Business briefs [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]
(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Avis buying Zipcar for $491 million
NEW YORK - Avis is leaping into the car-sharing service business by buying Zipcar for $491.2 million, aiming to capture a new type of customer and technology that will vastly expand its car rental options.
Car sharing has become a popular alternative to traditional rentals in metropolitan areas and on college campuses, allowing members to get a vehicle for an hour or two for short trips instead of renting a car for a day or using mass transit. The segment has been growing while traditional car rentals have struggled in the current slow-growth economy.
Zipcar, which was founded in 2000, has more than 760,000 members, triple what it had in 2008. It went public in 2011, and 2012 is expected to be its first-ever profitable year.
Research: 2013 auto sales to be strong
DETROIT - A healthier economy and more model introductions should push U.S. auto sales to more than 15 million this year, predicts an auto industry research firm.
The Polk research firm said auto sales should continue to lead the country's economic recovery, rising nearly
7 percent over 2012 to 15.3 million new vehicle registrations.
Analysts think sales reached 14.5 million last year, the strongest performance since 2007. Sales of more than 15 million are considered a sign of health for the auto industry and the economy, many analysts say.
Microsoft asks for Google crackdown
SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft began the new year harping on a favorite theme: The software maker is arguing that government regulators need to crack down on Google to preserve fair competition in the Internet and smartphone markets.
The latest refrain came Wednesday in a blog post by Dave Heiner, Microsoft's deputy general counsel. His attack amounted to a last- ditch appeal to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission as they wrap up wide-ranging investigations into Google's business practices. Resolutions to those probes are expected early this year, perhaps within the next week at the FTC.
Microsoft fears Google, perhaps its biggest nemesis, will emerge from the antitrust probes without being required to make significant changes.
rake in $38 billion
HONG KONG - Casino revenue in Macau climbed 13.5 percent last year to a record $38 billion, as the Asian gambling hub reinforced its position as the world's biggest gambling market.
Gross revenue from Macau's 35 casinos also hit a monthly record in December, according to data posted on the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on Wednesday.
But gambling revenue growth eased off from the year before, when it rocketed 42 percent to $33.5 billion, as China's economy slowed and wealthy gamblers held back amid fears about a crackdown on corruption.
The Associated Press
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