IMF boosts growth estimate
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde upwardly revised the fund’s estimate of economic growth among developed nations, which she said would increase by 1.6 percent next year, up from an earlier estimated 1.5 percent. She told Chile’s La Tercera newspaper that developing countries should grow by 5.6 percent, while the global economy is expected to expand by 3.6 percent. “So 2013 will be a little better than 2012,” the Chilean daily quotes her as saying. Lagarde was in Chile on Thursday and Friday for a visit that included a meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.
iPhone sets record: Apple
US tech giant Apple announced on Sunday it had sold “more than 2 million” of the latest model of iPhone after the popular smartphone’s first weekend on the market in the Asian powerhouse. “Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China,” Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said in a statement. Launched at the end of September in the US and nine other countries, the iPhone 5 “will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it the fastest iPhone rollout ever,” the company said.
Trading in Billabong halted
Trading on shares in Australian surf and sportswear company Billabong was halted yesterday after reports that a former director was leading a takeover bid valued at US$555.2 million. Paul Naude, who last month stepped aside as director and president of Billabong’s US business to prepare a buy-out bid, is believed to have offered A$1.10 (US$1.16) per share, the Australian Financial Review said. The offer from a consortium led by Naude — and which includes a private equity firm — values the company at A$526.8 million and is conditional on due diligence, Dow Jones said, without naming its source. Billabong International Ltd would not comment.
Cisco seeks buyer for Linksys
Cisco Systems Inc, the largest maker of equipment for computer networks, has hired Barclays PLC to find a buyer for Linksys, which makes routers for home wireless access, said people with knowledge of the situation. The unit may attract the interest of TV set makers seeking a recognized brand and technology, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is not public. Linksys is likely to fetch much less than the US$500 million Cisco paid for it in 2003 because it is a mature consumer business with low margins, the people said. Both Cisco and Barclays declined to comment.
Warning from Merkel
Europe will have to work “very hard” to maintain its generous welfare system and remain competitive, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a newspaper interview yesterday. “If Europe today accounts for just over 7 percent of the world’s population, produces around 25 percent of global GDP and has to finance 50 percent of global social spending, then it’s obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life,” Merkel told the Financial Times in an interview. Europe will have to spend more on research and education and overhaul its tax and labor markets to restore competitiveness, she said.