The digital business week

6 Feb 2012

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

Facebook files papers for US$5bn IPO in May

In what will go down as the biggest IPO in tech history, social networking giant Facebook last week filed for its flotation in May. In the filing, Facebook said it hoped to raise US$5bn initially and revealed it had 845m monthly active users.

The SEC filing also revealed a trove of information about Facebook, such as how dependent it is on online games firm Zynga, which accounts for 12pc of Facebook’s revenues.

In the filing, Facebook revealed that in 2011 it achieved revenues of US$3.7bn, up from US$1.9bn a year earlier. It derived a net profit in 2011 of US$1bn, up from US$606m last year.

Facebook has total assets of US$6.3bn and liabilities of US$1.4bn.

Ireland’s incumbent telco Eircom to be sold

Eircom has appointed Morgan Stanley to advise it on the sale of the company, it revealed. The company is expecting to receive proposals from interested parties in mid-March.

“ERC Ireland Holdings Limited (‘the company’) today confirmed that the directors of the company have authorised the initiation of a process to assess the interest of third-party strategic and financial investors in a sale of the company,” Eircom said in a recent statement.

“This process will be conducted as part of the wider balance sheet remediation process currently under way,” Eircom said.

The move follows extensive negotiations between Eircom and its senior lenders.

Telefónica launches mobile network for youth market

O2’s parent company Telefónica has launched a new standalone operator called ‘48’ that will focus on the 18 to 22-year-old marketplace. The new operator will offer unlimited calls and texts to any other operator for €10 a month.

The standalone operator will sit within Telefónica Digital, which is a new global business division of Telefónica whose mission it is to seize opportunities within the digital world.

The company says 48 will become an important test bed for new products developed by Telefónica Digital, while lessons from 48 will be shared amongst the wider group. 48 joins other standalone, over the top businesses, including giffgaff, Terra and Tuenti, in the Telefónica Digital family.

Sony appoints Kazuo Hirai as president and CEO

Consumer electronics giant Sony has appointed a new president and CEO, Kazuo Hirai. Hirai takes the helm on 1 April, and current chairman, CEO and president Sir Howard Stringer will become chairman of the board of directors in June.

Hirai is currently executive deputy president, and Stringer recommended him as his successor, Sony said in a statement.

Stringer will continue as chairman of Sony Corporation until his ascension to the board chairmanship, which will become effective upon board approval following the annual shareholders’ meeting in June, when the current chairman, Yotaro Kobayashi, will retire.

Hirai is also expected to be appointed to the board at the June shareholders meeting.

Nokia, Samsung, Apple are top 3 leading mobile vendors – research

Nokia is still the leading mobile phone vendor in the world, followed by Samsung and Apple, according to new research.

According to the IDC, Nokia was still the leader in global mobile shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011. It shipped 113.5m devices in the quarter.

Samsung came second, shipping a record 97.6m mobile devices within the quarter. It also shipped 300m units within the full year. The IDC said this was due to Samsung’s high-end devices, – such as the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus – its mid-range models and its Windows Phone smartphones.

Apple reached third in global smartphone shipments, rising from fifth place in the last quarter, thanks to record-breaking shipments of its new device, the iPhone 4S.

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