Boeing, union suspend talks for rest of year on mediator request

NEW YORK, Thu Dec 6, 2012 — At the request of a federal mediator, Boeing Co. and the union representing its 23,000 engineers suspended talks on new labor contracts for the rest of the year.

The move came Wednesday, a day after the mediator joined the negotiations in Seattle. The two sides have been bargaining since April to replace contracts that expired Oct. 6. A 60-day extension ran out November 25, giving the union the ability to strike. Union leaders have said they would not call a strike until January at the earliest.

“At the request of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, negotiations between The Boeing Company and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, IFPTE Local 2001 are being suspended until after the first of the year,” the FMCS said in a statement Wednesday. “Both sides agreed to this mediator request.”

Talks between the two sides broke off briefly last week, and resumed Tuesday with the mediator present.

The talks broke off when Boeing said the sides were too far apart to continue talks without mediation. Boeing said it had upped its wage offer from a proposal it made in September.

Hawker Beechcraft says talks with Chinese suitor fail

WICHITA, Kan., Thu Oct 18, 2012 – Aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft Inc, owned by Goldman Sachs and Onex Corp., said it intends to emerge from bankruptcy as a standalone company after talks to sell itself to Chinese aerospace firm Superior Aviation Beijing Co failed.

The maker of business jets, general aviation turboprops and military aircraft, filed for bankruptcy protection in May, unable to support a $2.5 billion debt load.

Hawker said in July it was in exclusive talks with the little-known Chinese firm over the sale of the company for $1.79 billion.

The companies could not agree on the terms of a plan sponsorship agreement, Hawker said on Thursday.

The company that would emerge from bankruptcy, to be renamed Beechcraft Corp, would focus on turboprop, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft, Hawker said.

The company said it was evaluating strategic options with creditors for its Hawker product lines, including the closure of its entire jet business, if it does not get a satisfactory bid.

Hawker, which will file an amended reorganization plan, said general unsecured claims will be canceled and holders will receive equity in the reorganized company.

Amazon in talks to buy TI mobile chip arm: paper

SEATTLE, Mon Oct 15, 2012 – Amazon.Com Inc. is in advanced talks to buy the supplier of chips for its Kindle tablet computer, Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist reported on Monday, in what could mark a step in the company’s ambitions in the smartphone sector.

The report said any deal for the smartphone chip business of Texas Instruments Inc. would probably be worth billions of dollars and could make Amazon a direct rival to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which also design their own chips.

“It would make sense, as the chip is a critical component and Amazon has an existing relationship with TI,” said Ovum analyst Nick Dillon.

TI’s chips are used in Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had underlined TI’s strength in the industry at the tablet’s recent launch.

“With the trend towards more vertical integration, led by Apple, speculation that Amazon is interested in TI’s chipset arm is unsurprising,” said Ben Wood, head of research at British wireless consultancy CCS Insight.

But some analysts questioned whether it would make sense for Amazon to spend billions on the business when many smaller and independent smartphone chip makers are reporting steep losses.

TI has flagged its plans to exit the business.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said she doubted whether Amazon wants to “become that intimately involved with hardware.”

TI said last month it would shift its wireless investment focus from products like smartphones to a broader market including industrial clients such as carmakers, where it is hoping for a more profitable and stable business.

AMR CEO, creditors to meet for restructuring update-sources

NEW YORK, Tue Aug 14, 2012 – AMR Corp. CEO Tom Horton is to meet creditors on Tuesday and provide an update on labor talks after pilots rejected a contract offer from the bankrupt parent of American Airlines last week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Horton and other senior executives are also expected to discuss American’s financial and operational performance, negotiations with its trade vendors and its ongoing review of potential mergers at a regularly scheduled monthly meeting with the airline’s unsecured creditors committee Tuesday, one of the people said.

American management led by Horton has met with creditors monthly to brief the group on different elements of bankruptcy restructuring. Labor uncertainty created by the pilots’ rejection of a new contract offer is likely to be one of the major topics this month.

The people asked not to be named because the matter is not public. American declined to comment, as did a lawyer for its creditors’ committee.

The meeting in New York comes a day before Judge Sean Lane, who oversees American’s bankruptcy, is slated to rule on whether the third-largest U.S. carrier can abandon its current labor contract and unilaterally impose temporary work terms while the two sides continue to negotiate a long-term pact.

CNN in talks to buy social media news site Mashable: source

ATLANTA, Mon Mar 12, 2012 – CNN is in talks to buy social media news site Mashable for more than $200 million, according to a source familiar with the discussion.

