Austin American-Statesman Business Digest column [Austin American-Statesman]
(Austin American-Statesman (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 04--TECHNOLOGY
Freescale restructures debt load
Freescale Semiconductor Ltd. has notified investors that it arranged new financing for part of its corporate debt and extended the due date.
The new term loan totals $2.7 billion, with $2.4 billion maturing in 2020. The remainder matures in 2016. Citibank was the lead lender in the deal.
Freescale, which was bought in a leveraged buyout six years ago, has paid down its debt and extended its debt securities to give it more business flexibility. The Austin chipmaker ended 2012 with $6.4 billion in long-term debt.
Report: PC shipments to drop in 2013
The global personal computer industry has another weak year in store for it in 2013, according to International Data Corp.
IDC said worldwide PC shipments dropped 3.7 percent to 350.4 million units in 2012. This year, it expects another 1.3 percent drop.
Part of the reason is slowing growth in emerging markets, which had accounted for much of the industry's growth in recent years.
Emerging market shipments are expected to total 207.1 million units this year, just barely better than 205.9 million last year. Shipments in mature markets are expected to total 138.7 million units, down from 144.5 million in 2012.
"Growth in merging regions has slowed considerably and we continue to see constrained PC demand as buyers favor other devices for their mobility and convenience," said Loren Loverde, vice president for IDC's PC Trackers program.
JC Penney could wind up with empty shelves
NEW YORK -- J.C. Penney, which is struggling with big losses and steep sales declines, could face another challenge: empty shelves.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey Oing told Penney's attorneys on Monday that the chain took a risk by ordering towels, cookware and other products from the company that home diva Martha Stewart founded. In fact, Oing said he could force Penney to stop the products from heading to the shelves this spring even as they come off the docks.
Oing said he will hear oral arguments on Friday over the issue of whether Penney can sell goods like towels designed by Martha Stewart Living that are covered by Macy's exclusive agreement but are not sold under the Martha Stewart brand name.
Hess, under pressure, to exit retail business
NEW YORK -- Hess is getting out of the gas station business and ridding itself of its energy trading and marketing businesses, as it shifts its focus further into exploration and production.
The company will also nominate a slate of six independent directors to its board, replacing six that already hold seats.
The announcement arrives about a month after the hedge fund Elliott Management, one of the company's largest shareholders, accused the board of "poor oversight," and said that the company's management was responsible for more than a "decade of failures."
Asian firm buys site of stalled Vegas casino
LAS VEGAS -- Panda habitats, tea gardens and red pagodas have never been part of the visual vocabulary of the Las Vegas Strip. But Sin City is about to get all three and much more as a Malaysian conglomerate prepares to build the first new mega-casino to come to town since the recession wiped out a slew of projects in 2008.
The Genting Group announced Monday that it will break ground in 2014 on the 87-acre site where the partially built Echelon project has sat for nearly five years, put on indefinite hold by Boyd Gaming Corp.
Executives said they are launching the new project despite continued softness of gambling revenue here because they are ideally positioned to capitalize on the flood of Asian tourists flocking to the Strip.
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