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Business News - part 42

Soft Drink Giant Coca-Cola Sees Profit Fall Due To Shifting Tastes, Bad Weather

Soft Drink Giant Coca-Cola Sees Profit Fall Due To Shifting Tastes, Bad Weather

BUSINESS

  • Coca-Cola profit down 4% worldwide; global sales volume up 1% or well below expectations of 3.3% growth
  • US soda consumption at 26-year low
  • Coca-Cola sales volume fell 4% in Europe, stagnated in China

Soft drink maker Coca-Cola has reported profit is down 4% worldwide to $2.68 billion during the second quarter of 2013, with global sales volume up 1% but well below expectations of an anticipated 3.3% growth.

Coca-Cola also reported a drop in profit in the North American market, marking the fourth time in the last five quarters that the region has seen a decrease.

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Chinese Search Engine Giant Baidu Buys App Store 91 Wireless

Chinese Search Engine Giant Baidu Buys App Store 91 Wireless

BUSINESS

  • Baidu pays $1.9 billion for app store 91 Wireless to increase its share of mobile market in China
  • 91 Wireless one of China’s top third-party app stores; over 10 billion apps downloaded from 91 Wireless
  • Apps more popular than mobile sites because internet download speeds are slow in China

China’s biggest search engine Baidu Inc. will pay nearly $2 billion to purchase the nation’s leading smartphone app store 91 Wireless from NetDragon Websoft Inc., a Hong Kong-listed company, in an effort to gain a larger piece of the mobile market.

The deal should help Baidu shift its present focus on desktop computing searches, where it holds 82% of the market share in China, to mobile devices – the clear wave of the nation’s future. It is Baidu’s biggest acquisition yet.

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AT&T Purchases Prepaid Mobile Service Provider Leap Wireless

AT&T Purchases Prepaid Mobile Service Provider Leap Wireless

BUSINESS

  • Leap acquisition gives AT&T access to prepaid wireless market
  • Leap network covers 35 states, is 6th largest carrier in US
  • More wireless industry mergers likely as companies compete for larger market share

AT&T Inc., the number two mobile carrier in the US, is purchasing prepaid mobile service provider Leap Wireless International Inc. for $1.19 billion to expand into the lucrative prepaid market.

The deal is worth nearly double Leap’s worth, and Leap can no longer solicit other bids. 

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Worldwide PC Sales Decline For Record Five Successive Quarters

Worldwide PC Sales Decline For Record Five Successive Quarters

BUSINESS

  • Global PC shipments down 11%  
  • PC shipments in US bolstered by growth in professional market 
  • Lenovo leader in hard-hit PC market over HP by very slim margin (less than 1%)

Some 76 million PC units were shipped globally in the second quarter of 2013, marking a decrease of nearly 11% over the same period in 2012, as reported by research firm Gartner. The PC market has now experienced five successive quarters of decreasing shipments, its longest period of decline to date.

Separate research by firm IDC also indicated an 11.4% decrease in PC shipments worldwide from second quarter 2012.

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US Grocery Leader Kroger Adds Harris Teeter Supermarkets To Its Network

US Grocery Leader Kroger Adds Harris Teeter Supermarkets To Its Network

BUSINESS

  • Kroger buys Harris Teeter for nearly $2.5 billion to expand in mid-Atlantic and southeastern states
  • Kroger to operate 2,631 supermarkets in 34 states after merger
  • Deal is Kroger’s largest acquisition since Fred Meyer; marks fourth-largest takeover of a North American food retailer since 2003

The largest grocery-store chain in the US, Kroger Co., has agreed to buy Harris Teeter Supermarkets for just under $2.5 billion.

The merger with Harris Tweeter will allow Kroger to expand its reach in mid-Atlantic and southeastern states.

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Drugstore Chain Walgreen Joins Forces With Health Insurer Blue Cross To Promote Healthcare Act

Drugstore Chain Walgreen Joins Forces With Health Insurer Blue Cross To Promote Healthcare Act

BUSINESS

  • Walgreen, Blue Cross launch www.LearnAboutReform.com to provide education on and encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act
  • US government to spend $212 million promoting the law, with a hotline and website as information tools
  • Close to 3.7 million people may enroll during insurance expansions; 25 million people expected to have coverage by 2018

Walgreen Co., the largest US drugstore chain, is teaming up with health-insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to educate Americans on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal law designed to provide health insurance to millions of uninsured.

The companies have established an educational website called LearnAboutReform.com that is designed to encourage the uninsured to use government exchanges to shop for subsidized health plans. The website will also educate users on the benefits available through the ACA as well as penalties for not signing up for coverage.

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Tribune Co. To Split Business Into Newspaper, Other Media Companies

Tribune Co. To Split Business Into Newspaper, Other Media Companies

BUSINESS

  • Tribune Co. splits in two: Tribune Co (real estate holdings, internet sites and TV stations) and Tribune Publishing Co (Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and 6 daily papers)
  • Tribune owns 42 US market TV stations
  • Details of spinoff structure not yet finalized

US media group Tribune Co. has plans to split into two companies – one for newspapers and one for television and internet – as revenue in the newspaper industry continues to decline.

The new company, called Tribune Publishing Co., would include the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and six other daily papers. The Tribune Co. name would be maintained by the company’s other assets such as real estate holdings, stakes in internet sites and TV stations.

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Japan Energy Update: Utilities Petition to Restart 10 Nuclear Plants

Japan Energy Update: Utilities Petition to Restart 10 Nuclear Plants

BUSINESS

  • Japanese nuclear operators Kansai Electric Power, Hokkaido Electric Power, Shikoku Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power apply for safety assessments to restart 10 reactors
  • Nuclear Regulation Authority needs 6 months to review nuclear plants
  • New safety standards require utilities provide better protection from natural disasters, security attacks and severe accidents

Japanese nuclear operators Kansai Electric Power, Hokkaido Electric Power, Shikoku Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power have applied for safety assessments to get 10 reactors restarted following the introduction of new regulations now in effect.

The reactors would produce 19% of the total capacity possible from Japanese reactors, or 8.84 gigawatts, and supply would power 2.9 million households in Japan.

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Samsung Electronics Acquires Media Streaming Startup Boxee

Samsung Electronics Acquires Media Streaming Startup Boxee

BUSINESS

  • Samsung buys Boxee to develop new apps, embedded cameras and other internet-based services
  • Samsung’s push to expand smart TV services represents an industry trend
  • Smart TV industry expected to reach sales of 221 million units in 2017

South Korea-based Samsung Electronics, the largest TV maker worldwide, has acquired Boxee, a startup media streaming company based in New York, in order to improve overall user experience across its connected devices.

Boxee offers a set-top box with broadcast recording and online video streaming capability, based on Apple Inc. and Android operating systems as well as the software running its connected set-top box.

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Yahoo Buys Email App Xobni To Attract Users, Add Products

Yahoo Buys Email App Xobni To Attract Users, Add Products

BUSINESS

  • Yahoo to integrate Xobni services into its email and instant-messaging services
  • Xobni says Yahoo understands how its services can benefit users
  • Yahoo using acquisitions to improve product suite, bolster technology and increase talent

Search engine Yahoo Inc. purchased email and address book management app Xobni for an undisclosed amount as part of a plan to attract more users and add to its product line.

Yahoo’s web-based email service is in competition with Microsoft’s Outlook and Google’s Gmail, and the search engine plans to integrate Xobni services into its email and instant-messaging services.

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