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Wed, Jun 25, 2008 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ GERMANY

Consumer confidence slips

Consumer confidence has fallen further as climbing energy prices eat away at household purchasing power, a study by the GfK research institute showed yesterday. The latest barometer of consumer sentiment in Europe’s biggest economy slipped to 3.9 points from a revised figure of 4.7 points in its previous reading. A year ago, the confidence index stood at 7.4 points. GfK said it had revised down its consumption growth outlook to 0.5 percent from 1.0 percent previously given expectations that inflation would remain around 3.0 percent in the coming months.

■ ENTERTAINMENT

DreamWorks mulls venture

India’s Reliance Entertainment and other investors are negotiating with Hollywood’s DreamWorks SKG to form a new movie venture worth as much as US$2 billion, two people familiar with the talks said. They said that Dreamworks, the movie studio founded in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, was looking to raise a total of US$2 billion from investors — US$1 billion in equity and another US$1 billion for new movie projects. One of the individuals said Reliance would likely invest more than US$500 million to US$600 million in equity.

■ ENTERTAINMENT

Fandango buys Movies.com

Movie ticketing and entertainment site Fandango Inc said on Monday it had acquired Movies.com from Walt Disney Co for an undisclosed amount. Los Angeles-based Fandango, which is owned by Comcast Corp, sells tickets for 1,300 theaters in the US. It said it would now handle the movie ticketing functions for Movies.com, which is mainly an entertainment Web site. Movies.com, which previously partnered with MovieTickets.com for ticketing, was owned by the Walt Disney Internet Group. Philadelphia-based cable TV system owner Comcast said the purchase price was minimal. Fandango said it had 6.3 million monthly unique visitors to its Web site last month, compared with 1.9 million for Movies.com. Both sites were launched in 2000.

■ CONGLOMERATES

Ex-Samsung director guilty

A former director at Samsung America Inc has pleaded guilty to embezzling US$1 million to US$2.5 million from his employer. John Lee admitted on Monday that the scheme ran from 2002 through last year. He had been director of the export department at the Ridgefield Park offices of the South Korean conglomerate Samsung Corp. Lee says he created a fake entity with a similar name of an actual company and had Samsung send money to an account he created after submitting bogus invoices. The 44-year-old pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge and an income tax charge.

■ ECONOMY

Surgery, vacations slow

South Koreans are cutting down on cosmetic surgery and vacations amid the economic slowdown, reports said yesterday. “We saw a 30 percent drop in double eyelid operations and rhinoplasty from last year and more than a 40 percent decline in facial contouring surgery,” Kim Beyong-geon, a surgeon in southern Seoul, told the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper. A joint survey by JoongAng Ilbo newspaper and recruitment firm Job Korea yesterday also showed that about 61 percent of those polled had changed summer vacation plans. Of these, about 30 percent said they would use public transport rather than private cars, about 15 percent said they would cut the length of their break and about 9 percent had scrapped overseas travel.

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