Feb 282013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google plans to cling to its bulging stash of cash to pay for potential acquisitions and other technology investments that might boost future profits, a top executive said Thursday.

Patrick Pichette, who oversees Google Inc.’s bank accounts as the company’s chief financial officer, explained the company’s rationale for hoarding $48 billion in cash during a technology conference hosted by Morgan Stanley.

“It serves the shareholder best to actually have that strategic ability to pounce” when there is the opportunity to make a major acquisition, Pichette said.

Although he didn’t identify possible takeover candidates for the future, Pichette cited Google’s $12.4 billion acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility last year as a prime example of why the company believes it needs to have lots of money at its disposal. Although Motorola has been a financial drag on the company so far, Google believes having it will ultimately will help it put its digital services on more smartphones and tablet computers.

The money-management policies of publicly traded companies are getting more attention as more firms hoard huge amounts of cash instead of introducing or increasing dividends to reward stockholders.

Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company and a Google rival, is currently under the most scrutiny because it holds $137 billion in cash. One of Apple’s shareholders, hedge fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, is pressing Apple to create a new class of dividend-paying stock that would supplement the quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share that the company now pays. Apple CEO Tim Cook told shareholders Wednesday that the iPhone and iPad maker is in “very, very active discussions” about what to do with its money.

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Google has never paid a dividend since the company went public in 2004. It hasn’t yet faced intense pressure to distribute its cash, partly because its stock has delivered a nice return for long-term investors. The stock is currently hovering around $800, more than nine times its initial public offering price of $85.

Much of the company’s success has flowed from the $11 billion Google has paid to buy 237 companies besides Motorola Mobility since its IPO. Some of them have been small deals, such as the ones that brought in the technology for its Android software for mobile devices and the technology for its online maps. Bigger acquisitions such as the $1.76 billion purchase of YouTube and the $2.3 billion purchase of DoubleClick have made Google more successful in Internet video and online advertising.

Google primarily bought Motorola for its portfolio of more than 17,000 patents. Its cellphone business has been slumping. Instead of helping Google boost its profit, Motorola has accumulated operating losses of $1.1 billion since the takeover was completed in May. Google has been trying to turn things around by laying off thousands of workers, shedding some operations and sharpening the focus on the development of the most promising products.

Pichette said the company is confident Motorola’s cellphone business will eventually bounce back.

“These are not easy transitions,” Pichette said of the Motorola acquisition. “We have great plans for Motorola. There is still really hard work to be completed at Motorola before we see tangible signs” of progress.

Like Apple and many other U.S. technology companies, Google is keeping most of its cash overseas to reduce its tax bill. Any money transferred, or “repatriated,” would be subject higher U.S. tax rates. Although the $31.4 billion that Google holds in foreign countries can’t be used to buy U.S. companies, Pichette said the company still has ample uses for the overseas money. Among other things, Google recently bought more offices in London for its operations in the U.K. and plans to invest in more data centers outside the U.S. to run its data centers.

Google’s cash philosophy may change as circumstances dictate, Pichette said.

Feb 282013
Ruffa Gutierrez clarifies rumored ABS-CBN comeback

Ruffa Gutierrez (MNS Photo) MANILA, Feb 28 (Mabuhay) — No deal has been signed. Addressing her rumored return as a Kapamilya, Ruffa Gutierrez said her contract with TV5 is still up for re-negotiation when it expires in March. The 38-year-old actress-host, who was with ABS-CBN for three years before transferring to the No. 3 network in 2010, said any speculation as to her home network going forward is premature. “I don’t know yet. My contract is [with TV5] is up soon, so we have to re-negotiate, and everything is still very premature to talk about now. So once I know the plans, I’ll definitely let you know,” she said. “For me, mahirap magsalita ng ganoon o ng kung ano, kasi baka maudlot kung may negotiation na dapat pinag-uusapan,” she said. In the meantime, Gutierrez said she is gearing up for a new film project, on top of supporting her mom, talent manager Annabelle Rama, in her campaign leading up to the May mid-term elections. Rama is running for a seat in Congress under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), to represent the first district of Cebu. “Aside from my mom’s campaign, I’m about to start a new project. I have a movie script that I’m reading. ‘Yun and then there are two other projects that I’m working on. I’m very excited about 2013,” Gutierrez said. (MNS)

