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Thu, Jan 25, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Automobiles

Morris Garages is no more

MG's new Chinese owner, the Nanjing Automobile Group, has opted to drop the heritage associated with the marque best known for rakish sports cars and change the meaning of the initials. The letters in the classic octagon logo now stand for "Modern Gentleman" instead of "Morris Garages." According to Nanjing, the name-change fits in with the buyers the company now wishes to attract. MG was first founded in 1923 by British car enthusiast Cecil Kimber, who started out by modifying Morris cars to make them go faster, hence the original name.

■ Banking

Macquarie acquires ACM

Australian financial heavyweight Macquarie Bank has bought US newspaper publisher American Consolidated Media (ACM) for US$80 million and could further boost its US interests, it said yesterday. Macquarie Media Group Ltd acquired ACM, which publishes 40 newspapers distributed in nine regional communities in the US states of Texas and Oklahoma. Macquarie Bank also said it was interested in other community newspapers. In the 11 months to November, ACM posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of A$8.9 million with an EBITDA margin of 25.1 percent.

■ Computing

LeBron signs for Microsoft

The ever-expanding LeBron James empire is entering a new realm. Microsoft Corp is using the NBA star to promote next week's consumer release of its new Windows Vista operating system. James is the first NBA player that the Redmond, Washington-based software giant has used to promote its products, Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said. And Vista may not be the last Microsoft project for the Cleveland Cavaliers guard. Microsoft declined to reveal how much it paid James, who turned 22 last month. When he was still a senior at Akron's St Vincent-St Mary High School, James signed a seven-year, US$90 million endorsement contract with Nike Inc.

■ Gambling

Macau surpasses Vegas

Macau surpassed the Las Vegas Strip to become the world's biggest gambling center last year, according to industry analysts and government figures released on Tuesday. Fueled by a casino investment boom and the millions of Chinese visitors flooding in, Macau said its gambling revenue soared 22 percent last year, to US$6.95 billion. Las Vegas has not yet released its own full-year statistics but analysts estimate that revenue on the Las Vegas Strip was about US$6.5 billion last year. And this year, Macau may take in US$8 billion in gambling revenue, according to industry analysts.

■ Finance

Thailand may ease reins

The Bank of Thailand said yesterday that it may consider relaxing capital control rules if authorities feel that the Thai baht can hold steady against the US dollar. "The bank does not want to impose this measure for a long time and it is ready to ease the measure if the baht's stability would not be affected," central bank head Tarisa Watanagase said. Her remarks came one day after Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said the capital controls would remain in effect. Reserve requirements imposed last month effectively lock for a year 30 percent of any fund inflows coming into Thailand for financial investment.

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