WORLD BUSINESS: 7 January 2010

By Branko Brkic 7 January 2010

Warren Buffett lays down the law to Kraft over Cadbury buyout; Apple takes bite out of Google’s mobile advertising business; Toyota drives wedge into India compact vehicle market.

Warren Buffett lays down the law to Kraft over Cadbury buyout


In an attempt to placate Warren Buffet, the world’s most famous investor, Kraft Foods has upped the cash component of its $17 billion offer for rival British food maker Cadbury. Buffett didn’t want millions of Kraft shares to finance the deal, so Kraft has decided to sell its pizza brands to Switzerland’s Nestlé, so it can use the $3.7 billion in net proceeds to fund its bid for the maker of Dairy Milk chocolate. Buffett’s fund, Berkshire Hathaway, which is the premier shareholder in Kraft, said the proposed issue of up to 370 million shares to fund the deal would likely destroy value for those who hold Kraft stock. Although the deal now looks a little more complicated, the mild-mannered Buffett always puts his company into the best strategic position, and his demands may dampen the chances of success by others, such as US candy maker Hershey and Nestlé, which analysts speculate might try to make a counter-offer. (Photo: Warren Buffett, Reuters)

Read more: Businessweek

Apple takes bite out of Google’s mobile advertising business


Apple and Google have upped their war for mobile advertising, with Apple snatching Quattro Wireless in a deal that may be worth $275 million. Now the venerable maker of what many technocrats see as the world’s best integrated operating system is ready to take a bite out of Google’s advertising domain. But Google has just launched its own smartphone, Nexus One, to challenge Apple’s iPhone, so get ready for a new bout of commercial enmity in the battle to win over mobile advertisers. Quattro’s advertising network integrates mobile websites and applications, competing with AdMob, which Google recently purchased for $750 million. The release of Nexus One, as its name suggests, shows that Google wants market share in mobile phone advertising, rather than just appealing to those who get their information from laptops and PCs.

Read more: BBC

Japanese government seeks to replace finance guru


Japan’s government will accept the resignation of Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii because, at 77, he is suffering high blood pressure and exhaustion, Kyodo News reports. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama wanted him to stay, as he is seen to have experience and expertise in the finance portfolio that few can match. That speaks volumes for Japan’s hierarchical system of bureaucracy and governance, which is increasingly at odds with the fast-paced world of global business. So now the politicians are looking at the credentials of several other finance supremos, including Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who heads economic policy, and Yoshito Sengoku, the Minister for Administrative Reform. Investors perceive Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan as lacking experienced staff, as it came to power in August last year for the first time. Veteran politician Fujii provided a sense of security in a relatively new cabinet, having also headed up the Finance Ministry in 1993.

Read more: Businessweek

Toyota drives wedge into India compact vehicle market


Toyota has taken the wraps off its first low-cost car at the Delhi car show. It intends to sell 70,000 units of the Etios five-seater family model in India annually, starting in late 2010, to grab a bigger share of the compact vehicle market from Suzuki, Hyundai and India’s own Tata Motors. The company is currently a niche brand in India, with a share of only 2.3% in the dominant market for vehicles costing less than $8,000. Meanwhile, the good news for the globally embattled industry is that Toyota, Ford and Honda saw their fortunes revive in the moribund US market, after they all posted sales gains well above 20% in December. But sickly US maker General Motors reported a 5.7% drop in compact vehicle deliveries, while Chrysler also saw a 3.7% decline, after the recession and their bankruptcies killed 2009 sales.

Read more: Reuters, Businessweek

UK Premier League soccer gets sponsorship boost


Britain’s Premier League soccer body will enable fans to access more information about the game by appointing an as-yet-unnamed technology partner in the 2010 to 2011 season. The deal will allow them to do fun things like monitor player performance. As part of a new sponsorship deal, the technology partner will have its brand featured on 380 television match broadcasts, as well as the Premier League website. It’s not often that newcomers get a look into the lucrative sport, which includes names such as Barclays, Nike and Budweiser. Sponsors provide about 5% of revenues to the Premier League’s annual $1.5 billion turnover, and the deal has no doubt been timed to coincide with the heightened interest in the game generated by the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Read more: BBC


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