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World Business Quick Take



BT might face strike

British telecoms provider BT is likely to face its first industrial action in 20 years if it does not improve on a 2 percent pay-rise offer to staff, a top trade union official told BBC Radio yesterday. Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said he had no doubt the more than 50,000 BT workers his union represents would vote in favor of industrial action in a ballot. The CWU said last week it would ballot its members on industrial action if BT did not come back with a better offer by yesterday.


UnionPay hits out at Visa

China UnionPay (中國銀聯) yesterday hit out at Visa after the US credit giant told banks to stop using the Chinese company’s system when processing overseas transactions on cards that bear both firms’ logos. “Both companies have [the] responsibility and obligation to provide overseas transaction services for holders of co-branded cards,” said state-backed UnionPay, which has a monopoly on bank card payment processing in China. “Neither party has the right to unilaterally restrict cardholders’ options for overseas payment channels,” the Shanghai-based company said in a statement.


Moody’s lowers BP rating

Moody’s Investor Service on Thursday lowered BP’s ratings from Aa1 to Aa2, citing the impact of the Gulf of Mexicio oil spill. At the same time, Moody’s has also placed the above-mentioned long-term debt ratings on review for further possible downgrade. Earlier on Thursday, ratings agency Fitch had cut BP’s long-term issuer default rating and senior unsecured rating from AA+ to AA and placed them on negative watch, citing risks from the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


Eurozone grows by 0.2%

The economy of the 16 countries that use the euro grew by 0.2 percent during the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period, despite another big drop in output in debt-laden Greece, official figures showed yesterday. The first quarter data from the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat were unrevised from the previous prediction. However, Eurostat now says that the eurozone economy actually grew by 0.1 percent in the last quarter of last year, against its previous forecast of zero growth.


‘Newsweek’ receives bids

At least three groups of investors have made bids for Newsweek despite expectations of continued losses at the magazine. Initial, nonbinding bids were due on Wednesday. Those submitting bids include Newsmax Media, the publisher of the conservative monthly Newsmax; Open Gate Capital, the private equity firm that owns TV Guide magazine; and Thane Ritchie, a hedge fund manager who made an unsuccessful bid last year for the company that publishes the Chicago Sun-Times.


Google buys Invite Media

Google on Thursday announced it has bought advertising technology startup Invite Media, which allows advertisers to bid on ad space. Invite Media developed a way to let advertisers bid in real time for online display ad space and created a “universal buying platform.” Google plans to invest heavily in Invite and eventually mesh its technology into DoubleClick, an online ad-targeting business it acquired three years ago. Financial details of the Invite deal were not disclosed, but reports put the price tag at US$70 million.

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