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BIG QUESTION: Why Are Gold/Silver Prices Falling Despite Demand?


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Why Are Prices Falling While Demand Is Rising?

Gold and silver bullion investors might reasonably assume prices have a lot to do with physical supply and demand. On a day-to-day basis, they don’t. If they did, prices would be much higher.

Chinese Gold and Silver Demand
Chinese gold and silver demand

is through the roof.

Consider the extraordinary demand for physical silver. It is setting another record in China where silver imports, which account for a fifth of world consumption, are up 36% through October. The story is similar in India, another of the largest markets in the world. And government mints are struggling mightily to keep up with record demand for gold and silver bullion coins.

Meanwhile, lower and lower prices continue to devastate the mining industry tasked with providing supply. Inventories are dwindling because crippled mining companies aren’t keeping up. COMEX gold inventories sit at record lows, with just a few tons

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Continue reading “BIG QUESTION: Why Are Gold/Silver Prices Falling Despite Demand?”

Metals Market Setting Up for Trend-Changing Short-Covering Rally


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Welcome to this week’s Market Wrap Podcast, I’m Mike Gleason.

Coming up we’ll hear from our good friend David Smith, Senior Analyst at The Morgan Report and regular contributor to MoneyMetals.com.  David touches on some key events and potential developing scenarios in the metals markets right now… including the potential for a default on the exchanges, the possibility that the stage is being set for a massive short covering rally in silver futures, and how much longer the market can withstand massive physical demand in the face of an ever-constricting supply.  Don’t miss an incredibly important and informative interview with David Smith coming up after this week’s market update.

Well, as terror alerts are raised around the world, investors appear to be more focused on the signals that are being sent by the oil market.  Crude oil prices are plunging this week to their lowest levels

Continue reading “Metals Market Setting Up for Trend-Changing Short-Covering Rally”

Extreme Leverage in a Gold Futures Market Nearing the Breaking Point


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The metals markets rallied strongly on Friday – action which came as a surprise to many. The gains snapped a 6-week losing streak for gold, silver, and platinum. Prices rose despite a stronger-than-expected November jobs report raising the odds the Fed will hike interest rates later this month.

Perhaps silver and gold futures finally caught a safe-haven bid on news of the terrorism-linked shooting in Southern California.

Or perhaps it was a relief rally based on metals being heavily oversold and investors realizing that a quarter percent Fed rate hike may already be “priced-in.” Especially given that Janet Yellen stood out front last week and downplayed the significance of raising rates. She wants investors to expect lower average rates than we’ve seen historically and to know a decision to hike in December does NOT necessarily mean more rate hikes will follow.

Or maybe, at last, the gold shorts are

Continue reading “Extreme Leverage in a Gold Futures Market Nearing the Breaking Point”

European Central Bank Slashes Rates to Ridiculous Negative Levels


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Welcome to this week’s Market Wrap Podcast, I’m Mike Gleason.

Coming up we’ll hear another great interview with Michael Rivero of WhatReallyHappened.com. Michael gives us his candid commentary on a range of issues including how the Syrian refugee crisis could lead to trouble for the U.S. dollar, the likelihood of a coming economic collapse and whether or not it’s time to buy or sell precious metals. Don’t miss another explosive interview with Michael Rivero, coming up after this week’s market update.

Well, it’s been quite an eventful week, so let’s get right to recent developments. A big market-moving employment number came out today. And market volatility already picked up on Thursday in the aftermath of a mass shooting in California and an interest rate cut in Europe.

The European Central Bank announced a package of new stimulus measures, extending its massive bond-buying program until March 2017. The ECB

Michael Rivero Interview

Continue reading “European Central Bank Slashes Rates to Ridiculous Negative Levels”

Treasury Secretary Makes Sad Admission about Coinage Devaluation


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Traders are bidding up the U.S. dollar and dumping metals as they become more convinced that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its next meeting. Janet Yellen and company have been talking about raising rates for the better part of a year, though. All talk and no action so far.

Will they finally hike or keep crying wolf? We’ll find out when the Fed meets on December 15-16.

In the meantime, the long-dollar trade is getting crowded. Bullish bets on the U.S. dollar in the futures markets have more than tripled since last month, according to Scotiabank. The U.S. Dollar Index now trades right near the 100 level, matching its high point in March. The buck may encounter some technical resistance in this area. If it pushes through, momentum could accelerate to the upside.

On a fundamental basis, dollar strength is little more than the

Continue reading “Treasury Secretary Makes Sad Admission about Coinage Devaluation”

Gold & Silver under Attack as Leverage Reaches Extremes


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Welcome to this week’s Market Wrap Podcast, I’m Mike Gleason.

During this special Thanksgiving week edition of the program we’re going to do something a little bit different and share with you an enlightening and spirited interview our friend David Morgan did with Sean Kerrigan of the SGT Report recently. David and Sean answer the question on seemingly every precious metals investors’ mind, which is how much longer can the manipulation in the metal markets go on? Don’t to miss this special interview with David Morgan of The Morgan Report coming up after this week’s market update.

Today millions of shoppers are partaking in the great American tradition of heading out to stores en masse in search of holiday deals. But they aren’t likely to find any bargains as compelling as physical precious metals.

