Home > Uncategorized > Business this week: 23rd December – 5th January 2007

Business this week: 23rd December – 5th January 2007

Business this week

Jan 4th 2007
From The Economist print edition

François Pinault said he was “keeping his options open” about making a bid for Suez, a French utility company. The statement from the retail and luxury-goods tycoon (made through his holding company) came after France’s stockmarket regulator asked him to spell out his intentions in response to speculation in the media. Suez, which is mired in a politically controversial merger attempt with Gaz de France, sought further clarification of Mr Pinault’s remarks.

Apple Computer filed its earnings, which had been delayed because of restatements for stock-option grants. The company has completed a review of its procedures for granting such options and expressed its confidence in its chief executive, Steve Jobs.

Home Depot announced that Robert Nardelli was stepping down as its boss. Critics of the retailer’s penchant for awarding its executives generous pay while the company lost ground to its competitors were not placated by the $210m severance package presented to Mr Nardelli. See article

Speculation increased about the outcome of manoeuvring to take control of Hutch. India’s fourth-largest mobile-phone operator is co-owned by Hong Kong‘s Hutchison Telecom, which has a 67% stake, and India’s Essar Group, which controls the remainder. Both companies are said to be mulling various possibilities including a sale, estimated at up to $17 billion.

A plan to develop a Franco-German internet search engine to rival Google was reportedly scrapped. Quaero was included in a list of initiatives designed to challenge America’s dominance of the internet trumpeted by France’s Jacques Chirac. However, German officials grumbled about the cost and have indicated they will produce their own, scaled-down search engine.

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