Huawei Technologies: Awaiting Obama's Verdict
The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, which reviews foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies, has called for China's No. 1 telecom-equipment maker, Huawei Technologies, to divest itself of 3Leaf Systems, a small California tech company it bought in May for an undisclosed sum. A group of lawmakers says China's access to 3Leaf's cloud technology could pose a security risk to U.S. computer networks. Similar concerns have stymied the Shenzhen company's attempts to expand in the U.S. in recent years. Huawei says allegations about the 3Leaf deal are unfounded and that withdrawing would harm its brand and reputation. The company is waiting for President Obama to weigh in on the issue.
América Móvil: Eyeing European Markets
América Móvil, Latin America's No. 1 wireless carrier, says it may launch an offer for Polkomtel, Poland's largest mobile-phone company. Polkomtel's owners, which include Vodafone Group (VOD), are seeking a minimum price of $5 billion. América Móvil, which is controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, is looking for a foothold in Europe as growth slows in the Americas. The company expects to add up to 17 million new mobile-phone customers this year, a 7.6 percent increase, compared with a gain of about 12 percent in 2010.
Home Depot: On a Hiring Spree
Home Depot (HD) is hiring more than 60,000 temporary workers in the U.S. and is adding permanent employees for the second year in a row. The home improvement retailer, which employs 317,000, is staffing up for the busy March-June selling season and bolstering sales efforts as unemployment eases and consumer confidence rises. Household purchases grew at a 4.4 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter, the fastest since the first three months of 2006, according to Commerce Dept. figures.
Zynga: Attracting Pre-IPO Investors
Zynga, the No. 1 maker of games for Facebook, is in talks to raise $250 million in funding from T. Rowe Price (TROW) and Fidelity Investments at a valuation of as much as $9 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter. The rush to invest in fast-growing Web companies before they go public is drawing institutional fund managers who don't traditionally back startups. T. Rowe Price owns stakes in Twitter and Angie's List, and along with Fidelity previously invested in apps maker Slide, which was bought by Google (GOOG) last year.
Borders: Bankrupt, After a Long Struggle
Borders (BGP), the No. 2 U.S. bookstore chain, filed for bankruptcy in New York on Feb. 16 after management changes, job cuts, and debt restructuring failed to make up for sagging sales in the face of competition from Amazon.com (AMZN) and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). The 40-year-old chain says it may shut up to 43 percent of its 639 stores. It plans to restructure with $505 million in financing from lenders led by GE Capital. Borders's market value has fallen by more than $3 billion since 1998.
On the Move
— Michelin: CFO Jean-Dominique Senard appointed CEO
— Nobel Biocare: Richard Laube to become CEO in May
— Vitamin Shoppe: Anthony Truesdale named CEO
— Carlyle Group: Adena Friedman appointed CFO