That’s because gold and silver spot prices have been marked down to multi-year lows. Prices are

Continue reading “Gold & Silver under Attack as Leverage Reaches Extremes”

If You’re Out of the Room, You’re Out of the Deal


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There’s a saying in the resource sector investment community regarding whether or not a person might be privy to a good private placement or the inside scoop on a company that’s working on a lucrative gold or silver project. The saying goes: “If you’re out of the room, you’re out of the deal.”

As the day comes closer when the precious metals turn to the upside in earnest – well before the public mania phase alerts everyone on the planet to the potential – we could confront an event which moves the precious metals upward so quickly and violently, that people don’t have at least a core holding beforehand will be left standing at the proverbial station. That train might not just pull away, but instead launch down the rails like a rocket.

Responding to First Majestic’s decision to stockpile, rather than sell at low prices, some of its

Continue reading “If You’re Out of the Room, You’re Out of the Deal”

Trouble Is Brewing in the Paper Markets for Gold and Silver


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Precious metals bulls question why metals prices keep falling in the face of what appears to be strong demand and great fundamental reasons for prices to move higher instead.

The bears have some answers of course. You can’t eat gold, it’s basically a pet rock, and modern financial systems are doing just fine without anything as antiquated as bullion gumming up the works.

The bears are declaring victory and saying the market has spoken. They ought to look a bit deeper into recent developments.

Outside of the price action, there is very little to support claims that gold and silver are relics of the past.

“Just one ounce of registered gold now backs nearly 300 ounces in COMEX contracts.”

Lately, the real answer to the bulls’ question about why prices are headed lower isn’t the stuff of a lengthy philosophical debate. These days, the answer seems to be a

Gold COMEX Chart
LBMA Gold

Continue reading “Trouble Is Brewing in the Paper Markets for Gold and Silver”

New Concerns Emerge about Availability of Gold in Western Vaults


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Welcome to this week’s Market Wrap Podcast, I’m Mike Gleason.

Coming up we’ll hear a fantastic interview with Bill Holter of JSMineset.com and the Holter/Sinclair Collaboration. Bill tells us about the implications of dwindling precious metals production in the face of what he believes will be massive worldwide demand. Also, how you’ll know when it’s “game over” for the dollar. Don’t miss an incredibly important interview with Bill Holter, coming up after this week’s market update.

The gold and silver markets are trading around some critical price levels this week.

After dipping to new lows for the year and the lowest levels since early 2010 on Tuesday, gold stabilized Wednesday and closed Thursday back slightly above the $1,080 level. The $1,080 level is significant because that’s where gold bottomed in August. As of this Friday morning recording, gold prices come in right at $1,080 an ounce, registering a small

Continue reading “New Concerns Emerge about Availability of Gold in Western Vaults”

Download Your Free Copy of <i>Money Metals Insider</i> NOW! (Nov-Dec 2015)


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More freebies for you!

We’re pleased today to grant you access to the November/December issue of Money Metals Insider – a FREE benefit for you, our valued reader. Please check it out right away.

It’s jam-packed with some product announcements, commentary on the markets, and important updates about threats to your financial security and freedom.

Gold and silver are at 5 and 6 year lows, but technicals suggest the metals are quietly gathering strength. We give you the inside skinny.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find inside your November/December 2015 newsletter:

  • Gold and Silver Markets Quietly Gather Strength
  • Australia’s Silver Kangaroo Challenges American Eagle Dominance
  • Precious Metals IRAs: A New Retirement Savings Trend Emerges
  • Probing Questions from Our Readers
  • Seven Biggest Lies Told (and Believed) about Gold

So download the PDF of this fantastic free newsletter right now and even pass it around to your friends! It’s just another

Continue reading “Download Your Free Copy of <i>Money Metals Insider</i> NOW! (Nov-Dec 2015)”

chat.center appoints Kannan Ayyar Chief Operating Officer

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — chat.center, the company founded in 2014 by Archimedes Labs co-founder Keith Teare, today announced that Kannan Ayyar has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, with a remit to take the company from its recent success in gaining product-market fit, to the next stage of growth of paying customers and scaling the service.

Kannan grew up in software founding his first software company at the age of 24. Renaissance software grew to be a leader in derivatives software and was eventually bought by Sungard Data. Since then he has been involved with over 30 companies as an investor, operator and Board member. He worked closely with the new top level domain program while he was running ISC, the leader in open source Domain Name Software. He has worked with numerous SaaS software companies selling into the business market. Kannan said:

“I’ve always respected Keith as an entrepreneur and technology leader. His innovation to use URLs as unique human readable chat-ids could have far reaching consequences. I am excited to join him and continue the impressive traction and rapid expansion of chat.center. Small businesses now have the functionality of a call center running on their smart phone or tablet.”

Kannan began his role at the start of November and is now running day-to-day operations of the Company. Founder Keith Teare remains as CEO and Board Chair and will continue to focus on technology, external evangelism and product direction. Keith Said:

“Kannan has that rare combination of being entrepreneurial, tenacious, as well as incredibly smart. He is unique in his ability to bridge product potential with immediate user requirechat. center ments. More, importantly he has the DNA of an exceptional sales and business development person. Despite great traction and success chat.center has a long journey ahead and Kannan has exactly the skills and personality to lead those efforts on a daily basis. I look forward to working with him to make chat.center a great success!”


About chat.center

chat.center is a solution for any organization, business or developer to provide instant messaging communications to customers, users, employees and other stakeholders.

chat.center is at core a SaaS Cloud Service – enabling Universal Chat Names or IDs, Chat IDs are expressed as URLs. A chat.center customer can receive inbound chats on their smartphone from customers who “Click to Chat” from any web or email link.

