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Bethenny Frankel: The Mogul

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Reality television star, entrepreneur, chef, author and all-around Renaissance woman Bethenny Frankel is a true-blue New Yorker. She was born in the city on Nov. 4, 1970 to parents Bernadette Birk and Brooklyn boy Robert Frankel – himself one of the most respected thoroughbred race horse trainers in the history of the sport.

Bethenny’s parents divorced when she was young. Her mother quickly remarried and Bethenny’s home life was chaotic – with her mother drinking heavily and often fighting with her stepfather, John Parisella. The household moved frequently, and Bethenny attended several schools. Her father, Robert, stopped supporting his daughter and the two were estranged until shortly before his death in 2009.

She finally found some structure as a boarding student at the Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After graduation, she returned to her home city and enrolled in classes, first at the Natural Gourmet Institute and later at New York University.

She was attracted to the entertainment industry from an early age, and tried a move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. While she tried to break into an acting career, she worked as a personal assistant to Kathy Hilton, where one of her daily tasks was taking the famous socialite’s daughters Paris and Nicky to school. She worked briefly as a production assistant for the hit teen show Saved by the Bell.

But despite her persistence and drive, acting never did take off for Bethenny. In her one and only big role, Bethenny played homicidal high school transfer student Laura Drake in the 1994 direct-to-video thriller Hollywood Hills 90028.

Eventually Bethenny realized that acting was not going to be her big break. Ironically, it was as herself that Bethenny would ultimately capture the country’s attention. In fact, it wasn’t until she appeared as a contestant on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, where she made it to the finals, that Bethenny’s career started to really take off.

She’s famously called attention to her bold personality and no holds barred approach to her very public life. Believing in the word ‘yes’, it is Bethenny’s fiery personality to say ‘no’ that has attributed to much of her success. As the only single woman on the popular Real Housewives of New York City series on Bravo, she captured viewers’ attention and their sympathies even as she diligently worked to create her SkinnyGirl empire. Her hard work and persistence has made her millions of dollars, and even though she hasn’t had much luck in love, she’s had tremendous success in her work.

In addition to SkinnyGirl cocktails, Bethenny has authored four self-help books. She’s also been a guest on The Wendy Williams Show, Chelsea Lately and the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She’s competed on Skating with the Stars and has inspired a number of spinoffs, including Bethenny Ever After, and Bethenny – her very own talk show which aired for two years.

Now, she’s back on Real Housewives of New York after refusing their many offers, where she’s negotiated a $1 million per season contract. It just goes to show how valuable viewers find the real Bethenny – who has survived all of the public feuds, wars of words and drama, both expected and unexpected – that life in the spotlight can bring.

And that’s what makes this star of The Real Housewives of New York City as real a New York City housewife as they come. Strong!

Why The Anheuser-Busch InBev-SABMiller Merger Matters In The Business World

Beer drinkers from both the macro and micro side of the spectrum have been lamenting the announcement that two of the biggest producers in the world will be merging, turning the people behind both the Budweiser and Miller products into one superbrand. What that means for beer is an ongoing discussion, but there’s reason to pay attention more than wondering about the fate of your favorite libation. Here’s what the merger means for the business world.

It’s A Big Deal

This merger is no small matter. In fact, it’s the fourth largest acquisition to date with AB InBev shelling out $106 billion to take control of their biggest competitor. If everything goes through, the company would be looking at about $64 billion in annual revenue and a responsibility for 30% of all international beer sales.

It doesn’t just prop up the two parties buying into the deal, either. In 2014, AB InBev led the world’s beer production with 411.5 million hectoliters of beer coming from all its brands. SABMiller sat well behind 187.8 million, with the Heineken brand, whose new majority share in craft giants Lagunitas has garnered plenty of attention on its own, sat not far behind. The mostly North American brand Molson-Coors, meanwhile, was ranked 6th on the list of top 10 brewing groups turning out around 59 million hectoliters between its US brands including Coors and Blue Moon, and the Canadian staple Molson.

SABMiller maintained a 59% stake in Molson-Coors, specifically in the US MillerCoors joint venture within the US. In an effort to appease regulators, SABMiller announced that it will sell its stake in MillerCoors back to its Molson-Coors partner for the price of about $12 billion. In exchange, Molson-Coors gets all global rights to the Miller brand, which would make it the second largest brewer in the nation.

To that end, the face of an industry on a global level changes. A single company will control the bulk of consumption in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as market topping brands in Europe and the US. At the same time, another company is set to get a lot bigger, effectively taking control of the US marketplace.

The Antitrust Issues

Of course, any merger this big comes with a fair amount of scrutiny to ensure that the mega brewer doesn’t get too in control. The worry is that with such unilateral control, especially in areas outside Europe and the US, would drive prices up. The dissolution of MillerCoors is already a given, but a number of other divestments would need to follow, including SABMiller’s 49% stake in CR Snow, responsible for China’s most popular brand, and the potential restructuring of its African operation.

