Friday, February 5, 2010

M&As Expected to Increase in 2010

As the credit markets begin to ease, mergers and acquisitions will likely accelerate this year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a leading global auditing firm.

M&A activity in 2010 will be driven by strategic buyers who have both the funding and the vision necessary to capitalize on acquisition targets that offer opportunities for revenue growth and enhanced productivity. The most attractive sectors for these “mergers of productivity” include:

• Consumer products
• Technology
• Energy
• Financial services
• Automotive
• Healthcare
• Entertainment and media

PwC sees financing as the key stumbling block impeding M&A activity next year, increasing the pressure on middle market deals.

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What Every PR Person Should Know

As a public relations consultant who does a lot of PR programming, I was intrigued by a recent piece in Fast Company , based on data from the Global Information Industry Center , that described Americans’ “greed” for information. A few interesting factoids:

• Americans consume some 3.6 zettabytes (a billion trillion bytes of information) — the equivalent of 5.1 trillion hard drives — every day.

• Of the almost 19 hours daily we spend ingesting data, the biggest chunk of time — seven hours — is spent on a computer, console or handheld device.

• Just over one hour is spent reading and only slightly more (1.13 hours), on the phone.

• More time is spent on radio (5 hours) than on TV (4.5 hours).

Knowing and prioritizing our stakeholders and learning where they get their information are critical components of every effective public relations plan. Increasingly important for PR professionals will be the ability to craft strategies that cut through “info inundation.”

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mona Lisa’s Mysterious Smile: A Symptom of High Cholesterol?

For more than five centuries, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, Mona Lisa(also known as La Gioconda) has provoked speculation and controversy. Who was she, really? What accounted for her mysterious smile? Is she even smiling at all?

Now, Vito Franco , a professor of pathological anatomy at the University of Palermo, has come up with an entirely new explanation ( for the unique appearance of this famous lady: she’s suffering from xanthelasma, a condition in which cholesterol accumulates just under the skin; it’s often associated with hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol).

Franco said that he saw clear signs of the hypercholesterolemia-related condition around Mona Lisa's left eye, according to a recent article in TIME. He also found evidence of a lipoma, a fatty-tissue tumor, on her right hand

“Illness is part of the body, not a metaphysic or supernatural dimension,” Franco told reporter Laura Anello of La Stampa. “And so, in revealing their physicality, the people depicted expose their human vulnerability independently from our awareness of the authors of the work.”

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