Anybody can therefore reach the chat.center user without needing to install an app. Click to Chat is important for businesses, especially where the business owner is not sat at a desk, and needs to respond to customers on their mobile. It effectively turns a smartphone into a business owners call center.

chat.center was incubated at Archimedes Labs in Palo Alto.

Every business, developer and individual on the Planet can be reached for Chat via a Chat ID hyperlink.

There is an iOS, Android and Web App, sitting on top of a SaaS service. The SaaS service also has an API.


Press Contacts

Keith Teare
Founder
(650) 704-674
keith@chat.center
http://chat.center/keith (chat ID)

Kannan Ayyar
COO
(415) 602-6343
kannan@chat.center
http://chat.center/kra (chat ID)

Media Contact: Keith Teare, chat.center, 6507042674, keith@teare.com

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

 

SOURCE chat.center

Digital Chocolate Nets $12M


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As earlier reported by peHUB.com, Digital Chocolate Inc., the social games developer, successfully completed its fundraising process. The company reeled in $12 million in a Series D that was led by Intel Capital and included BridgeScale Partners. Intel Capital represents a new investor in the gaming company, while BridgeScale participated in a previous round.

PRESS RELEASE:
SAN MATEO, Calif.–Digital Chocolate Inc. , a leader in social games across growing platforms, announced today it has closed $12 million in Series D financing. This round was led by Intel Capital and includes participation from prior investors Sutter Hill Ventures and Bridgescale Partners.
“The investment from Intel Capital supports our vision of publishing leading social games across different devices and platforms”
The new funding comes on the heels of Digital Chocolate’s successful 2010 during which it became one of the top five global games publishers on Facebook. The company has also achieved more than 100 million mobile downloads, and has brought its social games to the smartphone and tablet platforms. With this additional growth capital, the company plans to further expand its scale, cross-platform capabilities, and geographic reach.
The announcement represents a commitment to the continued expansion of Digital Chocolate’s strategy. “The investment from Intel Capital supports our vision of publishing leading social games across different devices and platforms,” said Trip Hawkins, founder and CEO of Digital Chocolate. “The strength of our team, combined with the strategic insight and support from Intel Capital and existing investors, will help extend our leadership in the evolving social gaming market.”
“We’ve chosen to invest in Digital Chocolate because of its success across the fastest growing digital platforms and consumer electronics device categories,” said Mike Buckley, managing director of the Consumer Internet Sector of Intel Capital. “As a leading social game developer, Digital Chocolate continues to drive new features and functionality across multiple computing platforms.”
About Digital Chocolate
Digital Chocolate has rapidly emerged as a leader in new digital media and social games. Best known for Millionaire City, MMA Pro Fighter, Rollercoaster Rush and Tower Bloxx, Digital Chocolate led all software companies in App Store downloads in 2009 and in 2010 was one of the fastest-growing publishers of Facebook social games with virtual goods. Focused on original brands and technology for a wide variety of platforms, the company has made over 100 different award-winning games and works with 200 leading web and mobile channel partners in 80 countries. Digital Chocolate has operations in San Mateo, Helsinki, Barcelona, Bangalore, and Mexico.
About Intel Capital
Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, home, mobility, health, consumer Internet, semiconductor manufacturing and cleantech. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$9.8 billion in over 1,100 companies in 48 countries. In that timeframe, 189 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 258 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2010, Intel Capital invested US$327 million in 119 investments with approximately 44 percent of funds invested outside the U.S. and Canada. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit www.intelcapital.com.


Platinum Equity’s Pomeroy IT Recaps


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THL Credit Inc. participated in the recap of Pomeroy IT Solutions, a portfolio company belonging to Platinum Equity. Specifics on the transaction were not publicized. Platinum acquired the company in a 2009 take-private.

PRESS RELEASE:
BOSTON and LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17, 2011 — THL Credit, Inc. (Nasdaq:TCRD) (”THL Credit”) today announced that it participated in the recapitalization of Pomeroy IT Solutions, Inc. (”Pomeroy” or the “Company”), a portfolio company of Platinum Equity (”Platinum”). THL Credit and its managed fund, THL Credit Greenway Fund LLC, partnered with Triangle Capital Corporation to provide junior debt capital in the recapitalization.
“Through its comprehensive portfolio of service offerings, Pomeroy is uniquely positioned to take advantage of new opportunities and continued growth in the IT outsourcing market. Together with our partner in the transaction, we look forward to supporting Platinum and the Company as they build upon this operating platform,” said Kunal Soni, Managing Director of THL Credit.
Headquartered in Hebron, KY, Pomeroy is a leading IT services and solutions provider serving Fortune 2000 companies, state and local government agencies and middle market clients.
About THL Credit
THL Credit is an externally-managed, non-diversified closed-end management investment company that has elected to be treated as a business development company (BDC) under the Investment Company Act of 1940. THL Credit’s investment objective is to generate both current income and capital appreciation, primarily through investments in privately negotiated debt and equity securities of middle market companies.
THL Credit is headquartered in Boston, with additional investment teams in Los Angeles and Houston. THL Credit invests primarily in private subordinated debt, or mezzanine debt, in middle market companies with annual revenues of between $25 million and $500 million that require capital for growth and acquisitions. Such investments in many cases include an associated equity component such as warrants, preferred stock or other similar securities. THL Credit’s investment activities are managed by THL Credit Advisors LLC, an investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.


