Category Archives: Companies

Toshiba LNG Division Sold to Total SA

Unburdening itself from its somewhat risky liquified natural gas venture, Toshiba Corp. completed the sale of Toshiba LNG Corp to oil and gas powerhouse Total SA of France for $15 million. The sale is part of the Japanese firm’s restructuring process.

Technigaz Mark III type LNG membrane inside an LNG carrier. Photo courtesy of Thinfourth


The sale was announced in June when Toshiba realized it would have a hard time profiting from US-produced LNG for Japanese utilities due to the fall of the price of LNG. As it is, the sale to Total SA will still result in a loss for Toshiba of about $847 million for the fiscal year ending in March. Toshiba plans to pay Total about $815 million to take the contracts Toshiba is already committed.


Toshiba’s deal with the US firm to have the rights to process U.S.-produced gas into 2.2 million tons of LNG each year for 20 years beginning in 2019 was brokered back in 2013.
Toshiba’s restructuring comes in the wake of a fraud scandal that came to light in 2015, and after Westinghouse Electric Company, a nuclear power subsidiary, went bankrupt in 2017.

Business Spotlight: Ashton Kouzbari & Evolution Spine

When you need medical attention because you have an issue with your spine, you want the very best care. And you want the best equipment used by your surgeon and doctors. This is where Evolution Spine and Munear Ashton Kouzbari step in.

As a healthcare entrepreneur and consultant, Ashton Kouzbari has been in the business for many years. He values being a team player, working with a great team to achieve goals. Kouzbari is currently the President of Evolution Spine, a company based in Dallas, Texas which supplies premier implants to spine surgeons and hospitals. They pride themselves on their flawless service and continuous desire to innovate. They are currently engaged in the design, manufacturing and sales of these medical implants, instruments and biologic materials. The products are used to treat orthopedic and neurological surgical procedures for conditions like generative spine disease, spine trauma and correcting spinal deformities.

Ashton Kouzbari comes to this role with an extensive educational background. He graduated with both a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance along with Minors in Mathematics & Chemistry from Southern Methodist University. He is currently enrolled in the Harvard Business School President’s Program and is actively involved in the Dallas chapter of YPO. YPO includes more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries and the local chapter allows Munear Ashton Kouzbari the chance to work with other career-driven and like-minded business professionals and executives and to share ideas for the future.

Toys R Us Making a Comeback


Former global chief of merchandising and present CEO of Tru Kids Brands, Richard Barry, says he would like to open at least two Toys R Us Stores in the United States in 2019, according to someone who is aware of Barry’s plans.


Last October Tru Kids Brands won the rights to the Toys R Us brand after the company went bankrupt last year. Tru Kids also owns the rights to the company’s other assets such as Babies R Us and Imaginarium.


“We’re definitely coming back in 2019. At minimum two stores. There’s more planned for 2020,” the unnamed person said.


That person added that the new stores will be smaller than the old ones and will be more “experiential.”


“We have significant interest about how to bring the brand back to the US,” Barry explained to CNN Business earlier this year. “We’re working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to bring it to life.”

A Tale of Two Massachusetts Bank Mergers: North Easton Savings Bank and Avidia Bank

Two banks in Massachusetts—North Easton Savings Bank and Mutual Bank—have recently announced that they will be merging in early 2019.

The two banks both maintain 9 locations in different Massachusetts communities. This merger will allow the banks to combine their resources and expand their services. The banks have announced their commitment towards maintaining a culture of growth and success and have dedicated a website, www.meetyourbetterbank.com, to support clients.

Bank mergers can be complicated and often affect thousands of clients as well as employees.

This was the case when another two Massachusetts banks—Westborough Bank and Hudson Savings Bank—merged in 2007. When their merger was announced in November 2006, the deal seemed straightforward. Hudson parent company Assabet Valley Bancorp would pay $35 per share for Westborough Financial Services Inc. (the mutual holding company for The Westborough Bank), for a total of $20.6 million. The deal eventually went through, and the two banks merged to become Avidia Bank.

But, surprisingly, this deal involved intense negotiations, and did not go to the highest bidder. An offer of $38.50 per share from an unidentified individual was rejected by the bank’s shareholders. Another offer, of $40 per share by Marc Bistricer’s Murchinson, was also turned down.

As these Massachusetts banks demonstrate, bank mergers are complex deals that carry implications for bank personnel, investors, and customers.

J. Crew Head Departing

James Brett, an experienced executive who has been the CEO of J. Crew Group since summer 2017, is leaving the retail clothing company.

The decision for Brett to leave was mutual and pointed to the fact that the parties were “unable to bridge (their) beliefs on how to continue to evolve all aspects of the company.”

The Departure comes in the wake of a brand relaunch which has already proven to show some improvement in the company’s bottom line.

Representatives of J.Crew said four senior internal executives will take over Brett’s responsibilities, including Michael Nicholson, the company’s current president and chief operating officer.

Brett replaced Mickey Drexler in 2017 when he left the company after a long tenure there. Previous to his stint at J.Crew Brett was the head of the furniture chain West Elm.

In a statement the company declared that Brett had boosted the energy level at J.Crew and “enhanced (their) ability to relate to a broad range of consumers.”

In the statement that Brett released he said, “Returning J.Crew to its iconic status required reinventing the brand to reflect the America of today with a more expansive, more inclusive fashion concept.”