Mon, Jun 20, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

INTERNET

FTC approves Skype bid

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is letting software giant Microsoft Corp proceed with its largest deal ever, an US$8.5 billion bid for Web chat and call service Skype. The FTC announced on Friday that it had finished its review of the buyout so it could proceed if the US Department of Justice also approves. Both agencies must review any deal worth more than US$65.2 million, according to the FTC. Microsoft already has a Skype-like service called Windows Live, but Skype lets users of different kinds of computers and phones chat directly. The deal could enable Microsoft to sell more digital advertising and offer more popular business conferencing tools. Microsoft’s bid is more than three times Skype’s value 18 months ago when eBay Inc sold a two-thirds stake to private equity firm Silver Lake.

RUSSIA

WTO bid faces big hurdles

Moscow’s accession into the WTO could be delayed by several years if there is no agreement on key issues by the end of next month, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Elvira Nabiullina said on Saturday. Moscow aims to become a member of the trade group in December, but Nabiullina said that the outstanding issues included agriculture, the nation’s car assembly regime and controls on the import of food and livestock. “We need to agree with our partners on three large issues before the end of July. If we do not manage to do it, from my point of view, the process might take some more years,” she told reporters at St Petersburg Economic Forum.

FINLAND

Finance minister announced

Social Democrat leader Jutta Urpilainen will become finance minister in the new six-party coalition, which has pledged to cut spending and raise some taxes. Announcing that the party had named her to the post on Saturday, Urpilainen said her main job was to secure the future of the welfare state by curbing spending and borrowing. “The outgoing government has left us a budget deficit of around 8 billion euros [US$11 billion] and the pace of borrowing is not sustainable,” Urpilainen said. She reiterated that Helsinki would demand guarantees against participation in any new bailouts for euro area countries.

AVIATION

Airbus delays A350 debut

Airbus SAS delayed introduction of its largest A350 wide-body aircraft by 18 months to meet demands for additional range and payload that will put the jet into more direct competition with Boeing Co’s 777-300ER. Rolls-Royce PLC, the sole engine supplier on the jet, will improve the performance of the Trent XWB engine by enlarging the core and working with more advanced technologies, the two companies said at a joint press conference on Saturday in Paris. The A350-1000 aircraft, which seats about 350 people, will cost US$9 million more than the previous design and come out in 2017. Airbus aims to crack the near monopoly of Boeing’s 777, which debuted in the 1990s, and the European manufacturer said its new A350-1000 will be 25 percent more fuel efficient and can carry 4.5 tonnes of additional weight. The change on the A350 coincides with the European airplane maker challenging Boeing in the single-aisle market with new, more efficient engines for its A320 jet.

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