Here’s what we know about the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch What? The Nintendo Switch, the convertible console formally known as the NX. The product walks the line between a home and portable console, courtesy of a docking tablet and a pair of detachable controllers that work in a number of different configurations. It also features out-of-the-box multiplayer functionality, connecting up to eight devices via Wi-Fi. How much? The U.S. MSRP for the system… Read More

New York firm founder pleads guilty to $23 million fraud

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York woman who founded two firms pleaded guilty on Friday to defrauding investors, including friends and family members, out of more than $23 million by lying about her…

U.S. State Department nominee Tillerson fights climate deposition

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Rex Tillerson, the former oil executive under consideration for U.S. secretary of state, is trying to avoid giving testimony in a federal lawsuit over climate change, according to a lawyer for a group of teenagers who filed the suit.

Chicago schools order unpaid days off after governor’s funding veto

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago’s cash-strapped public school system ordered its teachers and administrators on Friday to take four unpaid days off to offset state funding withheld by Illinois’ Republican governor.

Watch SpaceX’s first launch since its September 2016 rocket explosion here

iridium_l-1-31 SpaceX is launching its first mission since a Falcon 9 rocket exploded on a launch pad during preflight routines in September of last year. The launch is set to take place Saturday, January 14 at 9:54:39 AM PT, or 1:54:39 AM ET. A Falcon 9 rocket will carry 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, designed to form the base of a mobile voice and data network that will eventually include 70 satellites in… Read More

The TSA Found A Record Number Of Firearms In Carry-On Luggage Last Year

Passengers tried to carry a record number of firearms on to planes in 2016.

The Transportation Security Administration found a total of 3,391 firearms being brought onto aircraft in carry-on baggage, 80-percent of which were loaded, according to the TSA’s annual report. The agency has discovered a “record” number guns for several years in a row, but “record” means little in this case: There’s no evidence that the TSA has actually thwarted any sinister plans. In fact, the last federal examination of the TSA found that it failed 95 percent of security tests.

While catching anyone trying to carry a gun onto a flight is a monumental feat, many of the guns the TSA found were owned by people who said they were licensed to carry. The agency told The Huffington Post that it doesn’t compile stats on how many of those guns were obtained illegally, carried by felons, or otherwise.

What we do know is that there’s a general consensus among Americans that more people should be required to get a background check to get a gun online, at a gun show, or elsewhere. We also know that even if someone follows the rules and checks in a gun the right way, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee passenger safety.

On Jan. 6, a gunman legally checked his 9mm handgun onto a flight headed for Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Upon landing he loaded the gun and shot 11 people at baggage claim, killing five of them.

The shooting sent members of congress screaming back to Washington in an attempt to change ― or at least revisit ― the rule that allowed a mentally disturbed man to legally bring a gun onto a flight.

Gun control advocates on Friday hailed the TSA’s work but are looking for more. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, issued a statement: 

“As the tragedy at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood airport showed us, there are limits to the safety that security protocols can provide when we live in a nation that allows dangerous people to buy guns without a background check. The TSA’s report underscores the importance of taking action to keep guns out of dangerous hands. Nine out of ten Americans agree we can do that by expanding Brady background checks to all gun sales, so elected leaders have no excuse to delay this any longer. In fact, with 93 lives lost every day to gun violence, Congress has a moral imperative and a political mandate to act now.”

And while the TSA boasts a “record” number of discoveries each year, that might all be due to an increasing number of customers to screen. More than 738 million passengers were screened in 2016, which is 43 million more than in 2015.

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Burdens placed on public companies behind dearth of IPOs, professor suggests

The market chatter is that 2017 is expected to see a rise in the number of initial public offerings.

The talk is that the initial public offering (IPO) pipeline is building — with Freshii Inc. already having filed documentation to go public — and that companies from a variety of sectors will make their way to market this year.

But if at the end of 2017, there have been a slew of IPOs then it will be a marked change from recent years. J. Ari Pandes, an assistant professor of Finance, at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, demonstrated that decline — and the possible reasons in a recent presentation.

First the numbers: Over the period 2001-2015, on average there were 15.9 TSX-listed IPOs a year by operating companies — about 40 per cent of the 41 a year on average that were completed in the period 1993-2000. Over those two periods, energy IPOs also fell to on average 2.9 a year from 5.3 a year. While the average median IPO proceeds rose (to $104 million from $42.1 million) the average aggregate proceeds fell, on average, to $2.2 billion from $4.9 billion.

Those numbers parallel the experience in the U.S. where over the same two time periods, there were 111 a year, on average, compared with 458 a year earlier.

For the U.S., Pandes listed a set of factors that help explain the slide: regulatory overreach (including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that increased compliance costs); the U.S. litigation climate; changes in market structure (including the so-called tick rule where spreads between bid and ask narrowed, making it tough for market makers to make enough of a return, and the imposition of Reg Fair Disclosure); and the possibility of “fundamental economic change” whereby small technology companies sell to the big players rather than go public.

But Pandes, whose research over the years has focused on IPOs and capital markets, argues that “none of those (U.S.) reasons” apply to Canada. And the Canadian declines have occurred at the same time, as there have been “massive increases in the price of nearly every commodity Canada produced in the 2000s,” he said.

So what’s at work? Pandes advanced the argument that the declines in IPOs are a function of “public market pressures.” Pandes hypothesized that “we may have gone too far in the alignment of incentives” between management and shareholders. He argues that much time and effort has been spent on getting management to act in the best interests of shareholders — the so-called principal-agent program.

Pandes wonders whether an environment has been created “where shareholders are putting too much pressure on the management team.” He notes the role of “activist, short-term shareholders” that scrutinize and analyze every decision made by management.

In such an environment — of trying to keep all parties happy against the backdrop of quarterly financial reporting — Pandes said management has “lost sight” of the long term. “We may want to move (to a situation) where management focuses on the business rather than all the external gate keepers.”

For Pandes, the question is whether management “is just fatigued with the public market and whether they are wanting to stay private to avoid all the stresses that go along with being a public company.”

Pandes noted there is some “anecdotal evidence” to support that hypothesis, including an “informal online survey” by Fortune where chief executives expressed, by a 3 to 1 margin, the view that it would be easier to manage the company if it were private.

Financial Post

bcritchley@postmedia.com