(Reuters) – U.S. computer maker Dell Technologies Inc and business software provider VMware Inc have decided to explore options that could include a potential merger of the two companies, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. VMware is 80 percent-owned by Dell. Dell plans to announce as early as Friday that it will review a possible reverse merger with VMware, as well as other alternatives, including an initial public offering or asset divestitures, the sources said. VMware plans to announce that it will form a special committee of board directors to consider a combination with Dell, the people added.
The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Dell and VMWare did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google parent Alphabet Inc replaced long-time Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt with board veteran John Hennessy, a former Stanford University president and one of search engine company’s first users, it said in a regulatory filing on Thursday. Hennessy, 65, a computer scientist with expertise in chip design and deep connections in Silicon Valley, joined Google’s board in 2004 months before the company went public. He was dean of Stanford’s engineering school when students Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed Google and was an early tester of their technology. Hennessy will be non-executive chairman, unlike Schmidt, who was an Alphabet employee.
“It’s a privilege!” Hennessy said by email about the new role.
Facebook offered reassurances to investors that its digital ad business would remain highly profitable, despite a dip in usage on the social media network and an overhaul of its flagship News Feed. Jane Lanhee Lee reports
(Reuters) – Getting more of its major retailer customers to share data on their holiday shipping needs will prevent a repeat of last year’s parcel delivery bottleneck, United Parcel Service Inc’s (UPS.N) Chief Executive told Reuters. The world’s largest package delivery company delivered a record 762 million packages, exceeding forecasts, during the peak U.S. holiday shopping season which runs from around the Thanksgiving Day holiday in late November through to Christmas in late December. But around “Cyber Monday”, the first Monday after the annual Thursday Thanksgiving holiday in late November, those extra packages also exceeded its ability to handle them, adding about $125 million in fourth-quarter operating costs, UPS CEO David Abney said. “Our forecasting during peak was extremely accurate,” Abney told Reuters after the company reported quarterly results on Thursday. “It was that cyber weekend and cyber week that we have to do a better job of working with our customers.”
UPS expected volume to increase 9.0 percent, but it increased 20 percent, around the time of Cyber Monday, he said. “When you are talking about that you are delivering 25-30 million packages a day, that 20 percent had a significant impact.” This is not the first time UPS has experienced problems with balancing costs and resources in its network during peak season shopping, and those problems have persistently stemmed from its burgeoning, unpredictable and low-margin e-commerce business. A late surge in e-commerce orders and bad weather in 2013 left an estimated two million packages undelivered on Christmas Eve, mostly stranded in Atlanta-based UPS’s package network.
(Reuters) – CBS Corp (CBS.N) and Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) have formed special committees to explore a merger, the companies said on Thursday, the first step in potentially reuniting the companies split by media mogul Sumner Redstone more than a decade ago. The companies had previously explored a merger in 2016 at the urging of ailing 94-year-old Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari, who control CBS and Viacom through privately held National Amusements Inc. Those talks failed due to concerns by CBS’ directors and Moonves over governance issues and the deal’s financial sense for CBS shareholders.
(Reuters) – Google parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) missed quarterly profit forecasts despite surprisingly strong sales as higher expenses offset growing demand for pricey ads on mobile apps, the U.S. technology company said on Thursday. Shares of Alphabet dipped more than 4 percent after-hours to $1,119.22. Fourth-quarter sales increased 24 percent to $32.3 billion, above the average analysts’ estimate of $31.9 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Adjusted quarterly profit of $6.8 billion, or $9.70 per share, missed estimates of $7 billion, or $10 per share.
The profit figure excludes a $9.9 billion tax charge as Alphabet joined much of corporate America in reporting large one-time expenses in the fourth quarter due to U.S. legislation enacted in December that lowers corporate rates. The growing use of smartphones worldwide has been a bonanza for social media company Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Google, which research firm EMarkter estimates together account for nearly 60 percent of mobile ad sales.
(Reuters) – Stronger iPhone prices and hints by Apple Inc on Thursday that it could return more than half of its $285 billion in cash to shareholders eased concerns among investors, even as the world’s biggest technology company gave a disappointing revenue outlook for the current quarter. Apple also reported it sold fewer iPhones over the holiday quarter than Wall Street had expected.
But the revenue outlook for the first three months of 2018 “was not as bad as some feared,” said Jun Zhang of Rosenblatt Securities Inc. Apple’s comments about plans for its $163 billion in net cash helped boost shares 3.3 percent to $173.48 in after-the-bell trading. “Over time, we are trying to target a capital structure that is approximately net neutral. We will have approximately the same level of cash and debt on the balance sheet,” Apple’s chief financial officer, Luca Maestri, told Reuters in an interview. “We’re going to take that balance down from $163 billion to zero,” Maestri said, referring to Apple’s current level of cash net of debt.
Imagine being able to make a machine do your bidding with your thoughts alone, no button pressing, typing, screen tapping or fumbling with remote controls, just brain power. Well, this sci-fi scenario could be closer to reality than you think. Bill Kochevar’s life was changed, seemingly irrevocably, when he was paralysed from the shoulders down following a cycling accident nearly a decade ago.
His future looked bleak. But last year he was fitted with a brain-computer interface, or BCI, that enabled him to move his arm and hand for the first time in eight years. Sensors were implanted in his brain, then over a four-month period Mr Kochevar trained the system by thinking about specific movements, such as turning his wrist or gripping something. The sensors effectively learned which bits of the brain fired up – and in what sequence – for each movement.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Short-term home rental service Airbnb Inc will not go public this year, the company said on Thursday, and it appointed its first chief operating officer as it pursues global growth and tighter management of its finances as a more mature company. “We’re working on getting ready to go public and we will make decisions about going public on our own timetable,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky said in a statement. San Francisco-based Airbnb, a service where homeowners and renters can list their house, room or apartment for rent, had been on a list of anticipated initial public offerings this year. In line with a number of changes to help prepare the company for long-term growth, Airbnb promoted Belinda Johnson, who has been at the company since 2011, to COO, Chesky said. She was most recently its chief business affairs and legal officer.
(Reuters) – Time Warner Inc, which is in the process of being bought by AT&T Inc, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue on Thursday, powered by the success of its latest superhero movie “Justice League”. Revenue from Warner Bros, which includes the movie business and is the company’s biggest unit by revenue, rose 4.8 percent to $4.05 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $4.03 billion, according to data and analytics firm FactSet. “Justice League”, featuring Israeli actress Gal Gadot and American actor Ben Affleck, had grossed more than $655.9 million globally as of Jan. 28, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo. (bit.ly/2FtGPrn)
Revenue from Home Box Office (HBO), home to hit fantasy show “Game of Thrones”, rose 12.7 percent to $1.68 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.65 billion, according to data and analytics firm FactSet. The company’s net income attributable to shareholders surged to $1.39 billion, or 1.75 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, mainly due to a gain of $1.06 per share related to changes to U.S. tax laws. In the year-ago quarter, the company earned $293 million, or 37 cents per share.
The veteran will end his touring career after a three-year-long farewell world tour
Loans from China helped Uganda build a speedy new road to its main airport. But critics say the country is now too deep in debt to Beijing Pencil manufacturer. Faber-Castell is hoping that embracing the online world and a counter-digital creative trend will mean the company can still thrive in the digital era Amputee Jason Barnes plays the piano with a prosthetic arm that detects muscle movement in his stump using ultrasound technology and an algorithm to predict which metal finger he intends to use