Top Headlines - part 69
FINANCE November 29, 2011 | 9:35 AM
- VideoSurf video search features to be added to Xbox Live gaming network
- VideoSurf privately owned with backing from Al Gore, Facebook operations chief Sheryl Sandberg and SurveyMonkey chief executive David Goldberg
- Microsoft stepping up efforts to reel in rivals like Apple and Google
Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire VideoSurf, a specialist in internet video search technology. The California-based company provides services that allow users to search through high quantities of movies and television shows and other forms of video content.
No financial details were revealed, though leading tech blog TechCrunch reported the deal was worth almost $100 million. Microsoft first plans to introduce the technology to its Xbox Live service to allow users to filter through the various types of video content on its gaming network.Read more »
BUSINESS November 28, 2011 | 3:09 PM
- AT&T sets aside $4 billion as T-Mobile USA deal looks to falter
- Company withdraws merger application with FCC pending anti-trust approval
- FCC and DOJ say merger will be bad for competition and jobs
AT&T said it will take a $4 billion pre-tax charge in the event that its acquisition of T-Mobile USA collapses, in a move that would seem to be an acknowledgement of odds stacking up against the proposed merger.
The communications giant for the time being withdrew its application from the US Federal Communications Commission, but said it would continue its efforts to gain anti-trust approval from the US Department of JusticeRead more »
BUSINESS November 28, 2011 | 3:00 PM
- 17,000 jobs to be cut from global workforce of 75,000
- Nokia Siemens received $1.3 billion cash injection in September
- Microwave technology sale to DragonWave could bring in $147 million
Telecom equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks will cut 17,000 jobs to save $1.3 billion in operating expenses and production costs by 2013. The company, second only to Ericsson on the global telecom equipment making market, will concentrate cuts on its mobile broadband sector.
The job cuts are part of a bid to become an independent company, as Nokia Siemens attempts to fight off its rivals in servicing telecommunications networks.Read more »
WORLD November 28, 2011 | 2:09 PM
- French President confirms plans for next-generation Penly reactor
- Socialists, Greens agree on pre-election deal to shut down 24 out of 58 nuclear reactors
- Sarkozy says deal would be catastrophic for French economy
French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirms that France will proceed with a controversial construction project for a 60th nuclear reactor in Penly, northern France. Sarkozy made the announcement at a nuclear power plant in Tricastin in southern France, laying the foundation for a heated energy debate going into the 2012 presidential election.
Nearly ten days earlier, the main opposition Socialist party signed a tentative pre-election deal with the Greens to begin the gradual decommissioning of 24 of the country’s 58 nuclear reactors. The Greens, who have yet to officially endorse the agreement, will back Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande on the condition that, if elected, he cuts France’s nuclear energy output from 75% of total production to 50% by 2025.Read more »
FINANCE November 28, 2011 | 11:50 AM
- KKR teams up with Itochu, Crestview and Natural Gas on Samson buyout
- KKR losses total more than $590 million after writing down investments
- Fee-related earnings jump almost $100 million, up $30 million on 2010
Global investment firm KKR & Co. LP has agreed to purchase private exploration and production company Samson Investment Co. in a deal worth $7.2 billion. KKR will proceed with the buy in conjunction with Japanese trader Itochu Corp. and investment outfits Crestview Partners and Natural Gas Partners.
Oklahoma-based Samson has been in operation for four decades and holds over 10,000 wells, 40% of which are in the US. Wells held by Samson in the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coast are excluded from the agreement. The company’s wells cover areas in shale formations holding liquid hydrocarbons including oil.Read more »
BUSINESS November 25, 2011 | 6:01 PM
- Merck to pay $321.6 million in criminal fines and $628.4 million in civil settlements
- Vioxx illegally marketed for three years before being recalled in 2004
- Shares fall 1.1% to $33.43
Merck & Co has agreed to pay $950 million to settle an investigation into the unlawful marketing of its Vioxx painkiller treatment, according to the United States Department of Justice.
The second-largest drug maker in the US will pay criminal fines amounting to $321.6 million and $628.4 million in civil settlement claims. It will also offer a guilty plea to charges of misdemeanor for marketing Vioxx as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment before receiving approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as releasing false information about the cardiovascular risks of the drug.Read more »
WORLD November 25, 2011 | 10:04 AM
- Drilling rights suspended during investigation into Frade spill
- Chevron accused of negligence; handed $28 million fine
- Company unable to explain cause of leak
The Brazilian government has blocked oil company Chevron Corp’s drilling activities in the country pending clarification over a November 8 oil spill at the Frade field.
The state oil regulating body Agencia Nacional do Petroleo (ANP) said negligence on the behalf of the US company contributed to the spill, which saw some 2,400 barrels of oil leaked into the ocean around 370 km northeast of Rio de Janeiro.Read more »
BUSINESS November 25, 2011 | 9:55 AM
- Major ocean-going cruise lines offering increasingly popular mega-ships
- New ships often taller than Eiffel Tower, offer greater variety of activities
- Passengers approve of new features, satisfaction is high
In the distant past, ocean-going cruise ships of 500 to 1,000 passengers were the norm, but today ships are getting bigger. Cruise line executives say this new trend is in line with passenger demand, with travellers looking for more activities, more dining and entertainment choices, more fitness facilities and more kids programs, among others.
Leading ship lines - such as Carnival, Holland American and Royal Caribbean - are taking advantage of the mega-ship trend to produce economies of scale: with more cabins, the overall cost is less. Cruise line insiders say the highest expenses for a ship’s operation are below deck, and only one set of engines and supportive technology means savings.Read more »
ECONOMY November 24, 2011 | 10:17 AM
- Revised quarterly GDP 0.5% lower than predicted, 2.5% yearly rate expected
- Inventory slump may boost fourth-quarter growth
- Banks and corporations record quarterly profits
Third quarter gross US domestic progress figures have been adjusted by the Department of Commerce, revealing a downward revision from 2.5% to 2% growth.
The slower growth figure surprised economists, who expected the figure to remain in tact, and disappointed those who were eagerly awaiting an economic rebound in the first half of 2012. Despite the downward revision, the new figure is still much higher than the meager 1.3% growth reported in the second quarter.Read more »
BUSINESS November 24, 2011 | 9:54 AM
- Penguin temporarily bans new e-books to libraries and Kindle users
- Non-specific “security concerns” cited as reason for suspension
- OverDrive instructed to block new Penguin e-Book titles, disable Kindle functionality for all Penguin e-Books
Penguin Group (USA), one of the nation’s largest publishers, is temporarily banning the availability of its new e-books to libraries and Amazon’s online lending program as well as prohibiting libraries from loaning existing Penguin e-books on their shelves to Kindle owners.
In a statement issued by Penguin, the reason for the suspension is “due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners.”Read more »