Tencent buys big Riot stake
Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊控股), China’s biggest Internet company by market value, bought a majority stake in Los Angeles online game publisher Riot Games Inc. The deal is expected to close within 30 days, Riot Games said on Friday in a statement. While terms weren’t disclosed, a person familiar with the matter said the companies were negotiating a price of more than US$350 million. Riot Games said it would keep its Los Angeles-area headquarters and expects to hire aggressively this year. The company also plans to develop new games and expand into other markets, according to the statement.
Major firms’ profits soar
The country’s major companies enjoyed a 24 percent profit gain in the three months to December, the fifth consecutive quarterly increase thanks to brisk foreign demand, a newspaper reported yesterday. The Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun carried out a survey covering 859 listed firms that announced their October-December quarter earnings by Friday. Their aggregate pre-tax profit came to ￥5.32 trillion (US$65 billion) in the period, up 24 percent from the same quarter last year, while their sales rose 5 percent to a combined ￥81.2 trillion, the daily said. Strong demand in emerging economies and North America drove growth in a wide range of export sectors, offsetting the negative impact of a strong yen, the daily said.
Chrysler fights ‘shyster loans’
Chrysler Group LLC is working to refinance what its chief executive characterized as “shyster loans” that US President Barack Obama’s administration extended as part of a bailout to keep the automaker from collapse in 2009. “I want to pay back the shyster loans,” Sergio Marchionne said at an industry conference, using a derogatory term for an unethical lawyer or politician. “Pay back the loans, get those out and then take [the company] public.” Marchionne, who is also CEO of Italy’s Fiat SpA, has said repeatedly that the high interest rates on loans Chrysler owes the US and Canadian governments have been an obstacle in the automaker’s return to profitability.
DAE cancels Boeing order
US aerospace giant Boeing said Friday that Dubai aircraft leasing firm Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) canceled an order for 32 of its best-selling single-aisle 737 aircraft. Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, an ambitious, mainly aircraft leasing business launched in February 2006 and partly owned by the crisis-strapped government of Dubai’s investment arm, still has 56 orders on Boeing’s books. DAE had ordered 35 737s, 15 747s and six 777s, he said. In a weekly table on changes in orders and deliveries for commercial aircraft, the DAE cancelation left orders for 737s so far this year at a net zero.
T-Mobile USA eyes spectrum
Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA unit may be close to a deal to buy wireless spectrum from Clearwire Corp, two people familiar with the talks said. T-Mobile USA is the only potential bidder and the sale of the spectrum could happen by the end of the first quarter, one of the people said. T-Mobile USA isn’t in a rush to buy spectrum and can demand a financially advantageous deal, which could happen in the near term, another person said. Clearwire has warned investors it’s short on cash, saying it would run out by mid-year ahead of a bond sale.