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Activision Blizzard have just broken off their relationship with Vivendi in a deal worth $8.2 billion. Activision will be purchasing $5.83 billion worth of shares back, combined with a share purchase totaling $2.34 billion from an independent investor group led by Activision CEO, Bobby Kotick and co-chair Brian Kelly.
This might just sound like yet another move for a big company, but Activision Blizzard own quite a lot of hot gaming properties, such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and more.
What will this mean for gamers? Well, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has said that his company "should emerge even stronger -- an independent company with a best-in-class franchise portfolio...The transactions announced today will allow us to take advantage of attractive financing markets while still retaining more than $3 billion cash on hand to preserve financial stability".
Apple have been buying quite a lot of AAPL shares lately, a little after they jumped the iShark late last year. Their original plan was to buy 10 million shares in their third fiscal quarter of 2013, but instead, they've scooped up over 36 million shares.
Apple did this in two parts, using $4 billion in shares, and $12 billion through an accelerated share repurchase program. Apple purchased the shares at between $444 and $488 a piece. This is quite a lot of money, but the Cupertino-based company do have large cash reserves, but for that type of money they could've spent it better, acquiring companies that would see them grow and evolve.
I knew Amazon were big, but being based in Australia, I never see the true scope of them. Well, Amazon.com reported their quarterly earnings today, disclosing a $7 million loss for the company.
But there was a bright side to this news: they employ over 97,000 people. This includes both full- and part-time employees as of June 30, and is a number that is three times larger than what the company reported in 2010 of just 28,300 employees. This number does not include temporary workers, or contractors.
Amazon's employee count does include workers at their fulfillment centers around the world, so it's not just Americans that we're talking about here. But it's a number that shows just how big Amazon have gotten in the last three years alone.
The Galaxy S4 has launched from Samsung, but just how much did it help them with their Q2 2013 earnings? Well, they made $8.5 billion in operating profits over revenues of an astonishing $51 billion. Both of these amounts are the highest Samsung have ever posted in a single quarter, but they still fell short of Wall Street's expectations.
Samsung have said: "smartphone shipments and revenue increased from the March quarter" which is thanks to the launch of their flagship Galaxy S4 and that "quarterly revenue for the mobile sector climbed 9 percent compared with the prior". The South Korean giant has promised that smartphone sales would increase, stating they would "pick up in the third quarter and outperform global market forecasts".
Samsung did see a large increase in their profits on display panels, with a 46% increase in quarterly profits thanks to the high demand for large TVs. When talking tablets, Samsung said they expect the market to grow "in the mid-10 percent range with the introduction of new tablets".
Julian Assange has launched the WikiLeaks Party in Australia, all the way from his current 'home' in London's Ecuadorian embassy. The WikiLeaks Party have announced their candidates, shortly after their site went down due to a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack from an American "hacktivist".
The candidates for the WikiLeaks Party for the upcoming federal election in Australia are standing for New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. In New South Wales, we have human rights lawyer, Kellie Tranter, and academic, journalist and former public servant with the Department of External Affairs and Department of Foreign Affairs, Dr Alison Brionowski.
Journalist, Gerry Georgatos and economist and CEO of the Epilepsy Association for Western Australia, Suresh Rajan, are standing for Western Australia. Victoria will see Julian Assange himself standing, as well as author, ethicist and activist, Dr Leslie Cannold and RMIT lecturer, Dr Binoy Kampmark.
If you just happen to be sitting on top of a few million shares of stock from the chip making giant Intel, then you are in for a treat on September 1. Intel's Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of 22.5 cents per share of the company's common stock. Only stockholders on record by August 7, 2013, will be eligible for the dividend.
The previous quarter has been fairly nice to tech shareholders with many of Silicon Valley's biggest residents declaring quarterly dividends. The list includes telecommunications giant AT&T declaring 49 cents per share of common stock, and Apple being the biggest by paying $3.05 per share of common stock. Unfortunately, I misplaced that extra million shares of Apple I had laying around, so I guess all of you wonderful readers out there will just have to put up with me for at least another quarter of the year.
Last year, BlackBerry laid off over 500 employees in an attempt to lower overhead and operating costs and in more recent months, the company has seen several of its top-level management depart for one reason or another. Yesterday, Anthony Garreffa reported that the head of the now failed Playbook, David Smith, had resigned from the company as well. Call it what you want, but I call it a sinking ship.
Today we have learned that things are continuing to look darker for the once king of smartphones as the company lays off 250 more employees, this time from its New Product Testing and R&D Department. CEO Thorsten Heins says that these layoffs are part of the company's "complex transition phase."
A statement from BlackBerry's Lisette Kwong said:
I can confirm on the record, that BlackBerry on Tuesday informed 250 employees of their termination in Waterloo. These employees were part of the New Product Testing Facility, a department that supports BlackBerry's manufacturing and R&D efforts.This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing. We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve.
This week, Electronic Arts reported their first-quarter earnings, stating that digital sales have now passed the numbers of physical store sales. This is a huge turn for EA, but considering they now have 50 million+ gamers on Origin, not so much.
Who are EA's top retail partner? We kinda spoiled it in the title, but it's Apple. Most would point their fingers at companies like Walmart, Amazon, GameSpot, but it's Apple. EA's COO, Peter Moore, explains: "Our quarter was notable for its strong digital sales. To that end, Apple was EA's biggest retail partner as measured by sales. That is a first."
Out of $495 million in total revenue that EA pulled in over the three-month period, $378 million of that was thanks to digital sales. $90 million or so of that came from smart devices, such as smartphones and tablets. $90 million isn't going to break records, but considering EA are the third-largest gaming company in the world, and we all know how big Apple is, this is quite interesting.
Facebook have just reported their Q2 2013 earnings, which saw the social networking pulling down a nice $1.8 billion in revenue, and enjoying $333 million in profits from the three-month period.
Investors are enjoying this news, with stock in the social network rising 17% in after-hours trading. Facebook's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission tells us that they're seeing daily active users of "699 million on average for June 2013, an increase of 27 percent year-over-year." When talking mobile numbers, their daily active users are sitting at "469 million on average for June 2013."
Facebook managed to beat analysts' expectations, leading most to believe that the social network might be making more money than previously thought. Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities analyst told the Wall Street Journal: "The revenue beat is huge. They are clearly doing a great job with local ad sales."
David J. Smith, BlackBerry's Vice President in charge of their PlayBook tablet, has resigned. Smith had been working for the company for 8 years, taking over the PlayBook project after it was released back in 2011.
We all know how BlackBerry's PlayBook has played out in the market, with the company pushing it as the "first professional tablet" but with a bunch of delays, it never took off. It missed huge features such as e-mail and more, something RIM (the name of the company at the time) made a very bad bet on. The company saw a near $500 million writedown on the tablet, which didn't help.