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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Pinterest valued at more than $1bn after raising $100m funding

Category : Business

Popular social network valued at between $1bn and $1.5bn following a $100m round of funding

Move over, Facebook. Pinterest, the social site that lets people “pin” pictures and content to create collections of interest, has become the latest company to be valued at more than $1bn (£630m), following a $100m round of funding.

While estimates of the effective valuation implied by the investment vary between $1bn and $1.5bn, they highlight the fact that Pinterest has already discovered a business model in which it collects an “affiliate” payment on purchases people make via the site.

The new valuation is at least a fivefold leap in value since October 2011, when a previous financing round put it at $200m.

The company has shot to stardom in the past few months to become the 16th most-visited site in the US, according to measurement company Alexa. In April it had more than 20 million users, up from 1 million in July 2011, according to ComScore, another ranking company.

Its traffic soared after August 2011 when it was named one of the 50 best websites of 2011 by Time magazine, and by December it was getting 11m visitors worldwide a week, according to Hitwise.

Now it has received a fresh round of funding led by the Japanese online retailing giant Rakuten, and with particiapants including its existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital, and a number of angel investors.

In October 2011 it received a $27m funding round that valued it at $200m. The site only opened for business in March 2010.

Although the company has not disclosed its revenues, they are probably less than $10m according to modelling carried out in March by Rags Srinivasan, a strategic marketing expert. But with user numbers still growing fast, that could be advancing rapidly.

A growing number of brands are using Pinterest to advertise their wares effectively for free, with the aim of driving sales via the displays. That could offer a future means for Pinterest to charge, either for position or visibility.

However, legal experts have queried the site’s liability for copyright lawsuits because it effectively allows the copying of images that are often copyrighted. While some brands may not mind if it drives sales, photographers and commercial organisations could be less pleased.

Rakuten has invested in a number of online retailing companies around the world, including the British retailer

“While some may see e-commerce as a straightforward vending machine-like experience, we believe it is a living process where both retailers and consumers can communicate, discover, and curate to make the experience more entertaining,” said Rakuten chief executive Hiroshi Mikitani.

“We see tremendous synergies between Pinterest’s vision and Rakuten’s model for e-commerce.”

In an interview with the FT, Mikitani revealed that he had also become an e-commerce advisor to the site, and said: “Having a good grasp of images is becoming more important for e-commerce. It’s more straightforward and appealing to the instinct of human beings than text. That is the strength of Pinterest, I think.”

He added that Rakuten had wanted to fund the entire round, but Pinterest’s board already had agreements with existing investors.

He was enthusiastic about the prospects because, he said, traffic going to shopping sites from Pinterest would have high conversion rates [to sales] because people would have high interest in products.

Of the copyright risks, he said: “I think, on the whole, they will overcome those issues. Their intention is not to damage any brand.”

Mikitani added that Rakuten-owned sites would in future use the Pinterest “Pin it” badge to add content.

“Pinterest is the future – we know we are going to have a more tight integration for all the e-commerce sites we have.”

Trio of homers give Hawks resounding win over Eagles

Category : World News

Wily Mo Pena, Kenta Nakanishi and Nobuhiro Matsuda each homered as the Softbank Hawks romped to 7-3 victory over the Rakuten Eagles on Sunday.

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Eagles rough up Hawks’ Penny

Category : World News

Kenji Tomura held the damage to one run in five innings for his first career win, Jose Fernandez went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles defeated the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 6-5 Wednesday, playing havoc with Brad Penny in his debut start in Japan.
Tomura (1-0), a third-year right-hander, gave up six hits, struck out one and walked two at Kleenex Stadium. Fernandez capped a four-run third with a two-run single as Rakuten rallied from one run down to go up 4-1.

Original post: Eagles rough up Hawks’ Penny

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Tanaka stellar in spring debut

Category : World News

Sawamura Award winner Masahiro Tanaka threw three shutout innings Saturday, while opposing pitcher Yuki Kuniyoshi struggled, despite holding batters scoreless over four frames, in the Yokohama DeNA BayStars’ 1-0 win over the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Tanaka, who led league with 19 wins, a 1.27 ERA and a .792 winning percentage in 2011 and was pitching in his first game of the preseason, allowed one hit, walked none and struck out three after taking the reins in the sixth inning.

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