Athens on credit watch list
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Thursday placed Greece on a credit watch as it warned proposed changes to EU rules could hurt bondholders. “We believe that assigning ‘preferred creditor’ status to future official lending ... could be detrimental to the ability of non-official holders of sovereign debt to be repaid,” the firm said. The EU plan could see governments repaid first in the event of a default or debt restructuring.
Chinese imports soar
Gold imports into China, the world’s top bullion consumer, have soared this year as investors flock to the metal to safeguard their cash amid rising inflation, a report said yesterday. The country imported 209.7 tonnes of gold in the first 10 months of the year, up 480 percent from the same period last year, the China Business News said, citing Shen Xiangrong (沈祥榮), Shanghai Gold Exchange chairman. Individual Chinese investors purchased 973.8 tonnes of gold in the period, up 247.3 percent from a year ago and accounting for nearly 20 percent of total transactions, the report said.
Google to pay US$1 fine
Google has agreed to pay a Pennsylvania couple US$1 for trespassing on their property while taking photographs for its “Street View” online mapping service. Aaron and Christine Boring sued the Internet giant in 2008, seeking damages and an acknowledgment that a Google Street View car ignored a “Private Road No Trespassing” sign to take pictures of their Franklin Park home. Google admitted to trespassing and agreed to pay nominal damages of US$1 to the Borings.
RIM to acquire TAT
Research In Motion Ltd, maker of BlackBerry smartphones, said on its blog on Thursday that it will buy Swedish software developer The Astonishing Tribe, which specializes in making phone software more attractive and easy to use. The Astonishing Tribe, dubbed TAT for short, designs software that runs on smartphones and that lets people personalize the way the devices look. TAT said its software resides on 15 percent of all phones. It was founded in 2002 and has about 150 employees. RIM did not say how much it paid for TAT, nor when the purchase is expected to close.
EBay buys Milo.com
EBay Inc, owner of the second-most visited US e-commerce site, said it bought shopping engine Milo.com to help it reach more consumers looking for products in nearby stores and browsing for bargains with mobile phones. Milo.com helps consumers find items in stock at local stores and EBay will weave the technology into its existing marketplace and mobile applications, the San Jose-based company said today in a statement.
PepsiCo expands into Russia
PepsiCo Inc is buying a majority stake in Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods for US$3.8 billion, a deal that will make it the biggest food and beverage company in Russia. The deal is Pepsi’s largest international acquisition ever. It gives the company dominant position in the fast-growing Russian market and furthers its plan to build its global nutrition business. Combined, the companies will hold six of Russia’s 20 largest food and beverage brands and will be about twice the size of its nearest competitor in the country. PepsiCo said the deal will make Russia its second-largest market behind the US.