Tavistock Group Acquires The St. Regis Atlanta


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The Orlando-based private equity firm Tavistock Group has bought the 151-room St. Regis Hotel property in Atlanta for an undisclosed price. Starwood Hotels & Resorts will continue to manage the property, which opened in April 2009 and was developed by the SR Hotel Development Co. LLLP. Tavistock Group also owns the Isleworth and Lake Nona Golf & Country Clubs in Orlando, Florida, the luxury resort community of Albany in The Bahamas, and is currently building a 7,000-acre master-planned medical city in central Florida

PRESS RELEASE:

Tavistock Group announced today that it has acquired the 151-room St. Regis Hotel and the remaining 30 St. Regis Residences in Atlanta’s exclusive Buckhead community. Tavistock Group acquired the property from a consortium of partners, some of whom were also the property’s development team.

“We are thrilled to acquire the St. Regis property in Atlanta and believe it is a terrific asset in one of the Southeast’s most prominent cities.  We believe Atlanta will continue to be a critically important economic and cultural center for the next several decades,” said Douglas E. McMahon, a managing director of the diversified, privately-held investment company.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts will continue to manage The St. Regis Atlanta, which has proven to be a successful partnership to date, recently recognized as the Buckhead Business of the Year by the Buckhead Business Association.

“Our group is interested in finding and acquiring more quality assets like the St. Regis, and my team currently is looking across the country for similar opportunities,” stated Barry Goff, the managing director of diversified acquisitions for Tavistock Group.

“The quality of the real estate asset and the City of Atlanta were driving factors for us,” said McMahon, “and we look forward to expanding our presence in Atlanta and introducing the resident owners of the St. Regis to the benefits of being a part of the Tavistock Group family.”

Opened in April 2009, The St. Regis Atlanta was developed by the SR Hotel Development Company, LLLP, and has enjoyed notable success both as a hotel and a preferred residential address. The St. Regis Atlanta has established a new standard of quality for high-rise hospitality and living in the Southeast. The St. Regis Hotel was recently presented the 2011 AAA Five Diamond Award in lodging, 2011 AAA Four Diamond Award in restaurants for Paces 88 and the 2010 Hot List Award by Conde Nast Traveler. Twenty-three of the fifty-three Residences already have been sold to a broad array of prominent community and business leaders from the city.

“We intend to be a hands-on, highly involved owner,” added McMahon. “We will strive to make this the very best St. Regis hotel property and work to establish the St. Regis Residences at 88 West Paces Ferry as the most desirable address in the city of Atlanta.”

About Tavistock Group

Tavistock Group is an international private investment company founded by Joe Lewis.

With investments in 250 companies across 15 countries, Tavistock Group’s investment portfolio includes:  life sciences, professional sports team and sporting events, manufacturing and distribution, oil, gas and energy, financial services, restaurants, commercial properties, private luxury residential properties, resort properties and master-planned real estate developments.

Tavistock Group owns and has developed the renowned Isleworth and Lake Nona Golf & Country Clubs in Orlando, Florida, the luxury resort community of Albany in The Bahamas, and is currently building a 7,000-acre master-planned medical city in central Florida anchored by the new Nemours Children’s Hospital, The Sanford-Burnham Institute, and The University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine.

For more information on Tavistock Group, visit www.tavistock.com.

About The St. Regis Atlanta

Combining timeless sophistication with an unrivaled dimension of luxury, The St. Regis Atlanta Hotel & Residences debuted April 14, 2009. The 26-floor development features 151 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites, 53 St. Regis Residences, more than 16,000 square feet of contemporary meeting and event space, two exclusive bars, world-class culinary options, a state-of-the-art fitness facility that overlooks an exquisite 40,000-square-foot Pool Piazza and poolside Bar, a 7,800-square-foot Remede Spa and Paces 88, the signature restaurant. Each guest room and suite is attended by the signature St. Regis Butler Service, an ever present yet unobtrusive service dedicated to meeting the needs of discerning global travelers. The St. Regis Atlanta Hotel & Residences is located at 88 West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead. For more information, please call (404) 563-7900 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (404) 563-7900      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit www.stregis.com/atlanta.

About St. Regis Hotels & Resorts

Combining classic sophistication and modern luxury, the St. Regis brand remains faithful to its commitment to excellence. Founded by John Jacob Astor IV, with the opening of the first St. Regis Hotel in New York City over a century ago, the St. Regis brand of hotels is known for its unique luxury dimension, customized service and refined elegance, in the best destinations worldwide. Plans for this brand to globally continue its legacy include long-awaited St. Regis US and Latin American hotels and resorts in Bal Harbour, Buenos Aires and the Riviera Maya. In Asia, St. Regis has also announced plans to open hotels in Bangkok, Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, Sanya Yalong Bay and Tianjin. In Africa and the Middle East, the St. Regis brand will continue to expand in Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Doha and Mauritius. The distinctive trait of the St. Regis experience is customized service and attention, coveted locations and luxurious design. For more information on St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.stregis.com.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,025 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Meridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element (SM).  Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.


Aurora Capital Promotes a Handful


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Aurora Capital Group, the California-based private equity firm, has promoted three individuals within it Aurora Resurgence Management Partners group. Joshua Phillips is now a partner and managing director; Peter Leibman is a principal, as is Ryan McCarthy.

