Today in the press

Wednesday 03 April 2013 15.31
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers
A look at some of today's business stories in the newspapers

VODAFONE INVESTORS IN LINE FOR TAKEOVER WINDFALL - Thousands of Irish investors in Vodafone are set for a windfall after plans emerged for the company to be sold to a US telecoms giant. AT&T is believed to lining up a bid for Vodafone's business outside of the United States, says the Irish Independent. At about $245 billion (€192 billion), the deal, which also involves another US carrier, would be the biggest ever takeover if it goes through. Vodafone's are some of the most widely held shares in the country. That dates back to Vodafone's purchase of Eircom's Eircell in 2000. Vodafone paid €4.5 billion for Eircell but paid for it through new shares in Vodafone. That meant that Eircom shareholders received Vodafone shares as payment for Eircell. Eircom was famously one of the biggest flotations in the history of the State, with thousands of "ordinary" people investing in the company. Vodafone shares are currently trading at close to their share price in 2000. Any deal, however, is likely to be at a premium of around 40% of their current price, paving the way for huge profits for shareholders.

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OCEAN ENERGY DEVELOPER WAVEBOB SET TO GO UNDER - Ocean energy developer Wavebob looks set to be wound up next week when its board will tell investors, including State-owned Bord Gáis, that the company has run out of money. Wavebob, set up in 1999 to develop a commercial system for converting wave energy into electricity, will hold shareholders' and creditors' meetings next week to place the company in liquidation, writes the Irish Times. The company has spent about €10 million to date, much of it raised from investors, including State-owned utility Bord Gáis, which put €1.8 million into Wavebob in 2010. Chairman Padraig Berry confirmed yesterday that the board has concluded that the company cannot continue to trade. "Putting it simply, we have run out of money," he said. Mr Berry explained that the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) had refused a grant requested by the company, effectively spelling the end of the business. He explained that the grant was meant to act as bridging finance until the company could raise cash from investors in the middle of this year. According to recent reports, Wavebob had been hoping to raise €10 million in fresh investment. Wavebob had been testing its systems off the west coast, was involved in development projects in Portugal and worked on a joint venture with Swedish company Vattenfall.

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COMPANIES ALLOWED TO TWEET #USEARNINGS - Companies can now tweet their earnings in 140 characters or less. The Securities and Exchange Commission gave its permission on Tuesday for companies to use social media websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to distribute their news, provided shareholders are told in advance which sites they plan to use, says the Financial Times. The decision could prompt a sea change in how companies communicate with investors and comes as regulators more broadly grapple with adapting decades-old regulations to new and evolving technologies. “We do not wish to inhibit the content, form or forum of any such disclosure, and we are mindful of placing additional compliance burdens on issuers,” the SEC said. “In fact, we encourage companies to seek out new forms of communication to better connect with shareholders.” Such a broad shift would not be without risks. Small shareholders who are not actively searching those websites for information could be placed at a disadvantage, it is feared. The decision also resolves an investigation into Netflix and Reed Hastings, its chief executive, who in July posted on his personal Facebook page that Netflix monthly viewing surpassed more than 1bn hours for the first time in June.

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SHORTGAGE OF SKILLED GRADUATES BLAMED AS 936 TECH VACANCIES ARE LEFT UNFILLED - Nearly a thousand tech jobs are available in some of the world’s top companies, but Ireland does not produce enough skilled graduates to fill them. A survey of the available tech jobs found there are 936 jobs available in the tech sector, from sales to high-end developer positions paying close to €60,000 annually. The Irish Examiner says that the jobs are available in Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo, as well as other tech big hitters that have chosen to make Dublin a base for their operations. The CEO of the Irish Internet Association, Jane Mulvihill, said the problem was that the firms are unable to find employees to meet their needs. “We need to take a more granular approach to the tech sector vacancies, because perhaps we, the companies, have a lot of vacancies as we don’t have the right people to fill the positions,” said Ms Mulvihill. “There are a lot of people out there with some development experience but not nearly enough to get the job.” A lot of the jobs that are on offer also require language skills and the companies who are offering the jobs have a preference for native speakers. For instance, Facebook in Dublin is looking for user analysts with Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese. These are jobs that Irish people will struggle to fill. Ms Mulvihill said the IAI has been making progress working with the higher education authority to try and fill some of the skills gaps.

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Keywords: presswatch