Disney to cut jobs
Disney is to lay off 700 people from its interactive unit that makes video games and operates Web sites, about a quarter of the workforce in the division. The move narrows the company’s focus on mobile and social games that use key Disney characters. Some games that Disney acquired when it bought social game maker Playdom in 2010 for US$563 million, such as Sorority Life, are to be discontinued.
BP received regulators
BP PLC, the third-largest European energy producer, said regulators in Japan and South Korea sought information regarding potential manipulation of oil prices, amid ongoing probes in Europe and the US. The Japanese Fair Trade Commission made an initial request for information in June last year and the Korea Fair Trade Commission began an investigation in December, the London-based company said in its annual report for last year, which was released yesterday.
OPEC to cut exports: report
OPEC will reduce crude exports this month as refiners in Asia prepare for seasonal maintenance, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements. OPEC, which is responsible for 40 percent of global oil supplies, will decrease shipments by 400,000 barrels a day, or 1.6 percent, to 24.2 million barrels in the four weeks to March 22, Oil Movements said in an e-mailed note. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador. Exports had climbed from January through early this month on winter demand and stockpile-building in China, according to the consultant.
Canada, S Korea in talks
Canada and South Korea are getting closer to a free-trade agreement, with auto industry issues one of the few remaining obstacles. Negotiators are finalizing details surrounding auto-safety standards required by the South Korean government, said a person briefed on the talk. US-based automakers with operations in Canada are concerned such standards could be used as indirect trade barriers, the person said. The countries are discussing how to phase out tariffs on South Korean cars imported into Canada and how to develop a dispute-settling mechanism, according to the person.
Facebook probe sought
Two privacy activist groups asked US regulators on Thursday to put on hold the Facebook acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp to ensure against misuse of user data. An administrative complaint filed with the US Federal Trade Commission calls on the agency to investigate the deal and protection against “unfair and deceptive data collection practices,” which could be implemented by WhatsApp after the takeover. Facebook last month unveiled a cash-and-stock deal worth up to US$19 billion for WhatsApp, which allows for communications over mobile devices.
Macau hotel announced
Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld and a Macau casino operator announced plans yesterday to create a hotel. The 270-room Karl Lagerfeld Hotel will open in 2017 in a 20-story tower in the gambling enclave, according to Lagerfeld and the Sociedade de Jogos de Macau. The Lisboa Palace complex is also to include a Versace-themed hotel designed by the Italian fashion label and announced by Sociedade de Jogos in September. Yesterday’s announcement gave no financial details.