PRESS RELEASE:
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 16, 2011– Aurora Capital Group (”Aurora” the “Company”), a Los Angeles-based private equity firm with over $2.0 billion of assets under management, today announced that it has made the following three promotions within Aurora Resurgence Management Partners, an affiliate of the Company. These promotions reflect the depth and breadth of Aurora Resurgence’s management team.

Anthony DiSimone, Managing Partner of Aurora Resurgence, said, “We are proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these highly talented members of our investment team through well-deserved promotions. Josh, Peter and Ryan have been integral contributors to Aurora Resurgence’s successes and we look forward to continuing to benefit from their expertise.”
Josh led the asset acquisition of Parking Company America Airports. Pete helped execute the New Star Metals transaction (formerly Northern Steel Group), a subsidiary of Severstal North. Ryan helped execute the acquisition of Lexington Precision Corporation as well as the asset acquisition of Parking Company America Airports. Josh, Pete and Ryan have also led multiple debt investments for the firm.
Biographies:
Joshua Phillips, Managing Director & Partner
Mr. Phillips is a Managing Director and Partner with Aurora Resurgence Management Partners. Previously, Mr. Phillips was a Principal at American Capital Strategies where he focused on both control equity investments and debt financings for middle market companies. While at American Capital Mr. Phillips served on numerous boards of directors of portfolio companies. Prior to American Capital, Mr. Phillips was an Associate in the investment banking department of Jefferies & Company, Inc. At Jefferies & Company, Mr. Phillips executed high yield bond offerings, restructuring assignments and distressed merger and acquisition engagements for middle market companies.
Mr. Phillips received a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor of arts, from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Peter Leibman, Principal
Mr. Leibman is a Principal with Aurora Resurgence Management Partners. He was formerly a Manager at Bain & Company, a leading consulting firm. While at Bain, Mr. Leibman led turnaround/performance improvement, merger and acquisition, and strategy engagements across a variety of industries for businesses in North America and Europe and had extensive experience in commercial due diligence, financial valuation, strategy development and taskforce leadership.
Mr. Leibman earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor of arts, from Northwestern University.
Ryan McCarthy, Principal
Mr. McCarthy is a Principal with Aurora Resurgence Management Partners. He was formerly a Senior Director at Alvarez and Marsal, a leading consulting and turnaround management firm. While at Alvarez and Marsal, Mr. McCarthy led turnaround and restructuring engagements and served in numerous interim management roles including COO, CFO and Treasurer. Mr. McCarthy held management roles at several companies including Warnaco, National Century Financial Enterprises and Movie Gallery. Mr. McCarthy was previously an investment banking Analyst at Banc America Securities.
Mr. McCarthy holds a bachelor of science in Accounting and Finance from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University and attended Boston University’s International Business program in London, England.
About Aurora Capital Group
Aurora Capital Group is a Los Angeles-based private investment firm managing over $2.0 billion of capital across several private equity funds. Aurora’s traditional private equity vehicle, Aurora Equity Partners, focuses principally on control-investments in middle-market businesses with leading market positions, strong cash flow profiles, and actionable opportunities for growth in partnership with operating management. Aurora’s special situations fund, Aurora Resurgence, invests in debt and equity securities of middle-market companies and targets complex situations that are created by operational or financial challenges either within a company or a broader industry. Aurora’s investors include leading public and corporate pension funds, endowments and foundations active in private equity investing. For more information about Aurora Capital Group, visit www.auroracap.com or www.aurorares.com.


Falfurrias Engages Harris Williams to Advise on Bojangles’


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Advising on Bojangles’ shouldn’t be that difficult: order as much as you can, if you haven’t been to the champion chicken retailer of the South. Falfurrias Capital Partners, as peHUB.com reported earlier, will look to potentially sell its substantial minority stake in the business, it announced, with the help of Harris Williams. Under Falfurrias, Bojangles’ has grown its chain nearly 30% since September 2007.

PRESS RELEASE:
CHARLOTTE, Feb. 17, 2011 — Falfurrias Capital Partners, a Charlotte-based private equity firm, today announced it has retained Harris Williams & Co. as a financial advisor to explore future options for Falfurrias’ investment in Bojangles’ Restaurants, Inc., including a possible sale of the fast-growing, Charlotte-based restaurant chain.

“We have been extremely pleased with our investment in Bojangles’ and its growth as a premier quick-service restaurant group in the southeastern U.S.,” said Marc D. Oken, co-founder and managing partner of Falfurrias Capital Partners. “As we said when we purchased controlling interest in Bojangles’ in 2007, as a private equity firm we have a four-to-seven-year time frame to hold our investments. We feel now is the right time to review our position for our shareholders because of Bojangles’ profitability, growth and future expansion opportunities in the Southeast.”

Despite a difficult national financial environment, since Falfurrias purchased the company in September 2007, the number of Bojangles’ restaurants has grown by nearly 30 percent to 488 company-owned and franchised restaurants in 10 states, primarily in the Southeast.

“Our partnership with Falfurrias Capital Partners has enabled us to build on Bojangles’ history of offering our unique flavor, the best breakfast in the industry and fast, friendly service. They have been great partners in our efforts to grow this very special brand,” said Bojangles’ President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Kibler. “We expect no change in that tradition for our customers, team members and franchisees regardless of our ownership structure as we continue to operate in the best long-term interest of the Bojangles’ brand.”

