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Thu, Nov 23, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Media
Comcast, Disney pen deal

Comcast Corp and the Walt Disney Co said on Tuesday they signed a landmark multibillion-dollar distribution deal that allows the cable operator to distribute Disney content through its video-on-demand service. As part of the multiyear deal, Comcast, the largest US cable TV operator, also agreed to buy Disney's 39.5 percent stake in the E! Entertainment Television channel for US$1.23 billion. Comcast currently holds a 60 percent interest in the channel. No other financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

■ Property

China raises project fees

The Chinese government will double land use fees for new construction projects from Jan. 1 to cool frantic expansion in the property market, state media reported yesterday. This means that the fee will rise to up to 140 yuan (US$18) per square meter, according to a notice issued by the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Land and Resources and the central bank. The aim is to curb excessive growth in fixed asset investment, the 21st Century Business Herald said, citing a notice published by the central bank.

■ Computers

Dell looking up

Driven by solid sales of laptops and a more diverse product line, computer maker Dell Inc finally had some good news for investors amid an ongoing federal investigation of the company's accounting and financial reporting. In a delayed, preliminary earnings report for the last quarter, Dell beat analysts' expectations, earning US$677 million, or 30 cents per share, on revenue of US$14.4 billion, compared with earnings of US$606 million, or 25 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Analysts had been looking for quarterly earnings of 24 cents per share on sales of US$14.44 billion, a survey by Thomson Financial said.

■ Internet

Livedoor strips segment

Japanese Internet startup Livedoor Co plans to sell all its financial segment to investment firm Advantage Partners LLP, news reports said yesterday. Business daily Nihon Keizai reported the plan, adding that Livedoor will convene a board meeting as early as this week to approve the sale of Livedoor Financial Holdings Co, whose seven firms include brokerage and consumer credit operations. Livedoor's financial businesses generated 80 percent of the group's operating profit and the sale would mark the collapse of a business model built by former President Takafumi Horie, the business daily said.

■ Mergers

French energy deal delayed

French government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope said yesterday that a court decision that delays the proposed merger of energy groups GDF and Suez did not fundamentally put the deal in question. "There was certainly a decision by the appeals court but it does not put the project's relevance in question," Cope told the television channel I-Tele. On Tuesday, the Paris appeals court upheld a decision by a lower court in favour of Gaz de France's works council -- institutions in French companies through which trade unions have a voice in operations -- that sought a postponement of a company board meeting on the merger, scheduled for yesterday.

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