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Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Computers
Keyboards can go in washer

If you accidentally spill a drink over your computer's keyboard, you can clean it in the dishwasher, the Munich-based magazine Chip reports in its special edition Tipps & Tools. Open the keyboard, take out the foil with the switch contacts and clean them with a damp cloth, the report recommended. "The keyboard casing and the silicon mat can go in the glass compartment, and you can put the keys in the cutlery basket," it said. The keyboard can be put back together after washing it at low heat.

■ Music industry

DoCoMo to buy Tower stake

NTT DoCoMo plans to buy a 40 percent stake in Tower Records Japan Inc, which will make it the biggest shareholder in the music retailer, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said, without saying where it got the information. DoCoMo may pay about ?10 billion (US$84.5 million) for the stake, it said. The tie-up may help the spread of DoCoMo's mobile payment service in Tower Record stores throughout Japan, the newspaper said. The companies are also considering cooperation in a music distribution business which Tower Records plans to start early next year, the report said.

■ Semiconductors

Infineon mulls restructuring

Infineon Technologies AG, a German chipmaker, is considering splitting off the company's memory-chip unit, management-board member Loh Kin Wah told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper. The company is examining its structure and considering breaking up the whole group, Loh said, according to a pre-release of an article to appear in tomorrow's edition. The firm's supervisory board will discuss the plans in its next meeting, the paper said, citing no one. Chief executive Wolfgang Ziebart said on Oct. 18 that the German company may examine its structure "more seriously" this year.

■ M&A

Mergers rise globally

Low interest rates and companies flush with cash are fueling the highest level of mergers and acquisitions activity worldwide since the 1990s, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Merger and acquisition volume year-to-date has risen to more than US$2.3 trillion, the most since a peak of US$3.3 trillion in 2000, the newspaper said. Targets this year have included MBNA Corp, AT&T Corp and Reebok International Inc. The Journal said most mergers today seek to meld similar companies and cut redundant costs. There are, however, some troubling signs amid the merger boom, including the highest price-to-cash flow prices in five years and the large amount of debt assumed in some private-equity deals, the newspaper said.

■ Japan's economy

Too soon for tax increase

Japan needs to resolve its decade-long deflation before considering an increase in the consumption tax, the ruling party's top policy-maker said yesterday. Hidenao Nakagawa, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's Policy Research Council, said reducing bloated budgets and battling deflation should come before any talk of tax hikes. Media reports said that Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, who retained his post in the Oct. 31 Cabinet reshuffle, has suggested that he wants to submit a bill in 2007 to raise the consumption tax, a form of value-added tax, from the current 5 percent.

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