Monday, 19 November 2007

Northern Rock offers below value

It is understood that the two suitors, Virgin Group an Olivant Advisers, for Northern Rock have made offers for the takeover of Northern Rock that is "materially below" the stricken bank's share price. The bank said that it expected further expressions of interest to emerge.

Separately, the government has said there is no certainty that any bidder for the Rock will have access to £24 billion of emergency loans after February, but it added that it was "willing to discuss" any proposals that envisaged a continuing role for the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority. The Treasury has also warned that the support it has provided to Northern Rock represents state aid under EU rules and may therefore turn out to be illegal.

Chief Executive at Northern Rock who resigned on Friday, Adam Applegarth, said that “while it would still analyse and discuss proposals it had received the value to shareholders from any of the proposals remains highly uncertain. They would depend on factors including an improvement in market conditions such as access to liquidity.”

Northern Rock shares fell 2% in early trading to 129p. They had hit a high of £12.58 in February. (source: BBC News) - Final bids for Northern Rock today, New player in Northern Rock bid, Virgin pushes forward in takeover, It is all about Virgin

Google is on the verge of becoming a mobile phone operator. The company is secretly testing a wireless network at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, as it tries to gain valuable technological experience before a decision on whether to bid for part of the US mobile telecoms spectrum.

Google has made so much money from its computer based search that it has $13.1 billion (£6.3 billion) sitting in its bank accounts, and it has been spending heavily on new ideas to help it move into the search business on mobile devices. Analysts believe the market for placing ads alongside search queries on smartphones may eventually eclipse PC-based revenues.

While Google could still hitch up with a more experienced telecoms partner to make its pitch, it is believed to be leaning towards a go-it-alone bid that could cost it $4.6 billion (£2.2 billion) or more. A bid for a part of the telecoms spectrum would be an audacious way of circumventing the existing US mobile carriers – AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile – with whom Google is frustrated because they restrict which handsets and internet services can be used over their networks. Sandeep Aggarwal, analyst at Oppenheimer, said that the existing carriers are the biggest obstacle to Google getting into search-based advertising on mobile phones. However, he said: "We think that Google's bidding in the spectrum auction in the US makes sense only if it can materially subsidise or offer free wireless services without losing money, can run wireless services better than the existing wireless carriers, and find more uses for the spectrum bandwidth to drive additional economic value." (source: The Independent)

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