MediaFile

Tech wrap: Groupon rethinks IPO

Groupon called off an IPO roadshow slated for next week because of market volatility, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Internet coupons site is reassessing the timing for an offering on a week-by-week basis, the newspaper added, citing an unidentified source. Some on Wall Street have questioned Groupon’s financial disclosures, while others are concerned the company’s rapid growth is starting to slow in North America. Groupon CEO Andrew Mason sent a memo to employees recently that was widely reported in the media, in which he blasted critics in the press and on Wall Street.

Sprint filed a lawsuit to stop AT&T’s $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA in the same federal court that is to hear the Department of Justice’s case opposing the buyout. Sprint said the combination would lead to higher prices for consumers and create a duopoly between AT&T and Verizon Communications. Also, Sprint argued that if the deal goes through, a combined AT&T and T-Mobile would have the ability to use its control over roaming and spectrum, and its increased market position to exclude competitors.

Dell and China’s top search engine Baidu plan to jointly develop tablet computers and mobile phones, targeting the Chinese market dominated by Apple and Lenovo. Dell declined to give a timeline for the launch of the devices, but local media quoted sources saying that it may be as early as November. Baidu launched a new mobile application platform last week and offered a glimpse of its upcoming mobile operating system, which it hopes will serve a growing number of users accessing the Internet from smartphones and tablet computers.

Regulators in South Korea raided Google’s Seoul offices, according to a source familiar with the matter. Google said in a statement that it will work with the Korean Fair Trade Commission to address any questions it may have about the Web search leader’s business.

Jaguar Financial Corp, an activist shareholder in Research In Motion,  said it wants the struggling BlackBerry maker to consider selling itself or spinning off its patent portfolio, sending RIM’s share price higher. Jaguar CEO Vic Alboini said Jaguar has talked to a select group of shareholders and received broadly positive feedback for its plan. Jaguar, a Canadian merchant bank that targets underperforming companies, and its supporters hold less than 5 percent of RIM’s stock. RIM shares ended up, just over 1 percent.

Blue Sky for Baidu?

The dreams of Internet moonshot stocks have not disappeared amid the global economic slowdown.

Take Baidu, the No.1 Internet firm in China, which was bequeathed a lofty $432-a-share valuation by Deutsche Bank on Tuesday under a so-called “blue-sky scenario.”

That would be quite a bit above Baidu’s $186.50 opening price on Tuesday, but Deutsche Bank analyst Alan Hellawell points out in a note initiating coverage on Baidu that the stock has traded upwards of $380 in the past 52 weeks and that Baidu’s market cap still pales compared to Google’s.

AP tries to help grumpy, cash-strapped members

More cracks are appearing in the newspaper industry. Things have become so tough that the Associated Press has agreed to slash $9 million from its membership fees. With newspaper’s reeling from depressed advertising revenue, they are looking to save money wherever they can, and have been clamoring for a break from the AP.

PaidContent’s Staci Kramer talked to AP chief revenue officer Tom Brettigen about the cuts. Here’s what he said about how AP will make up for the drop in income.

“We have a lot to make up. We’ve been working on the revenue side; this undoubtedly is going to require some work on the cost side. For a company where the costs are primarily its people, it’s going to mean having to look at some positions.” AP already has a hiring freeze; now it’s looking at staff cuts. “It’s too early to be specific. It is a peculiar situation where we reduce the costs to the newspapers, which means we may be more than likely to make cost reductions. It will affect the news report as little as we can possibly make it.”