Nintendo, the world's leading player in interactive entertainment, dominated the U.S. video game market as its Wii and DS systems topped the sales charts in their respective video game categories in February. Nintendo's Wii was the favorite video game console in the U.S.; 335,000 units were sold. Its DS handheld device left its competition behind in the game-hardware category; 485,000 units were sold in February. Nintendo's Wii faces tough competition from Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. The U.S. video game market is worth $13 billion.
Citigroup raises bid for Nikko; investors rush in
Citigroup's offer to raise its bid for Nikko Cordial Corporation has investors rushing to acquire shares in Japan's third-largest securities firm. Until last week, major Nikko investors rebuffed Citigroup's offer, claiming that it was too low. Citigroup increased its bid by about 26%, which brought it to about $13 billion. This takeover would help Citigroup take advantage of the asset-management market in Japan. The bank, which holds a 4.9% stake in Nikko, has offered to buy all shares tendered and aims to acquire at least 50% of them.
Revlon posts fourth-quarter loss
Cosmetics maker Revlon posted a fourth-quarter loss in the face of a decline in U.S. sales. The New York-based company lost around $5.5 million for the three months that ended December 31. U.S. sales fell by nearly 21% to $227.1 million, while worldwide sales totaled $151.8 million. Revenue came down to $378.9 million this year from $437.8 million for the same period last year. The decline has been attributed to a lower number of shipments, which was partly offset by fewer discounts, allowances, and returns. Revlon's decisions to restructure and discontinue its Vital Radiance line of cosmetics for older women also reduced its operating income by nearly $145 million.
Cadbury Schweppes may split
Cadbury Schweppes may sell its soft-drink division. The unit, which operates in the U.S. and Australia, is highly profitable. However, it does not have the same growth opportunities as the company's signature confectionery arm. Nelson Peltz, an American financier who picked up a stake of nearly 2.98% in the company, plans to split the business in a way that allows shareholders to enjoy greater benefits. The price of Cadbury Schweppes shares increased when news broke that Peltz would be picking up a stake in the company.
Ford plans to sell Aston Martin
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) will sell Aston Martin, its profitable luxury sports car unit, to a group of investors led by founder and chairman of Prodrive David Richards. The group also includes Aston Martin collector John Sinders and Kuwait-based investment companies Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Company. The sale marks the end of Ford's nearly two decades of control over UK-based Aston Martin, which was made popular by the James Bond films. The deal, which is expected to close by the second quarter, values Aston Martin at around $925 million. It will also allow Ford to retain its $77 million investment. Ford lost nearly $12.7 billion last year, the highest loss in its 103-year history. This deal reflects the automaker's decision to restructure its automotive operations and strengthen its finances.
Cisco to buy Internet-conference company
Cisco Systems has agreed to buy Internet-conference company WebEx Communications for nearly $3.2 billion. The move will enable CA-based Cisco to look beyond its current sales of routers, switches, and other Internet-related equipment. Cisco has made several large acquisitions recently and finished its second quarter with around $21 billion. Santa Clara-based WebEx provides applications that enable online conferences and resource sharing via the Internet. It was founded in 1995 and has a staff of around 2,200 employees. WebEx reported revenues of nearly $380 million for the year 2006. The current deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2007.