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Facebook’s $200M investment values co. at $10B

admin » 26 May 2009 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

Facebook’s $200M investment values co. at $10B

Facebook is getting a $200 million investment from a Russian Internet investor that values the social networking company at $10 billion even though it has yet to turn a profit.

The investment gives Digital Sky Technologies a nearly 2 percent stake in Palo Alto, California-based Facebook’s preferred stock. Digital Sky won’t get a board seat.

The $10 billion valuation for Facebook is less than the $15 billion value implied in 2007, when Microsoft spent $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in the company — even though Facebook has substantially grown since then. However Facebook’s own appraisal after the Microsoft deal gave the company a market value of about $3.7 billion, according to details revealed in a legal settlement.

The latest investment, in preferred stock, does not necessarily compare with what the company’s common shares would be worth on the open market. That would be determined if the company were to go public, which is likely a ways off.

During a conference call Tuesday, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said an IPO is “not something we are rushing toward.” He called the Digital Sky investment a “good cash buffer” to support its growth. Facebook now counts 200 million users, 70 percent of whom live outside the U.S.

As a private company, Facebook does not disclose financial details. It doesn’t even have a chief financial officer. Gideon Yu left that post in March and Facebook says it is still searching for a replacement.

The company says it has been profitable by one measure — earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA — for the past five quarters. Zuckerberg reiterated Tuesday that the company expects to generate positive cash flow in 2010.

Zuckerberg also repeated his claim that Facebook will grow revenue by 70 percent this year.

Debra Aho Williamson, a senior analyst with Internet research firm eMarketer, questions whether that projection is achievable. EMarketer estimates that Facebook’s worldwide ad revenue will be $300 million this year, up 20 percent from last year.

In other words, to hit 70 percent growth, Facebook might have to ramp up the sale of products or services on the site. The company has experimented with some ideas, such as letting users send each other tiny virtual “gifts” for $1 each.

Yuri Milner, Digital Sky’s chief executive, said he is “confident that Facebook has the potential to be one of the most valuable Internet companies globally.” In addition to the $200 million preferred stock investment, Digital Sky also plans to offer to buy least $100 million of Facebook’s common shares from the company’s existing shareholders.

Based in London and Moscow, Digital Sky also holds a stake in vKontakte, a Russian online social network that is far more popular in that country than Facebook.

Its investment brings the total amount that Facebook has raised to more than $600 million since its founding five years ago.

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FDA Investigating Delaware Heparin Deaths

admin » 14 May 2009 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

FDA Investigating Delaware Heparin Deaths

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The FDA said Monday that it is investigating the deaths of two Delaware hospital patients who were given the blood thinner heparin.

Officials at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes reported last week that three patients suffered adverse reactions after being given the drug last week. Two of the patients, a 71-year-old man who was transferred to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., and a 64-year-old woman taken to the University of Maryland medical center, died over the weekend. The third patient, a 68-year-old man, remained hospitalized Monday at Christiana. All three suffered cerebral hemorrhages.

“The FDA has been here and they’ve taken over complete control of the investigation,” said Wallace Hudson, vice president of corporate affairs for Beebe.

“The whole point of this investigation is to find out if there’s some unusual occurrence that would result in this outcome. We don’t know,” added Hudson, who was notified of the deaths Monday morning.

FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley said an agency representative traveled to Beebe on Friday night to collect intravenous bags, then drove them early Saturday to an FDA regional lab in Queens, N.Y. Initial testing did not reveal any problems, but samples have been shipped to another FDA lab in Cincinnati for further testing, Riley said.

“So far we’ve found nothing,” she said.

“We’re moving very expeditiously,” added Riley, who said in a prepared statement that, at this point, “this appears to be an isolated incident.”

The heparin was provided by Baxter Healthcare Corp., a unit of Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter International Inc., which was involved in a heparin recall last year following several reports of adverse reactions.

Hudson said Beebe has switched to another supplier pending the outcome of the investigation.

Baxter spokeswoman Erin Gardiner said the company has not received reports from any other institutions regarding heparin but is working with Beebe and the FDA.

“We are thoroughly investigating,” Gardiner said. “At this point, its premature to speculate on the relationship, if any, between the reactions and our product.”

