Archive for May, 2011

Saab secures funds, aims to resume production

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 | Finance News

STOCKHOLM – Spyker Cars NV said Monday it has secured $88 million (euro59.1 million) in short-term funding for Saab and aims to restart production at the troubled automaker's plant within a week.

The company, which bought Saab out of liquidation from General Motors Corp. in January 2010, says it signed a euro30 million convertible loan with investment fund Gemini and will also make a drawdown request to the European Investment Bank for euro29.1 million.

Saab has run out of cash to pay its suppliers and production has been at a standstill since April 6.

Spyker said it will also continue talks to secure midterm and long-term funding for the car brand.

"I would like to apologize to our dedicated employees, suppliers, dealers and customers for the disruptions of the past weeks," Spyker CEO Victor Muller said. "We will do everything in our power to restore the confidence in our company as soon as practically possible."

Shares in Spyker rose 2.9 percent to euro4.34 after the announcement.

The drawdown is part of Saab's continued borrowing from the European bank, which has granted the company a euro400 million loan. So far, Saab has used euro217 million of that, spokesman Eric Geers said.

Geers said the EIB needs to approve the drawdown, but said he sees no reason why it would reject it.

He said Muller is currently in China to seek funding partners among Chinese car manufacturers.

Spyker has previously also put forward plans to raise cash by selling its property to Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov and allow Antonov to become part-owner of Saab.

Last week, the Swedish Debt Office recommended the government allow Antonov to invest up to euro30 million for a 29.9 percent stake in Spyker, while GM said it had reached a "tentative agreement" with Saab to that effect.

The EIB, which also needs to approve the move, has not yet made a decision.

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EchoStar, Dish to pay TiVo to settle dispute

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Dish Network and EchoStar Corp will pay TiVo Inc $500 million to settle a patent infringement lawsuit involving TiVo's video recording technology, putting an end to a long and costly legal battle.

TiVo's shares rose 7 percent and Dish shares soared 17 percent in early trading on Monday following the announcement.

Dish and EchoStar, both controlled by Charlie Ergen, will make an initial payment of $300 million to TiVo, with the remaining $200 million to be paid in six equal annual installments between 2012 and 2017, the companies said.

TiVo will license its technology to Dish and EchoStar, while EchoStar would license to TiVo certain DVR-related patents.

TiVo said on Monday it will help Dish promote the Blockbuster digital video service. TiVo already offers Netflix and other services on its DVR. Dish paid $320 million for Blockbuster in a bankruptcy auction in April.

Revenue from the $500 million dollar payout "changes TiVo's earnings profile very substantially," Chief Executive Tom Rogers said in an interview. TiVo had previously been awarded $100 million in an earlier payment, bringing the total payout from the lawsuit to $600 million, TiVo said.

TiVo's annual revenue for the calendar year that ended January 31, 2011, was about $168 million.

Rogers said Monday's agreement sets up the company well to succeed in pending patent infringement lawsuits with AT&T, Verizon and Microsoft.

"Everybody knows Charlie Ergen is about the toughest litigant around and the fact that he came to a half a billion (dollars) settlement should send signals to the rest of the industry," Rogers said.

Monday's settlement benefits all parties, said Kaufman Bros analyst Todd Mitchell.

"It's positive for Dish in the sense that they're done with this case and it's positive for TiVo because it will receive a lump sum of cash, which it needs to finance their business," Mitchell said.

Mitchell added that the payout would have "no significant impact" on Dish's cash balance. He said the amount was within his expectations, but acknowledged it was lower than what most Wall Street analysts expected TiVo to receive.

Some analysts had projected Dish's costs to be as high $3 billion and were expecting TiVo to strike potentially rich ongoing licensing agreements.

The legal battle dates back to 2004, when TiVo accused satellite TV provider EchoStar's Dish Network of violating TiVo's patent for Time Warp software that allows users to record one TV program while watching another.

Last month, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling in favor of TiVo stating that EchoStar infringed TiVo's patents.

The news came as Dish on Monday said it doubled its quarterly profit due to strong subscriber numbers. The second-largest U.S. satellite TV provider posted a net income of $549 million, or $1.22 per share, compared with $231 million, or 52 cents a year earlier. Its revenue increased 5.5 percent to $3.22 billion.

TiVo shares were up 70 cents, or 7.4 percent, at $10.27 in early trading and Dish shares soared 17 percent, or $4.38, to $29.43.

(Additional reporting Himank Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Derek Caney and Maureen Bavdek)

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US stocks open higher after Bin Laden killed

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 | Finance News

NEW YORK (AFP) – US stock markets opened strongly higher Monday after Navy SEALs killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a secret mission in Pakistan.

At 1400 GMT the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 44.61 points (0.35 percent) at 12,855.15.

The Nasdaq Composite rose 6.67 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,880.21, while the broad-based S&P 500 index was up 4.84 points (0.35 percent) at 1,368.45.

Shares were broadly higher with the exception of basic materials and energy, as oil and commodity prices dropped in early trade.

The upward push came after a late-night announcement Sunday by the White House that US forces had stormed a villa in a northern Pakistan city to kill the Muslim extremist behind the September 11, 2001 and other attacks on US and other countries since the 1990s.

S&P Indices analyst Howard Silverblatt said the effect on the markets would likely be shortlived.

"Overall, the impact to the US markets, oil, and the dollar should be a short-term positive, with world and US reaction to any forward events, or lack of events, more lasting," he said in a report.

"As bad as it is to rejoice in anyone's death, the close of this chapter will bring a feeling of relief to the markets, potentially reduce inherent risk costs to oil, and give the market -- and us all -- some closure," he said.

In merger and acquisition news, Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's largest generic drug maker, announced the takeover of biopharma firm Cephalon in a $6.8 billion deal, weeks after Cephalon rejected a hostile $5.7 billion bid from Canadian firm Valeant.

Teva offered $81.50 in cash for all of Cephalon's shares outstanding, representing a 39 percent premium on Cephalon's share value at the end of March, before Valeant launched its takeover bid.

Teva shares were up 2.4 percent to $46.85, while Cephalon's surged 5.1 percent to $80.96.

The bond market was unchanged from late Friday, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury at 3.30 percent and the 30-year bond yield at 4.41 percent.

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