Unstructured Finance

M & A wrap: A Buffett bailout for BofA

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will invest $5 billion in Bank of America, stepping in to shore up the company in the same way he helped prop up Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis.

Bank of America shares rose 20 percent in pre-market trading on the news. Shares for the largest U.S. bank by assets have lost roughly a third of their value in August, and half their value since the beginning of the year.

The news of Steve Jobs’s resignation had many of his peers weighing in on the Apple co-founder’s legacy. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Jobs is the “most successful CEO in the U.S. of the last 25 years,” while former eBay CEO Meg Whitman said his contributions are “unparalleled in the business world.”

Samsung Electronics Co reiterated on Thursday it is not interested in buying Hewlett-Packard Co’s PC business, shooting down persistent market talk the South Korean firm may snap up the unit to become the world’s top PC maker.

The deadline for initial bids in the auction for Hulu was extended until the end of the week to allow interested parties more time to examine the online video site’s financial information, according to people familiar with the situation. Yahoo, Google Inc, DirecTV and Amazon.com were among the parties preparing to submit an offer for the U.S. online company, the people said.

Deals wrap: Glencore disappoints while Yandex confirms price

Even though sources close to Glencore felt the commodities trader had left “money on the table” with an offer price of 530 pence that valued the company at $59.15 billion, the company’s shares were stuck under water on their first day of official trade, dashing hopes of a strong start.

While some analysts still expressed concern over Glencore’s valuation, several analysts and bankers brushed aside worries about the stock trading below the offer price. They said the market debut should be seen as a success given its size and the continued uncertainty in both commodity and equity markets.

In other news Yandex’s initial public offering, the Internet sector’s biggest U.S. float since Google, was 17 times oversubscribed, a source said, with demand boosted by a blow-out float of LinkedIn.

Deals wrap: eBay’s $2.4 billion GSI buy

Visitors chat next to the Ebay logo at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz EBay said it plans to buy e-commerce company GSI Commerce, which owns Web businesses such as the flash site Rue La La and ShopRunner, for $2.4 billion. Ebay said it will offer shareholders of GSI $29.25 per share, a 51 percent premium over its closing price on Friday.

Tabula announced $108 million in funding, one of the largest venture rounds in a decade for a chip company, writes VentureBeat’s Matt Marshall. The company says it can create programmable logic devices for $200, compared to a cost of more than $1,000 offered by competitors.

Despite soaring valuations of tech companies and warnings that the bust a decade ago may be repeated, there are notable differences between the dot-com boom and now, write Evelyn M. Rusli and Verne G. Kopytoff of the New York Times. Today, the stock market is not glutted with offerings and attractive tech start-ups like Groupon have real businesses — not just “eyeballs and clicks”. But, as cash continues to pile up, the fear is that all the money cannot be put to work responsibly, they add.

Check Out Line: Mixed ruling in eBay vs Craigslist case

Check out the latest twist in the eBay – Craigslist saga.

RTR2AWXU

A judge reinstated eBay’s 28.4 percent stake in Craigslist, but allowed the classifieds site to keep eBay off its board.

The mixed ruling meant no clear victory for either of the companies, whose relationship turned from cozy to competitive and ended up in court in 2008.

“More fortunate than Goliath, eBay leaves this field with only a gash across its forehead; less fortunate than David, Craigslist leaves this field with something less than total victory,” wrote Chancellor William Chandler III of Delaware’s Court of Chancery in his opinion.

Facebook is more than just a pretty face

The social networking website of Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) is now worth $23 billion, close to the value of online shopping website Ebay, based on the price of a recent stock purchase by private equity firm Elevation Partners. Elevation purchased $120 million in Facebook stock from private shareholders, valuing the company at $23 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

A valuation of that amount makes Facebook larger than Yahoo, which has a market capitalisation of $20 billion, and edging closer to the size of Ebay, at $27 billion. Still, it is a fraction the size of Google ($150 billion). Facebook’s backers include Digital Sky Technologies, Microsoft Corp Corp, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and venture capital firms Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.

Swapping your kids (clothing) online

Kids boxLuxury goods, shoes, bags and women’s clothing — they’re all represented in spades in the secondary market online.

But finding gently used clothing for kids — constantly-growing kids — is harder online, says James Reinhart, co-founder and chief executive of thredUP, a new clothing swap site designed just for busy moms.

The site, slated for a soft launch this week, targets middle-income moms who are big on convenience and the idea of recycling perfectly good garb, while looking to “extract some value” in the bargain, Reinhart told Reuters.

Window shopping on the iPad, brought to you by eBay

eBay_iPad_1Shopping in front of a computer or small hand-held device got you down? EBay says it has the answer with its new iPad app, completely redesigned for ultimate browsing on Apple‘s hippest new tablet.

The app has already been downloaded “tens of thousands” of times  since the launch of the iPad on Saturday, said eBay’s vice president of mobile, Steven Yankovich. Currently, eBay is No 11 in the list of free iPad apps, he said.

The app allows shoppers to see high-resolution images of their favorite products, even in thumbnails, and an easy-to-navigate two screen system simplifies the buying process.

Need an inside source? Here’s eBay

insidesourceEBay, the online marketplace where shoppers can find anything from toys to cars to designer handbags, has launched a digital magazine. 
    
The magazine, www.theinsidesource.com, is geared to “inspired shoppers” and features stories based on what eBay’s millions of users are looking for, according to the publication.

It will feature articles, analysis and opinions from eBay shoppers and journalists. The site will also point to eBay’s most-watched and most-searched items.
 
“The Inside Source content will reflect what inspires us on eBay, from a profile of an art dealer discovering museum-quality pieces to a breakdown of the hottest trends in handbags,” said Managing Editor Meredith Barnett.
    
Perusal of the site revealed postings on a variety of topics, from Kim Kardashian’s style and cocktail rings for under $30 to Jane Birkin’s kitchen and items made of hemp.     
    
The magazine is part of the company’s recent marketing efforts to reenergize its marketplaces business, which competes with a host of e-commerce rivals, including Amazon.com.

(Photo: Screenshot of www.theinsidesource.com)

Check Out Line: A greener eBay?

Check Out eBay’s steps toward becoming more environmentally friendly.EBAY/

The online auctioneer announced its first greenhouse gas emissions reduction target on Monday, saying it has committed to a 15-percent cut to its corporate emissions by 2012, over a 2008 baseline.

EBay said it will achieve that target through continuing investments in renewable energy and promoting “sustainable” habits tied to the travel and personal energy use of its 15,000-strong workforce.

EBay said that as an online company, a majority of its carbon footprint comes from the energy used at its data centers.  So, tackling data management and infrastructure will be key to becoming more efficient.  To that end, the company will unveil a “green” data center in 2010.  EBay also said it will announce a fuel cell strategy in early 2010.

Deals du Jour

A man carries a cardboard with a picture of a mobile phone inside a hall of the upcoming CeBIT fair in Hanover March 2, 2009. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke (GERMANY)

Portugal Telecom <PTC.LS> and Spanish firm Telefonica <TEF.MC> have both agreed to sell their 32.2 percent stakes in Moroccan telecoms firm Meditel to local investors in a deal likely to be closed by the end of the year

Reports suggest that online telephony firm Skype is set to be sold to private investors by its current owner eBay, with further details likely to be announced today. Sources indicated to the New York Times that co-founder of Netscape, Marc Andreessen is among the group of investors.

For the latest news from Reuters on mergers and acquisitions click here.

Here are some of the stories reported in today’s press (some external websites may require subscriptions):

  •