Business Quick Take


Sun, Aug 09, 2009 - Page 11


Higher US debt limit urged

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Friday formally requested that Congress raise the US$12.1 trillion statutory debt limit, saying that it could be breached as early as mid-October. “It is critically important that Congress act before the limit is reached so that citizens and investors here and around the world can remain confident that the United States will always meet its obligations,” Geithner said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Treasury officials earlier this week said that the debt limit would be hit sometime in the October-December quarter.


Publicis may buy Razorfish

Microsoft Corp is close to an agreement to sell its Razorfish Internet advertising agency to Publicis Groupe SA, owner of the Saatchi & Saatchi ad firm, said two people familiar with the talks. The deal could be signed as early as today, according to one of the people, who declined to be named because the discussions are private. Microsoft acquired Razorfish, which designs digital adverting campaigns, as part of its US$6 billion purchase of AQuantive Inc in 2007.


Nortel CEO may leave soon

Nortel Networks chief executive Mike Zafirovski is to leave the company as the Canadian telecoms stalwart fights for survival, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The news came as a Canadian Parliamentary committee opened hearings into the sale of some of Nortel Networks Corp assets to Ericsson AB. Legislators have expressed concern the country might lose technology it helped develop. The Wall Street Journal reported that Zafirovski, 55, could leave the company within weeks. He joined Nortel in 2005 on his reputation for saving companies like Motorola Inc’s cellphone division.


Canada jobs figure static

Canada shed 45,000 jobs last month, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 8.6 percent, Statistics Canada reported, as the country’s finance minister said a recovery next year remained likely. The drop in employment was higher than expected by analysts, who had eyed loses of around 20,000 jobs. It is a substantial increase on 7,400 jobs lost in June. Since a peak in October last year, employment has fallen 414,000, mostly among young people (-205,000) and men aged 25 to 54 (-201,000), the agency said.


More US banks shut down

Regulators on Friday shut down two banks in Florida and one in Oregon, bringing to 72 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year under the weight of the weak economy and rising loan losses. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp was appointed receiver of the banks: First State Bank, of Sarasota, Florida; Venice, Florida-based Community National Bank of Sarasota County, and Community First Bank, of Prineville, Oregon. There were 25 bank failures in the US last year.


GE blocks Mitsubishi

General Electric Co (GE), the biggest maker of wind turbines in the US, won a key decision in its effort to block Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd from importing rival energy equipment to the US. US International Trade Commission Judge Carl Charneski said on Friday GE’s patent rights were violated by Mitsubishi Heavy, Japan’s largest heavy-machinery maker. His findings are subject to review by the six-member commission in Washington.