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World Business Quick Take



Freescale to unveil tablet PC

Chipmaker Freescale Semiconductor Inc is staking its claim on the tablet computer market, an emerging product category that is set to generate plenty of interest this year. Although next-generation tablet PCs are scarcely evident on the market, the technology world is abuzz about their potential, as Apple Inc is expected to unveil its offering this year. Freescale’s announcement comes ahead of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where rival chipmakers are expected to show off new so-called smartbooks, which aim to bridge the gap between laptops and smartphones. Privately held Freescale unveiled its reference design for a seven-inch, touchscreen tablet running on the company’s low-power ARM-based processor and priced at less than US$200. The company said such a device would be able to run either Google Inc’s Android mobile software or Linux, with Wi-Fi and 3G capability.


Reliance sells shares

Reliance Industries Ltd, the Indian company that is seeking to buy LyondellBasell Industries AF, raised 26.7 billion rupees (US$575 million) selling shares, two people familiar with the matter said. Reliance, India’s most valuable company, sold 25.8 million shares at an average price of 1,035 rupees apiece, the people said, declining to be identified before an official announcement. Life Insurance Corp of India bought 25 million shares, one of the people said. The sale, the second such transaction by Reliance in less than four months, was at a 5 percent discount to the stock’s closing price on Thursday. Reliance’s Petroleum Trust unit raised US$664 million selling shares to investors on Sept. 17. Shares of Reliance Industries, which has made a preliminary bid to buy bankrupt chemicals and fuels maker LyondellBasell in an all-cash deal, fell 1.6 percent to 1,072.95 rupees as of 11:09am in Mumbai trading yesterday. The stock rose 77 percent last year.


Kraft may extend offer

Kraft Foods Inc may extend the deadline for Cadbury PLC’s shareholders to tender their shares by two weeks, when the US company may also increase its £10.3 billion (US$16.6 billion) bid for the UK confectioner, the Financial Times reported, without saying where it got the information. The UK Takeover Panel set an initial deadline of today for Cadbury’s shareholders and Kraft has until Jan. 19 to increase its offer, the FT said. Kraft is likely to wait until Cadbury’s trading update on Jan. 15 before making a final decision on whether to raise its offer, the newspaper reported.


Government to spend swiftly

South Korea will spend about 70 percent of its budget in the first half of this year as part of efforts to accelerate the country’s economic recovery, officials said yesterday. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak directed his Cabinet to “effectively and swiftly” carry out budget spending, describing job creation as one of the country’s most important tasks, his office said. The government will spend 178 trillion won (US$154 billion), or 69.8 percent of the total, in the first six months, the finance ministry said after a Cabinet meeting chaired Lee. “The first and the utmost mission ... is to revive the economy and the core of that mission is to create jobs” during the first half of this year, Lee said in a New Year’s address. Government officials predicted the economy grew 0.2 percent last year and that it would grow 5 percent this year, higher than its earlier projections.

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