Due to a string of acquisitions and other business distractions, Facebook’s multi-billion dollar initial public offering that was rumored to be set for May 17th may be delayed until early or mid-June, according to CNBC. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has not been preparing for the IPO, but instead has been more focused on running the business and making acquisitions. As a result, the social networking giant’s IPO date will reportedly be pushed back so the company has time to make the appropriate preparations. Facebook filed with the SEC in February, and could raise as much as $10 billion at a $100 billion valuation when it goes public in the coming months. Facebook’s IPO is expected to top Google’s $1.9 billion offering by a wide margin, making it the largest Internet IPO in history. Facebook’s shares will be listed on the NASDAQ exchange under the “FB” ticker symbol. More →
Depending on whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approves the company’s paperwork, Facebook’s highly anticipated IPO could be coming on May 17th, TechCrunch reported on Thursday, citing multiple unnamed sources. Earlier reports have indicated that the social networking giant was aiming for a May offering and Facebook halted trading on the secondary market late last month. The company filed with the SEC in February, and could raise as much as $10 billion at a $100 billion valuation when it goes public, although TechCrunch’s sources believe it will be less. The largest Internet IPO to date was Google’s 2004 offering, which raised $1.9 billion. Facebook’s shares will reportedly be listed on the NASDAQ exchange under the “FB” ticker symbol. More →
Google on Friday filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to sell its entire stake in Clearwire. The Mountain View-based company spent $500 million in 2008 to acquire a 6.5% stake in Clearwire, and now the search giant is now looking to sell its share for $47 million, less than a tenth of the original investment. Clearwire was the first company to roll out a 4G network in the U.S., however the WiMAX technology the network was built around failed to gain widespread adoption, with every major carrier instead deploying or looking to deploy 4G LTE service. Even Clearwire’s largest shareholder, Sprint, announced plans to launch a 4G LTE network in mid-2012. According to the SEC filing, Google will exit Clearwire in an effort to rebalance its investment portfolio. The sale is expected to close by the end of March. More →
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged former executives at Deutsche Telekom’s Magyar Telekom unit with bribery and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The federal agency said three Magyar Telekom executives paid off Macedonian government officials as much as $6.29 million during 2005 and 2006 for “regulatory benefits” and to muscle one of its competitors out of the Macedonian wireless market, Reuters reported. The SEC also accused the executives of trying to pay off consultants and government officials in Montenegro with as much as $9.47 million to receive a government blessing for a planned Magyar Telekom acquisition. The Magyar Telekom executives named in the SEC filing are former CEO Elek Straub and “strategy executives” Tamas Morvai and Andras Balogh.
The United States Justice Department has issued a request for more information from Google and Motorola Mobility concerning the search giant’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of the phone maker. Google senior vice president Dennis Woodside explained that his company is still confident the deal will be approved. “We believe very strongly this is a pro-competitive transaction that is good for Motorola Mobility, good for consumers, and good for our partners,” he said, noting the “second request” form the DOJ was routine. “While this means we won’t be closing right away, we’re confident that the DOJ will conclude that the rapidly growing mobile ecosystem will remain highly competitive after this deal closes. We’ll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review.” Google announced in August that it intends to purchase Motorola Mobility and, shortly after, CEO Larry Page noted that Motorola’s patent portfolio will help Google’s Android partners against competitors. Despite public statements in support of the acquisition from HTC, Samsung and other Android heavy hitters, BGR has argued the purchase could potentially spell trouble for Motorola’s competitors. More →
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Motorola Solutions on suspicion of bribery, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Motorola Solutions, not to be confused with Motorola Mobility, reportedly paid bribes to foreign officials, including Austrian count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, in an attempt to increase business in Europe. If the allegations are true, Motorola Solutions will have been in violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and will likely be required to pay a fine. The company opened up its own investigation in 2009 after a “suspicious transaction” was made in Turkey and has since asked the U.S. government to aid in the investigation, The Wall Street Journal said, noting that the company is providing federal investigators with internal documents “voluntarily.” Mensdorff-Pouilly was charged with bribery in 2010 after the U.S. government looked into allegations that BAE Systems was also paying off foreign officials in return for business.
