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Disney buys Playdom for $763M

LOS ANGELES » The Walt Disney Co. became Hollywood’s leader in the booming social game business yesterday by acquiring Playdom in a deal worth as much as $763.2 million.

Playdom is one of a cluster of tech startups that make simple online games and sell virtual goods — like a $2.50 outfit for a character in Playdom’s Sorority Life, in which players shop, party and go to a spa. Such companies have grown by taking advantage of rapidly expanding social networks such as Facebook.

Disney will initially pay $563.2 million for Playdom, which is the No. 3 social game company on Facebook with about 42 million monthly players.

The deal includes $200 million in additional payments if Playdom achieves growth thresholds that were not made public.


Enterprise to offer Nissan Leaf

NEW YORK » Nissan Motor Co. will sell 500 Leaf electric cars to Enterprise Rent-A-Car starting in January, as the Japanese automaker aims to put more drivers behind the wheel of its battery-powered vehicle.

Enterprise said yesterday it will make the Leaf available to customers in eight cities starting next year.

Charging stations will be installed at 100 different Enterprise rental locations beginning in November.

The cost of renting the Leaf, which runs 100 miles on a full charge of its lithium-ion battery, has not been determined yet.


Yahoo Japan opts for Google

TOKYO » Yahoo Japan will use Google technology to power its Internet search engine and search advertising platform, charting a different course from its U.S. cousin, the Japanese company said yesterday.

Yahoo Japan is partly owned by Yahoo Inc. of the United States — which is planning to use Microsoft’s Bing search technology by the end of this year.

The announced partnership between Yahoo Japan and Google would create a powerhouse combining Google’s search technology with Yahoo Japan’s popular content and services. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Yahoo Japan’s biggest shareholder is Softbank, the Japanese cell phone giant, which owns a 38.6 percent stake; Yahoo has 34.8 percent.

Google’s share of Web searches in Japan has been growing, but it still trails Yahoo Japan, the market leader.

According to Nielsen/NetRatings, a research firm, Yahoo Japan has 53.2 percent of Web queries in the country, followed by Google at 37.3 percent.

Microsoft’s MSN and Bing searches garnered just 2.6 percent.


Lockheed earnings increase 12%

WASHINGTON » Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. said yesterday that its second-quarter profit rose 12 percent thanks to stronger military hardware sales and a gain from plans to sell off a business unit.

Earnings from the nation’s biggest supplier of military equipment beat Wall Street expectations, and the company raised its earnings per share outlook by 15 cents mostly due to a lower expected share count and an expected $30 million of higher profits in its space division. But it also trimmed its revenue outlook.

The Bethesda, Md., company reported net income of $825 million, or $2.22 a share, up from $734 million, or $1.88 a share, in the same quarter last year.

Simeon Miranda

Revenue rose 4 percent to $11.44 billion from $11.07 billion. Lockheed said sales were up in all four of its divisions that make fighter jets, missiles, satellites and defense electronics.



» Outrigger Enterprises Group has appointed Simeon Miranda as general manager of the OHANA Honolulu Airport Hotel and Best Western the Plaza Hotel. He has 23 years of executive management experience with Hilton Worldwide and Marriott International, and has been general manager at Marriott Suites Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., and resident manager at Hilton Waikoloa Village.


Thomas Heiden

» Broadcasting executive Michael A. Rosenberg has been re-elected to the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s national vice president position for one year. He is president and general manager of KITV-TV.

» The Friends of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii has named Lawrence K.W. Tseu to its board of directors. He has been a practicing dentist in Hawaii for 47 years.

» Hawaiian Properties has hired Thomas Heiden as general manager for Marina Hawaii Vacations. He was previously a property management director for Hawaiiana Management and administrator at Estate of James Campbell, and had extensive property and hotel management experience in California.


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