About Falfurrias Capital Partners

Falfurrias Capital Partners, founded by former Bank of America Chairman and CEO Hugh McColl Jr. and former Bank of America Chief Financial Officer Marc D. Oken, is a Charlotte-based private equity investment firm focused on acquiring or investing in a diverse portfolio of middle-market companies operating in the southeastern U.S. By leveraging the extensive strategic and operational experience and business relationships of the firm’s principals, Falfurrias Capital Partners is positioned to be a value-added partner for both its portfolio companies and its limited partners. For more information, visit www.falfurriascapital.com.

About Bojangles’ Restaurants, Inc.
Founded in 1977 in Charlotte, N.C., Bojangles’ Restaurants, Inc. serves only the highest quality and most flavorful food to its loyal customers, with all of its proprietary menu items made from scratch. A special blend of seasonings gives the food its unique flavor, including Bojangles’ core menu selections of World Famous chicken, fresh made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits and legendary iced tea steeped the old-fashioned way. Bojangles’ also offers biscuit sandwiches that are served all day. Unique sides like Dirty Rice™, Cajun Pintos™ and Seasoned Fries are just a few of the flavorful fixin’ choices. First franchised in 1978, Bojangles’ boasts close to 500 locations in 10 states, primarily in the Southeast. The company was named one of the top 10 growth concepts in 2009 by both GE Capital and QSR magazine. Its strong performance in all three day parts is what sets Bojangles’ apart from all other restaurants. For more information, visit www.bojangles.com.

About Harris Williams & Co.

Harris Williams & Co., a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC), is the premier middle market advisor with a two-decade history of sell-side excellence serving clients nationwide. The firm is focused exclusively on the middle market, providing sell side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements and capital markets advisory services. Member FINRA/SIPC. For more information, visit www.harriswilliams.com.


Kaltura Scores $20 Million in New Funding


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Kaltura, a New York-based open-source online video platform, has raised a $20 million round in financing led by new investors Nexus Venture Partners and Intel Capital, and existing investors .406 Ventures, Avalon Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. The company has raised $23.1 million since its 2006 founding.

PRESS RELEASE:

Kaltura, developer of the first and only open source online video platform, announced today that it has secured an additional $20 million in a round of financing led by new investors Nexus Venture Partners with participation from Intel Capital, existing investors .406 Ventures and Avalon Ventures, and technology lender Silicon Valley Bank.

Over the last 18 months Kaltura’s open-source video management platform has rapidly grown to become the most widely adopted solution in the market, far eclipsing the combined publisher-base of all proprietary online video platforms such as Brightcove.  Serving more than 100,000 publishers, Kaltura’s products and services cater to companies across all sectors with focus on four verticals – media companies, enterprises, educational institutions, and service providers.  Users include Fox, Paramount, HBO, Warner Brothers, The Times of India, Best Buy, Texas Instruments, Coldwell Banker, MIT, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, NYU, Columbia University, and Siemens. 

Organizations use Kaltura to enhance their websites, web-services, or web-platforms with advanced customized video, photo and audio functionalities with rich-media ingestion, encoding, management, publishing, delivery, distribution, engagement, monetization, and analysis.  The platform supports delivery to PCs, mobile devices, tablets, TVs, and other connected devices, with expertise in all related technologies, including Adobe® Flash™ and Microsoft® Silverlight™.  Kaltura’s HTML5 Video library has become an industry standard (http://www.html5video.org/), embraced by leaders such as Adobe and Wikipedia. 

Kaltura sets itself apart from proprietary vendors by openly providing hundreds of APIs and the entire source code in order to enable customers, integrators, and developers to customize their own workflows and to develop their own distinct rich-media applications and plug-ins.  The Kaltura Exchange http://exchange.kaltura.com/ is a vibrant marketplace that surfaces these applications along with ancillary products and services that are offered by 3rd parties.  The platform and its Exchange are supported by a global developer community that already includes many thousands of registered members that help fuel an unparalleled pace of innovation.  Kaltura offers the widest range of deployment options available.  Customers can subscribe to Kaltura’s commercial video platform as a hosted service (Kaltura’s SaaS Platform), license Kaltura’s commercial video management software for on-premise or cloud-based hosting, or use Kaltura’s Community Edition, downloadable for free at http://www.kaltura.org under the AGPL License.

“Kaltura is disrupting the online video space in a similar way to how open-source Red Hat™ and MySQL™ have disrupted their fields of operating systems and databases,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura Chairman & CEO.  “We are honored to have gained the support of Intel Capital and Nexus Venture Partners who have played an important role in the success of these two open-source giants.  Kaltura’s financial success and the premium investors that it attracts demonstrate once again that there is indeed no dissonance between doing good, and doing well.” 

Mr.  Yekutiel added, “Kaltura is changing the game by tearing down the walled-garden approach around rich-media, fostering openness, embracing interoperability, and harnessing global innovation.  The availability, flexibility, and extensibility of our system and the powerful community behind it are dramatically lowering the barrier for the creation and consumption of integrated rich-media, paving the way for a much richer web experience for all.”

 ”We constantly survey both the online-video and the open source markets for promising investments, so we were delighted to find in Kaltura a company that is hugely successful by combining the best technology with a powerful open source business model,” said Naren Gupta from Nexus Venture Partners, who also serves on the Board of Directors of open-source leader Red Hat.  “Video is a powerful tool for enterprises and consumers and online video is rapidly being introduced into every website, web platform, and web service in the world.  It is a fertile opportunity for a formidable success of an open-source leader like Kaltura.”

