Yum’s decision in China: To dump or not to dump

Updated June 3 with comment from OSI Group LLC

By Yimian Wu

Hedge funds such as Third Point and Corvex Management favor Yum! Brands Inc., for one thing: China. But activist investors propose divesting Yum’s China division, which generates half Yum’s revenue, as a giant franchisee that would pay big, steady royalty fees.

According to Bloomberg, the founder of activist hedge fund Corvex Management, Keith Meister, said at a recent Sohn Investment Conference in New York that spinning off Yum’s Chinese business could create additional value of $16 per share.

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Chicago offers affordable options for beginner golfers

By Scott Guthrie

Local golf courses reported less traffic Memorial Day weekend than in years past, reflecting a national trend indicative of the game’s decreasing popularity.

“We were [only] down about 20 rounds,” said Tom Donovan, general manager at Robert A. Black golf course in Chicago. “But it’s nothing to scoff at.”

Since 2011, an average of 137 courses have closed each year according to the Pellucid Corp., a company that tracks golf industry trends.

High costs and large time commitments are two key factors keeping people away from the course. An afternoon of golf can easily cost more than $50 and can consume upward of four hours.

That’s a considerable investment for a difficult sport that can leave people perplexed and frustrated. But golf doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming or disheartening.

Here are some suggestions:

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Despite 6 years of underperformance, hedge funds still popular among University endowments

By Lucy Ren

Despite scrutiny over hedge funds’ underperformance since the financial crisis, large university endowment funds like that of Northwestern University are still holding on to — if not raising — their stakes in “alternative investments,” which are usually prone to high risk but often perform better than equities.

Under the backdrop of soaring global equities markets and still stagnating interest rates, Northwestern University’s endowment achieved a lofty return of 16.8 percent in the fiscal year ended August 31, 2014, during which the market value of the primary fund grew by a historic level of 24 percent to $9.7 billion. The fund is now the eighth largest university endowment by net assets in the country.

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VIDEO: Immigrants hope Gloria Estefan musical shines light on migration

By Carmen Lopez

Cuba and the United States are currently working on repairing ties, but migration from the communist country has been active for decades.

Some Cuban immigrants are eager to see what will happen to Cubans migrating to the United States now that relations are improving. These changes are also gaining attention as Gloria and Emilio Estefan premiere “On Your Feet,” a musical about their journey to success in the United States. The musical debuts on Tuesday (June 2) at the Oriental Theatre.

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Gross domestic product sagged in first quarter

By Yimian Wu

The U.S economy contracted 0.7 percent in the first quarter as the trade deficit widened and business investment fell, according to the second estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) by the Commerce Department.

The result was revised from the first estimate of an increase of 0.2 percent released last month, but it was better than expected. According to Bloomberg, the median forecast of 84 economists expected a 0.9 percent drop.

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Last minute donation to South Side high school renews hope, buys time.

By Lydia Randall

On the day of a self-imposed deadline, Hales Franciscan High School –a South Side mainstay for over 50 years — has had an 11th hour miracle. A generous donation to the school means that students will be returning in the Fall.

The school is still short of the $300,000 it says it needs to continue in 2016, but Friday’s commitment has secured the school’s future for the next six months.

“We received a letter from the board indicating that we will remain open,” said Nichole Jackson, the school’s principal. “We do not have the $300,000, but we received some very favorable commitments so we’re very confident that we now have more time to raise additional money.”

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Lyons capture second water polo state title in four years

By Sam Fiske

A full day of celebration was cut short for Stevenson High School Saturday night as the boy’s water polo team failed to complete a state championship sweep against Lyons Township High School.

Instead, it was the scene of Lions’ chants roaring from the stands and a frustrated Stevenson assistant coach ripping down a blue and gold flag waved in the face of the Patriots’ bench.

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April durable goods report shows business investment on the rise

By Taylor Hall

Despite a drop in volatile aircraft orders that sent durable goods down slightly in April, economists said a strong rise in business investment was a positive sign for the economy.

The U.S. Department of Commerce report Tuesday showed new orders for manufactured durable goods, including items like dishwashers, computers and machinery, fell 0.5 percent, compared with an upwardly revised 5.1 percent gain in March. Continue reading

Video: Northwestern’s scientist uses baker’s yeast to create a laboratory in a bottle

By Angela Barnes

A compact, affordable device to diagnose how well your kidneys function is under development at Northwestern University.

Adebola Adeniran, a third year Ph.D. candidate in the department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is creating this laboratory in a bottle using yeast, the simple ingredient we usually knead into bread dough. This yeast will help detect chronic kidney disease, especially in underdeveloped areas with limited medical facilities.

Adeniran said she hopes people eventually could use the device themselves. Continue reading