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Warren Buffett, Quicken Loans founder in Yahoo bid – sources

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Berkshire Hathaway Inc Chairman Warren Buffett is backing a consortium vying for Yahoo Inc’s internet assets that includes Quicken Loans Inc founder Dan Gilbert, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

While there is no certainty that the consortium will prevail in the auction, the interest of Buffett and Gilbert is a boost for the Sunnyvale, California-based company, which has been surpassed in recent years by rivals such as Alphabet Inc in the race for internet users and advertising dollars.

The consortium’s participation in the sale process also represents a challenge to U.S. telecommunications carrier Verizon Communications Inc, whose deal to acquire AOL last year for $4.4 billion has made it a favorite to prevail in its bid for Yahoo’s assets among industry analysts.

The consortium is in the second round of bidding in the auction for Yahoo’s assets, the people said. Buffett is helping finance the offer, one of the people added.

It is not clear whether Gilbert, a billionaire who also owns the U.S. basketball team Cleveland Cavaliers, is using Quicken Loans in any way as part of the consortium’s bid.

The sources asked not to be identified because the details of the sale process are confidential. Buffett offered no immediate comment when reached by telephone. Quicken Loans declined to comment on behalf of Gilbert, while Yahoo declined to comment.

Reuters reported last month that Yahoo had shortlisted close to 10 bidders in the auction for its assets, with most offers coming from private equity firms.

At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting last month, Buffett admitted that Berkshire had been slow to adapt to new technology as far as its investments were concerned.

Buffett, whose Berkshire is an IBM Corp shareholder, said in a CNBC interview on May 2 that Yahoo’s business had deteriorated significantly and that “something has to change there.” He did not mention any potential bid on his part.

Susan Decker, who worked at Yahoo in several senior roles between 2000 and 2009, including president and chief financial officer, is now a director on Berkshire’s board.

“I hope the next owner can do something to revitalize the spirit of the core things that made Yahoo very, very unique and create a distinction in consumers’ minds about why they love Yahoo still. It will be helpful if it is private or part of a much larger corporation to achieve that,” she said on CNBC in an interview on April 29.

Last month, Yahoo said that activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP Chief Executive Jeffrey Smith and three independent directors associated with him would join its board immediately.

Yahoo’s four new directors were on a slate that Starboard had proposed to oust Yahoo’s entire board.

 

 

Source : http://www.reuters.com/

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Galaxy Fold 2 to feature long notification display

The narrow display is likely to have its own unique functionality that allows readers to access notifications without unfolding their Galaxy Fold 2.

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Seoul, May 27 : South Korean tech giant Samsung is expected to launch its next foldable smartphone Galaxy Fold 2 with a long display that would only show notifications and can even be water resistant.

According to a patent that has been published by WIPO from Samsung Electronics and was first reported by LetsGoDigital, the device folds inwards and has a camera system on the outside.

A new inclusion is the secondary long notification display on the rear.

The narrow display is likely to have its own unique functionality that allows readers to access notifications without unfolding their Galaxy Fold 2.

Additionally, the design structure of the device is made to be waterproof to protect its internal components.

The device is likely to come with a triple-camera setup on the back.

The current Galaxy Fold handset is priced at Rs 1.65 lakh.

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Google gives workers Rs 75K each, to reopen offices from July 6

According to Pichai, there are a limited number of Googlers whose roles are needed back in office this calendar year.

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San Francisco, May 27 : Google has set July 6 the date for its employees to return to office in a gradual, phased manner and has announced to give $1,000 (around Rs 75,000) to each of its workers globally for expenses on necessary equipment and office furniture as they work from home.

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company will restart opening more buildings in more cities from July 6.

“This will give Googlers who need to come back to the officeeor, capacity permitting, who want to come backethe opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis (think: one day every couple of weeks, so roughly 10 percent building occupancy),” Pichai said in a statement late Tuesday.

According to him, if condition allows, Google will gain 30 per cent office capacity by September by further scaling the rotation programme.

“Because we still expect that most Googlers will be largely working from home for the rest of this year, we’ll be giving each Googler an allowance of $1,000, or the equivalent value in your country, to expense necessary equipment and office furniture,” Pichai announced.

According to Pichai, there are a limited number of Googlers whose roles are needed back in office this calendar year.

“If this applies to you, your manager will let you know by June 10. For everyone else, returning to the office will be voluntary through the end of the year, and we encourage you to continue to work from home if you can,” said Pichai.

Google’s original plan was to keep work from home policy until June 1.

While some of Google employees have expressed interest in coming back to the office, others have asked whether it’s okay to temporarily relocate to another place to be closer to family while you’re working from home.

Pichai said that in this case, they need to review the guidelines which include important information about a number of personal factors such as your tax filings and health coverage/eligibility.

“We’ll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left,” said the Google CEO.

“We are taking slow, deliberate steps to begin re-opening offices in areas where they still remain largely closed. We’re also investing more in your work-from-home setup to make sure you have what you need to be productive and comfortable,” he added.

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Moderate participation expected in spectrum auctions: ICRA

In addition, the telcos are required to pay Rs 90,000 crore as AGR dues as per the Supreme Court order, but the payment terms are yet to be finalised in the court.

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Mumbai, May 27 : Rating agency ICRA expects moderate participation for the upcoming spectrum auctions at Rs 55,000-Rs 60,000 crore due to the limited financial flexibility of the industry.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended auctions with one of the largest quanta of spectrum on offer – more than 8,500 MHz, which at reserve price, is valued at around Rs 5.7 lakh crore.

However, ICRA expects a relatively muted participation fetching around only Rs 55,000 – Rs 60,000 crore to the exchequer.

“This, along with the impending AGR dues, are expected to result in further elevation of the industry debt to around Rs 4,60,000 crore as on March 31, 2021 despite sizeable deleveraging done by the telcos as well as the anticipated improvement in cash flow generation post the tariff hikes,” ICRA said in a study on Wednesday.

“Such a high valuation is on account of high reserve prices and high quantity of spectrum for the newer bands i.e. 700 MHz and 3300-3600 MHz, which are primarily expected to be used for 5G. The 700 MHz was put to auction in October 2016 where it went unsold and thereafter the price for this band has been revised downwards for the forthcoming auction.”

According to ICRA’s Assistant Vice President for Corporate Ratings Ankit Jain, the ratings agency foresee minimal participation in the 700 MHz band and expects relatively better participation in the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, that beholds significant expiries for incumbents in 2021, and thus the telcos will acquire it for continuation of 4G services.

The Centre has budgeted Rs 1.33 lakh crore as non-tax receipts from the telecom sector for FY2021.

“While the regular receipts – license fee and spectrum usage charges – are expected to fetch around Rs 20,000 crore, the telcos will have to pay Rs 20,000-25,000 crore as upfront payment for the forthcoming spectrum as per ICRA expectations,” the statement said.

In addition, the telcos are required to pay Rs 90,000 crore as AGR dues as per the Supreme Court order, but the payment terms are yet to be finalised in the court.

“If the telcos are required to pay this amount upfront, the Government will meet its target for FY2021, while in case of staggered payment terms stretching to 20 years, there will be a sizeable shortfall in the GoI collections.”

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