Business News You Need Today: Aug. 5, 2010
Billionaires To Donate Fortunes: The Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett, said Wednesday he and 39 other of America's wealthiest people have agreed to donate a bulk of their wealth to charity either during their lifetimes or upon their deaths. As DailyFinance's Carrie Coolidge reports, the initiative, known as Giving Pledge, is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. "At its core, the Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used," says Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A).
Big Apple, Rich People: New York has been named America's richest city with a record 667,000 high-net worth individuals, as Luxist's Jared Paul Stern reports. New York not only topped the list but had a sum greater than the total of the next three runners up combined -- Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C..
Feds OK Cementing Broken Well: BP (BP) has been given the green light to begin pouring cement into the damaged Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. After successfully plugging the well with heavy mud earlier this week, the so-called "static kill" procedure appears to have worked, federal officials said. "Based on the successful completion of the static kill procedure and a positive evaluation of the test results, I have authorized BP to cement its damaged well," said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen in a brief statement late Wednesday.
Time Gets New CEO: Time Inc. is getting a new boss. Ann Moore, who has served as chairman and chief executive of the world's largest magazine publisher since 2002, is relinquishing her CEO title to a newcomer, Jack Griffin, according to reports. Earlier this week, Griffin suddenly resigned his post as chief of Meredith Corp.'s (MDP) National Media Group.
Wall Street Awaits Jobs Data: Stock futures were little changed ahead of the latest weekly data on initial claims for unemployment benefits, due from the Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. The report is the latest in a string of data released this week about jobs and employment that culminates with the government's Employment Situation report on Friday.
Google, Verizon Set Pact: Google (GOOG) and Verizon (VZ) have reportedly negotiated an agreement on how to handle Web traffic that may result in higher charges to consumers, several news sources reported Wednesday. The agreement, expected within days, comes as the Federal Communications Commission is trying to get major Internet content firms, such as Google, and network service providers, such as Verizon, to strike a deal on disputed points of so-called net neutrality rules. Critics argue that the companies' agreement and the meetings are giving giant Internet firms too great a say in the future of how consumers access the Web. Separately, as DailyFinance's Amey Stone reports, Google said Wednesday on its blog that it is halting development of Google Wave, citing slow adoption. When introduced in May 2009, Wave was thought to be a breakthrough technology that combined elements of live chat and real-time document sharing.
News Corp. Earnings Rise: News Corp. (NWS) racked up an $875 million profit in its fiscal fourth quarter. The media giant reported Wednesday that revenue grew 5.7%, and operating income was up for its cable, television and newspaper divisions, although down for its second-largest unit, filmed entertainment. Still, the results had Chairman Rupert Murdoch ebullient, saying he's "very, very confident of the next six months."
Heatwave Boosts Wheat Prices: The weather hasn't only been warmer than usual in much of the U.S. Parts of Russia, too, are enduring a heatwave. The central part of the Asian nation is having the hottest summer on record, which is affecting wheat crops. As DailyFinance's Charles Wallace reports, that could send food prices higher for American consumers in coming months.
Jacko's Mansion 'For Sale': The Hollywood mansion where Michael Jackson died last year is back on the market for $29 million, reports WalletPop's Sarah Coffey. That may seem pricey, but it's $10 million less than businessman Hubert Guez, chief executive of the Ed Hardy clothing brand, listed it for back in 2008.