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Conglomerate (company)

A conglomerate is a multi-industry company – i.e. a combination of multiple business entities operating in different industries under one corporate group involving a parent company and many subsidiaries. Conglomerates are large and multinational. Conglomerates were popular in the 1960s due to a combination of low interest rates and a repeating bear-bull market, which allowed the conglomerates to buy companies in leveraged buyouts, sometimes at temporarily deflated values. Famous examples from the 1960s include Ling-Temco-Vought, ITT Corporation, Litton Industries, Teledyne; because of low interest on the loans, the overall return on investment of the conglomerate appeared to grow. In addition, the conglomerate had a better ability to borrow in the money market, or capital market, than the smaller firm at their community bank. For many years this was enough to make the company's stock price rise, as companies were valued on their return on investment; the aggressive nature of the conglomerators themselves was enough to make many investors, who saw a "powerful" and unstoppable force in business, buy their stock.

High stock prices allowed them to raise more loans, based on the value of their stock, thereby buy more companies. This led to a chain reaction, which allowed them to grow rapidly. However, all of this growth was somewhat illusory and when interest rates rose to offset inflation, conglomerate profits fell. Investors noticed that the companies inside the conglomerate were growing no faster than before they were purchased, whereas the rationale for buying a company was that "synergies" would provide efficiency. By the late 1960s they were shunned by the market, a major sell-off of their shares ensued. To keep the companies going, many conglomerates were forced to shed the industries they had purchased, by the mid-1970s most had been reduced to shells; the conglomerate fad was subsequently replaced by newer ideas like focusing on a company's core competency. In other cases, conglomerates are formed for genuine interests of diversification rather than manipulation of paper return on investment. Companies with this orientation would only make acquisitions or start new branches in other sectors when they believed this would increase profitability or stability by sharing risks.

Flush with cash during the 1980s, General Electric moved into financing and financial services, which in 2005 accounted for about 45% of the company's net earnings. GE owned a minority interest in NBCUniversal, which owns the NBC television network and several other cable networks. In some ways GE is the opposite of the "typical" 1960s conglomerate in that the company was not leveraged, when interest rates rose GE was able to turn this to its advantage, it was less expensive to lease from GE than buy new equipment using loans. United Technologies has proven to be a successful conglomerate. With the spread of mutual funds, investors could more obtain diversification by owning a small slice of many companies in a fund rather than owning shares in a conglomerate. Another example of a successful conglomerate is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company which used surplus capital from its insurance subsidiaries to invest in businesses across a variety of industries; the end of the First World War caused a brief economic crisis in Weimar Germany, permitting entrepreneurs to buy businesses at rock-bottom prices.

The most successful, Hugo Stinnes, established the most powerful private economic conglomerate in 1920s Europe – Stinnes Enterprises – which embraced sectors as diverse as manufacturing, shipbuilding, hotels and other enterprises. The best known British conglomerate was Hanson plc, it followed a rather different timescale than the U. S. examples mentioned above, as it was founded in 1964 and ceased to be a conglomerate when it split itself into four separate listed companies between 1995 and 1997. In Hong Kong, some of the well-known conglomerates include Jardine Matheson, Swire Group, C K Hutchison Whampoa, Sino Group, Swire Group Started by Liverpool natives the Swire family, which controls a wide range of businesses, including property, beverages and trading. Jardine Matheson operates businesses in the fields of property, trading and hotels. CK Hutchison Holdings Limited: Telecoms, Ports and Beauty Retail. Energy, Finance Sino Group: Kerry Logistics, Universal Studios Singapore, Shangri-LaIn Japan, a different model of conglomerate, the keiretsu, evolved.

Whereas the Western model of conglomerate consists of a single corporation with multiple subsidiaries controlled by that corporation, the companies in a keiretsu are linked by interlocking shareholdings and a central role of a bank. Mitsui, Sumitomo are some of Japan's best known keiretsu, reaching from automobile manufacturing to the production of electronics such as televisions. While not a keiretsu, Sony is an example of a modern Japanese conglomerate with operations in consumer electronics, video games, the music industry and film production and distribution, financial services, telecommunications. In China, many of the country's conglomerates are state-own

Alas, I Cannot Swim

Alas, I Cannot Swim is the debut studio album by British singer-songwriter Laura Marling. The album was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Music Prize; the album was produced by the lead vocalist of her previous band and the Whale, Charlie Fink, was released on 4 February 2008, conventionally released a week later. Marling had released a number of EPs before releasing her debut album, she told Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph: "I did my first EP just to get rid of songs I didn't like. They were just so awful. I don't think I found out what I was doing until about six months after I signed a deal." "The whole album is about being between 18 and 19. The album was recorded in Eastcote Studios, a small independent studio in the west of London regarded as "honest and organic" by Marling; the album was first released on 4 February 2008 in a "songbox" format, which comprised the CD album, a redeemable code for free concert tickets, a "memento" for every song on the album. Media response to Alas was favourable.

The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan called the album "unnervingly grown-up" and wrote: "Simplicity is the key: playing acoustic guitar and singing in a gentle verge-of-womanhood voice, she keeps things homespun and rootsy." Kev Kharas of Drowned in Sound noted "Marling's skill at making one word bleed with more meaning than half a dozen or so vainglorious chorus lines", while Allmusic's Stewart Mason commented on the "old-school'70s singer/songwriter vibe" of the album, focusing in particular on her "alluringly husky voice and graceful acoustic guitar". Due to the timing of the album coinciding with Feist's commercially successful third studio album The Reminder, Mason said that "there's every chance that will get lost in the shuffle as the unexpected commercial success leads major labels to unleash hordes of talented female singer/songwriters". Comparisons between Marling and Canadian songwriter Joni Mitchell were cited by many, including Andrew Murfett of The Age, Matt Connors of The Courier-Mail and Cameron Adams of The Herald Sun.

In addition, "Ghosts" appeared in Australian radio station Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2008 at #43, "Crawled Out of the Sea" was used in the final episode of the third series of Skins. In October 2011, NME placed "My Manic and I" at number 146 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years". Alas, I Cannot Swim entered the UK Albums Chart at number 45, it was certified gold in the United Kingdom. All songs composed by Laura Marling. "Alas I Cannot Swim" is included at the end of "Your Only Doll" as a hidden track Laura Marling – voice, guitar Marcus Mumfordaccordion, percussion Tom "Fiddle" Hobden – string arrangement Pete Roebanjo, keyboards Ted Dwane – double bass Joe Ichinose – fiddle Guy Davie – mastering Guy Katsav – recording, mixing Charlie Fink – production

David Johns (cricketer)

David Frank Victor Johns was an English cricketer. Johns was a left-handed batsman, he was born in London. Johns made his debut for Buckinghamshire in the 1950 Minor Counties Championship against Hertfordshire. Johns played Minor counties cricket for Buckinghamshire from 1950 to 1966, which included 83 Minor Counties Championship matches, he made his only List A appearance for Buckinghamshire against Middlesex in the 1965 Gillette Cup. In the match he made 19 runs before being dismissed by Ron Hooker. Johns played a single first-class match for a combined Minor Counties cricket team in 1953 against the touring Australians. In the match he took his only first-class wicket in the Australians first-innings, that of Don Tallon for the cost of 55 runs from 13 overs. With the bat he was dismissed for a duck in the Minor Counties first-innings by Ray Lindwall, while in the Minor Counties second-innings he scored 4 runs before being dismissed by Ron Archer, he died in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire on 20 November 1979.

David Johns at ESPNcricinfo David Johns at CricketArchive