The digital business week

10 Jan 2011

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

LinkedIn aiming to go public by 2011

The social networking site for professionals is reportedly planning to go public in 2011, possibly leading the IPO charge before Facebook, and has also chosen its final underwriters.

According to an article on Reuters, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan are among the front runners, having made their pitches to LinkedIn in November 2010. Sources told Reuters that LinkedIn plans to register an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011.

There’s speculation that LinkedIn it is vying to edge by going forward before Facebook.

Facebook may be forced to IPO by April 2012

With its US$50bn valuation and fresh round of investment, Facebook has disclosed it will begin disclosing financial information or go public by April 2012.

The company said it also plans to increase the number of shareholders it has above 500 this year as part of its private placement agreement.

Under SEC rules, firms that have more than 500 investors – Facebook says it has fewer than 499 – are obliged to publish financial information in order to protect investors.

Mark Zuckerberg doubles his personal riches

The Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has seen his personal fortune double to stg£9bn following the cash injection of US$500m from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky into Facebook.

Zuckerberg appears to be on a continual roll, especially after being named Time Person of the Year for 2010.

In terms of his philanthropic interests, Zuckerberg founded the Start-up: Education Foundation in September 2010.

He also became a signatory of The Giving Pledge in December, an effort that invites the wealthiest individuals and families in the US to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Zuckerberg has also donated an undisclosed sum to Diaspora, a free personal web server that implements a distributed social-networking service.

eBay’s mobile sales more than treble to US$2bn in 2010

eBay’s global mobile sales reached nearly US$2bn in 2010, up from US$600m in 2009.

In the US market, gross merchandise volumes from mobiles were up nearly 175pc to US$850m. The company said mobile sales in the UK and Germany accounted for nearly a third of the total.

“As mobile shopping peaked this year, eBay led the way by becoming the go-to shopping destination,” said Steve Yankovich, vice-president of mobile for eBay. “With more than 30 million downloads of eBay’s mobile apps worldwide, eBay is clearly a barometer for mobile shopping trends.”

eBay said the categories that generated the largest amount of mobile-generated sales in the US in 2010 were: cars and trucks; clothing and accessories; auto parts; sporting goods; and cell phones and accessories.

Motorola splits into two companies

Motorola has formally divided up into two separate trading companies: Mobility, which will focus on consumers, and Solution, which will be geared towards professionals.

Motorola Mobility began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol MMI on 4 January.

According to Motorola Mobility, its interests will comprise its mobile devices business, concentrating on smartphones. In 2010, it launched 23 smartphones globally, including Droid, Bravo, Defy, Flipside and Milestone.

Meanwhile, Motorola Mobility’s home business will continue to provide digital set-top boxes and end-to-end video solutions.

IDA Ireland secured 126 foreign direct investments in 2010

IDA Ireland companies created 10,897 new jobs in 2010, but the year also saw nearly as many job losses in companies supported by the IDA – 9,545 job losses, to be exact, marking an increase of 1,352.

IDA Ireland, in its year-end statement, said foreign direct investment increased “significantly” in 2010, with 126 foreign direct investments secured in 2010.

Companies such as Telefonica, Warner Chilcott, LinkedIn, EA, Riot Games, Genband, Aspect and FC Stone invested in Ireland for the first time, with the first-time investments amounting to an increase of 20pc.

Investment in research, development and innovation came to more than €500m, IDA said. IDA-supported companies pay more than 60pc corporation tax in Ireland while exports from those companies amount to more than 75pc of total Irish exports.