Posts Tagged ‘company’
Four staffers for news service Bloomberg have alleged to The New York Times that the company has held back a damning investigation into a wealthy Chinese billionaire’s ties to the government, fearing the story could lead to Bloomberg’s eviction from the country.
The plan to publish the story started to unravel in late October, the employees say, when two Bloomberg senior editors who’d previously raised no objections during the editing process said that the report had no “smoking gun” and revealed nothing new since a previous article published in 2012. Eventually, Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg News’ editor-in-chief, insisted on an internal conference call that the publication would be “kicked out of China” if it ran the report, comparing…
Just 24 hours after one tech heavyweight lost its CEO, another has been forced to bow out of the game. After his company posted a huge loss and wrote off a chunk of value from sub-brands Gateway and Packard Bell, Acer CEO and Chairman JT Wang has decided to resign. In an email statement, the …
Potential move underscores expanding definition of “competitor” for news outlets.
Screen grab of a StockTwits stream.
Executives at business news cable network CNBC are threatening to file a breach of contract lawsuit against a producer who left to become chief executive of StockTwits, which describes itself as a real-time social network for investors and traders, according to two sources close to the situation.
StockTwits two weeks ago hired John Melloy, a seven-year veteran of CNBC who produced the network’s Fast Money Halftime Report and Fast Money shows in addition to writing its Behind the Money blog, as its new CEO. And while Melloy told Business Insider that it was his decision to leave CNBC, he is apparently still under contract with the network, meaning that he wasn't an at-will employee free to leave at any time, sources said.
According to both sources, part of the reason why Melloy left CNBC is because executives rebuffed his overtures for a broader role with more involvement on the digital side of the business.
“He wanted to do something more creative and in the news flow,” this source said.
That CNBC, a cable network worth several billion dollars, is even considering filing a lawsuit against a relatively unknown producer underscores the rise of social media, particularly Twitter and websites like StockTwits that seek to leverage Twitter's reach, as a medium for breaking news and information. Typically, such legal remedies are reserved for high-ranking executives who are attempting to leave one company to go to a direct competitor, which in this case would more traditionally be defined as another cable news network such as Fox Business, Bloomberg, or perhaps even CNN.
Indeed, if CNBC does move forward with a lawsuit against Melloy, one of the sources said the cause it would most likely pursue would be “exclusivity,” meaning that Melloy is only authorized to work for and get paid by CNBC while under contract.
A CNBC representative said the network does not comment on the contract status of employees. Howard Lindzon, the founder of StockTwits who will move into the chairman role to make room for Melloy, declined comment. Melloy, who both sources said was “well-liked and well-respected” inside the CNBC newsroom, did not respond to a request for comment.
Lindzon founded StockTwits in 2008, and according to its website, it created the $ TICKER tag “to enable and organize 'streams' of information around stocks and markets across the web and social media.” Put simply, users can search for information about a particular publicly traded company by employing a dollar sign and its stock market ticker symbol (for example, $ GE would be used for General Electric). StockTwits claims more than 200,000 users and an audience of more than 40 million for its streams.
While most Wall Street firms still largely ban access to social media networks at the office, Twitter specifically took a big leap forward in April when it was announced that tweets would be incorporated into Bloomberg terminals — thus allowing traders, bankers, and other executives a backdoor way to monitor social media buzz about companies they follow.
At the time of the announcement, Bloomberg executive Brian Rooney told the New York Times that, “We were getting requests from customers who were seeing news they wanted to be aware of on Twitter.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had to formalize rules for social media use as everyone from Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings to hedge fund billionaire Carl Icahn has taken to the service to disseminate news and information about their companies and investments.
CNBC has recently been pouring resources into expanding its staff and coverage on the digital side. Its website, CNBC.com, scored its second-best month ever in terms of unique visitors in August with 9.3 million.
While its size currently dwarfs StockTwits, one of the sources described the threat of a lawsuit against Melloy as about setting a precedent for the future, particularly as it relates to digital news.
“They're worried about the next person who tries to leave for, say, WSJ.com or CNN.com,” this source said. “Melloy is smart, competent, and has a lot of contacts on Wall Street. You wouldn't want to lose him to one of those guys.”
