Business news briefs
Ryanair bid for
Aer Lingus off
Even the third time may not be the charm for Ryanair's attempt to take over Ireland's flag carrier Aer Lingus. Ryanair, Europe's largest budget airline, said it was told the European Commission "intends to prohibit" its nearly $942 million bid for Aer Lingus. Ryanair said its proposed concessions did not go far enough to allay antitrust concerns.
Avon Products, the world's largest door-to-door cosmetics seller, said its fourth quarter loss widened to $162.2 million, or 37 cents per share, from a loss of $400,000, or essentially break even, for the same period a year earlier. Excluding restructuring charges and other items, Avon would have posted a profit of 37 cents per share.
Coca-Cola Co., the world's largest soft-drink maker, said its fourth quarter profit rose 13 percent on higher sales volumes in North America. Net income climbed to $1.87 billion, or 41 cents a share, from $1.66 billion, or 36 cents, a year earlier. Revenue advanced 3.8 percent to $11.46 billion.
Intel to sell TV
Intel Corp. is developing a set-top box that brings Internet-delivered movies and shows to TV sets. The device is coming this year. Erik Huggers, general manager of Intel Media, said the company plans to sell a box that will offer "a vastly superior experience" to today's cable boxes. He said Intel was motivated to get into the business after realizing it needed to control every aspect of the service, from chips to software, to get it right.
Comcast to buy
GE's NBC stake
Comcast is buying General Electric's 49 percent stake in the NBCUniversal joint venture for $16.7 billion several years early. Comcast initially bought a majority stake in the television and movie company in 2011. It originally planned to take a larger stake in NBCUniversal over a seven-year period, but decided to take advantage of low borrowing costs and "a very attractive price."
G7 nations seek to
calm currency fears
The world's major industrial nations sought to soothe fears of an impending currency war, pledging they will avoid devaluing their currencies in the pursuit of growth as they seek to avoid a 1930s-style spiral of retaliatory devaluations in which weak economies try to boost exports by driving currencies down. The pledge follows concerns that Japan's new campaign to beat deflation is an attempt to weaken the yen.
Standard & Poor's is prepared to spend years beating back a federal civil lawsuit accusing the company of giving falsely high ratings to mortgage investments that helped trigger the financial crisis, S&P parent McGraw-Hill said. The remarks came during a call about McGraw-Hill's fourth quarter earnings.