Tag Archive | "australia"

New Zealand To Rip Off The Hollywood Sign, And Hollywood Isn’t Happy

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It’s no secret that New Zealand’s always harbored a little bit of a “baby brother” complex. First, to their trans-Tasman (I looked it up) neighbors, Australia, who apparently have a reputation for taking credit for Kiwi singers and desserts, amongst other things. But now that they’ve shot a ridiculously successful trilogy of films about some magic Hobbits who are deeply in love with each other, it seems that they’re ready to fire a few shots in our direction as well. And they’re getting started by aping our most famous landmark. Read the full story

Opening Bell: 05.09.11

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Commodity hedge fund loses $400m in oil slide (FT)
Clive Capital, the world’s largest commodity hedge fund, has been left nursing losses of more than $400m as a result of the collapse in the price of oil last week…Others, including Astenbeck Capital, the Phibro-owned fund run by Andrew Hall, are thought to have taken double-digit percentage point losses to their portfolios, according to investors…In a letter sent to investors on Friday and seen by the Financial Times, Clive said it was down 8.9 per cent on the week after what it called “extraordinary” price movements on Thursday. Clive’s management said it was at a loss to explain what had caused crude oil markets to be “annihilated”.

Silver-Mad Small Investors Fueled an Epic Rise and Fall (WSJ)
Behind silver’s historic collapse is a market that came loose of its moorings, fueled by speculative traders, many of them small investors who may have jumped in at just the wrong moment. “If gold is a Monte Carlo casino, silver is a slot machine in Las Vegas,” says Andy Smith, a senior metals strategist at Bache Commodities.

Euro Nations Divided Over Greek Debt (WSJ)
Finance chiefs from the most important euro nations discussed Greece’s problems—and other issues, including Portugal’s imminent aid package—at informal talks in Luxembourg on Friday. The gathering, one of many informal meetings of select European officials since the financial crisis began, turned into a media circus after Germany’s Spiegel Online reported its existence Friday—and claimed it had been called because Greece was thinking of leaving the euro zone. The report sent the euro tumbling…”We are not discussing the exit of Greece from the euro area. This is a stupid idea and an avenue we would never take,” said the host of Friday’s meeting, Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker.

EU eyes lower rates for Greece, Ireland amid chaos (Reuters)
The European Union is looking to lower interest rates on bailout loans to Greece and Ireland and is working on a second rescue for Athens in a chaotic effort to prevent a disorderly debt restructuring. The executive European Commission said on Monday it hoped to see a decision within weeks on reducing the rate charged to Ireland to make Dublin’s debt more sustainable.

Irish to Avoid ‘Doomsday,’ Honohan Says as Rescheduling Mooted (Bloomberg)
Irish central bank Governor Patrick Honohan said the country will avoid economic “doomsday,” as a government minister and prominent professor suggested the nation should reschedule debts from its as much as 85 billion-euro ($121 billion) bailout. Honohan was responding to Morgan Kelly, an economics professor dubbed Ireland’s Doctor Doom, who wrote in the Irish Times newspaper that Ireland faces a “prolonged and chaotic national bankruptcy.”

U.S. Will Urge China to Boost Interest Rates in Washington Talks (Bloomberg)
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will urge China to allow higher interest rates when he meets with Chinese leaders this week, as the U.S. extends its push for a stronger yuan.

Private Equity Has A Horse In This Race (Dealbook)
Carl Pascarella, an executive at TPG, the private equity firm, owns a piece of the the colt that shocked the horse racing world on Saturday with a come-from-behind victory. Animal Kingdom, who had never run on dirt and only had four races under his belt, covered the mile and a quarter in 2:02.04.

AIG Fall Blunts Talk Of Taxpayer Gain (WSJ)
What Treasury chooses to do with its AIG shares “is essentially a political decision,” says Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida. “Government officials and politicians would like to say we broke even and didn’t lose any taxpayer money” in the AIG bailout, he says. “But as a taxpayer, I would be happy if we got out close to whole, and losing a little would ultimately be a good outcome” given the amount that was committed to the AIG bailout, Mr. Ritter says.

