Getty Images

Following current trends of corporate consolidation — think airlines and media companies — Hasbro's offer to Mattel shouldn't seem like too much of a surprise. However, many people were taken aback by the approach from three days ago.

This surprise is apparent in the fact that Mattel stock jumped 20% while Hasbro jumped 8% — investors are pretty happy that this deal is going down. But why might this be?

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Nov. 10 that a potential deal is in the works. This could be due to the fact that Mattel's shares have dropped 47% this year while Hasbro's stock prices have increased 18%.

If the two companies should combine, their shared market price would be around $16 billion. With this strong of a company value, there are many benefits that come with the impending consolidation.

Competition with electronics and tech

Customers walk towards a branch of the toy store Toys R Us on September 19, 2017 in Luton, England. Getty Images

This report is following the fact that Toys'R'Us has recently been bankrupted — as of now, the company owes Mattel at least $135 million which contributed to its drop in shares.

Traditional toys don't have that much appeal in the age of tablets and VR. Hasbro could be attempting to get ahead of the curve of electronics and technology by consolidating.

E-commerce

A worker prepares packages for delivery at an Amazon warehouse on September 4, 2014 in Brieselang, Germany.Getty Images

Another electronic aspect of competition may be from Amazon.com, Inc — Amazon is so popular in the current market, especially with their Prime option. Perhaps Hasbro will also expand more into e-commerce too.

Competition with other companies

A worker arranges a shelf of Hasbro Inc. Nerf Blaster products at a Target Corp. location in Emeryville, California, U.S., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.Getty Images

Traditionally, Hasbro has made over 80 brands of toys such as My Little Pony, Nerf, Transformers, Play-Doh, Littlest Pet Shop and Monopoly, with rights to "Star Wars." If you were an '80's kid, you've probably played with these toys.

Mattel has around 20 brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and the coveted American Girl dolls — also brand deals with Disney, giving them an edge over the animated market.

With this takeover, Hasbro can focus on extending its influence rather than getting ahead of their competition.

Shelf space

Lego enthusiasts attend the Bricklive at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center on July 20, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.Getty Images

Hasbro also probably wants more shelf space — currently, Lego controls most of the market's shelf space. If the deal goes through, Hasbro can cut out one of its major competitors for this exclusive real estate.

Why this could be disastrous

Going back to what this really is — corporate consolidation — could be dangerous to small businesses. Big companies have been demolishing small businesses — a prime example being Luxottica separating from Oakley sunglasses due to pricing. Oakley's stock prices thus collapsed.

Corporate consolidation also tricks you into thinking that small businesses are independent when they aren't really — especially with companies such as Tom's of Maine and Burt's Bees. Instead, they're both owned by large corporations.

Hasbro and Mattel's merging could thus continue this pattern of big corporations crushing small businesses.

However, this deal might not even go through — Hasbro has approached Lions Gate Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation SKG and Mattel twice before, with no success.

PayPath
Follow Us on

Afghan women

NBC

Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

Keep reading Show less

Stacker

Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.