Company News: Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Wal-Martby
Facebook: Making search social
Facebook unveiled a search tool for its social network of more than 1 billion users, creating a rival feature to those available on Google, LinkedIn, and Yelp. Facebook’s Graph Search lets users look for people, photos, interests, and places that have been shared on the network. It’s being rolled out in test mode to a limited number of members. Queries, such as “Friends in New York who like Jay-Z,” will return answers shaped by the content and preferences specified by the searcher’s community on the social network. When Facebook cannot deliver a clear answer to a user’s query, it will return results from Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
JPMorgan Chase: London Whale crushes Dimon’s pay
After an eight-month review of the $6.2 billion in losses caused by U.K. trader Bruno Iksil, nicknamed the London Whale because of his big derivatives bets, the board of JPMorgan Chase will cut Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon’s pay in half. Dimon’s compensation for 2012 is still $11.5 million, compared with $23 million a year earlier. “Mr. Dimon bears ultimate responsibility for the failures that led to the losses … and has accepted responsibility,” the company said on Jan. 16.
Wal-Mart Stores: Charm offensive
Wal-Mart Stores pledged to hire all honorably discharged U.S. veterans and buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made products to stock its shelves in the coming decade. Over the next five years, the retailer may hire as many as 100,000 veterans who are within a year of leaving active duty, a move that may generate as much as $960 million in tax breaks. Walmart has recently received some bad publicity from allegations that it bribed officials in Mexico and from a fire at a supplier’s Bangladeshi factory that killed more than 100.
Boeing: Dreamliner grounded
The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily grounded all U.S.-registered Boeing 787 Dreamliners over concerns about its lithium-ion batteries. The directive followed the decisions by All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines to ground their 787 fleets after one flight made an emergency landing when a battery alarm went off and another caught fire on the tarmac in Boston. United is the only U.S. carrier currently flying the plastic-composite 787, with six in operation and about 40 on order.
Dell: Looking to go private
Dell, the third-largest personal-computer maker, has been discussing a leveraged buyout with private-equity firms TPG Capital and Silver Lake, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Dell’s stock is down 48 percent over the past five years, as investors have become frustrated with the company’s failure to adapt to an industrywide shift to mobile and cloud computing. Founder Michael Dell and his backers will need to round up more than $20 billion in debt and equity to pull off what would be the biggest LBO since 2007.