IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 31 August
Eircom "reviewing" debt options | Gmail offers automatic prioritisation option
The Irish Independent reports that Eircom is "actively reviewing" options to prevent it breaching conditions on its debt. Chief Financial Officer Peter Cross said Eircom is considering options including raising equity from shareholders and renegotiating debt covenants with lenders. The company generated cash flow of EUR136 million in the year ending 30 June and had a cash balance of almost EUR400 million. However, net debt remains "very high and in the absence of action by Eircom, the associated financial covenants may be breached within the coming 12 to 18 months," Eircom said in a statement. Eircom posted revenues of EUR1.83 billion for the year, down 8.5 percent on the previous year.
The Financial Times reports that chipmaker Intel has bought its way into the smartphone business with a USD1.4 billion acquisition of Infineon's wireless chip unit. The deal follows Intel's biggest-ever deal earlier this month, when it agreed to pay USD7.7 billion for security firm McAfee. Intel stated that Infineon's unit would continue to operate as a stand-alone business. Infineon's wireless business recorded EUR917 million in sales last year. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
The paper also says that Google is set to introduce one of the most significant new additions to its Gmail service on Tuesday -- automatic filtering and prioritisation of e-mail. Automatic ranking of e-mail could make it far easier for heavy e-mail users to keep track of their communication and make office workers more productive, according to experts. Google's system "learns" its users' priorities over time by analysing how they respond to messages from particular senders. Gmail users worldwide will have the option of sorting their inboxes by priority, rather than time, starting on Tuesday.
In other news of Google, the Wall Street Journal reports that the internet giant has bought social games start-up SocialDeck. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Canadian start-up has launched several games titles for Facebook, as well as for Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry. SocialDeck's games platform technology enables simultaneous game play across multiple mobile devices and social networks.
The paper also reports that India has said it will put off blocking BlackBerry services in the country for two months, after Research In Motion agreed to allow more government access to its encrypted e-mail and messaging services. RIM has agreed to provide "some technical solutions" for local security agencies to monitor the company's encrypted e-mail service, said a senior Indian government official, without outlining what the solutions were. The government, which had threatened to ban BlackBerry if RIM failed to come up with tools to monitor the services by Tuesday, said it will start using the solutions immediately, and decide in 60 days whether it has gotten all the access it needs.
Free! "In the papers" email newsletter -- get the full text to your in-box every business day. Email email@example.com with 'subscribe' in the subject line.