CNBC / Via cnbc.com
San Francisco asked tech companies to help local community groups in exchange for tax breaks. 21Tech’s charities, however, look an awful lot like startups.
Paul Sakuma / Via AP
Technology consulting company 21Tech is one of the six San Francisco tech companies earning 1.5% payroll tax breaks on new hires over the next six years in exchange for “giving back” to the community. The idea: to bring more tech companies to the city, but to make sure the massive influx of new, monied residents doesn’t come at the expense of existing neighborhood residents — a phenomenon recently described as “hyper gentrification.”
While most of the companies have focused on schools, nonprofits, and homeless shelters, 21Tech has taken a different approach: assisting two startups with getting bids on government contracts.
21Tech first proposed its plan to the city as follows: It would help small local businesses register as minority- and women-owned small businesses, which would give them priority status for getting discounted government contracts. 21Tech would help them navigate the whole process, including bidding for the government deals. The city didn't specify what kind of businesses they had to be, only that they somehow benefit the Mid-Market area.
The city did not outright dismiss the concept. “We didn't specify the sort of business,” Bill Barnes, the city administrator overseeing the tax break process, told BuzzFeed. “I know in Mid-Market, a lot of individual sole proprietors that are struggling with rent are PR or marketing or startups. That is the business mix that exists in the area.”
Whether these count as neighborhood businesses is a matter of technicality. So is the question of whether they qualify as minority-owned or women-owned businesses, or whether they really need much help in the first place. The question of whether their existence and success helps the neighborhood, however, is not. It should be possible to determine if Regroup, a mass messaging platform, and DelC2, a business and international transaction consulting group, have any true relation with and impact on the Mid-Market neighborhood. There is scant evidence that they do.
DelC2, according to their website, is an “international network of professionals in the United States and Spain” that helps clients “develop global strategies” by providing “business and international transactions solutions.”
Information about the company itself is limited. It has no records on LexisNexis. According to city records, its address is the tony Marina district. Its website lists a Google Voice number and a list of advisors. 21Tech helped the company register as a small, women-owned local business by listing one of those advisors as the owner.
DelC2 did not respond to BuzzFeed's emails or phone calls. But one of the advisors listed on the company's site told BuzzFeed he has no relationship with the company beyond a single conference call. He subsequently got his name removed from the website.
The other company, Regroup, isn't located in the Mid-Market area either. It is registered at a Mission District address, four blocks from Zuckerberg's $ 10 million pied-à-terre. The CEO, Joe DiPasquale, splits his time between New York and San Francisco.
DiPasquale founded Regroup while getting his MBA at Stanford. The platform, which allows companies, universities, and local governments to send simultaneous mass messages via email, text, social media, and voice, started as a service for Stanford students.
In 2008, DiPasquale raised an initial $ 2 million round of funding, mostly from prominent angel investing groups. He himself is an angel investor as well as a venture investor at an early stage and structured growth capital firm, and has worked in investment banking at Deutsche and done strategy consulting for Bain, IBM, and McKinsey.
At a recent City Hall meeting, 21Tech introduced DiPasquale to the community board as the poster boy of their work helping the local community.
When asked about the two companies' relationship, DiPasquale told the board that he met the 21Tech CEO several years ago at a Silicon Valley event, long before the tax breaks were conceived.
Questions were raised as to whether Regroup qualified as a minority-owned business. 21Tech argued that it did, because the CEO is gay.
In its October six-month progress report, 21Tech reports that it has registered Regroup as a small, locally owned business. According to city records, it has not.
Reached by BuzzFeed, DiPasquale said he didn't know much about how the tax break program worked. He seemed genuinely concerned: He couldn't remember the name of the committee he spoke before at City Hall but also seemed anxious to get off the phone. He has not responded to follow-up inquiries. Whether he knew he was helping 21Tech get tax breaks remains unclear.
21Tech did not respond to multiple inquires from BuzzFeed.
According to its six-month report to the city, 21Tech has helped the community in other ways, including taking an online pledge to keep streets clean, hiring a summer intern from San Francisco State University, telling staff about a local street fair with emails and a poster in the break room, posting jobs on the city website, going to local restaurants — a list on which it included Subway and Starbucks — and having the local Bike Coalition talk to employees about biking over lunch.
