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The weekly newsletter for everyone interested in barter--the world's most versatile business tool!

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May 7, 2002

Bartercard USA & Millennium Exchange Solidify Unique Merger

Bartercard International planted its flag on U.S. soil in July 2001 when they located in Orange County (CA). Five executives relocated from their Australian International headquarters (Ian Jones, President; Kim Jones, VP of Administration; Michelle Thompson, Business Manager; and John Avenell, VP of Sales & Marketing) to introduce Bartercard to the U.S. business community. They also pursued and achieved the goal of obtaining a national franchise registration--completed now with the exception of two states.

On April 30 Bartercard, which had acquired several smaller exchanges in addition to selling a few franchises, and the Millennium Exchange, headquartered in Van Nuys (CA), signed an agreement which effectively will see the Millennium group becoming the majority shareholder of the Bartercard USA license. The new combined operation will be operating as Bartercard USA, with Bartercard providing their excellent training program as well handling the operational aspects of the business.

The Millennium Exchange reportedly had 4,000 members among some 30 branch offices...all the Millennium members will be converted over to Bartercard. The "newly expanded" Bartercard USA will have Ian Jones as its CEO and John Avenell as president.

The company expects to move forward on three fronts: mergers & acquisitions, franchising, and opening corporate offices in selected cities across the United States.

Mark Savoy, former CEO of Millennium, will play an integral role in the new effort as the majority shareholder/licensee of Bartercard USA. Bartercard's goal now is to expand to 175 offices, and then to pursue a public offering.


Visa's Drive Continues In Its Goal of "Electronifying" Cash

Visa USA and its member banks are taking steps to make their credit card technology even more ubiquitous. Their latest endeavor sees the introduction of a payroll card which will allow employees to access their pay through credit-card-like purchases or ATMs. (There are now 25 million Americans without bank accounts.)

Using a payroll card, an employee's pay is held in a bank account. (No paper checks would be used.) Employees can pull out cash through an ATM, and the card allows them to buy goods just like a debit card would.

The employer enjoys cost savings and reduced payroll-check processing. For the banks it's another cash-management product added to the existing relationship, as well as earnings from the float and other fees.

Editor's Note: Is the commercial barter industry ready and willing to recognize and use branded creditcard swipe technology to advance its position in the marketplace? In the coming issue of BarterNews this June, you will read about the visionary ideas proposed by a respected industry pioneer--Tradecorp's Art Goehring.

He presents a compelling case for change, wherein he contends that for our industry to grow and prosper, we must get in step with the business marketplace at large. Not only must we recognize our major competitor but we must take the few necessary steps to move forward. If we do so, Goehring says, every exchange owner would benefit immensely. You won't want to miss Goehring's insightful comments.


Buffett Says Detachment More Important Than I.Q.

One of the world's foremost investors is Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. At his annual meeting, May 4, he told the more than 13,000 faithful attendees there is no sure-fire investing technique, no formula.

Rather, the only way to value a stock or a company, is to estimate what cash a business will throw off over the course of its life, work out the value of that cash now, and buy it for less. "A great IQ is not needed to do well, what is needed is the ability to detach yourself from the crowd."

He also said to look out for those who use EBITDA numbers, i.e. firms that discount interest, tax, depreciation, amortization, and other one-time items from their financial reporting results. "They are either conning you or themselves."

Buffett believes that fraud and sloppy accounting are rife in American business, and that returns on stock investing probably will be lower over the next few years than they have been.


Have you been calling on a high-potential account a number of times but can't seem to get anywhere? Then it's time to use a new, powerful 2-step strategy. Go to our What's New Section and click on "Corporate," then read "How To Sell An Account That's In Your Competitors Hands!"


Big Shift In World Economic Scene Ahead

The recent rise in the euro and fall in the dollar signal a decline in the global dependence on the U.S. economy, along with growing determination that European economies are finally reforming and moving out of their doldrums.

Both developments suggest huge shifts in the world economic scene and are likely to be positive for the U.S. economy. A shift from a U.S.-centric world economy, to a world where Europe and Asia become the equals of the U.S. in economic terms, won't be painless.

A diminished flow of foreign investment in the U.S. may well lower its stock prices and could push up interest rates. But the pain would be offset by increased opportunities for U.S. business as other countries and regions increase economic growth.


Update On Time-Share Outlook

Time-shares have had a reputation as being less than a sterling investment, given high interest rates from 13% to 17%. Mortgagee brokers aren't interested in them as one is not buying property. But interestingly, since September 11th, time-shares have been one of the few bright spots in the travel business. Buyers are snapping them up--a reflection of their desire to stay closer to home. Reselling them, however, is another matter.

Bill Rogers, founder of Timeshare Users Group (www.tug2.net), says people shouldn't buy their time shares through a developer and pay top dollar. Instead they should seek out a lower priced purchase in the plentiful resale market.

An alternative method is to move within the barter marketplace, and trade for a week with a current owner. Trade exchanges throughout the country have members willing to trade the use of their time share on a one-time basis...or sell the unit for trade dollars.

Owners of a time share can also access additional trading opportunities through the RCI and Interval International programs, which enable owners the opportunity to trade with each other within the respective systems.


Here And There. . .

  • Public relations firms were believed resistant to economic downturns, and became desirable acquisition targets for some of the world's largest advertising agencies--to act as an insurance policy of sorts.

    But according to the Council of Public Relations Firms, the PR industry is struggling through the worst drought since the great Depression, (the same as the media business) because they grew too dependent on technology-industry clients. Tech's sharp decline and the dot-com bust now have the PR firms focusing on the bigger, more stable manufacturing companies.

  • Congratulations to Southern Barter Exchange, www.southernbarter.com, on their 20th Anniversary. Founded by Chuck and Mary Hanson in an extra bedroom of their home, today Kenn Flemmons is directing the 600 member exchange with offices in Little Rock and Memphis.

  • Rick Owens Pehnert and Mike Hoffman have not moved forward with the establishment of the Corporate Exchange Corp in Boca Raton, Florida. Pehnert called and indicated that after a short time with their new endeavor, other factors came into play. Both decided to leave the business, taking positions with companies outside the barter industry.

  • Ned Davis Research reports that total U.S. corporate debt nears $30 trillion, almost triple our country's entire annual economic output.

  • Entrepreneurial aspirations at the nation's business schools show that the Internet is now out of favor. University of Chicago's graduate school of business saw just four entrants in this year's business-plan competition, a far cry from 78 in 2000. The entrepreneurial contest at the Universityof Pennsylvania's Wharton School saw just 13 internet ideas, down from 84 in 2000.

  • U.S. air freight and express shipments are up 3.6% in March, the third straight month of growth, which is an upbeat sign for the economy as cargo airlines are important for just-in-time deliveries.

  • The U.N. says an alarming trend is taking place--by 2050, they project, people over 60 years old will outnumber those 15 and under for the first time in the world's history.

  • The Internal Revenue Service routinely auctions off stuff it has seized for nonpayment of taxes. The agency used to issue mailing lists so potential buyers could learn of the auctions before they took place, but now the only way to stay up-to-date is through its web site: www.ustreas.gov/auctions/irs.


This Issue's Glossary of Terms:
Around-the-horn:
When a property returns to its original owner through a series of trades.

Backside paper:
Taking back a note in a transaction to balance equities. Also referred to as a carry-back.

We welcome your comments, questions, and observations.
Copyright BarterNews 2003. Redistribution of BarterNews content expressly prohibited without the prior written permission of BarterNews.