Icahn moves on Yahoo
Billionaire corporate raider Carl Icahn announced plans yesterday to launch a bid to replace the board of Yahoo, saying the Internet firm had “completely botched” merger talks with Microsoft. Icahn said in an open letter to the Yahoo board that he had acquired 59 million shares of Yahoo and had formed a 10-person slate that would stand for election against the current board. “It is unconscionable that you have not allowed your shareholders to choose to accept an offer that represented a 72 percent premium over Yahoo’s closing price of [US$19.18] on the day before the initial Microsoft offer,” Icahn said in the letter. He said a combination between Microsoft and Yahoo “is by far the most sensible path for both companies.”
Comcast to buy Plaxo
Comcast Corp, the largest US cable TV operator, agreed to buy the online address book company Plaxo Inc to expand into social networking and offer more services to its Internet access and video customers. Terms weren’t disclosed. The acquisition of closely held Plaxo will let Comcast Internet customers share online postings and information about viewing choices, Comcast executive vice president Sam Schwartz said in an interview yesterday. Plaxo, based in Mountain View, California, has 50 employees and plays host to address books for more than 40 million people, its Web site said. The company’s services let Internet users track online postings such as blog entries, photographs and calendar entries.
Nintendo fined over patent
Nintendo of America Inc was ordered to pay a small east Texas gaming company US$21 million on Wednesday for infringing on a patent while designing controllers for its popular Wii and GameCube systems. A federal jury found in favor of Anascape Ltd in the lawsuit that was filed in 2006. Nintendo spokesman Charlie Scibetta said the company would seek an appeal and expected the court to reduce the award “significantly.” He added that Nintendo was pleased no infringement was found with the motion-sensing technology used in its wandlike Wii and Nuncheck controllers, which mimic movements by users in games such as tennis and boxing.
Barclays Capital posts loss
Barclays PLC said yesterday that its investment banking unit lost £1 billion (US$1.94 billion) in the first quarter owing to credit-market turbulence. However, the bank surprised some analysts by not announcing a rights issue as some of its peers, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS PLC, had done to shore up their finances. That leaves Barclays with the weakest capital position among Britain’s major banks, said Alex Potter, analyst at Collins Stewart. The Barclays Capital investment banking unit was nonetheless profitable during the quarter, Barclays said.
Prius hits 1 million mark
Toyota said yesterday that its Prius was the world’s first mass-produced gas-electric hybrid vehicle to hit the 1 million mark in sales. A total of 1.028 million Prius vehicles had been sold as of the end of last month. Toyota sells other hybrid models, but the Prius has been by far the most popular model. Toyota has said it plans to sell a million hybrids annually sometime in the few years after 2010. It said that the introduction of the Prius has resulted in 4.5 million tonnes less of global warming gases compared with having standard gas engine cars on the road.