China may block $2B Citi deal

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by crgarcia, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. China may block $2B Citi deal - report

    Chinese government may halt China bank's investment in Citigroup, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    January 14 2008: 12:14 PM EST

    The Chinese government reportedly is blocking a $2 billion deal that would see China Development Bank take a stake in Citigroup.

    HONG KONG (AP) -- Opposition from the Chinese government may stop Citigroup Inc.'s plan to raise capital by selling a stake worth $2 billion to a Chinese bank, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Monday.

    Cash-strapped Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), hurt by the mortgage crisis that boiled up last year, has been seeking foreign investors, including China Development Bank, to boost its balance sheet in the face of mounting write-offs.

    The Journal reported that opposition from the Chinese government seems to have surfaced over the weekend, citing an unnamed person familiar with the situation. It is not clear whether the deal has been abandoned, the newspaper said.

    Yang Hua, director of China Development Bank's news department, said she was not aware of any plans for China Development Bank to invest in Citigroup or any government opposition to such investment, according to the paper.
    Foreign investors ride in to rescue Citi

    A telephone call by The Associated Press to the bank rang unanswered after business hours, and in New York, Citigroup spokeswoman Shannon Bell declined to comment.

    The U.S. financial group is hoping to announce a capital injection from investors when it releases its fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday, the Journal said.

    The cash-strapped Citigroup has already gotten $7.5 billion from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. On Nov. 26, the ADIA bought a 4.9 percent stake in Citi, becoming its largest shareholder.

    The possible failure of the plans of China Development Bank to invest in Citigroup comes after a series of Chinese institutions have put money into struggling Wall Street firms. Most recently, China Investment Corp., the country's sovereign wealth fund, agreed to invest $5 billion in Morgan Stanley.

    China Development Bank, which was established in 1994 and is now preparing to become a commercial lender, got a $20 billion injection Dec. 31 from China Investment Corp. To top of page
  2. EU probes Microsoft in anti-competition case

    European Commission investigates software giant's moves against software and browser rivals.

    January 14 2008: 12:51 PM EST

    BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- European Union regulators said Monday they were again investigating software giant Microsoft this time on suspicion of abusing its market dominance by squeezing out competing Internet browsers and software rivals dependent on Microsoft programs.

    The European Commission opened two formal probes, It's the first move against the company since a court four months ago backed the EU in a long-running legal battle over Microsoft's actions in using its ubiquitous Windows operating system to elbow into new software markets.

    Microsoft said it would cooperate fully with the Commission's investigation and provide any and all information necessary.

    "We are committed to ensuring that Microsoft is in full compliance with European law and our obligations as established by the European Court of First Instance in its September 2007 ruling," it said in a statement.

    EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said he could not put a time frame on how long it would take regulators to decide whether they would file formal charges against the company, saying this usually depended on "how complicated the issues are and the level of cooperation that we receive from the company under investigation."

    Although regulators did not specifically name Microsoft's latest operating system, Vista, they will look at some of its features such as desktop search.

    The EU is also wading into a row between Microsoft and open source developers backed by International Business Machines by looking into Microsoft's open format for archived documents - Office Open XML.

    The first new probe - triggered by a complaint from Norway's Opera Software - will look at whether Microsoft illegally gives away its Internet Explorer browser for free with Windows. Opera had called on the EU to strip Internet Explorer out of Windows or carry alternative browsers.

    The investigation will check also if "new proprietary technologies" held other browsers back by not following open Internet standards. Regulators said they had also received allegations that Microsoft had also illegally packaged desktop search and Windows Live to its operating system.

    The second investigation will examine whether Microsoft withheld information from companies that wanted to make products compatible with its software - including Office word processing, spreadsheet and office management tools, some server products and Microsoft's push into the Internet under the name of the .NET framework.

    Since Microsoft supplies the software to the vast majority of home and office computers, rivals complain that refusal to give them interoperability information shuts the door on a huge potential market.

    The EU said it was acting on a complaint from the European Committee for Interoperable Systems - a group representing IBM, Nokia (NOK), Sun Microsystems (JAVA, Fortune 500), RealNetworks (RNWK) and Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) - that has asked regulators prevent Vista using Microsoft's existing monopoly power to move into the new Internet market

    The EU said it will also look at whether Office Open XML - used by governments and large corporations to store older documents - "is sufficiently interoperable with competitors' products."

    Microsoft said it developed the format to offer richer software than the nonproprietary OpenDocument Format created by open source developers and used by IBM (IBM, Fortune 500).

    But the open source community claims that Microsoft is trying to supplant a possible rival in ODF and stem the potential threat of open source software eating into its market share.

    The EU is building on its March 2004 decision that found Microsoft had violated EU antitrust rules by trying to damage rivals for server and media player software. It told Microsoft to offer a version of Windows without the Media Player software, to share communications code with rivals and pay a record $613 million fine.

    Microsoft delayed obeying the order, launching an appeal to the European Court of Justice that it lost on Sept. 17, 2007.

    Although Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) promised to abide by September court ruling, the EU's antitrust chief Neelie Kroes warned that a precedent had been set for future behavior in other areas
  3. thanks for the articles ..good stuff