According to All Things D, Facebook has made it known that it is offering to buy up $1 billion worth of employee-owned shares at a whopping $60 billion valuation. Apparently some large international investors have come calling, and Facebook has decided to offer employees that have been sitting on mountains of private stock a way to profit.
Oh, poor Microsoft and their declining business. No one thinks they're cool anymore, and that surely means they are going down in flames. After all, they only pulled in a measly $20 billion in revenue last quarter. Wait, what? Indeed, good old Microsoft has had a record quarter with nearly $20 billion in sales, working out to $6.63 billion in profit after all the bills are paid. That's $0.77 per share for you stock market folks.
The cheers are surly rattling the windows up in Redmond on the news. The Entertainment and Devices division saw a 55% increase in revenue on the strength of Kinect and the Xbox 360. This is rather astonishing seeing as the division that makes Windows is only $1.3 billion ahead of the Xbox folks now. That used to be a much wider gulf. All the more reason to milk the current console generation that much more.
One Microsoft product that isn't getting much attention is Windows Phone 7. If it had made an impact on the bottom line, we assume Ballmer would have been dancing on the roof, or something like that. Still, with these sorts of numbers, they can afford to build WP7 slowly.
Barry McCarthy, the Netflix CFO with one foot out the door, will end his tenure at Netflix on Friday and leave the company at least $40 million richer than he began. That's because McCarthy sold off large portions of his Netflix stock, not once, but twice in the last month, CNet report.
At the beginning of the month, McCarthy sold over 130,000 shares, netting more than $21 million. And then days before Netflix announced he was leaving the company, McCarthy sold another 100,000 shares for around $200 per share. Should we be concerned that this long-time CFO is abandoning a seemingly successful company and cashing in on over $40 million in stock?
"You should be confident that I'm leaving the business in good shape," McCarthy said at a tech conference. "There is nothing that I know that you don't know that would cause you to be sleepless about your position in the stock."
Whether McCarthy's comments come as any consolation to nervous investors remains to be seen, but it could be that he was simply looking to have cash on hand to fund whatever new venture he gets into. According to a report in Dow Jones, McCarthy said Wednesday that he wants to run his own company.
Most of us wouldn't think twice if the company we're working for offered us $3.5 million in restricted stock to stick around, but would you take it if Facebook was trying to pry you away? Probably, and according to TechCrunch, so did the Google employee who was given this very offer in order to keep him from joining Facebook.
"We've confirmed today that a staff engineer at Google being romanced by Facebook was offered a jaw dropping $3.5 million in restricted stock by Google (this means Google is handing over stock worth $3.5 million based on its value today, and that stock will vest over time. He quite wisely accepted Google's counter offer. Facebook lost this one," TechCrunch said.
That's quite the bonus in what's become a high stakes tug-of-war between Google and Facebook over talented engineers, but a drop in the bucket over what Google plans to pay in bonuses and raises over the next 12 months. In a confidential note to employees, Google recently stated it was giving every Google worker a $1,000 holiday bonus and at least a 10 percent raise effective January 1, 2011. It's estimated the move will cost Google around $1 billion next year.
Steve Ballmer might look like Joe Everyman on the outside, but under that sweat stained exterior is a billionaire in disguise, and according to Reuters he’s cashing out. The CEO has apparently confirmed reports that he has sold 49.3 million shares of Microsoft stock worth an estimated $1.3 billion, a move that some feel might be motivated by the end of Bush-era tax cuts on capital gains.
According to Ballmer investors shouldn’t read too heavily into the decision to sell off shares, and it was done purely for personal financial reasons. At current prices Ballmer is sitting on about $10 billion in company stock, so despite the poor optics of a CEO selling off a large pool of shares, we suspect the temptation of all that non-liquid cash simply became too much. When you consider that his 2009 bonus was a mere $670,000 as a result of poor performance in the mobile and tablet market, it would make sense that he would want to supplement his income somehow.
Despite the sale Ballmer will remain one of the top shareholders in the company with a 4 percent stake, second only to Bill Gates who holds 7 percent. I guess with Windows Phone 7 and Kinect now on the market Ballmer just needed a bit of extra pocket change before he heads over to his local Best Buy.