Feb 282013
Silence reigns in Sabah village after heavy firing—radio report

By Allan NawalInquirer Mindanao 1:28 pm | Friday, March 1st, 2013 DAVAO CITY, Philippines—An uncanny silence now engulfs Felda Sahabat 17, a community in the seaside village of Tanjung in Tanduo, Lahad Datu following nearly an hour of gun fight between Malaysian security forces and members of the Sulu sultanate’s “royal army,” the short wave station Free Radio Sarawak near Sabah reported Friday. Another SW station based in Kota Kinabalu said more Malaysian security forces in full battle gear were seen heading for Tanduo and were expected to beef up security forces stationed there when  the stand-off between the two sides started February 12, three days after followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III landed in the village. Both stations said they could not confirm the number of casualties but their reporters quoted villagers as saying those being moved out for injuries were members of the Malaysian security forces. Abraham Iridjani, spokesperson for Jamalul Kiram, told Manila reporters that there had been injuries on the side of the “royal army” as well. Malaysian authorities remained mum on the firefight, the Kota Kinabalu station said. Reports by other Malaysian media said former Sabah minister Harris Salleh lamented the violence, saying “it would remain a scar forever” on Malaysia’s diplomatic image before the eyes of the world. Harris had earlier called for a peaceful resolution of the Sabah stand-off and proposed that Kuala Lumpur settle the claims of the heirs of the ancient sultanate by buying it out. He proposed that the sum Read More …

Feb 282013
President Aquino welcomes top officials of leading management consulting and business process outsourcing company

President Benigno S. Aquino III exchanges pleasantries with Accenture chairman and chief executive officer Pierre Nanterme during a courtesy call at the Music Room, Malacañan Palace on Thursday (February 28). Accenture is a US$27.9 billion global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 259,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Also in photo is Accenture chief operating officer Jo Deblaereo and Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo. (MNS photo) MANILA, Feb 28 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III welcomed global outsourcing company officials who expressed confidence in the local market in Malacanang on Thursday. Accenture Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pierre Nanterme paid a courtesy call on the Chief Executive at the Music Room of Malacanang Palace. He was accompanied by Chief Operating Officer Jo Deblaere and Country Managing Director Manolito Tayag. Also in attendance was Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo. Nanterme reinforced Accenture’s confidence in the the local market and the world-class capabilities of Accenture’ Philippine workforce who provide innovative information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions and services to top global clients. Accenture Philippines is the country’s leading management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 30,000 employees working in 16 facilities in its Manila and Cebu delivery centers. The Accenture Philippines works with an international client base in Europe, Asia and North America. It plays a strategic role in Accenture’s ASEAN growth strategy. The officials reaffirmed their commitment to partner with government in its advocacy to provide more jobs and Read More …

Feb 282013
10 killed, 4 injured in Sabah firefight

By Tetch TorresINQUIRER.net 1:15 pm | Friday, March 1st, 2013 MANILA, Philippines—At least 10 people died while four others were injured when a firefight broke out between the “royal army” of Sulu and Malaysian forces in Lahad Datu village in Sabah, the daughter of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III said Friday. Among those wounded is a woman, Princess Jaycel Kiram said in press conference in Manila. She said the information was relayed to the royal family by Rajah Muda, brother of the sultan and leader of the group that sailed from Mindanao to Lahad Datu on February 12 to stake a territorial claim on Sabah. The exchange of gunfire began at around 6 a.m. Friday when the Malaysian forces inched closer to the place where the group, which includes about 30 gunmen according to Filipino authorities,  has been holed up, Abraham Idjirani, spokesman for the Sultan of Sulu, said at the press conference. The group has no intention to leave the area despite the firefight, the sultan stressed. The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that shots were fired but denied reports there were casualties. Foreign Affairs spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez told ABS-CBN network that the gunfire had stopped and there were no casualties. “What he (Philippine ambassador to Malaysia) relayed to Secretary del Rosario was that this incident happened earlier, and thank God there were no casualties,” Hernandez said. Scores of followers of Sultan Kiram have been facing off with Malaysian security forces in Lahad Datu village for more than Read More …

Feb 282013
Kiram asks Aquino: Help us, not the Malaysians

By Tetch Torres-TupasINQUIRER.net 12:36 pm | Friday, March 1st, 2013 Sultan Jamalul Kiram lll speaks during a news conference at his house in Maharlika Village, Taguig City. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—Sultan Jamalul Kiram on Friday called on President Benigno Aquino III to help them, not the Malaysians “Tulungan nyo naman kami. Ang nakikita ko, ang tinutulungan nya ay hindi ang Pilipino. I am just surprised,” Kiram said at a press conference aired over Radyo Inquirer 990AM. Kiram made the call following the firefight that broke out between his supporters and Malaysian forces in Lahad Datu early Friday morning. Instead of helping his fellow Filipinos, Kiram asked why the government was instead considering the filing of criminal case against him. “Dapat tulungan nila kami. Hindi kami ang kakasuhan,” Kiram said, adding that he preferred talking personally to President Aquino instead of an emissary on how to resolve the situation in Lahad Datu. Kiram reiterated that he and his family were pressing for the ownership of Sabah based ‘‘on historical truth.” He also expressed dismay over the “studies” being conducted by the Philippine government over the legality of their claim on Sabah. “Study ng study. Gusto kaming paalisin sa lugar na aming pag-aari,” he said. Follow Us Recent Stories: Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines. Tags: Read More …