Gardiner said last week that premix bags such as those used at Beebe were not involved in last year’s recall, which involved contaminated product from China and resulted in stepped-up oversight of suppliers by Baxter.

Gardiner said Pfizer supplied the active ingredient used in the premix bags, and that the finished product was made by Baxter at a facility in Puerto Rico.

“We’re looking at everything on our end,” she said.

Rick Chambers, a spokesman for New York-based Pfizer, said the heparin provided to Baxter was manufactured at a Pfizer plant outside Dayton, Ohio, and that the company has provided samples from the same lot to the FDA for testing.

“We are cooperating fully with Baxter and the FDA on their investigation,” he said.

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F.D.A. Recalls Of All “Hydroxycut” Weight Loss Products

admin » 11 May 2009 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

F.D.A. Recalls Of All “Hydroxycut” Weight Loss Products

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FDA Warns Consumers to Stop Using Hydroxycut Products

admin » 11 May 2009 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

FDA Warns Consumers to Stop Using Hydroxycut Products

Dietary Supplements Linked to One Death; Pose Risk of Liver Injury
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to immediately stop using Hydroxycut products by Iovate Health Sciences Inc., of Oakville, Ontario and distributed by Iovate Health Sciences USA Inc. of Blasdell, N.Y. Some Hydroxycut products are associated with a number of serious liver injuries. Iovate has agreed to recall Hydroxycut products from the market.
The FDA has received 23 reports of serious health problems ranging from jaundice and elevated liver enzymes, an indicator of potential liver injury, to liver damage requiring liver transplant. One death due to liver failure has been reported to the FDA. Other health problems reported include seizures; cardiovascular disorders; and rhabdomyolysis, a type of muscle damage that can lead to other serious health problems such as kidney failure.
Liver injury, although rare, was reported by patients at the doses of Hydroxycut recommended on the bottle. Symptoms of liver injury include jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) and brown urine. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, light-colored stools, excessive fatigue, weakness, stomach or abdominal pain, itching, and loss of appetite.

“The FDA urges consumers to discontinue use of Hydroxycut products in order to avoid any undue risk. Adverse events are rare, but exist. Consumers should consult a physician or other health care professional if they are experiencing symptoms possibly associated with these products,” said Linda Katz, M.D., interim chief medical officer of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Hydroxycut products are dietary supplements that are marketed for weight-loss, as fat burners, as energy-enhancers, as low carb diet aids, and for water loss under the Iovate and MuscleTech brand names. The list of products being recalled by Iovate currently includes:

Hydroxycut Regular Rapid Release Caplets
Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Rapid Release Caplets
Hydroxycut Hardcore Liquid Caplets
Hydroxycut Max Liquid Caplets
Hydroxycut Regular Drink Packets
Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Drink Packets
Hydroxycut Hardcore Drink Packets (Ignition Stix)
Hydroxycut Max Drink Packets
Hydroxycut Liquid Shots
Hydroxycut Hardcore RTDs (Ready-to-Drink)
Hydroxycut Max Aqua Shed
Hydroxycut 24
Hydroxycut Carb Control
Hydroxycut Natural

Although the FDA has not received reports of serious liver-related adverse reactions for all Hydroxycut products, Iovate has agreed to recall all the products listed above. Hydroxycut Cleanse and Hoodia products are not affected by the recall. Consumers who have any of the products involved in the recall are advised to stop using them and to return them to the place of purchase. The agency has not yet determined which ingredients, dosages, or other health-related factors may be associated with risks related to these Hydroxycut products. The products contain a variety of ingredients and herbal extracts.
Health care professionals and consumers are encouraged to report serious adverse events (side effects) or product quality problems with the use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online, by regular mail, fax or phone.

–Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm

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Jury acquits W.R. Grace, 3 execs in asbestos case

admin » 08 May 2009 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

Jury acquits W.R. Grace, 3 execs in asbestos case

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — W.R. Grace & Co. and three former executives were acquitted Friday of federal charges that they knowingly allowed residents of northwestern Montana town to be exposed to asbestos from its vermiculite mine.