Adobe this week let it be known that sales and earnings for the next quarter will likely fall short of expectations, news of which sent the software maker's stock in a free-fall.
Adobe shares sank more than 20 percent from Tuesday's close, even going so far as to hit a new 52-week low at $25.81 per share.
"We're taking a cautious approach to the guidance," Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen said during a conference call with analysts. "The U.S. back-to-school environment this time was a little weaker overall."
Education sales account for more than 10 percent of Adobe's revenue, but that's not the only factor. Adobe also cited weak sales in Japan, noting that the Japanese economy "hasn't really come out of the recession yet."
Adobe now expects fourth-quarter revenue to be in the neighborhood of $950 million to $1 billion, less than the $1.03 billion some analysts had projected.
In recent months, Facebook has been working hard to recruit talent from Google. For example, Google lost Android Product Manager Erick Tseng to Facebook a few months back. Rumor has it the The Big G is now starting to take the situation seriously, and is making some serious counter-offers to keep employees from going to Facebook.
TechCrunch has spoken with one former Googler who was offered a substantial 15% raise, quadrupled stock benefits, and a $500,000 bonus (!) to stay for one year. This particular developer, and others, have still taken the Facebook deal for one simple reason. Facebook is expecting an IPO soon. They haven't been making it official, but sources claim that Facebook is telling prospective employees that their individual stock benefits could be worth $100 million in just a few years. Now that's walking around money.
How big is the problem for Google? According to LinkedIn, at least 118 Google engineers have left for Facebook so far. It's not likely to damage the Google brain-trust, but it's not a trend you want to see.
A recent filing with the SEC has confirmed what we've all been expecting. That's right folks, Skype is going public. The VoIP service is looking to raise around $100 million in this first round of financing. The shares will trade on the NASDAQ Global Market, and be managed by the likes of JP Morgan and Goldman-Sachs. Analysts are expecting the IPO to be a success; Skype has been expanding and forging new business relationships.
Skype has 560 million registered users, 124 million of which are active monthly. 8.1 million pay for the service, averaging $96 per year. Skype managed to rake in $406 million in revenue and $13.2 million in profit in the first half of 2010. A big step up from the $99 million loss in 2009. Although, at the time, Ebay held a 65% stake in the company and there were disputes over just who owned what. Now that Skype's original creators are back at the helm, many are expecting profits to continue.
Do you use Skype on a regular basis? Are you one of the 8.1 million that pay for the additional features? The SEC filings don't divulge the details of how many shares are going out, but we'll probably hear more at the date approaches.
OCZ, which began life as a small enthusiast memory company back in the day, is putting on its suit and stepping into Wall Street. Starting this Friday, April 23, the company will be listed on the NASDAQ Capital Markets under the ticker symbol "OCZ."
"Trading on the NASDAQ has been a goal of OCZ since we listed in the US, and our approval is a significant milestone for our shareholders," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ. "Our core initiatives are focused on strengthening our position in the burgeoning SSD market, which our recent announcements on retail and enterprise product launches and the signing of distribution partners for our SSD products represent. We look forward to gaining visibility on the NASDAQ and utilizing the benefits of trading on the exchange."
It's not surprising that OCZ wants to pump up its SSD business. The company has been one of the most active players in solid state storage, releasing a range of SSDs from the entry-level on up to enthusiast-grade drives, including PCI-E based units appropriate for enterprise settings.
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Following a board meeting last week, VIA has come to the conclusion that it needs to cut capital to NT$5.17 billion ($153.4 million USD), a 60 percent reduction. A shareholder meeting on June 19th will decide when the reduced capital will take place. As a result of the planned reduction, VIA said it expects shares to improve to $NT11.36, or almost three times as much as the current NT$4.50 share price.
VIA didn't say what effect the reduced capital would have on its Nano processor roadmap, which could put the heat on Intel in coming months. Citing un-named market sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes notes that demand for Intel's Atom netbook CPUs has been slowing down lately in the wake of price cuts by low-end notebooks. The sources also attributed the reduced demand to consumer anticipation of the next generation of Atom processors, currently scheduled for the second half of this year.