Feb 282013
Rocco Nacino, Lovi Poe ‘just good friends’

Rocco Nacino (MNS Photo) Lovi Poe (MNS Photo) GMA 7 talent Rocco Nacino has insisted that he is just friends with actress Lovi Poe. The two actors have worked together in the afternoon series “Yesterday’s Bride.” Rocco admitted that he and Lovi are close to each other but remain as “really good friends.” “Gumanda yung friendship namin and I’m really happy with that. We’re good friends. Really good friends,” he said in a TV interview. Rocco said he can’t put label to his relationship with actress but stressed that Lovi is the closest woman in her life now. “I don’t know what kind of friendship, but it’s a very happy friendship. Na habang tumagal lumalin pa, at sana mas lumalim pa,” he said. The actor said he wants to devote his time in his career in show biz. Lovi, for her part, admitted that Rocco is the closest guy to her at the moment. She said he admires the actor and treasures their friendship. “We’re really good friends. I think it’s best to keep it that way first. Of course we don’t know what is going to happen with me or him, but magkaibigan talaga,” she ended. (MNS)

Feb 282013
Drilon denies backing LP slate to reclaim Senate presidency

Participants wear colorful nature-inspired costumes during a parade for the Caracol festival in Makati city, metro Manila February 24, 2013. The annual Caracol festival, the “Mardi Gras of Makati”, is held as a tribute to mother nature. (MNS photo) MANILA, Feb 25 (Mabuhay) – Senator Franklin Drilon denied on Monday that he is earnestly seeking the election of all Liberal Party (LP) senatorial candidates so that he can reclaim the Senate presidency. “I will not dignify those statements because I am not a candidate [but] they are barking up the wrong tree,” Drilon said in a statement. He issued the statement after United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said the 12-0 aim of LP is not for President Benigno Aquino III but for Drilon, who had served as Senate president from 2001 to 2006. “The cat is finally out of the bag. Now we know that the motivation is pure lust for power, and not selfless support for the President,” Tiangco said in a statement over the weekend. “We also know why Senate President [Juan Ponce] Enrile is being targeted by the LP and their operators. It is in the service of Drilon’s ambition to reclaim the Senate presidency which he held during the Arroyo administration,” he added. When the 16th Congress opens sessions in late June, Enrile will no longer be the Senate  chief since his term would have expired by then. In January, Enrile offered to vacate his post, only to be retained Read More …

Feb 282013
Sultan’s men, Malaysian forces exchange fire

By Allan NawalPhilippine Daily Inquirer 11:17 am | Friday, March 1st, 2013 DAVAO CITY — Malaysian security forces clashed with members of the Sulu sltanate’s “royal army” Friday as they moved in to forcibly haul the “invaders” off Lahad Datu, a Sabah-based radio station said in its short wave broadcast monitored here. The station said its reporter was stationed near Felda 17, the seaside village where Agbimuddin Kiram and his armed followers of about 180 had been encamped since February 12. The station quoted its reporter as saying that he heard heavy firing shortly after 10 a.m. The Sabah radio said efforts to get comments from Malaysian authorities failed as they were mum on the incident but some villagers claimed seeing bodies being moved out. With earlier reports from INQUIRER.net, Radyo Inquirer 990AM. Follow Us Recent Stories: Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines. Tags: Conflict , Jamalul Kiram , Malaysia , Sabah Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer’s Reader’s Advocate. Or write The Readers’ Advocate: c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94

Feb 282013
Facebook buying Atlas ad business from Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook is buying a set of online advertising tools called Atlas from Microsoft in its latest attempt to build a more effective marketing system around its social network. In making the deal announced Thursday, Facebook is betting the acquired technology will be more fruitful under new ownership than it was during the past 5 1/2 years under Microsoft’s control. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Atlas is part of an online advertising service called aQuantive, which Microsoft Corp. bought for $6.3 billion in 2007. Aquantive didn’t bring in as much online ad revenue as Microsoft envisioned, prompting the software maker to absorb a $6.2 billion charge last year that resulted in its first quarterly loss in its 26-year history as a public company. Given the magnitude of that writedown, Facebook probably didn’t have to pay much to take Atlas off Microsoft’s hands. The undisclosed purchase price is a sign that the amount isn’t substantial enough to leave a big dent in the company’s finances. Atlas provides monitoring tools that help advertisers assess how their online marketing tools are faring. It helps marketers make adjustments needed to connect people more likely to buy their products and services. Facebook Inc. already analyzes the interests that people share on its social network to target ads at certain audiences. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Those insights helped Facebook sell $4.3 billion in advertising last year, a 36 percent increase from 2011. But that Read More …