Fee Pitched for Fast Firms (WSJ)
Sen. Charles Schumer told regulators that sophisticated electronic traders should bear the cost of monitoring their dealings, with special fees assessed to firms that issue and then rapidly cancel securities orders.

UBS fears missing ambitious targets (FT)
Oswald Grübel, chief executive, surprised analysts last month by maintaining his medium-term goals of SFr20bn (€16bn) in annual revenues and SFr6bn in pre-tax profits for the group’s recovering investment bank. UBS’s performance targets were set in late 2009, before the new Basel III framework was finalised and before regulators in Switzerland proposed their own additional capital requirements for the group…However, according to senior UBS bankers, there is a growing acceptance that the targets are aspirational and will be extremely difficult to achieve over the next two years.

Moody’s: Expiring of US muni backstops going well (Reuters)
An expected flood of expirations of liquidity facilities on U.S. municipal debt this year is so far going well, Moody’s Investors Service reported on Monday.

SEC reform proposal threatens ‘dark pools’ (FT)
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a proposal to move more trading back on to exchanges from alternative venues such as “dark pools”, which has drawn sharp criticism from banks and many trading firms. David Shillman, associate director of the SEC’s division of trading and markets, told the Financial Times that a so-called “trade at” rule is “very much in play. There’s interest in it”. The “trade at” rule, which would require non-exchange venues to improve on the displayed market price, is a response to concerns among some academics and market participants that a rising share of trading happening outside of exchanges is making trading more expensive and difficult.

US Q1 home values see biggest drop since 2008–Zillow (Reuters)
Zillow said its home value index fell 3 percent in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter, and was down 8.2 percent year-over-year.

Seeking Business, States Loosen Insurance Rules (NYT)
Vermont, and a handful of other states including Utah, South Carolina, Delaware and Hawaii, are aggressively remaking themselves as destinations of choice for the kind of complex private insurance transactions once done almost exclusively offshore. Roughly 30 states have passed some type of law to allow companies to set up special insurance subsidiaries called captives, which can conduct Bermuda-style financial wizardry right in a policyholder’s own backyard.

Berkshire Hathaway profit falls on Japan (Reuters)
Berkshire reported a net profit of $1.51 billion, or $917 per Class A share, compared with a profit of $3.63 billion, or $2,272 per Class A share, a year earlier. The company took a provision of $1.7 billion in the first quarter for catastrophe losses, primarily for the Japan earthquake but also from a quake in New Zealand and flooding in Australia…Berkshire also recorded losses of $506 million in the first quarter for stocks where the company’s investment was in a loss position and that loss was not considered temporary. The biggest share of the loss was an impairment on part of Berkshire’s stake in Wells Fargo, and the rest came from an impairment on the stake in Kraft Foods.

HSBC Costs Rise on New Hires and Customer Compensation (Bloomberg)
Costs as a proportion of income rose to 60.9 percent from 49.6 percent, the London-based bank said today in a statement. Net income rose 58 percent to $4.15 billion compared with $2.63 billion in the year-earlier period, the bank said in its first detailed quarterly earnings report. The shares fell.

U.S. gas prices hit $4 a gallon, but may retreat (Reuters)
The national average for self-serve, regular unleaded gas was $4 per gallon on May 6, up 11.98 cents from April 22, according to the nationwide Lundberg Survey. This was still below the all-time high of $4.11 on July, 11, 2008, and last week’s fall in crude oil prices may lead to a 8- to 12-cent drop in prices at the pump over the next few weeks, according to Trilby Lundberg, the survey’s editor.

Sweep is an ugly ending for Lakers and a bittersweet one for Phil Jackson (LA Times)
The Mavericks’ 122-86 blowout victory in Game 4, which completed their 4-0 sweep of the Western Conference semifinal series, perhaps came at the right time for the Lakers. They appeared to be teetering, perhaps because this was the 77th postseason game they had played since 2008, nearly an extra 82-game regular season in a four-year span. “I was talking to Kobe [after the game] and we both agreed it was better to lose now than to get to the [NBA] Finals and lose,” Jackson said. “Going all the way and losing in the Finals, now that’s really tough.”

