The digital business week

19 Dec 2011

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

Is Facebook hurtling towards a US$1bn profit?

Facebook is hurtling towards a net income for 2011 of a stunning US$1bn, depending, of course, if it can reach US$4bn in revenues.

Figures leaked by Facebook sources and reported late last week by Gawker’s Ryan Tate show that between January and September this year, Facebook racked up revenues of US$2.5bn and a net income of US$714m.

The social networking giant is expected to IPO early next year with the potential to raise US$10bn based on its US$100bn valuation.

Zynga raises US$1bn in biggest US web IPO since Google

Social gaming company Zynga has priced its stock at US$10 per share and raised US$1bn in its initial public offering, which is set to be the largest internet IPO since Google.

Zynga offered 100m shares for US$10 each, which was the top end of the US$8.50 to US$10 indicative range. The IPO now values the company at US$7bn.

Certain Zynga stockholders have granted underwriters a 30-day option to buy an extra 15m shares to cover over-allotments.

The IPO is the largest from a US internet company since Google’s IPO in 2004, which raised US$1.9bn.

Apple in talks to buy flash storage maker Anobit

Apple is understood to be in talks with a view to acquiring Israel-based Anobit, a maker of flash storage technology, for up to US$500m.

Anobit’s flash drive technology uses signal processing to boost performance and its technology is widely used in the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air.

Final negotiations are taking place and the California technology powerhouse could be willing to pay between US$400m and US$500m for the company.

According to a report in the daily newspaper Calcalist, Apple is interested in using Anobit’s technology to enhance the performance of its top mobile devices and could result in memory within iPads and MacBooks being doubled.

Datalex settles legal dispute with Australian firm

Irish airport software company Datalex has settled a legal dispute over alleged breach of contract with Flight Centre of Australia.

Flight Centre Ltd (Flighties) and its South African subsidiary brought a breach of contract case against Datalex in relation to a software development contract. In an action in the Supreme Court of Queensland, Flight Centre was seeking damages of US$14m.

“Datalex today announces that it has successfully settled its legal case with Flight Centre of Australia. Datalex and Flight Centre have negotiated in good faith and resolved the proceedings to their mutual satisfaction.

“The settlement, which will complete in 2012, will result in a Balance Sheet adjustment of approximately US$2m as an exceptional item in 2011, against receivables and unrecovered expenditures. The guided operating performance for EBITDA and year-end cash for 2011 is unaffected,” Datalex said.

The Dublin-headquartered company said the conclusion of proceedings will allow it to focus on what it described as a strong business pipeline and growth projected for 2011.

Bill Gates is not returning as CEO of Microsoft

Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates denied he would return to lead the tech company again, burying rumours which emerged this month.

An unnamed chief executive told Fortune that Gates was considering becoming CEO of Microsoft again after he stepped down in 2006 to work on philanthropy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

However, Gates denied these rumours to the Sydney Morning Herald, saying he will work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the rest of his life.

“I’m part-time involved with Microsoft, including even being in touch this week to give some of my advice but that’s not going to change – the foundation requires all of my energy and we feel we’re having a great impact,” he said.

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