Reuters’ blogger Felix Salmon said the deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday, although another person familiar with the matter said it was not likely to be announced this week.

Mashable covers and aggregates a wide range of news related to the fast-evolving social media and Internet sector covering companies ranging from start-ups to larger players including Facebook and Twitter.

CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson, commenting on the Mashable reports said: “We do not engage in speculation about our business and we aren’t commenting on these reports.”

A Mashable spokesperson was not immediately available.

Like other mainstream news outlets CNN, which is owned by Time Warner Inc, has been trying to evolve its business to compete more effectively in the Web-based social media age.

Last August CNN bought Zite, a news application for the iPad, designed to give users a personalized magazine-like experience.

Peugeot and GM discuss production deal: sources

DETROIT – General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen are discussing a broad manufacturing alliance designed to stem losses in Europe and lower production costs elsewhere, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Talks between GM, the world’s biggest automaker, and European No.2 Peugeot are focused on sharing vehicles and parts rather than a capital tie-up, according to the people. Any new shareholdings that emerged would be small and symbolic.

Peugeot earlier acknowledged that alliance talks were taking place with an unnamed partner, sending its shares soaring after online newspaper La Tribune reported that discussions with GM had been underway for months.

“There can be no certainty at this stage that these discussions will result in any agreement,” the Paris-based company said, without elaborating.

“We routinely talk to others in the industry but have no comment beyond that,” GM spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato said.

While potential synergies have been identified, Peugeot is treading cautiously to avoid building expectations, mindful of the 2010 failure of advanced tie-up talks with Mitsubishi Motors.

Like Peugeot, GM’s European Opel division faces heavy restructuring to reverse losses compounded by the region’s slumping auto market and cut-throat price competition.

Peugeot on Feb. 15 announced new cost cuts and put its Gefco logistics business up for sale to help finance the overseas expansion it badly needs to reduce exposure to stagnating home markets.

New York Life Insurance in talks to exit India joint venture: report

NEW YORK – New York Life Insurance Co. is in talks to sell its stake in a joint-venture with life insurance company Max India, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed source.

There are no firm developments in the joint venture to report, Max India said in response to the report.

The U.S.-headquartered insurer has a close to 26 percent stake in Max New York Life, India’s largest non-banking private insurance company, estimated to be worth around 35 billion rupees ($709 million), the report said.

Around one-third of the sale proceeds would be paid to Max India, it said citing a person familiar with the development.

“As a high performing organization, there is interest shown periodically by potential investors, to participate in our future growth,” Max India said. “However, there is no firm development to report as of date.”

Max India holds a 70 percent stake in the joint venture, and Indian lender Axis Bank owns the remaining 4 percent.

“Our JV is a highly successful operation that provides important insurance products to the people of India. We do not comment on rumours,” a New York Life spokesman was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Shares in Max India rose as much as 6.4 percent on Wednesday, before closing 4.4 percent higher

Yahoo-Alibaba asset swap talks falling apart, sources say

SAN FRANCISCO – Talks between Yahoo Inc. and China’s Alibaba Group over the U.S. Internet giant’s Asian assets have hit an impasse, throwing their plans for a $17 billion tax-free asset swap into question, according to sources briefed on the situation.

The snag in negotiations came on the same day that activist investor Daniel Loeb, of hedge fund ThirdPoint, sought to install his own slate of directors on Yahoo’s board, further highlighting the turmoil engulfing the one-time Web pioneer.

Loeb, who has opposed Yahoo’s previous efforts to strike a minority investment deal with private equity, disclosed plans to nominate former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, along with himself and two others, for Yahoo’s board in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

A collapse of the proposed Asian asset deal – referred to as a cash-rich split-off – would mark the latest setback for an erstwhile Internet leader struggling to turn its business around and appease unhappy shareholders.

Yahoo, whose revenue slid by more than a fifth last year, brought in former PayPal President Scott Thompson as chief executive in January, five months after Carol Bartz was fired.

Two people briefed on the situation described the deal as effectively dead in the water – noting the unreasonable terms sought by Yahoo during talks in Hong Kong and a disconnect between Yahoo’s negotiating team and its strategic stakeholders.

Alibaba Group, whose Chinese e-commerce unit Alibaba.com is listed in Hong Kong, and Japan’s Softbank Corp, which owns around 30 percent of Alibaba, planned to seek clarity on the matter from Yahoo’s Thompson, one of those sources said.