To the other end, the beer giants are pushing for a more thorough consideration of the rise of craft beer in the US and Europe as argument that their structure does not need heavy reform. With the deal already in place, it’s up to the regulators to determine exactly how this will play out, but whether you’re a beer drinker or not, this deal is worth noting as a massive acquisition that will change the face of an industry in a way few others have.

EU To Seal Multinationals’ Tax Loopholes

Due to the seemingly high corporate tax rates in the United States, a significant number of American multinational companies have been calculatedly shifting their bases to favorable European tax regimes to reduce their tax burdens. Fortunately for tax authorities, the situation is set to change after European Union finance minister unanimously agreed to facilitate automatic information exchange on cross-border tax rulings. With that in place, it’ll now be almost impossible for such evasive companies to continue enjoying tax exemptions. The European Union will now be able to pick up any irregular corporate tax activities and subsequently take the requisite actions.

Belgium, Holland, Ireland, and Luxembourg have for long, through legislations popularly known as tax rulings, provided a safe haven for companies seeking to cut down on the huge amounts paid to the US federal government. For long, such legislations have been largely considered lax, with tax authorities issuing comfort letters to individual companies, clarifying the systems used to calculate their respective corporate taxes. The tax rulings are especially employed in the confirmation of prices charged for transfer of transactions between different branches of the same company. .

While this new move is favorable to tax authorities, multinationals are already rushing to secure other alternatives they can legally use to reduce their tax bills. At the moment, Starbucks, Apple and Amazon, which are have strategically placed themselves in Netherlands, Ireland, and Luxembourg respectively, are already under investigation by the European Union Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) for their tax arrangements.

So, how will this move actually help tax authorities crack down on evasive corporations? Tax authorities are now getting the one thing they’ve needed all along- information. Lack of an information flow framework allowed companies to swindle their way into tax exemptions by strategically “basing” themselves in countries like Netherlands and Ireland.

With effectual information exchange infrastructures facilitated by the new agreement, this situation is just about to change. Tax authorities will, by 2017, not only rely on their internal databases, but also information submitted by cross-border authorities in tracking down multinationals capitalizing on the previously existing tax loopholes.

Fortunately for multinational companies, this new directive will not be implemented immediately. The European Union has granted its 28 member states a period of one year to induct the proposal into their national laws before its seamlessly implemented across the board. By the 1st of January 2017, all the countries should have effected the necessary measures to remove part of their country discretions on financial data, and subsequently share it with the rest of the member states.

Of course some of the affected multinational companies’ directors are already hoping for a complication somewhere along the pipeline- probably something along the lines of countries ultimately refusing to share their confidential financial details. Whatever the eventual outcome, nonetheless, companies at least got a one year amnesty period to get their houses in order before the tax authorities begin weeding out the rogue ones

7 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do Before Breakfast

Ask most people what they did before breakfast and the answers are not surprising. Most say they woke up and got dressed. Others share that they often don’t even have breakfast before getting to work. But the most successful entrepreneurs all have something in common. They seize the day by doing a variety of important things in the early morning hours while the world sleeps.

Getting things done early to start the day off right is part of what makes these entrepreneurs successful. Checking the most important things off the list early, before the day gets complicated with unexpected issues and having to put out fires is key. Time-management author and consultant Laura Vanderkam agrees in her new book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. She cites psychologist Roy Baumeister’s controversial but real finding that willpower is like a muscle that becomes tired from overuse.

Roy Baumeister’s argument suggests that one should tackle the daily responsibilities that are the hardest or most important early, while willpower is strong. It’s much too easy to put off exercise later in the day, once a person (and their willpower) is tired.

People who are successful and who create their own success through entrepreneurship don’t underestimate their very human tendency to procrastinate. Those of us who find ourselves overwhelmed are those who at one point overestimated our own willpower. Taking time to plan, setting an agenda that is realistic, are a few ways to avoid time crunch and becoming over stressed. And once over stressed, getting through even mundane tasks becomes extremely difficult. We have spoken to people getting title loans, who described themselves as over stressed. Failure to plan accordingly was the reason sited over and over again.

Those who are can manage their lives without becoming over stressed, such as those who are successful entrepreneurs, all have certain things they do early in their day.  While, not every entrepreneur will do all ten things on the list, these tasks are the most common among the most successful of entrepreneurs. Here are ten things successful entrepreneurs do before breakfast:

1. Wake up early

To get your list of important morning tasks done before breakfast, an early wake-up time is essential. Some entrepreneurs that get up early include:

  • Xerox CEO Ursula Burns gets up at 5:15 am to catch up on emails
  • Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5:30 am to jog
  • Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne gets up at 3:30 in the morning to connect with the European headquarters of his company and get tasks done before the day gets too hectic
  • Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group wakes up at around 5:45 in the morning, even when vacationing, to exercise before breakfast

2. Meditate

Most successful people take a few, quiet minutes in the early morning to clear and quiet the mind. It’s a good time for them to feel gratitude for their life and successes and gain clarity for their present conditions.