What was in medicine chests at bin Laden compound? (MSNBC)
Either Osama bin Laden or those who lived with him at the Pakistan compound where he was killed apparently suffered from stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and nerve pain — plus the normal ailments that affect a family with children, according to a pharmacist’s analysis of medications reportedly found at the site. In addition, the medicine cache was said to contain Avena syrup, a botanical product that has at least two uses: as an artificial sweetener often used for a sour stomach and as “natural Viagra” that could be used to increase sexual desire and potency.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Apple: Piper Sees Rising iPad 2 Demand, Improved Supply

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Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster this morning reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of Apple (AAPL) and a $483 price target, noting that today is the day the iPad 2 goes on sale in an additional 25 countries.

Munster writes that “long lead times at Apple’s store suggest strong demand worldwide,” and that overseas demand seems to be ramping up, with lead times for orders from Australia going to three to four weeks from two to three weeks overnight.

But the lead times in the U.S. have actually improved, leading him to conclude that, “supply is improving and concerns about Japanese components may be overblown.”

Munster now thinks his 5.5 million unit iPad estimate for the March quarter may be too low.

Apple shares today are up $5.15, or 1.5%, at $350.12.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 03.17.11

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BofA, Citi, UBS In LIBOR Probe (WSJ)
The investigation has been underway for at least a year. Last fall, regulators sent formal requests for information to the 16 banks that at the time were on the so-called Libor panel. The panel last month expanded the investigation to include 20 banks. More recently, the SEC has sent subpoenas to several banks, including Bank of America, Citigroup and UBS, the people said. The agency also has summoned officials from those three banks to testify to investigators as part of the probe. It isn’t clear how many other banks have received subpoenas or been asked to testify.

BoJ Injects Another 5 Trillion ($61 Billion) Yen To Calm The Market (Reuters)
That came on top of a total of 28 trillion yen already offered in same-day operations this week in the aftermath of last Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Japan Churns Through ‘Heroic’ Workers Hitting Radiation Limits (Bloomberg)
More workers were drafted for the frontline of Japan’s biggest nuclear disaster as radiation limits forced Tokyo Electric Power Co. to replace members of its original team trying to avert a nuclear meltdown. The utility increased its workforce at the Fukushima Dai- Ichi plant to 322 today from 180 yesterday as it tried to douse water over exposed nuclear fuel rods to prevent melting and leaking lethal radiation. Levels beside the exposed rods would deliver a fatal dose in 16 seconds, said David Lochbaum, a nuclear physicist for the Union of Concerned Scientists and a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety instructor.

Groupon Is Said To Discuss IPO Valuation Of Up To $25 Billion (Bloomberg)
The two-year-old startup’s IPO may happen this year and is unlikely to assign Groupon a valuation of less than $15 billion, according to people.

U.S. Plans Japan Airlift as Authorities Battle Reactor Leaks (Bloomberg)
The U.S. plans to airlift citizens from Japan along with military and diplomatic families, reflecting widening skepticism that the authorities can contain leaks from the quake-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant. The U.S., U.K. and Australia raised their alert levels, telling nationals to keep at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from the Dai-Ichi facility. Blackstone Group LP and BNP Paribas SA were among companies that shifted operations from Tokyo, which lies about 135 miles to the south.

Inflation Keeps Edging Up; Jobless Claims Take Dip (Reuters)
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell as expected last week, with the four-week moving average dropping to its lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years, pointing to a strengthening labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, the Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 387,000. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 401,000 from the previously reported 397,000.

The Snooze Moment In The Galleon Trial (Dealbook)
At about 12:18 p.m., Juror No. 18, an alternate, started the patented juror head-bob as he began to doze off during a slow part of the testimony. Within minutes, he was in a full-on midday snooze.

Diet Coke Beats Pepsi (WSJ)
U.S. sales of Diet Coke overtook those of Pepsi-Cola for the first time in 2010, making the diet soda the No. 2 carbonated soft drink in the country behind Coca-Cola, industry data are expected to confirm Thursday. Occupying the top two rankings would mark a historic win for Coca-Cola Co. in its decades-old rivalry with PepsiCo Inc., which has seen its market share slip in recent years and is trying to retool its marketing.