According to CNBC, Facebook may go public during the first quarter of next year, and sources expect the company could be valued at more than $100 billion. Facebook could find an IPO more attractive once it surpasses a total of 500 investors, because after that milestone it will be required to file financial information with the SEC each quarter — otherwise known as the “500 rule” of the 1934 Securities and Exchange Act. CNBC said that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, recently said that an IPO would be “the next thing that happens” and that such a move is “inevitable.” More →
We just received an invite from Barnes & Noble for a press event that’s being held in New York City on Tuesday, May 24th. We suspect this will be the bookstore’s third major eReader announcement, which is in line with a recent SEC filing that suggested such a launch was imminent. It’s unclear what features the new eReader will offer, although we suspect it could be powered by the Android Honeycomb operating system, which was specifically designed for use in tablets. We’ll be reporting live from the event on Tuesday morning.
International Business Machines (IBM) has agreed to a settlement in a bribery case filed by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC alleges that IBM, through its overseas subsidiaries, bribed Chinese and South Korean government officials with gifts, trips, and cash payments in exchange for government contracts from 1998 to 2009. According to the SEC’s filing, IBM used “local business partners and travel agencies as conduits for bribes or other improper payments to South Korean and Chinese government officials over long periods of time.” The government agency also notes that IBM tried to hide its wrongdoings by recording the transactions as legitimate business expenses. The terms of the settlement, which would see IBM paying out $10 million, is still awaiting court approval. More →
Social networking giant Facebook may be looking to conquer another market, Wall Street. After news spread of a $500 million investment — $450 million from Goldman Sachs and $50 million from Russia’s Sky Technologies — Facebook was given a valuation of $50 billion by market analysts and firms. The eleven figure price tag was placed upon the privately held company even as the government’s Securities and Exchange Commission has, purportedly, launched a formal inquiry into Facebook’s private-share trading activity. According to the Times, the SEC is investigating the “increasingly hot private market for shares in Internet companies, including Facebook, Twitter, the gaming site Zynga and LinkedIn.” The government agency is looking for loopholes in the public disclosure laws that companies, investors, and firms may be exploiting through the use of private shares. A $50 billion valuation of Facebook makes the company’s youthful CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, worth an estimated $15 billion — more than double the estimated $6.9 billion net-worth put on Facebook’s founder back in September. More →
Four new arrests were made Thursday as the Securities and Exchange Commission and other U.S. government agencies continue to crack down on “channel checks” and other related practices. The defendants – identified as Walter Shimoon (VP of Business Development at Flextronics), Mark Longoria (supply chain manager at AMD), Manosha Karunatilaka (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd) and James Fleishman (sales manager at an “expert networking” firm) — have been charged with various crimes surrounding alleged insider trading. Court filings indicate that Shimoon, Longoria and Karunatilaka were hired as consultants by Fleishman’s expert networking firm. The men allegedly passed along corporate secrets about Apple, AMD and other companies to two unnamed hedge funds. Court filings also indicate that Shimoon was paid to leak non-public details surrounding the iPhone 4 and iPad ahead of Apple’s public announcements.
“Today’s charges allege that a corrupt network of insiders at some of the world’s leading technology companies served as so-called ‘consultants’ who sold out their employers by stealing and then peddling their valuable inside information,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Over the next many months and beyond, we will continue to enforce the law, police the market, and protect honest businesses and their shareholders by working methodically with the FBI and SEC to root out corporate corruption and insider trading.” More →
Some analysts could soon find themselves in hot water as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into the legality of “channel checks.” Channel checks refer to the practice whereby analysts contact inside sources at manufacturing companies in order to glean inside information. This information often has a tendency to move the market, of course, but the SEC is now trying to determine whether or not the practice should be legal. “Insider trading basically comes down to where you know or ought to know that the person from whom you’re getting this information has a duty to someone else to keep it confidential,” former SEC commissioner Paul Atkins told The Wall Street Journal. “If you go in and pay the mail clerk to give you special information, that’s not proper.” Beyond just the analysts involved, the SEC is also investigating “expert networks,” which get paid to connect investors with inside sources. More →
Microsoft has issued a statement describing Steve Ballmer’s plans to sell up to 75 million shares in order “to gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning”. A sale this large is bound to ring alarm bells with shareholders, however Ballmer has cleared the air of any brewing conspiracy theories. “Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion. I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people’s lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success,” said the Redmond CEO. SEC filings indicate that Steve Ballmer has already sold 49 million shares, making him a cool $1.3 billion. With capital gains tax said to increase to 20 from 15% in January, Steve Ballmer has just saved himself some serious money.