Barnes said he and the community advisory board are in the process of reviewing 21Tech's case.
He and the community board have asked 21Tech for additional information. The company will appear before the board next month to answer this and other questions about its six-month progress report.
“The intent is good, but they haven't verified the deliverables,” he said. “Our big focus is how are these benefits serving the geographic area.”
In September of this year, Google announced its newest project, Calico, which promised to take on the illness known as aging which affects us as human beings. It was one of the company’s classic moonshots, but unlike driverless cars or wearable computers, it wasn’t going to be incubated out of the company’s special projects lab, Google X. In fact it was unclear exactly how Calico would be funded and to what degree it would be attached to Google’s main business.
Taking on the illness known as aging
Fortune’s Dan Primack has some new details. The company won’t be directly attached to Google’s “bottom line,” Primack writes, but will receive hundreds of millions in funding from the search giant spread out over the course of a few years….
Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake Partners’ joint bid to take Dell private has just cleared its final obstacle: regulatory approval. That means the deal is now all but completed. The transaction, valued at $ 25 billion, will see Dell transitioning to a private entity by the company’s fiscal Q3 next year. It also puts the company back firmly in Michael Dell’s control, as he’ll now own 75 percent of the new entity. And, as he discussed on the company’s last open call with investors, that means a return to “innovation” for the PC, tablet and enterprise markets that will come to define the new Dell.
Having a hard time making it in the internet radio space? Maybe you should take a feather from the cap of a firm that still rides the airwaves. That seems to be Rdio’s approach — according to the New York Times, the company is partnering with Cumulus Media (a company that owns for-real radio stations) to create a free version of its audio streaming service. Rdio will also trade a stake in its parent company, Pulser Media, for chunks of Cumulus programming and promotion on the traditional airwaves. Cumulus will sell ads for Rdio’s impending free service, as well as compile playlists from its catalog of syndicated programming. This could buffer Rdio’s music library with news and talk shows, which will hopefully give the service a competitive advantage over services like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes Radio. Although the deal doesn’t involve a cash exchange, the Times reports the value of Cumulus’ services at over $ 100 million. As for that free Rdio overhaul? It’s predicted to be out sometime before the end of the year. The deal will be officially announced on Monday, until then, check out the NYT report at the source link below.
The bad news for HTC keeps rolling in. The Verge learned today that the company has laid off about thirty employees and contractors out of its HTC America division. That division has a total of around 150 employees and contractors, so the total amounts to about twenty percent of the workforce. As often happens, the employees and contractors were let go at the end of the day on Friday and sources tell The Verge that the layoffs affected multiple departments. The company confirmed the layoffs — though not the exact number — in a statement to The Verge. The statement is rather long, and it is as upbeat as it is defensive, characterizing the “reduction in force” as a “decisive action … to streamline and optimize our organization…
2016 is shaping up to be huge for Netflix. That’s when the streaming juggernaut’s Disney deal starts bearing fruit and it also marks the start of a multi-year pay-TV exclusivity agreement with The Weinstein Company (TWC). This means the first stop for TWC’s flicks after home video will no longer be Showtime, but (almost) everybody’s favorite place to watch movies instantly instead. While the studio has a pretty impressive back catalog — Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, The Road and … Scary Movie 5 — it isn’t in the class of, say, Universal or Fox in terms of sheer blockbusters. With the rate ‘flix is signing contracts though, who knows what could happen within the next three years.
Larry Ellison didn’t think much of Apple’s prospects without Steve Jobs, but billionaire investor Carl Icahn disagrees. On Tuesday, one day after foreshadowing a major move, he revealed on Twitter that he had invested heavily in Apple. “We believe the company to be extremely undervalued,” he tweeted. According to various reports, Icahn has amassed over $ 1 billion worth of Apple shares. That’s not a tremendous amount — less than 1 percent of the company’s current $ 444 billion market cap — but it may have a profound effect.
We currently have a large position in APPLE. We believe the company to be extremely undervalued. Spoke to Tim Cook today. More to come.
— Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) August 13, 2013
What might be more…