In a related announcement at the Mobile World Conference, Intel unveiled today a series of investments in the mobility space, including the investment in Kaltura.  Intel Capital’s investment will help enhance the delivery of rich-media functionalities on tablets, mobile phones, and other connected devices, with a special emphasis on supporting the MeeGo™ mobile operating system and Intel’s AppUp™ application store.

“There is significant demand to facilitate the handling of online video on three screens within customized work-flows in tightly integrated applications,” said Lisa Lambert, vice president, Intel Capital.  “Kaltura is optimally positioned to take full advantage of this opportunity with its open technology, impressive customer base, and strong developer community.”

“Kaltura is a juggernaut.  They’re exceptionally well positioned to deliver online video at a time in the market when demand for online video is exploding, “said Maria Cirino, Managing Director of .406 Ventures.  “It has been an exciting ride and we look forward to the next chapter with this innovative company led by a passionate group of world class entrepreneurs.”

About Kaltura

Kaltura provides the world’s first Open Source Online Video Platform.  Over 100,000 media & entertainment companies, enterprises, SMBs, educational institutions, service providers, platform vendors, and system integrators use Kaltura’s flexible platform to enhance their websites, web-services, and web-platforms with advanced customized video, photo and audio functionalities.  Kaltura’s features and products enable easy deployment of custom work-flows involving video creation, ingestion, publishing, management, syndication, engagement, monetization and analysis.  The free community-supported self-hosted software and source-code is available for download at www.kaltura.org.  A commercial version of the software can be obtained at www.kaltura.com along with Kaltura services such as streaming, hosting, transcoding, analytics, ad serving, support and maintenance packages, and professional development.  Founded in 2006, New York based Kaltura is a founding member of the ‘Open Video Alliance’ (www.openvideoalliance.org), a coalition of organizations dedicated to fostering open standards for online video.  For more information: www.kaltura.com, www.kaltura.org and http://exchange.kaltura.com/.


Survey Shows U.S. Small Business Confidence Up for First Time Since Q3 2009


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MerchantCircle, a Mountain View, Calif.-based online business directory, has issued its quarterly “Merchant Confidence Index” based on survey participants of more than 8,500 local business owners; the results follow below in the company’s release.

PRESS RELEASE:

MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, today issued, issued the results of its quarterly “Merchant Confidence Index (MCI),” a survey of over 8,500 local business owners across the country, sharing their confidence levels in the current economy as well as plans for future revenue, anticipated hiring and marketing spend. The outcome of the 2010 Q4 survey indicates economic sentiment among merchants has improved for the first time since the inception of the Merchant Confidence Index in September 2009. The current MCI has jumped to 63.5 out of a possible 100, up 5.1 percent from Q1 2010.

“Finally, we are seeing glimmers of hope from merchants who have weathered the economic storm over the past year and are expecting a better economic landscape in 2011,” said Darren Waddell, vice president of marketing at MerchantCircle. “Our survey results show that for the first time in over a year, small business owners see their recent holiday revenue jump as an indicator for economic rejuvenation.”

Key survey findings include:

2010 holiday revenues surpassed expectations

2010 holiday sales turned out better than expected and well over 2009 sales
34.9 percent of merchants saw their 2010 holiday revenue “improve” or “improve significantly” when compared with their 2009 holiday revenue
When surveyed on their holiday sales outlook in Q3 2010, only 27.9 percent expected to see any increase in 2010 year-over-year revenue
Merchants now cautiously optimistic about the economy, revenues

The increase in revenue seen during the 2010 holiday season drove cautious optimism for future growth: merchants are now expecting to see a continued increase in revenue in 2011. 57 percent of small business owners expect revenue to “improve” or “slightly improve” over the next three months
When asked to rate the statement “The worst effects of the recession are behind us,” sentiment among merchants was significantly more optimistic than in Q3 2010. Nearly 27 percent of merchants believe that the worst has already passed as compared to Q3 2010, when only 19.2 percent indicated that the worst was over
Small gains seen in merchant hiring, marketing

Cautious optimism is reflected in merchant hiring plans: over the next three months, 91.2 percent of merchants expect to keep headcount the same or plan to add jobs to their businesses. This is up slightly from the previous quarter, when 86.4 percent of merchants expected to keep or increase headcount
Small business owners will also continue to spend money on marketing and advertising at their current or slightly increased rate. Nearly 85 percent of small business owners expect to increase or keep marketing expenditure the same over the next three months — an increase over Q3 2010 during which only 75 percent of merchants expected the same
About the Merchant Confidence Index

The Merchant Confidence Index is a quarterly survey conducted by MerchantCircle, the largest social network of local business owners in the U.S. with over 1.6 million members. The Index is designed to track trends in small business sentiment over time and is derived from four key questions designed to synopsize the prevailing trends among local business owners. The overall index score is based upon a standardized five-level Likert scale.

This fifth Merchant Confidence Index survey was fielded online, between January 22nd and February 3rd, 2011, and sent to a random sample of MerchantCircle’s member base of over one million local business owners. There were 8,456 total responses from local business owners across the United States. Responding businesses classified themselves as legal and financial services, automotive, health and beauty, entertainment, travel and more, with 75 percent of respondents having less than 5 employees. The survey data can be broken out by state, business type or business size (by headcount) upon request. No incentive was offered to complete the survey. To read the full survey and its results, please visit www.MerchantCircle.com/corporate/blog/.

