Northern,WI 3/18/2013 (BasicsMedia) – STMicro (NYSE:STM) and Ericsson (ERIC) plan to close ST-Ericsson after failing to find a buyer for the loss-making mobile-chip joint venture. Ericsson will retain 1,800 workers and a suite of thin 4G mobile chips, while STMicro will keep 950 employees and other products. A further 1,600 staff will lose their jobs. The shutdown will cost STMicro $350-450M, less than a prior forecast of $500M. Ericsson already made a provision of 3.3B Swedish kroners ($515.7M) in 2012.
HSBC (NYSE:HBC) could reportedly axe up to 5,000 or more jobs as part of the desire of CEO Stuart Gulliver to lower expenses by another $1B in 2013. The cuts would add to the sharp staff and cost reductions the bank has already implemented in the past couple of years, and are set to be unveiled at an investor day in May. While the bank has slashed its outgoings, it’s still far away from meeting its cost-income ratio targets.
Panasonic (NYSE:PC) is considering its options for its healthcare and TV operations following reports that the company could sell its healthcare unit as part of its strategy of offloading non-core assets, and that it could withdraw from the TV plasma market as part of downsizing of the overall TV business. KKR (KKR) and other private-equity funds could be interested in the healthcare operations, for which Panasonic wants up to ¥100B ($1.04B).
Dex One (DEXO), formerly known as R.H. Donnelley, has made a “pre-packaged” Chapter 11 filing along with SuperMedia (SPMD) as the companies look to win court approval for their merger. The idea is to sideline two out of 400 senior creditors who refused to accept a lengthening on the maturity of the firms’ debt by up to 26 months until December 2016 as part of the merger.
JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) asset manager Highbridge Capital Management has raised a $5B mezzanine debt fund, the largest such vehicle the firm has created since the financial crisis. The fundraising comes as investors seek out high yields due to low interest rates, and follows Blackstone’s raising of a similar $4B fund last year.
South Korea is investigating Toyota (TM), BMW (BAMXY.PK), Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF.PK) and Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) for allegedly colluding on prices. The probe follows progress that the companies have made in cutting into the market share of domestic automakers after trade agreements between South Korea and the U.S. and EU.
China Central Television (CCTV) has accused Apple (AAPL) and Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) of giving consumers a bad deal. It’s worth taking notice, as it was CCTV allegations about chicken quality at Yum Brands’ (YUM) KFC that led to a plunge in sales.