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Business Briefs

For Thursday, November 1, 2012

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:


Icahn's stake in Netflix catapults stock

SAN FRANCISCO » Netflix's slumping stock price and weakening financial performance have finally attracted an opportunistic and sometimes nettlesome investor in Carl Icahn.

In a Wednesday regulatory filing, Icahn revealed he had used some of his $14 billion fortune to accumulate a 10 percent stake in Netflix Inc.

The documents didn't disclose why Icahn and his investment funds have been buying 5.5 million Netflix shares since early September, but investors familiar with his cage-rattling history assumed that the billionaire would press the owner of the world's largest Internet video subscription service to make dramatic changes to boost its stock price. That hunch caused Netflix's stock price to soar $9.66, or nearly 14 percent, on Wednesday to close at $79.24.

In a Wednesday interview, Icahn said he simply believes Netflix is worth a lot more than most investors think it is.

"I think the company is very undervalued on its own," Icahn said. "There is a secular change in industry, and they are the perfect platform for it. But I also believe that they might be a very enticing acquisition candidate. That would just be a bonus for shareholders if a large premium was paid."

Netflix has been has been stumbling since it raised its U.S. prices by as much as 60 percent last year.

Apple stock falls after executive shake-up

It was a rough day on Wall Street for Apple Inc., which saw its shares decline as much as 2.7 percent on the first day of trading since the company announced a sweeping management shake-up.

Shares fell as low as $587.70 on Wednesday morning. They recovered slightly, closing down $8.68, or 1.4 percent, to $595.32. Apple shares have slid more than 15 percent since reaching a high of $702.10 on Sept. 19.

On Monday the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant announced the departures of John Browett, Apple's head of retail, and Scott Forstall, who was in charge of the company's widely panned Siri and Maps app products.

Forstall, a longtime executive and protégé of co-founder Steve Jobs, oversaw the iOS operating system that runs iPhone and iPad. But the Apple veteran was also responsible for replacing Google Inc.'s popular Maps app with Apple's own homegrown version, which has been plagued by inaccurate information and other problems since its September release.

Browett's ouster came just six months after he was hired as Apple's senior vice president of retail.

Facebook stock down after lock-up expires

NEW YORK » Facebook's stock price fell Wednesday, the day employees were eligible to start selling restricted stock in the company.

A lock-up period that had prevented such sales expired Monday. U.S. stock markets opened Wednesday for the first time since superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, so that's when employees could start selling.

In all, 234 million additional shares and stock options held by employees as of Oct. 15 became eligible to flood the market. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not selling. He has already said that he won't be selling stock until at least next September. Lock-ups are common after initial public stock offerings and are designed to prevent a stock from experiencing the kind of volatility that might occur if too many shareholders decide to sell at once.

Facebook Inc.'s stock fell 83 cents, or 3.8 percent, to close at $21.11 Wednesday. The stock is down 44 percent from its IPO price of $38.

Eurozone unemployment hits record 11.6%

Unemployment in the 17 nations that make up the eurozone monetary union reached a record high in September, hitting 11.6 percent as 18.5 million people found themselves jobless. That's 146,000 more workers who lost their jobs last month, according to official European Union statistics agency Euro­stat.

The region, wracked by a severe debt crisis, has watched its unemployment rate surge since early 2008, when joblessness was under 7.5 percent.

September's rate, up from the upwardly revised 11.5 percent level in August and July, is the highest in the data set's 17-year history. During the same month in 2011, unemployment was at 10.3 percent.

Spain's 25.8 percent jobless rate and Greece's 25.1 percent figure were again at the top of the scale for European Union members. Austria and Luxembourg, with 4.4 percent and 5.2 percent rates respectively, rounded out the bottom.

The hordes of unemployed youth continue to worry authorities. In September, 3.5 million workers under age 25 were without jobs in the euro area, up by 275,000 people from a year earlier. That's a 23.3 percent unemployment rate.

ON THE MOVE

Bank of Hawaii has announced the following promotions and hires: 

>> Eric Chen to vice president and ATM Department manager for the ATM Servicing Department from assistant vice president and finance and administration manager.

>> Derek H. Nerland as vice president and tax compliance manager in the Controllers Department. He was previously a senior tax manager at Hawaiian Telcom.

>> Guy T. Shinagawa as vice president and wholesale credit administrator for the Wholesale Credit Department. He was previously a vice president and credit approval officer at U.S. Bank in Portland, Ore.

The Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has received a $703,505 grant from the State Trade and Export Promotion program of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award will help to increase the number of local small businesses that want to export as well as the value of exports for those small businesses that currently export.






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