Computer maker Dell is going private in a $24 billion deal that highlights the changing fortunes of the PC industry. The buyout is being led by company founder Michael Dell, software giant Microsoft and the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.
The Justice Department may seek as much as $5 billion from Standard and Poor's. In a lawsuit filed Monday night, prosecutors accuse the firm of misleading investors with fraudulent credit ratings on dozens of different mortgage bonds. It's not yet clear whether federal officials plan to file a similar suit against the other big rating firms, Moody's and Fitch. Regulators would like to see the industry be more competitive and less dependent on the firms whose securities they are rating.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
President Obama met with business and labor leaders today at the White House. He's trying to build a broad coalition in support of revamping immigration laws. The two sides haven't always seen eye to eye on immigration. But this year, on this issue, they're mostly working together on the issue. We'll hear more in a moment about the evolution of organized labor's position.
From a death in the music world, now to something of a rebirth.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIEGEL: Muzak, best known for its inoffensive, unobtrusive, ultra-bland music is changing its brand name. The company announced today that it will now be known as Mood, after Muzak's owner, Mood Media. It's chairman and CEO said in a statement that this marked the end of an iconic American brand, or as fast company put it, the musical equivalent of white bread.
While the economy will benefit from continued improvement in "underlying" conditions, the federal government's push to tighten its spending will slow overall growth in 2013, the Congressional Budget Office projects.
In an updated "Budget and Economic Outlook" reported released Tuesday afternoon, the agency forecasts:
-- 1.4 percent growth in gross domestic product this year, vs. 2.3 percent in 2012.
Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 3:07 pm
It happens all the time: The government announces some giant settlement with a company that's been accused of doing something wrong. The company agrees to pay some massive fine. Then, in the fine print, there's something along the lines of: "The company neither admits nor denies any wrongdoing."
Recently, though, some powerful people have been pushing back, rejecting deals that include this kind of fine print.
And now, a look beyond Baltimore and Beyonce to the enduring possibilities of an ephemeral event. When the lights went out at Superdome on Sunday, Twitter lit up. Advertising teams from several companies tried to capitalize with instant ads. Like many of the regular ads, almost of these flopped, but one produced an idea that people are still buzzing about, Oreo cookies. If you work in the ad business, how does social media changed the game? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email: email@example.com.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, people often talk about the struggle to get into college but for many students, finishing is really the big challenge. Our next guest has some practical tips for students, to help them make it to the finish line.
Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 10:56 am
"Slumping personal computer maker Dell is selling itself for $24.4 billion to its founder and a group of investors that includes Microsoft," The Associated Press writes, in "the largest deal of its kind since the Great Recession dried up financing for risky maneuvers like this."
The wire service adds that "the complex agreement announced Tuesday will end Dell Inc.'s nearly 25-year history as a publicly traded company. Shareholders are receiving $13.65 per share for their stock. ... Founder Michael Dell will remain the company's CEO and largest shareholder."
The U.S. Justice Department plans to file a civil suit this week accusing the credit rating company Standard and Poor's of fraud. Standard and Poor's is the company that famously downgraded U.S. debt in 2011. This investigation focuses on S and P's actions before the financial crisis. The civil action accuses S and P of fraudulently inflating the ratings of mortgage investments, setting them up for the crash that lead to the great recession. The investigation is the focus of today's Business Bottom Line, and here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.
A $24.4 billion buyout that would take computer maker Dell private was announced Tuesday. The group negotiating to buy the company includes private equity firm Silver Lake, Microsoft and Dell's founder Michael Dell.
And our last word in business is: America's pizza crisis solved.
For decades, Pizza Hut has been researching ways to improve the flawed pizza consumption process. Until recent years, Americans were forced to hold the slice two-handed, you know, with the finger up under the point, or fold it in half like Spike Lee in "Do the Right Thing." Pizza Hut has never felt that was good enough, and they're trying for something better.
The British oil company, BP, announced its 4th quarter earnings today, and its net profit was about a billion dollars lower than a year earlier. BP has been shrinking as assets have been sold off to pay for its liabilities tied to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Puerto Rico's population is dropping. Faced with a deteriorating economy, increased poverty and a swelling crime rate, many citizens are fleeing the island for the U.S. mainland. In a four-part series, Morning Edition explores this phenomenon, and how Puerto Rico's troubles are affecting its people and other Americans in unexpected ways.
There's a lot of talk in politics about the desirability of American manufacturing and "green" jobs. President Obama talks about both often, especially wind turbines and long-lasting batteries that are made on U.S. soil.
Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, recently visited a Massachusetts factory that makes a product that hits those same parameters. It's arguably a force for sustainability, nearly 40 Americans assemble it, and it's an interesting case study in innovation: the high-speed hand dryer.
Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 6:21 am
When Wal-Mart calls, Herman Farris always finds whatever the retailer wants, even if it's yucca root in the dead of winter. Farris is a produce broker in Columbia, Mo., who has been buying for Wal-Mart from auctions and farms since the company began carrying fruits and vegetables in the early 1990s.
During the summer and fall, nearly everything Farris delivers is grown in Missouri. That's Wal-Mart's definition of "local" — produce grown and sold in the same state. In winter, it's a bit tougher to source locally.
The Canadian mint stops distributing pennies on Monday. Canada stopped making one-cent coins last year to cut costs, since each penny cost 1.6 cents to make. Most stores will round out change to the nearest five cents.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And the U.S. stock market's on a tear. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 14,000 yesterday, for the first time in more than five years. Investors seized on encouraging news about factory orders and auto sales. They chose to look past a report that unemployment inched up last month, too, to 7.9 percent. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.