About MerchantCircle

Founded in 2005, MerchantCircle is the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, combining social networking features with a variety of free marketing tools that enable merchants to maximize their online visibility. Over 1.6 million merchants use the tools offered on MerchantCircle to create conversations with customers and connect with fellow local merchants. Local consumers can find more than 20 million business listings through http://www.merchantcircle.com or major search engines in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. In addition to its free services, MerchantCircle offers a portfolio of premium online advertising solutions including search engine marketing and instant website development.

In 2010, MerchantCircle acquired TimeBridge and the popular Bloglines service to further extend its network offerings. MerchantCircle is based in Mountain View, Calif., and funded by Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures and IAC. Learn more at http://www.MerchantCircle.com.


Investment Bank Bluestone Capital Partners Opens for Bizness


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Bluestone Capital Partners, a new investment bank, has opened in McLean, Va. The bank — launched by veteran bankers John Allen and Susan Gabay – will focus on middle-market companies in the aerospace, defense, and information technology industries.

PRESS RELEASE:

Bluestone Capital Partners,  a new investment bank whose two principals have successfully advised business owners and executives on over 100 mergers, acquisitions, and other transactions involving aerospace, defense, information technology, and professional services companies, today announced that it had opened its new headquarters in Northern Virginia.

Headed by two highly regarded and experienced investment banking professionals in these industries, John Allen and Susan Gabay bring over 25 years of combined experience and success to the market.  Allen, a former owner of the investment bank Windsor Group and president of Quarterdeck Investment Partners, serves as Bluestone’s chief executive officer.  Gabay, previously of Goldman Sachs in New York and more recently senior vice president of BB&T Capital Markets | Windsor Group, is Bluestone’s managing director.

Allen said that Bluestone’s creation addresses the need for a new way to do investment banking in today’s market. “We know from experience that the merger and acquisition process is highly complex, and thousands of nuances affect the value of a transaction and its probability of success,” he said. “Buyers and sellers have become more sophisticated as the economic, political and regulatory environments have become more volatile. Bluestone will help clients navigate through this new and far more unpredictable environment.”

According to Gabay, Bluestone’s unique approach will be very appealing to those who need investment banking assistance. “Bluestone is not just another corporate matchmaker interested in a quick fee,” she said. “Our strong preference is to work with a client long before a particular transaction is being considered so we can use our deep industry insight and relationships to develop and implement value-maximizing strategies.”

Bluestone will also be unique in that it will be what Allen and Gabay call a “ThinkBank” that will provide companies with innovative ideas and insights that better position them for success.  “Rather than doing what most investment banks do by waiting for clients to come to them, we will lead the thought process and bring ideas to our clients and other important relationships,” Allen said. “Being the ThinkBank will make Bluestone the place where clients come for counsel well before a specific opportunity presents itself,” Gabay added.

In the coming weeks, Bluestone expects to announce the hiring of a number of big-name, experienced professionals. These professionals will further broaden Bluestone’s industry experience and expertise, and provide substantial additional relationships and perspectives.

About John Allen

John Allen is one of the investment banking pioneers in the Washington, D.C. area.  During his nearly two decades in investment banking, Allen has helped build two highly successful firms that were acquired by other financial institutions. He has been involved in more than 100 deals with and for Fortune 500 and middle-market companies.  This includes some of the biggest names in the aerospace/defense, information technology and professional and technical services sectors, such as AECOM, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, ManTech, Raytheon, SAIC, The Carlyle Group, and Veritas Capital.

Because of his success and thought leadership, Allen has received many industry accolades including Investment Banker of the Year from the Association for Corporate Growth.  He is frequently interviewed as an investment banking and government sector expert and has authored articles published in and been quoted by Barron’s, Washington Technology, Washington Business Journal, The Deal and The Washington Post, among many others.  Allen has also briefed members of Congress and congressional committees on issues important to small and middle-market businesses.

Prior to founding Bluestone, Allen was co-owner of Windsor Group before it was acquired by BB&T Corporation in 2005. He also founded Windsor Capital Partners Fund I, a private equity/mezzanine fund focused on investing in small and middle-market companies. Before joining Windsor Group, Allen was president of Quarterdeck Investment Partners, a firm that specialized in providing investment banking services to aerospace, defense, and information technology companies. He helped lead Quarterdeck from a start-up to the eventual sale of a minority position to Jefferies & Company.


About Susan Gabay

Bluestone founding partner Susan Gabay has more than 12 years of experience working on Wall Street and investment banking that includes a number of high-profile successes. Although she has been involved in a wide variety of transactions and sectors, Gabay’s career has focused primarily on advising companies, investors, and executives operating in the aerospace/defense, information technology, and professional and technical services markets. Her counsel has led to the successful acquisition, sale, and financing of numerous government contractor transactions.

Prior to co-founding Bluestone, Gabay was a senior vice president with BB&T Capital Markets | Windsor Group. In this role, she was involved in more than 30 mergers and acquisitions, including sell-side and buy-side advisory assignments, divestitures, recapitalizations, and fairness opinions. She advised Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders, such as Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., CACI International Inc., and ManTech International Corporation in their divestitures of selected government services assets. Her expertise helped guide leading middle-market businesses in their sales to some of the biggest names in government contracting, including Raytheon, General Dynamics, and KEYW Corporation, and to private equity groups, such as Veritas Capital, Cerberus Capital Management, and Lake Capital. Before joining Windsor Group, Gabay worked for Goldman Sachs in New York.