3. Plan for the day ahead

The hours before breakfast are the perfect times for early hour strategizing and planning for the day. Prioritizing before problems and situations arise later helps keep entrepreneurs on task, regardless of what life throws at them.

4. Exercise

Exercise has many benefits both physical and mental. And exercising before breakfast means that there are no excuses to skip it later. Vital to keep stamina and energy levels up, exercise is a good outlet for stress, while improving sleep.

5. Read

Catching up on reading, whether it’s the paper, online news outlets, company documentation or personal reading like novels and biographies is best achieved early in the morning when a fair amount of reading can be done without interruption.

6. Check email

Many successful entrepreneurs have a strict, no email policy during the day in order to get tasks done. The hours before breakfast are the time when many catch up and respond to emails from the previous day.

7. Enjoy family time

Getting things done early before breakfast means that when family wakes, a busy entrepreneur can connect with loved ones before heading off to work, sharing breakfast with loved ones or taking kids to school.

EU To Seal Multinationals’ Tax Loopholes

Due to the seemingly high corporate tax rates in the United States, a significant number of American multinational companies have been calculatedly shifting their bases to favorable European tax regimes to reduce their tax burdens. Fortunately for tax authorities, the situation is set to change after European Union finance minister unanimously agreed to facilitate automatic information exchange on cross-border tax rulings. With that in place, it’ll now be almost impossible for such evasive companies to continue enjoying tax exemptions. The European Union will now be able to pick up any irregular corporate tax activities and subsequently take the requisite actions.

Belgium, Holland, Ireland, and Luxembourg have for long, through legislations popularly known as tax rulings, provided a safe haven for companies seeking to cut down on the huge amounts paid to the US federal government. For long, such legislations have been largely considered lax, with tax authorities issuing comfort letters to individual companies, clarifying the systems used to calculate their respective corporate taxes. The tax rulings are especially employed in the confirmation of prices charged for transfer of transactions between different branches of the same company. .

While this new move is favorable to tax authorities, multinationals are already rushing to secure other alternatives they can legally use to reduce their tax bills. At the moment, Starbucks, Apple and Amazon, which are have strategically placed themselves in Netherlands, Ireland, and Luxembourg respectively, are already under investigation by the European Union Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) for their tax arrangements.

So, how will this move actually help tax authorities crack down on evasive corporations? Tax authorities are now getting the one thing they’ve needed all along- information. Lack of an information flow framework allowed companies to swindle their way into tax exemptions by strategically “basing” themselves in countries like Netherlands and Ireland.

With effectual information exchange infrastructures facilitated by the new agreement, this situation is just about to change. Tax authorities will, by 2017, not only rely on their internal databases, but also information submitted by cross-border authorities in tracking down multinationals capitalizing on the previously existing tax loopholes.

Fortunately for multinational companies, this new directive will not be implemented immediately. The European Union has granted its 28 member states a period of one year to induct the proposal into their national laws before its seamlessly implemented across the board. By the 1st of January 2017, all the countries should have effected the necessary measures to remove part of their country discretions on financial data, and subsequently share it with the rest of the member states.

Of course some of the affected multinational companies’ directors are already hoping for a complication somewhere along the pipeline- probably something along the lines of countries ultimately refusing to share their confidential financial details. Whatever the eventual outcome, nonetheless, companies at least got a one year amnesty period to get their houses in order before the tax authorities begin weeding out the rogue ones

Are Kegged Coctails the Next Bar Innovation?

People have been drinking spirits from kegs for years. The metal barrels are commonly associated with draft beer that pours out of the millions of taps in thousands of taverns across the country. Now the keg is leaving the frat house party and going upscale.

The modern day keg traces its roots to vineyards and spirit distillers that stored and aged their products in typically oak barrels. The modern day “keg,” however, is typically construction of aluminum or steel (in the case of beer, almost always the latter). It is rounded around the edges for easy lifting and has an opening at the top of one side, referred to in the industry as the “bung.” Since a keg is typically pressurized with a gas like carbon dioxide, there is an opening that allows this gas to pour the beer out of the barrel. A typical US keg is 31 gallons. However, half barrels and quarter barrels are also common. Keg sizes vary around the world. For example, in Europe, a full “barrel” is only 13.2 gallons.

