Business briefs: DirecTV in early talks with AT&T over buyout
LOS ANGELES – AT&T Inc. and DirecTV are in exploratory talks about a potential sale of the satellite broadcaster to the telecommunications giant.
The discussions are very preliminary and there is no certainty that a deal will be reached, said a person with knowledge of the talks who requested anonymity.
Both companies have formed due diligence teams to review a potential sale, the person said.
A combination of the two would create a pay-TV giant with almost 26 million customers in the U.S. DirecTV has more than 20 million subscribers and AT&T’s U-Verse has close to 6 million customers. DirecTV also has 17 million subscribers in Latin America.
Microsoft issues fix for Internet Explorer
LOS ANGELES – Microsoft released a security update Thursday for Internet Explorer that closes a gap that allowed attackers to take complete control of a computer. It also issued the update to Windows XP users, despite dropping support for the older operating system last month.
Adrienne Hall, general manager of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, said in a statement that the company decided to fix the problem quickly for all customers, saying it takes the security of its products “incredibly seriously.”
Microsoft reported the problem Saturday, saying it was aware of “limited, targeted attacks” and that the vulnerability affected Internet Explorer versions 6 through 11
Unemployment claims rise to two-month high
WASHINGTON – First-time unemployment claims surprisingly jumped last week to a two-month high of 344,000, a downbeat sign ahead of today’s jobs report.
The number of people filing for initial jobless benefits was up from the previous week’s revised figure of 330,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had expected the figure to drop to 320,000.
Last week was the third in a row in which claims rose. It’s a discouraging trend after the closely watched labor market indicator dropped to 301,000 in the week ended April 5, the lowest level since May 2007.
Snapchat adding real-time chat app
SAN FRANCISCO – Snapchat is adding a chat feature to its ephemeral messaging service.
Despite its name, the Snapchat app has never offered real-time conversation until now. Previously, users were only able to send each other photos and videos that self-destruct a few seconds after they are viewed.
The Los Angeles startup said Thursday that Snapchat users will be able to chat by swiping right on a friend’s name. When users leave the chat screen, messages will be automatically deleted. In keeping with Snapchat’s tradition, users can take screenshots of the chat if they want to preserve it.
Exxon Mobil reports drop in net income
NEW YORK – Exxon Mobil said Thursday that its net income fell 4 percent in the fourth quarter as it produced less oil and natural gas and posted weaker refining results.
Cost-cutting and higher prices for its oil and gas helped the company beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts. Shares rose slightly in trading before the opening bell.
Exxon earned $9.1 billion in the first three months of the year on revenue of $106.77 billion. During the same period last year, Exxon earned $9.5 billion on revenue of $108.36 billion.