IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 22 February
Spotify close to USD1bn valuation | Alibaba and the 2,300 thieves
The Irish Times reports that the founders of Reformcard.com have said Irish political parties should address reform in a "collegial spirit" rather than by point-scoring. Joe Curtin of the organisation said there was "no panacea" for political reform. What was required was a broad reform agenda, he said, corresponding to five areas where the parties were scored by a group of political scientists and academics: legislative, electoral, open government, local government and the public sector.
According to the Financial Times, a new complaint accusing Google of abusing its dominant position in the online search market is to be filed with the EU's antitrust watchdog on Tuesday. The complaint comes from French company 1plusV, which is related to Ejustice.fr, one of the three businesses that originally filed complaints against Google with the European Commission last year. Those complaints prompted Brussels to open an in-depth probe into Google, looking, in particular, at whether the search company gave preferential treatment to its own services when ranking search results.
The paper also says that digital jukebox service Spotify is close to raising a large, new round of funding that would give it a USD1 billion valuation. The funding round is being led by Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies Global. The transaction, which is yet to be finalised, is likely to include input from other investors to raise about USD100 million in total, according to sources. Spotify and DST declined to comment.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Alibaba.com's chief executive and chief operating officer are leaving the company, after an internal investigation found that more than 2,300 sellers on the Chinese e-commerce site committed fraud, sometimes with the help of Alibaba sales staff. Alibaba said that CEO David Wei, COO Elvis Lee and other senior managers were not involved in the activities that led to buyer complaints, but that the company accepted the executives' wishes to take responsibility for the "systemic break-down".
The paper also says that British wireless chipmaker CSR has agreed to pay USD679 million for Zoran, a Silicon Valley semiconductor firm that specialises in imaging technologies used in digital cameras and TV set-top boxes. CSR is best known for Bluetooth communications chips but has branched into other fields, including GPS. The company said the all-stock deal for Zoran would boost profit per share by more than 10 percent in its first year. However, CSR shares fell 9.7 percent in London on the news, with some analysts questioning the logic of combining the two businesses.