Turmoil rises as Yahoo's talks in Asia collapse

  • Updated: February 14, 2012 - 9:32 PM
Turmoil rises as Yahoo's talks in Asia collapse

Yahoo's hopes for a fresh start under a new CEO faded Tuesday as discussions to sell most of its Asian holdings unraveled and a frustrated shareholder announced that he'll try to seize four seats on the struggling Internet company's board. Yahoo Inc. has been trying to appease shareholders by negotiating to sell two of its most valuable assets -- most of its 40 percent stake in Alibaba of China and all of its 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan. But the talks to put together a tax-free transaction ended late Monday after several days of negotiations in Hong Kong, according to people briefed on the matter, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Hours after reports about the end of the talks emerged, Third Point, a hedge fund that is one of Yahoo's biggest shareholders, disclosed that it planned to challenge the company for four of the company's 11 board seats. Shares of Yahoo tumbled 4.7 percent.

Berkshire adds to its hold on Wells Fargo

Warren Buffett's company boosted its stake in Wells Fargo & Co. last year and sold shares of Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Foods, according to documents the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. revealed a number of adjustments in its $66.2 billion stock portfolio in the fourth quarter. It purchased 46.6 million Wells Fargo shares to give it 408 million shares and control of 7.7 percent of the banking giant, a stake worth $12.41 billion at the close of business Tuesday. Berkshire cut its stake in Johnson & Johnson to 29 million shares at year end from 37.4 million in the previous quarter. The smaller stake was worth $1.87 billion Tuesday. Berkshire continued trimming its Kraft Foods stake to 87 million shares. Two years ago, Berkshire owned 138.3 million shares, or 9.4 percent of Kraft's stock, its current stake amounts to 4.9 percent of Kraft, worth about $3.35 billion Tuesday.

China's iPad dispute with Apple escalates

The authorities in a second Chinese city were said to have begun seizing iPads from local retailers in an escalating trademark dispute between Apple and an insolvent maker of computer displays, Proview Technology. The tablet computers are under "temporary impoundment" from retailers in Xuzhou, a city in coastal Jiangsu province, Ma Dongxiao, a lawyer for Proview's creditors and the company, said by telephone. News reports Monday said about 45 iPads had been confiscated from outlets in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, about 165 miles southwest of Beijing. The seizures follow a ruling in December in which a court in Shenzhen, China, dismissed Apple's contention that it owned the iPad name in China.

Bank of Japan beefs up asset-purchase fund

Japan's central bank unexpectedly added 10 trillion yen ($128 billion) to an asset-purchase program and set an inflation goal after an economic slide fueled criticism it has been slower to act than counterparts. An asset fund increased to 30 trillion yen, with a credit lending program staying at 35 trillion yen, the Bank of Japan said in Tokyo. The BOJ also said that it will target 1 percent inflation "for the time being."

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