January 17, 2014

SC business notebook, Jan 18

Target email causes panic among customers; Jos. A Bank rejects takeover offer; and, Commercial slaughtering of horses blocked

Target email causes panic among customers

An email sent to the roughly 70 million Target customers who may have been affected by a pre-Christmas data breach is causing panic among those who fear it could be an attempt to victimize them again. Target says the email, which offers free credit monitoring services to potential victims of the breach, is legitimate. But the company has identified a handful of scammers who are trying to take advantage of the public’s fear and confusion. According to Target, hackers stole data related to 40 million credit and debit card accounts and also pilfered personal information, including email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses and names of as many as 70 million customers. Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder says it’s those 70 million people – who could have shopped there months or even years ago – that Target contacted by email. Target says all of the letters it’s sending to shoppers are posted on the company’s website, along with information about what customers need to do to sign up for free credit monitoring.

Jos. A Bank rejects takeover offer

Jos. A. Bank Clothier Inc. has rejected a $1.61 billion takeover offer from rival Men’s Wearhouse. The two men’s clothing retailers have been engaged in a strange courtship for months. Jos. A. Bank made a bid for The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. last year that was rejected. Men’s Wearhouse then turned the tables and made a bid for Jos. A. Bank that was denied in December. It then raised the offer to $57.50 per share from $55 per share. But Jos. A. Bank said Friday that the offer is still too low and not in the best interest of shareholders. Men’s Wearhouse plans to take the deal to directly to shareholders and Jos. A. Bank is urging shareholders to reject the offer.

Commercial slaughtering of horses blocked

The resumption of the commercial slaughtering of horses was blocked Friday as President Barack Obama signed a budget measure that withholds money for required federal inspections of the slaughtering process. The measure provides temporary funding for the federal government, but it stops the U.S. Agriculture Department from spending on horse slaughterhouse inspections. The president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the federal government’s action reflects the opinions of many Americans that horse slaughter is “abhorrent and unacceptable.” The last domestic horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007 after Congress withheld inspection funding. Since the money was restored in 2011, several plants have fought to start slaughtering to potentially export horse meat overseas.

The Associated Press contributed.

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