rather than personal consumer customers with our greedy “app-etites” for music, videos and games. Analysts praised Mr. Heins for being more realistic than his predecessors, but are questioning his strategy in light of the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend. On a final note, the CEO did not rule out the idea of selling the company – and when a CEO doesn’t rule something out – well, you know what that means.
Clearly, not everyone will be on board for the new plan… one of the two former co-CEOs and founders of RIM, Jim Balsillie, left the board, the Chief Operating Officer resigned and a number of senior vice-presidents and other VPs were given pink slips yesterday. So, yes, it’s the end of an era for many people - but perhaps, finally, a new beginning for shareholders.
And on a final note, if you’re in Winnipeg this weekend, we invite you to come talk money in person! We’ll be at the Regent Avenue Costco location on Saturday, March 31st from 1-3pm, signing copies of It’s Your Money, Honey. We’d love to meet you!