Microsoft cuts Xbox price
Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360 video game console was US$50 cheaper in the US yesterday, confirming fuzzy snapshots of leaked advertisements posted by bloggers late last month. The company said its most popular console, which comes with a 20 gigabyte hard drive, will cost US$349. Microsoft has been dodging questions about a console price cut since competitor Sony Corp slashed the price of its 60 gigabyte PlayStation 3 to US$499, from US$599, early last month. Nintendo Corp's Wii, the least expensive of the so-called next-generation consoles, costs US$250.
Apple updates the iMac
Apple Inc updated its iMac computers on Tuesday with a slimmer design, faster chips and glossy screens, hoping to further propel sales that already outpace the rest of the PC industry. The all-in-one desktop computers now have aluminum casings, replacing the white plastic facade that has defined the computer lineup for years. The new iMacs will come in only 50cm and 60cm versions. In the company's fiscal third quarter that ended in June, Apple shipped a record 1.76 million Macs, up 33 percent from the year-ago period, accounting for US$2.5 billion, or more than 60 percent, of the quarter's revenues.
Bull-Dog bid revamped
The US investment fund Steel Partners announced yesterday a revamped buyout bid for Japan's Bull-Dog Sauce, pushing ahead with its controversial offer despite a string of legal defeats. Steel Partners said it will lower its tender offer price for Bull-Dog Sauce to ?425 (US$3.60) per share from ?1,700 a day after Japan's top court upheld the condiment maker's right to use a "poison pill" takeover defense. The tender offer, which had been due to expire on Friday, was also extended until Aug. 22 to give investors time to respond to the revised offer, as required by law, a spokeswoman for Steel Partners said.
PetroChina mulls IPO
PetroChina Co (中國石油天然氣), China's largest oil company, could raise 40 billion yuan (US$5.3 billion) via a share sale that would be the largest initial public offer (IPO) of the year, state press said yesterday. The Beijing-based group will issue four billion shares in Shanghai at approximately 10 yuan each, accounting for about 2 percent of its enlarged share capital, the China Daily said, citing an unnamed executive at the firm. The newspaper report followed an official announcement in June that the Hong Kong-listed group would seek to sell shares in its home markets as part of plans to ramp up its expansion.
India moves to curb inflows
India has placed curbs on overseas borrowing to cut massive foreign currency flows into the economy that led the rupee to strengthen sharply against the dollar this year, officials said yesterday. The finance ministry said firms that borrow more than US$20 million from overseas must now seek central bank approval. "Henceforth external commercial borrowing [of] more than US$20 million per borrowing company would be permitted only for foreign currency expenditure for permissible end-uses," it said. "Such funds would continued to be parked overseas until actual requirement."