To most Americans, no frat house experience is complete without an obligatory “kegger” party. This often negative associated has resulted in 21 states limiting keg distribution and even enacting registration laws. Now, as bars struggle to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, several innovative industry entrepreneurs are attempting to rebrand the keg as a high-class dispenser of classic cocktails.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, kegged cocktails consist of premixed, pre-stirred, combinations of one or more spirits, mixers, as well as bitters or anything else one might choose to put in a drink. Kegged cocktails range from down home creations like Rum and Coke, to more elaborate classics like the Rye Whiskey Old Fashioned found at the popular Reno tavern The Library.  The concept has been around for some time and even creeped into several movie scenes, like the movie Cocktail starring Tom Cruise. However, the concept quickly lost luster as bars and lounges simply used the method to cheapen the mixed drink concept into a malt beverage monstrosity that became too closely tied to Zima, Smirnoff Ice, Skyy Blue, as well as other bottled typically malt based concoctions.

Pre-mixing drinks in a keg offers several key advantages. First, it takes the possibility of human error out of the equation. In the hands of a bartender, every mixed drink is slightly different. By mixing everything in a keg beforehand, the bartender is able to adjust for error, and even taste his or her creation before serving it to customers.

Second, kegging speeds up the bar line, which is becoming increasingly important as bar patrons demand more and more innovative products from their mixologists. Unfortunately, the second part poses some problems. Bartenders and restaurant owners alike need to avoid the trap of cheapening the product and reincarnating the 80s stigma associated with the practice. If the drinks become too easy or too mass produced, consumers will shy away and the keg will once again be relegated to the frat house.

 

Laughter Worth a Fortune: Humor Sites that Make Unbelievable Amounts of Money

A lot of adults in life would have you think you can’t have fun for a living. If you’re a jokester, a prankster, or just have an especially strong sense of humor, you’re told you need to get your act together unless you want to spend the rest of your life cleaning toilets.

 

But laughter is almost as big a physiological need as food and water. All of us need a good laugh to stay sane. And in this modern world in which anything can be given value and a price tag (eg. the Pet Rock), a genuinely funny person can command an admirable salary just for doing what comes naturally.

 

So if someone says you can’t make a living making people laugh, just turn their attention to this list. These are websites that make millions of dollars in revenue by providing people an outlet to mindlessly waste a few minutes of time every day.

 

Cracked.Com

Worth: $340 million

 

Cracked is one of the most popular humor sites on the web, best known for its pop culture-based list articles (like 7 Disturbing Details in Back to the Future You Never Noticed). The brand has actually been around since 1958, originally as a print magazine. Eventually in 2005, investors decided to revive Cracked with both the magazine and a new website.

 

After being purchased by Demand Media in 2007, Cracked went through a rapid growth period. It currently brings in around $1.68 million a month. The bulk of the articles are made by freelance contributors, who earn $100-$300 per article. Site revenue comes from ads.

 

CollegeHumor

Worth: $86.5 million

 

Based in L.A. and renowned for its inventive sketch video content, CollegeHumor is the brainchild of Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen, two high school friends who decided to make an advertisement-based website in 1999 after they’d seen similar sites become successful.

 

People tune-in to CollegeHumor for the original videos, many of which feature celebrities from TV and film. For a great taste of what CollegeHumor is about, check out their Troopers series (a spoof of Star Wars storm troopers).

 

Most of the money comes from ads (including both on-site and Youtube Ads).

 

TheOnion.com

Worth: $90 million

 

The Onion has a very particular brand of humor. They satirize the news. And not just current events. A lot of their humor comes from the fact that they present every-day occurrences as worthy of breaking news.  

 

The Onion began as a publication by Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson, students at the University of Wisconsin. Reception was so good that they soon began distributing throughout the region. The website launched in 1996 with massive success and has been on a roll ever since.

 

The staff at the Onion find lots of creative ways to make money, including ads, memorabilia (mugs, shirts, etc.), and anthologies.

 

eBaums’s World

Worth: $75.75 million

 

eBaum’s World features a hodgepodge of funny videos, cartoons, and games. A lot of the content comes from around the web.

 

The site began in 2001 with Eric Bauman, who started the site as a project while in college. It grew so well that eventually dropped out and hired a staff to help him run things. Eventually, Eric sold the site in a $15 million deal that included $2.5 in stock.

 

The main source of cash flow is advertising.

 

Cheezburger Network

Worth: $93 million

 

Originally I Can Has Cheezburger, this immensely popular site began as a place to find funny cat pictures. It launched in 2007. That same year, it was acquired by investors for $2 million. It currently gets as many as 1.5 million unique visitors a day.

 

Although Cheezburger has moved beyond cat, memes are still the basis of the site. What makes it so appealing to users is that it allows them to create their own memes by adding text to pictures. With a click, users can share their self-made memes on social media. Memes made on the site feature the Cheezburger logo, which promotes branding.

 

As these sites show, making millions may not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, you can have plenty of laughs along the way.