IBM buys security firm
IBM Corp said yesterday it will spend US$1.3 billion in cash to acquire Internet Security Systems Inc, which performs network monitoring and analysis services for companies. The deal values ISS at US$28 a share, an 8 percent premium to ISS's close at US$26 on Tuesday on the NASDAQ Stock Market. If the acquisition is approved by shareholders, the companies expect it to close in the fourth quarter. New York-based IBM has now agreed to buy three public companies this month alone. Two weeks ago it reached a pact to buy document-management software provider FileNet Corp for US$1.6 billion. On Aug. 3 Big Blue agreed to spend US$740 million for MRO Software Inc, which helps industrial companies track physical assets.
Microsoft clinches ad deal
Microsoft Corp has struck a deal to provide advertising for social networking site Facebook, in one of the first high-profile agreements for the software maker's online advertising platform. Under the deal announced late on Tuesday, Microsoft will sell and provide banner ads and sponsored links for Facebook using the adCenter online advertising platform and other in-house technology and services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to run through mid-2009. Microsoft and privately held Facebook said they only began discussing a deal in earnest late last week, and the companies hope the advertising would start appearing by early fall. Facebook is currently selling advertising on its own and has in the past used a couple other companies for that service, said Owen Van Natta, Facebook's chief operating officer.
Workers lower demands
Striking workers at the world's largest copper mine have lowered their wage-increase demand from 10 percent to 8 percent in an effort to resume contract talks after a two-week stoppage at la Escondida, a labor union spokesman said. "We have decided to show maximum flexibility, because we really want an end to this conflict," union spokesman Pedro Marin said by telephone from Antofagasta, 1,400km north of the Chilean capital of Santiago. Marin said a one-time, end-of-conflict bonus that is under negotiation will depend on the length of the contract finally agreed upon. He said the contract could be from three to four years.
BHP Billiton profits soar
Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd yesterday said its annual net profit surged 63 percent, setting a new Australian corporate earnings record thanks to soaring metal prices and insatiable demand from China. It earned US$10.45 billion for the year through June, smashing the previous national record of US$6.4 billion set by BHP Billiton last year. The Melbourne-based company reports its earnings in the US currency. Record annual production volumes of aluminum, copper, iron ore, nickel and natural gas lifted earnings, BHP Billiton said. "China's economic growth is expected to remain strong, even if attempts to cool strong growth are successful," it said. BHP Billiton also said it was buying back a further US$3 billion worth of its own stock over the next 18 months, bringing total share buybacks announced this year to US$5 billion.