Business


Qwest says poll backs MCI bid

Qwest said Friday that a survey it commissioned shows majority shareholder support of its $8.9 billion bid for long-distance carrier MCI over a lower offer from Verizon Communications Inc.

The announcement came as Qwest neared securing $2 billion in financing for an MCI deal, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Qwest said a telephone poll conducted this week by its proxy consulting firm, The Altman Group of New York, showed shareholders who own more than half of MCI Inc.’s outstanding stock believe Qwest’s bid is superior to the $7.5 billion Verizon offer, which Ashburn, Va.-based MCI accepted last week.

An Altman Group representative declined to comment, and Qwest did not release any other information about the survey, including the names of the shareholders who participated.

MCI spokesman Peter Lucht said the company would review the survey and its methodology before commenting.

Ford lowers 2005 profit guidance

Ford Motor Co. on Friday lowered full-year profit guidance due to difficult business conditions in the automotive sector, and doesn’t expect to reach its goal of hitting $7 billion in total company pretax profits by 2006.

The company now expects 2005 earnings in the range of $1.25 to $1.50 a share. Last month, Ford said its full-year profit would be at the lower end of expectations for earnings of between $1.75 to $1.95 per share.

Ford said its guidance reflects special items of 8 cents to 10 cents a share for the Premier Automotive Group improvement plan, investments in fuel cell technologies, and the sale of a non-core business.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial currently expect earnings of $1.64 per share on revenue of $148.49 billion during the year.

The company also anticipates that first-quarter earnings will actually exceed previous guidance of between 25 cents and 35 cents per share. Analysts are looking for earnings of 36 cents per share.

In addition, while the company expects improvements in the future, it no longer expects to reach its goal of $7 billion in total company pretax profits, excluding special items, as early as 2006.

Amazon.com acquires book printing service

Amazon.com Inc. has acquired a publishing company that prints books when they’re ordered rather than relying on warehouses stocked with titles, the online retailer said Monday.

Terms of the deal acquiring were not disclosed.

BookSurge LLC, based in Charleston, S.C., offers an inventory-free book fulfillment network to publishers and authors, and has a wholesale service for retailers, wholesalers and distributors.

Founded in 2000, BookSurge maintains a catalog with thousands of titles that are printed on-demand and available for sale on Amazon.com.

“Print-on-demand has changed the economics of small-quantity printing, making it possible for books with low and uncertain demand to be profitably produced,” said Greg Greely, vice president of media products for Amazon.com. “BookSurge makes it possible to print books that appeal to targeted audiences, whether it’s one copy or 1,000.”

Google execs’ new salaries: $1 a year

The trio of billionaires who run — and own much of — online search engine leader Google Inc. reduced their individual salaries to $1 last year and rejected a recent attempt to give them a raise, according to documents filed Friday.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and the company’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, dramatically lowered their salaries last spring — right around the time that the Mountain View-based company filed its plans for a much-anticipated initial public offering of stock that made their paychecks largely irrelevant.

Before the concessions, Google paid Page and Brin an annual salary of $150,000 apiece. Schmidt collected a $250,000 annually before lowering it to a buck. In the months leading up to the pay cuts, Page and Brin each collected $43,750 of their former salaries while Schmidt pocketed $81,432, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


 

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