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Sat, Mar 25, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Indexes

Google to join S&P 500

Google Inc will be added to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index after a fourfold surge in its shares that valued the world's most-used Internet search engine at more than US$100 billion. "Based on the calendar of publicly announced deals, this was the best time to make the addition," said David Guarino, a S&P spokesman in New York. "The stock price wasn't a factor in our decision." Google is the biggest company ever added to the S&P 500, according to Nicholas Gulden, an analyst at Citigroup Inc in New York. The stock will become the highest-priced among the index's members, surpassing Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

■ Semiconductors

Siemens offloads Infineon

Siemens AG, Europe's largest engineering company, is selling its entire 18 percent stake in Infineon Technologies AG, worth about 1.2 billion euros (US$1.4 billion), in a placement managed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Munich-based Siemens is selling 136.3 million shares in Germany's largest maker of semiconductors, Goldman said in a statement on Thursday. The sale comes 14 months after Klaus Kleinfeld took over as Siemens' chief executive officer and completes the company's retreat from the chipmaker it spun off in an initial public offering six years ago. Kleinfeld has announced almost 7,000 job cuts, mainly at the telecommunications and computer-services divisions, and has sold the unprofitable mobile-phone unit to Taiwan's BenQ Corp (明基).

■ Banking

Brokerage to buy Tokyo Star

Japan's third-largest brokerage Nikko Cordial plans to buy a controlling stake in a Tokyo bank revived by US private equity fund Lone Star for more than US$1.2 billion, a report said yesterday. Nikko Cordial will soon launch a tender offer to buy up to 50 percent of shares in Tokyo Star Bank, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said, adding the broker aimed to get at least one-third of the shares to become the top shareholder. Lone Star, which holds nearly 70 percent of outstanding shares in Tokyo Star, plans to sell its control over the bank, the economic daily said without naming sources. The acquisition price is likely to exceed ?140 billion (US$1.2 billion), the paper said. The deal between Nikko Cordial and Lone Star would mark the first instance in Japan of a brokerage purchasing a bank, the Nihon Keizai said.

■ Automobiles

GM to sell mortgage arm

General Motors Corp said on Thursday that its finance arm is raising nearly US$9 billion in cash by selling a majority interest in its commercial mortgage division in a move that spruces up the books of the auto loan and insurance business the struggling automaker is trying to sell. General Motors Acceptance Corp is getting US$1.5 billion in cash from an investment group for a 78 percent stake in the commercial mortgage business. In addition, that business, known as GMAC Commercial Holding Corp, repaid US$7.3 billion in intercompany loans. That boosts the total proceeds to GMAC to almost US$9 billion. The announcement comes a day after GM and its major supplier, Delphi Corp, said they plan to offer buyouts to more than 125,000 hourly workers under an agreement with the United Auto Workers. Workers are expected to start leaving GM by June 1.

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