Company allegedly assuming some fraud risk
In preparation for its mobile payment technology, Apple has successfully negotiated deals with five major financial institutions -- American Express, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Capital One, and Bank of America -- to lower transaction fees, sources say. One linchpin was convincing them that mobile payments constitute "card present" transactions, which have a lower discount rate than their opposite, owing to lower fraud risk. That card-present rate has been dropped another 15 to 25 basis points however, meaning that Apple should get a roughly 10 percent discount on processing rates.
Qualcomm 28nm LTE chip hit may touch Apple
Analysts at Citigroup and Piper Jaffray helped trigger stock market jitters on Thursday over the implications of LTE chip supply as it relates to Apple. Following Qualcomm statements after its quarterly results that there was a supply shortage of its 28 nanometer chips made at TSMC, Citi's Glen Yeung and Piper's Gene Munster both suggested that was a direct sign of Apple choosing a 28nm MSM9615 cellular chipset for its next iPhone. To Yeung, a ramp down in existing 45nm parts combined with the shortage was a sign Apple was switching production and lowering orders of older hardware as it got ready to produce the new.
Kodak readying Chapter 11 filing as precaution
Kodak is drafting Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in the event it can't sell patents in the next few weeks, insiders asserted Wednesday. The proposed plan seen by the Wall Street Journal would see the camera legend possibly enter bankruptcy later this month or in early February. The reorganization would see it get $1 billion of debtor-in-possession funding and sell its entire library of 1,100 patents through a bankruptcy auction rather than a typical process.
Snaps up 4 percent of social networking service
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has bought a just under four percent interest in social networking pioneer Twitter. Prince Alwaleed, 26th on Forbes' list of billionaires, is the nephew of Saudi King Abdullah. The Prince paid out $300 million for his investment.
HTC says Citi damaged its share
HTC on Tuesday was confirmed to have sued Citi Global Markets for allegedly misrepresenting the company's already dim outlook. Deputy chief prosecutor Huang Mou-hsin told Reuters that the smartphone designer had quietly sued in August for allegedly breaking a stock transaction law after HTC's share price collapsed. Its price has been cut to a third of its April value, down to the equivalent of just over $13.
EMI publishing, music to be sold off separately
(Update: confirmed) Citigroup is splitting EMI in two for a sale that's about to be imminent, according to claims Friday. Pointing to sources, the Wall Street Journal's Dana Cimilluca said that the publishing wing, EMI Music Publishing, would be sold off to a Sony consortium for $2.2 billion. The pure music label would go to Universal for $1.9 billion.
Citigroup study shows Netflix triple iTunes share
A new study by Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney reinforced Netflix's dominance of online video. The online check had Netflix representing 24.5 percent of online video, ahead of Hulu (22.5 percent) and just short of Facebook (27.1 percent). iTunes was the top pay-per-show provider but was well short in use at just 9.8 percent of those asked online.
HTC downs talk of Microsoft squeezing on Android
HTC on Monday shot down rumors mentioned by the Economic Daily Times and other outlets that Microsoft was raising the patent fees it was getting from Android makers. Following a Citi analyst report leaking royalty rates which showed HTC paying less than others, claims had surfaced in the Taiwanese press that HTC was about to pay more. Those aren't true, HTC said.
Windows Phone 7 may get NFC as soon as 2011
Hints that Microsoft might add NFC to Windows Phone 7 gained corroboration Tuesday with a pair of tips from insiders. The feature would be used for the expected role of mobile payments and would have the feature baked into the OS itself. NFC may come early, however; it could be in shipping devices before the end of 2011, Bloomberg was told.
Google to test NFC with Citigroup and MasterCard
Google's trials of NFC-based phone payments gained more tangible details through a leak early Monday. The plan described by the WSJ would allow Citigroup debit and MasterCard credit card owners to make payments by swiping a Nexus S, or future Android 2.3 phones with NFC, near a reader at the counter. VeriFone would still be involved, the sources said, and would be the one providing the payment machines.
Plans sale, possibily splitting up EMI
Citigroup has bought EMI in a deal that may see the end of one of the four last major surviving record labels, according to a report. Citigroup already owned EMIís $4billion debt and excused the debt in exchange for control of its operations. The takeover could signal the end of the 80 year-old company with its rich musical history.
Warner Music talks to Goldman for sale and buyout
Warner Music is consulting with Goldman Sachs to at once sell itself off and looking into a buyout of its rival EMI. Sources said on Thursday night that it had reacted to multiple buyers, including professional acquirer Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, making offers by having Goldman start a formal look into the process where it would sell all or just of the company, such as its Warner/Chappell publishing wing. The New York Times' contacts didn't say how close Warner might be to a deal.
BofA and Citigroup testing iPhone option
Both Bank of American and Citigroup are running tests on services that would let workers drop the BlackBerry and use an iPhone instead, leaks from both companies mentioned on Friday. Three contacts said the two are trialing software that would keep e-mail secure. Bloomberg in getting the details didn't say whether they were simply using built-in Exchange support or if third-party apps were involved.
Google, Cisco to Dow Index
Google and Cisco are among the top companies being considered to be entered into the Dow Jones industrial average index, bumping GM and Citigroup, whose shares have recently dipped below $2 and threatened their status as blue chip stocks, or sure things in the investment world, says a Monday report. They are not alone, however, as Apple, US Steel, Goldman Sachs, Visa, Aflac and Northern Trust are other candidates, as chosen by Reuters. Likewise, analysts believe Citigroup and GM are just the most likely companies to be replaced from the Dow index. Four other stocks listed on the Dow have fallen to below $10.
Apple, Citigroup Top Picks
Apple stock was subject to slight gains as Citigroup added the Cupertino-based company to it Top Picks Live list, which allowed the computer manufacturer to maintain a Buy rating, with a target of $212 per share. According to AppleInsider, shares of the company have been on a slight rollercoaster ride since its December peak of $199.83, taking a total hit of 37-percent since that time. Citigroup expects Apple's earnings per share will beat consensus by 10 cents, possibly more, for its predicted March quarter.