FDIC’s Tab For Failed Banks Nears $8 Billion (WSJ)
As of Jan. 31, the latest month for which figures are available, the FDIC has paid out $8.89 billion to banks under the loss-share agreements. Such deals are in place at 236 financial institutions, with the FDIC agreeing to assume most future losses on $160 billion of assets.

Japan Uses Helicopters, Water Cannons, Troops to Quell Meltdown (Bloomberg)
Helicopters doused 30 metric tons of water on pools used to cool spent fuel rods. No change in radiation was reported after four bombing runs by the aircraft, Kyodo News said citing plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. A plan to have police shoot a high-pressure stream of water at the reactor structure was called off tonight. Tokyo Electric has connected a power cable to the plant, Kyodo reported. “We are still reviewing the result of water spraying by helicopters,” said Akiteru Kobayashi, head of nuclear facility management.

Berlusconi: I’m Too Old For Sex With 33 Women (AP)
“Even though I am a little mischievous … 33 girls in two months seems like too much even for a 30 year old,” the premier said in an interview published Wednesday in La Repubblica, a leftist newspaper that has led a campaign for his resignation in the wake of the scandal. “It’s too much for anybody,” Berlusconi is quoted as saying. He insisted he has a girlfriend, whose identity is secret, who was always with him and would not have allowed what the prosecutors allege. “She would have ripped my eyes out,” he said.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Tourre Attorney: LEAVE FAB ALONE!

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit against Fabrice Tourre should be thrown out, lawyers for the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trader accused of misleading investors in a product linked to subprime mortgages told a federal judge. Andrew Rhys Davies, Tourre’s lawyer, said yesterday that the SEC is trying to circumvent a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued in June, Morrison v. National Australia Bank, that limits the reach of civil claims for acts occurring outside the U.S. “The SEC is attempting to do an end run around Morrison,” Rhys Davies told U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones in Manhattan. [Bloomberg]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Yahoo snaps up Aussie group-buying site Spreets for $40M

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Yahoo7, the Australian subsidiary of search giant Yahoo, has jumped into the group-buying fray and snapped up Aussie deal site Spreets for $40 million, the companies said today.

Spreets is just one of dozens of Australian group-buying companies, which usually feature a deal of the day for members who are offered deals and vouchers at local merchants at discounted prices.

Yahoo7, which is a partnership between Yahoo and Australia’s Channel 7, had clearly been keeping an eye on the company’s booming growth. Founded only a year ago by Dean McEvoy and Justus Hammer, it now claims 500,000 members and broke even in less than 12 months.

The group-buying sector was recently assessed as being worth $100 million annually, making it a tempting target for companies looking to diversify into new and hip revenue stream.

Indeed, investors interested in grabbing a piece of the white-hot social buying market have been throwing money into the sector for months now, as shopping recommendation site ShopSocially announced $1.1 million in first round financing, and Spanish coupon site Groupalia locked down €5 million in its second institutional round of funding.

The industry grabbed headlines earlier this year when well-known deal site Groupon famously snubbed a $6 billion buyout offer from Google. It will reportedly instead plan an IPO that values the company at $9 billion or more.

Today’s deal is part of a larger trend in investments in startup social media sites that focus on spreading the word about shopping deals.

These sites include “friend meet-up” forums like SocialMedia, or companies like Groupon that specialize in finding discount deals on everything from luxury brands to restaurant coupons.

The Yahoo7 joint venture, formed in 2006, acquired Australian travel site Totaltravel.com in 2009.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Email marketer ExactTarget acquires former reseller in bid to expand in Asia Pacific

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Email marketing services provider ExactTarget acquired its reseller mPath Global on Tuesday for an undisclosed amount in a bid to expand its services in Asia and the Pacific. mPath has since been re-launched as ExactTarget Australia.

ExactTarget offers marketing and market research tools that use text messaging, voice messaging, social networks and websites to reach potential customers. Expedia.com, Fairfax Digital and Best Buy are among its clients.

