Yahoo!: A new CEO joins from PayPal
Yahoo! appointed Scott Thompson chief executive officer, four months after firing Carol Bartz for failing to drive a turnaround at the struggling Internet company. Thompson joins Yahoo from EBay’s PayPal unit, where he served as president, expanding the payment platform to mobile phones and in foreign markets. His background is in financial technology companies rather than media- and content-driven businesses. The incoming CEO will need to boost visitors to Yahoo’s sites and draw more advertisers while deciding which assets to sell. Meanwhile, Microsoft and at least two private equity firms are sizing up a possible bid for a stake in Yahoo, say people close to the companies.
Chevron: A lost appeal in Ecuador
An appeals court in Ecuador upheld an $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron for pollution in the Amazon decades ago. The company had appealed a February trial-court ruling that it was responsible for toxic wastewater dumped in the jungle from 1964 to 1992 by Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001. Ecuador President Rafael Correa praised the ruling. Chevron, in a statement, said the decision is not enforceable. It is pursuing arbitration at the Hague and suing the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the case in U.S. federal court.
Comcast: NBC scores on Super Bowl ads
Comcast’s NBC Universal sold out its 30-second ad spots for this year’s Super Bowl, getting as much as $4 million per ad. (It also sold out all available digital advertising for the game that airs on Feb. 5.) The average price per TV spot was a record $3.5 million, up 17 percent from last year, when News Corp.’s Fox commanded an estimated $3 million an ad. That game had the biggest audience in U.S. television history, with 111 million viewers tuning in to see the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pimco: Investors pull out of flagship fund
Clients withdrew $5 billion from Bill Gross’s Pimco Total Return Fund last year, according to research firm Morningstar. The world’s largest mutual fund returned 4.2 percent in 2011, falling behind more than two-thirds of its peers. The fund missed out on last year’s Europe-induced rally in U.S. Treasury bonds because Gross liquidated the fund’s T-bill holdings in February. Pimco says that it focuses on long-term returns, and the fund has outperformed 97 percent of competitors over the past five years.
Boeing: Closing an old military plane factory
Boeing plans to shutter its factory in Wichita, where it has built airplanes since 1929, as the U.S. military cuts back on spending. Layoffs at the plant, which employs more than 2,160 workers, will start in the third quarter of 2012. Work on the aerial-refueling tankers that the Pentagon ordered in February will move to the planemaker’s factory in Washington state. The military faces at least $450 billion in budget cuts over the next 10 years, and Boeing says it does not see enough new contracts on the horizon to keep the plant open.