Jurors received the case Wednesday, nearly 11 weeks after hearing opening arguments.

An indictment unsealed four years ago charged that W.R. Grace and several of its one-time executives knowingly endangered the lives of mine workers and other residents of Libby and ignored warnings by state agencies to clean up the vermiculite mining operation.

Charges against two executives were dropped during the trial at the request of prosecutors. The jury acquitted Henry Eschenbach, Jack Wolter and Robert Bettacchi.

“I’m grateful and happy to go home,” said Wolter, who is retired and lives in Palm Desert, Calif.

Attorneys for some Libby residents blame tremolite asbestos for about 2,000 cases of illness and about 225 deaths in and around the community.

Gayla Benefield of Libby, who suffers health effects from asbestos exposure and lost both parents to asbestos-related lung diseases, said she doesn’t know what the next step will be.

“They have gotten away with murder. That’s all I can say,” she said.

Grace knew about the health hazards of asbestos, but covered it up “so they could continue making money as well as avoid liability,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean said during Wednesday’s closing arguments.

Allegations of prosecutorial misconduct arose during the trial.

“I think that was simply another manifestation of the fact that the case was not a good case on its merits,” said David Burnick, attorney for Grace.

Grace bought the mine in 1963 and closed it in 1990.

Libby is 128 miles northwest of Missoula.

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Apple in talks to buy Twitter for $700m

admin » 05 May 2009 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

Apple in talks to buy Twitter for $700m

Digital media blogs, TechCrunch and Valleywag, both claim to have access to an inside source at Apple who believes the deal is already at the late stages of negotiation, with the hope of completion by June 8. This is so Apple could announce the acquisition of Twitter at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose.

Apple’s $700m offer is meant to be a full cash bid – a marked contrast to Facebook’s $500m offer for Twitter last November, which was a cash and stock hybrid offer. The deal failed to go through partially because Twitter’s investors could not agree on whether Facebook’s stock was worth as much as the social networking company claimed it was. When Twitter turned down the Facebook deal, co-founder Biz Stone said the company wanted to remain independent to expand on “its messaging service and there would be no disagreement about the value of its stock”.

twitter

Both Google and Microsoft have also been linked to possibly buying Twitter. Google was reputedly at late stage talks just over a month ago offering a mixture of cash and stock for the company. The bid was predicted to be higher than Facebook’s bid, however was rebuffed by Twitter chief executive, Evan Williams.

Apple is thought to be interested in purchasing Twitter because of the tie-ups with the iPhone. The numerous iPhone applications, like Tweetie, that people use to post Twitter updates are big sellers for Apple. Industry pundits also agree it will be more of a statement purchase, than massive money spinner, as Twitter has yet to turn a profit.

Apple recently posted a complimentary business profile of Twitter entitled: “Twitter. Triumph of humanity”.

Both Twitter and Apple were unavailable for comment.

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FDA Warns Consumers to Stop Taking Hydroxycut Products

admin » 01 May 2009 » In Uncategorized » No Comments

FDA Warns Consumers to Stop Taking Hydroxycut Products

Consumers should “immediately stop” using Hydroxycut weight-loss products amid concerns they may cause jaundice and liver failure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

The FDA has received 23 serious reports of health problems with Hydroxycut products and one death in a 19-year-old male who had used the weight-loss products, said Linda Katz, interim chief medical officer in the FDA’s food safety and nutrition division.

hydroxycut-hc-mt

The FDA strongly advises people against using 14 Hydroxycut products, Ms. Katz said. Iovate Health Sciences Inc. of Canada markets the products, also known as dietary supplements, as fat burners and energy-enhancers. Iovate representatives couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The company has agreed to recall 14 of its Hydroxycut products. Other Hydroxycut products, such as Hydroxycut Cleanse and Hoodia, won’t be recalled as the FDA said they contain different ingredients from the other products.

Vasilios Frankos, director of the FDA’s dietary supplement program, said it’s still unclear what ingredients in the products are harmful. The FDA is trying to get a better understanding of what ingredients, or combination of ingredients, is causing the liver damage. Other dietary supplements may contain similar ingredients.

The FDA recommends people call their physicians if they are worried about any damage caused by the products.

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