All former mPath employees have accepted positions in ExactTarget Australia, according to a company release. ExactTarget will capture more than 150 former mPath clients in Asia Pacific through the deal, including Fairfax Digital, Lend Lease and Tennis Australia.

ExactTarget and mPath have done business since 2005, when mPath became the exclusive distributor for ExactTarget’s technology in Asia Pacific. mPath founder and CEO Chris Gartlan will captain ExactTarget Australia.

This is the third acquisition for ExactTarget in the past 12 months. Earlier acquisitions include San Francisco-based Twitter platform CoTweet in March and U.K.-based KeyMail Marketing in September.

ExactTarget has raised $155 million in venture capital funding from investors including Technology Crossover Ventures, Battery Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Ontagu Newhall and Scale Venture Partners, according to peHUB.

[photo: travellingtamas]

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » Deals & More

Attention Macquarie Employees: Get Your Tit Fix Here

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Back in February, Macquarie employee David Kiely got in a little hot water with his employer for looking at some topless shots of Miranda Kerr on his computer. It should’ve been no big deal but unfortunately his floor was being filmed on live TV at the time and as the Aussies couldn’t be perceived as condoning that sort of thing, they put him on a time-out. He was ultimately allowed to keep his job but management has taken extreme precautions to ensure something like this won’t happen again, namely equipping everyone’s computers with a child-lock. What’s a horny Aussie to do? Consider taking lunch at this establishment, where you can get you fix.

A WOMAN has stripped off naked in front of dozens of people having breakfast at a popular Darwin restaurant. Witnesses said the woman took off all her clothes after she and another woman had a full-on fist fight over a man yesterday. “That was just a shocker,” eyewitness Fernando Dentes, 34, said. “People were trying to eat.”

Police said a 39-year-old woman had to be picked up from the median strip on Dick Ward Drive after she bared all in front of the Cool Spot Cafe in Fannie Bay. The woman was lying naked on the ground smoking a cigarette in full view of customers at the restaurant. Three uniformed officers, in a paddy wagon and a sedan, arrived at the scene before giving the woman an on-the-spot fine and taking her to her home to Moulden, in Palmerston. It is unclear whether she was drunk. Mr Dentes, who was the shift manager at the restaurant at the time, said that staff had alerted police after customers complained about the striptease.

He said he saw two women arguing near the Cool Spot entrance before one of them was pushed to the ground. “The two ladies were arguing about the fella they were there with,” he said. “It was pretty verbal. “One had the other on the ground,” he said. “She was pretty much just defending herself and then she was lifting up her shirt and showing her breasts. “She took off her clothes and then she walked to the median strip lid a cigarette and laid down. Mr Dentes said it was not the first time police were called to near the restaurant to resolve a disturbance.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Online payments startup eWise raises $12.1M

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eWise, an online payments and financial management solutions company, has secured $12.1M in funding, it announced today.

The round was led by prominent European tech investor Balderton Capital, and included Total Technology Ventures, Patagorang, and Allen & Co.

Founded by Alexander Grinberg, who also heads the company, eWise is headquartered in the United Kingdom, and has expanded its market services to the United States, Australia, and China. Utilizing its new funds, eWise hopes to realize the widespread use of Secure Vault Payments (SVP) in the US.

eWise’s chief concern is to assure security — it says customers should make payments safely and confidently, either through its person to person solution, eWise Pay Anyone, or their its banking e-payments solution, eWise Pay By Account.

eWise’s new board member, Balderton partner Dharmash Mistry, said “In SVP, the compelling yet simple proposition of allowing customers to pay for online purchases through their own bank accounts, we believe that eWise has developed an innovative game-changing payments solution.”


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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » Deals & More

Apple To Launch iPhone 4 In 17 More Countries Starting Friday

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Apple (AAPL) this morning said it will start selling the iPhone 4 in 17 more countries on Friday, both through the company’s retail and online stores and via authorized resellers.
The new countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, [...]

Article courtesy of BARRONS.com: Tech Trader Daily