IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 21 February
Zynga poised to raise USD500m funding | Eircom shareholders, unions to meet on rescue deal
The Irish Times reports that Dublin will be a showcase for Irish science when the city becomes the European City of Science in 2012, said Michael Collins, the Irish ambassador to the US, speaking at a reception in Washington.
The paper also reports that electrical retailer Power City made a pre-tax profit of EUR5.6 million in the year to the end of September 2010 but paid no dividend to its shareholders. The retail chain saw its turnover drop to EUR77.4 million from EUR87.2 million the previous year.
According to the Wall Street Journal, US antitrust enforcers have begun looking at the terms Apple has set for media companies who want to sell their content on its iPad and other devices, according to people familiar with the matter. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission's interest in Apple's new subscription service is at a preliminary stage, and might not develop into a formal investigation. It comes as Apple has attracted growing antitrust scrutiny in the US and Europe. A European Commission spokeswoman has said that the commission was aware of the new subscription service and was "carefully monitoring the situation."
The paper also reports that Zynga is close to raising as much as USD500 million from a group of investors in a round of financing that could value the maker of CityVille and FarmVille as high as USD10 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Zynga is in talks with a group of new investors, including T. Rowe Price Group, Fidelity Investments and Morgan Stanley for the fundraising round, these people said.
The Financial Times reports that London Underground is close to securing a deal to put a mobile network on the tube before the 2012 Olympics. Chinese manufacturer Huawei is likely to provide the telecoms equipment for the service, which will be installed and maintained by Thales, in partnership with the UK’s mobile operators. Under the proposals being considered, Huawei would offer its hardware at a discount, as part of a wider effort to break into the UK market. The entire system is expected to cost over STG100 million, with the operators also bearing a large portion of the expense.
The Sunday Times reports that a series of meetings are scheduled this week between Eircom's management, unions, and two shareholder blocs – Singapore Technologies and the Eircom Share Ownership Trust (Esot) -- over a proposed EUR300 million rescue. Eircom says it will breach its lending covenants some time this year if it does not receive fresh investment.
The Sunday Business Post reports that Anglo Irish Bank has registered judgements of almost EUR18 million against Michael Healy, the former CEO of IT firm Calyx. The action against Healy came after Anglo sold Calyx’s debts of EUR100 million at a significant discount to British investment firm Better Capital.
The paper also reports that Bank of Ireland has launched a new website, allaboutbusiness.ie, offering advice to small business start-ups to coincide with the launch of the new series of Dragons' Den.
The same paper says that banks could achieve returns of up to 300 percent if they develop mobile banking platforms, according to Accenture. The firm predicts that by 2015, 115 million Europeans will be using mobile banking. Cathal Quigley, head of communications at Accenture Ireland, said mobile banking was an "emerging market" and gave banks an opportunity to deliver greater convenience to customers.
The paper also reports that the founders of Dublin e-learning firm Interactive Services have bought out the company’s investors. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
According to the same paper, Dublin-based web publishing firm Populis has completed the acquisition of Blogo, a network of over 70 blogs, for EUR6 million.
The paper also reports that green procurement and carbon accounting firm Nootrol aims to raise EUR1 million from private investors to fund a commercial launch in Britain and the US.
The paper also says that CarTrawler, a car rental website, has signed a new deal with British online train ticketing firm trainline.com. Under the deal trainline.com customers will be able to hire cars at locations near train stations when they book their rail tickets.
Finally in the Sunday Business Post, Novosco has completed work on a EUR200,000 project to build new private cloud computing infrastructure for construction group Sisk.