Japan mulls tighter rules
Japanese banking minister Tadahiro Matsushita said yesterday that Tokyo may usher in tighter insider trading laws amid a widening criminal probe into the practice, which is commonplace in the nation’s finance sector. Matsushita, head of Japan’s Financial Services Agency, made the comments a day after prosecutors arrested former SMBC Nikko Securities executive Hiroyoshi Yoshioka and three others on insider trading allegations. Yoshioka, 50, is suspected of leaking material information to the head of a Japanese finance company and his son, with the trio reportedly netting more than ￥2 million (US$25,000) from illegal trades.
Microsoft to buy Yammer
Microsoft is paying US$1.2 billion to buy Yammer, an Internet startup that has built a social network similar to Facebook for the business world. The deal announced on Monday comes nearly two weeks after word of Microsoft’s negotiations with Yammer first leaked out in published reports. Yammer, which is based in San Francisco, provides ways for companies to create private social networks for their employees. It has more than 5 million corporate users.
Quest receives larger bid
Quest Software Inc said on Monday that it received a higher buyout offer worth about US$2.32 billion from an unnamed buyer, continuing a battle for the technology services provider. The most recent offer of US$27.50 per share follows a string of increasing bids that began after the company announced in March that it was being bought by investment firm Insight Venture Partners for US$23 per share.
Confidence holds steady
German consumer confidence is continuing to hold up, even if fears are growing that Europe’s top economy will not remain unscathed by the debt crisis, a poll found yesterday, after a key Ifo business climate index last week fell to its lowest level in more than two years. Market research company GfK said its household confidence index was forecast to edge slightly higher to 5.8 points next month from 5.7 points for this month, a statement said.
Housing business plummets
French new housing starts plummeted by 19.8 percent in the three months from March to last month from the level for same period last year, official data showed yesterday. The data indicates that an important part of the economy is flagging. On a sliding three-month basis, the result nonetheless represented an improvement from the February-April period, when housing starts fell by 22.5 percent, the housing ministry data showed. A total of 72,020 units were granted permits this time around.
Panel to revisit Apple ruling
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) said on Monday it would revisit an initial ruling that Apple Inc infringed one of four patents asserted by Motorola Mobility, now a Google Inc unit. ITC judge Thomas Pender had said in a preliminary ruling that Apple infringed on a patent for eliminating noise and other interference during voice and data transmissions. Motorola Mobility had originally accused Apple of violating three other patents — including one for touchscreen technology — but the ITC judge found that the company infringed just one. The full commission is expected to issue a final ruling in August.