Morning business news - July 17

Thursday 17 July 2014 11.51
Morning business news - July 17
Morning business news - July 17

The National Digital Research Centre, which is an investor in early stage companies, reports today that the market capital of the ventures it backs trebled to €120m last year. 

According to Ben Hurley, NDRC's chief executive, the centre reached a number of milestones during 2013, as the companies it has backed continue to grow and even offer a return on investment.

Many have also shown a viability outside of the NDRC programme, with investors becoming increasingly interested in its start-ups.

“It’s really important to know that the companies are making progress and one of the key things is if they can succeed in raising private money from commercial investors like VCs and angels,” he said.

“Our ventures have succeeded in raising €40m of that to date.”

Mr Hurley said the NDRC would tend to have between 20 and 40 companies within its programmes at any one time, and it offers them support, advice and access to expertise to help them develop their ideas and prepare for the challenges ahead.

A number of NDRC “alumni” also help with this, by using their experiences in the programme to help younger start-ups as they begin on the path.

“The amount of money we are investing is quite small in some respects, but the mentoring and the experience of bringing them through that transformative stage is crucial,” Mr Hurley said.

“Just in terms of being able to connect with the right kind of people and know how you’re going to address the problems you’re going to experience at early stage as you’re trying to validate your proposition to customers.”

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Ebay - the online retailer - has reported profits of $676m March, April and May. Those were ahead of what analysts had been expecting. Revenue grew by 13% to $4.4bn, and that was less than hoped.

Shares in the company were up by more than 1.5% in trading after the US stock market closed.

Ebay said it had a challenging quarter with several "distractions" - that's a reference to a data breach earlier this year. In May, eBay said as many as 145 million customer accounts could have been compromised.

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Apple has been forced to pay up to $400m to compensate consumers for illegal price-fixing for electronic books. New York's Attorney General hailed it as "a major victory" but Apple isn't happy and will appeal the ruling.

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Stock markets in the US hit their fifteenth record closing high of the year yesterday. 

They were boosted by news of a major Apple-IBM partnership and a rejected takeover bid by 21st Century Fox for Time Warner.

The Dow Jones index was up by 0.45%, at 17138.20. The S&P was also higher and the tech-based Nasdaq fell.

Shares in Time Warner soared by 17%, to $83.13 per share, following its rejection of a takeover offer from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

That offer from 21st Century Fox valued Time Warner at about at $80bn. 

The takeover approach by the Rupert Murdoch owned company was made last month. A statement yesterday said it is not currently in talks with Time Warner about pursuing the deal further.