September 26, 2009 in City

In brief: Twitter valued at $1 billion

From Wire Reports
 

Twitter Inc.’s founders now have a billion-dollar baby, and they seem determined to raise it without a corporate parent.

That was the message underlying Friday’s news that Twitter has lined up $100 million to finance its operations while founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone plot ways to make money off one of the Internet’s most popular communications tools.

The investment values the 3-year-old company at $1 billion, even though it has yet to generate any meaningful revenue, let alone profits.

Airlines add holiday charges

Several big airlines this week have added $10 surcharges for most of their tickets for travel on three busy days around Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays.

American and United airlines added the charge for most of their fares for travel on Nov. 29, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as well as Jan. 2 and 3. On Friday US Airways Group Inc. matched the surcharge, and FareCompare.com said Delta Air Lines Inc. added it, too.

Spokespersons for Southwest Airlines Co. and Continental Airlines Inc. both said they had not added the surcharge.

Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com noted that the Sunday after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year, and that the two dates in January are heavily traveled as well.

FDA admits caving to pressure

The Food and Drug Administration has taken the unprecedented step of acknowledging that it buckled to “extreme” pressure from Capitol Hill in its approval of a knee repair device last year.

In a sweeping critique Thursday, FDA leadership said the agency failed to protect its scientists from outside pressure after they twice rejected ReGen Biologics’ Menaflex device.

The Hackensack, N.J.-based company ultimately won approval last December after enlisting the support of four New Jersey lawmakers.

Approval came despite protests by FDA scientists that Menaflex — which reinforces damaged knee tissue — provided little, if any, benefit to patients.

Small-bank bailouts weighed

Treasury officials and regulators are weighing a fresh round of bailouts for banks that were deemed too risky to qualify for earlier aid.

Representatives from the Treasury Department, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and House Financial Services Committee discussed the plan by phone Thursday, said California Bankers Association Chairman Dan Doyle, who was on the call.

Small community banks are struggling as commercial real estate and other loans go sour. Officials and industry representatives are considering how to get money to those banks, Doyle said Friday.

The new program could force Treasury to postpone closing its $700 billion bailout fund, which is scheduled to expire this year. That decision has become a political hot potato amid public backlash against bailouts and a rising deficit.


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