ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, said it might double its planned sale of less-desirable assets to $20 billion, with proceeds going to buy back stock.
AOL will buy The Huffington Post for $315 million, relying on the high-profile liberal pundit who co-founded the influential website to rescue it from the dustbin of Internet history. The Wall Street Journal looks at the good and the bad of the deal. Felix Salmon asks if AOL is really the right parent for the unique and very valuable Huffington Post Media Group.
AOL Inc has tapped Bank of America to explore strategic options including a potential Yahoo Inc merger, according to people familiar with the matter. The idea of combining AOL with Yahoo is still considered in an early stage and may not materialize into a deal, the sources said.
Yahoo shares surged after sources said private equity firms have approached News Corp and AOL to gauge interest in a buyout deal. *View article *View WSJ blog asking if a deal would make sense *NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin writes: “A deal is not happening anytime soon.”
Sanofi is getting hostile in its bid for Genzyme, after Genzyme management refused to negotiate. The $69-per-share offer will be taken directly to shareholders but will they be looking for more? *View article *View graphic on hostile deals *View WSJ article on pharma M&A
Comcast’s deal to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal from General Electric should put to rest fears at the cable operator that King Content will kill its business. But even if it becomes a thoroughfare of programming genius, the new venture will still have to convince a skeptical marketplace. The train wreck of Time Warner-AOL threw the idea of new media into financial purgatory.
Anyone want to take a shot at what’s behind Time Warner‘s repurchase of a 5 percent stake in AOL held by Google? Time Warner sold the stake in December 2005 for $1 billion. Now, it has bought it back for $238 million — a nice job of selling high and buying low. Time Warner plans to spin off AOL by the end of the year.
Worried about the safety of your personal information? On second thought, maybe you’re not — if you shop with your American Express card, surf eBay or use an IBM system.
Those three companies are consumers’ picks for the top most trusted when it comes to protecting their customers’ privacy, according to a survey by TRUSTe, a consumer privacy protection organization, and the Ponemon Institute, an independent research group.
Consumers reported that identity theft is the No. 1 factor influencing their view of how companies handle privacy concerns, with only 45 percent of respondents saying they felt they had control over how their personal information was used or shared. That’s down from 56 percent two years ago.
The worries over data security are real — companies from discount retailer TJX Cos to Bank of New York Mellon Corp have had major data breaches compromising the personal information of millions of consumers.
The top ten list is rounded out by Amazon.com, Johnson & Johnson, the U.S. Postal Service (which shares the No. 6 spot with Hewlett Packard), Procter & Gamble, Apple, Nationwide, and Charles Schwab.
The survey, now in its fifth year, polled nearly 6,500 U.S. adults to determine their view of the most trustworthy companies and brands when it comes to protecting personal information.
Companies including Disney, AOL and Dell made it to the top 20 list, with Yahoo, FedEx, Facebook and Verizon joining that group for the first time since 2004, when the Ponemon Institute began conducting research on the topic. It was also the first time for Apple, at No 8.
Like a bad soap opera, the Internet storyline is getting more and more convoluted. The tale so far: Microsoft Corp, spurned by Yahoo Inc, is courting Time Warner Inc to allow a union with Internet division AOL. But Yahoo, which turned its back on Microsoft’s $47.5 billion bid, also wants AOL’s hand. These talks have taken on a new urgency ahead of Yahoo’s Aug. 1 shareholders meeting, a source familiar with discussions told Reuters on Tuesday. How either marriage will work is not immediately clear, but any combination will likely redraw the landscape for advertising on the Internet. So why is AOL so attractive? Both Yahoo and Microsoft view it as beneficial to leverage their positions in the Internet marketplace, where search giant Google Inc dominates. Stay tuned.