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Facebook Taps Google Again; Lufthansa Acquires Swiss International Air; Help Wanted at FDIC; Sources: Tata Drops $2 Billion for Jag and Rover; Sasol Discounts $3.2 Billion in Shares; Pumpkins Sue Virgin; Citi Upgrades Yahoo; PC Market on the Rise
- Facebook Inc., the popular social-networking site, hired yet another executive from Internet search leader Google Inc. (GOOG) yesterday (Tuesday). Ethan Beard, who served as director of social media at Google, will help run business development at Facebook, Bloomberg reported. Facebook is building a management team to help handle with the site’s advertising. Facebook, named Google veteran Sheryl Sandberg as operating chief on March 4.
- Deutsche Lufthansa AG (OTC:DLAKY) has paid a total of $339 million (€217 million) to takeover Swiss International Air Lines Ltd. Lufthansa Initially paid $70 million (€45 million) in 2005 to the minority small shareholders, who held 15% of the Swiss equity. The remaining majority shareholders, which include UBS AG (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS), Nestle SA (NSRGF), and Novartis AG (NVS), accepted an out-performance option for their holdings.
- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. wants to add 140 workers to bring staff levels to 360 workers, a 60% increase, in the division that handles bank failures, John Bovenzi, the agency's chief operating officer, said yesterday (Tuesday). There have been five bank failures in the past year, BusinessWeek reported. The last time the agency was hit hard with failures was during the 1990-1991 recession, when 502 banks failed in three years.
- People close to the transaction say Ford Motor Co. (F) will sell its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands to India’s Tata Motors Ltd. (TTM) for at least $2 billion. Ford said in January that Tata is its preferred buyer, as it is trying to focus on its sales in North America, the main cause of $15.3 billion in losses the past two years, Bloomberg reported.
- Sasol Ltd. (SSL), the South African oil company that helped shield its apartheid government from sanctions, agreed to sell $3.2 billion in shares [a 10% stake] at an 11% discount to black investors. The company was facing criticism for dragging its feet to South Africa’s mandated redistribution of wealth since the apartheid regime was toppled in 1994, .
- Alternative-rock band, The Smashing Pumpkins, have filed suit against Virgin Records for allowing one of their songs to be used in a commercial for PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) products. "Its a frustrating situation honestly to be treated so poorly by a label where we had so much success," the band's singer, Billy Corgan, said in a written statement. The band alleges use of the song in an advertising campaign damages their artistic integrity, Reuters reported.
- Shares of Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) climbed 4.4% yesterday (Tuesday) to close at $28.73 after being upgraded by Citigroup Inc. (C) analyst Mark Mahaney. The initial offer for Yahoo by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) was valued at $31 per share, but Mahaney said he would consider a $34 per share offer to be "a reasonable, valuation-supported base case for Yahoo," TheStreet.com reported. He added, "We believe buying YHOO shares here provides an attractive return," he wrote in his research.
- Gartner Inc. (IT) announced yesterday (Tuesday) that the number of global personal-computer units should grow by 11% in 2008, MarketWatch reported. However, the technology research firm cautioned that growth could be slowed by a worldwide economic slowdown. Gartner analyst George Shiffler said that, "the PC market is in fundamentally good shape," and that sale of mobile PCs represent the bulk of the increase.