Dynegy: Buying Time with a Bankruptcy Deal
Power producer Dynegy placed several of its units under bankruptcy protection. If the move is approved, it would give the company time to bring down debts and for energy prices to rebound. Earlier this year, Dynegy, which was on course to run out of cash, shifted valuable coal and gas plants out of a unit called Dynegy Holdings, one of those later placed in bankruptcy. Shifting these assets protected shareholders such as Carl Icahn and prompted a lawsuit from Dynegy Holdings’ angry bondholders. The deal proposed in bankruptcy court would restore the plants as collateral for the bonds—news that sent bond prices rallying from $70 to as high as $78 after the proposal was announced.
Olympus: Pressure to Oust More Executives
Olympus shareholders want the Japanese camera maker to hold more executives responsible for an accounting scandal that has sent shares tumbling more than 75 percent since mid-October. After weeks of denying wrongdoing, the company on Nov. 7 said three executives hid decades of losses. Olympus fired one exec, another stepped down, and the third has offered to resign. A major shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, has called for the resignations of the head of investor relations and the company’s board.
Adobe: Bye-bye to Flash on Mobile
Adobe Systems plans to stop developing its Flash platform for mobile devices and will shift research and development as well as marketing resources to the increasingly popular HTML5 programming language. The change includes cutting 750 jobs, primarily in North America and Europe. Adobe has long faced pressure from Apple, whose iPad and iPhone devices don’t display websites that use Flash. The computer maker says Flash is too power-hungry for mobile devices.
China Telecom: Making a Move on the U.S. Market
China Telecom plans to start marketing a wireless service to U.S. consumers under its own brand early next year, seeking to sign up students, tourists, and Chinese-Americans who travel often between the two countries. China’s biggest fixed-line provider will offer handsets with two lines, one that will work in the U.S. and another in China. The company is already in trials with wholesale network providers and may consider buying or building its own U.S. wireless network in the future, which would require regulatory review.
Berkshire Hathaway: Betting Big on Stocks
Striking while the stock market was down, Berkshire Hathaway made more investments in the third quarter than in any period in the past 15 years. CEO Warren Buffett bought more stock and broadened the company’s holdings beyond consumer and financial services firms to include more commercial and industrial stocks. The $23.9 billion buying spree came as Europe’s debt crisis and Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. pushed stocks to their worst quarterly performance since 2008.