* Facebook Inc is gearing up for what is expected to be one of the biggest-ever initial public offerings for a Web company. But as the social network moves toward an IPO it must prove to investors that it is ready for the big time.
That task falls to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, 27, who built Facebook out of his Harvard College dorm room in 2004, and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, 42, a former Google Inc executive.
* Online video site Hulu LLC is increasing its output of original shows, the latest in an escalation of TV-like programs being made directly for the Internet, further blurring the lines between the Web and TV.
Hulu said Sunday that it will roll out two new shows between now and summer, while bringing back a third it debuted last year.
* Greece will resume talks with its private-sector creditors next week on a massive debt restructuring plan, with an aim to reach the outlines of a deal in time for a Feb. 23 meeting of euro-zone finance ministers.
In remarks to fellow socialist party members, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos insisted the talks will resume in the coming days despite breaking down on Friday amid disagreements over the future interest rate Greece will pay.
* Asian stocks dropped after S&P lowered its ratings on nine euro-zone nations. The euro fell to a fresh 11-year low against the Japanese yen.
* The cascade of rating downgrades that hit France and eight other euro-zone nations last week casts fresh doubts over the monetary union’s ability to bail itself out of financial crisis and rescue its most vulnerable member, Greece.
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on Friday said it had stripped triple-A ratings from France and Austria and downgraded seven others, including Spain, Italy and Portugal. It retained the triple-A rating on Europe’s No. 1 economy, Germany.
* The European Central Bank’s increasingly swollen balance sheet has helped bring a measure of calm to volatile markets, but some believe it could itself become a problem and bring more volatility to the 17-nation currency bloc.
Nearly a year of anticrisis-lending measures have sent the ECB’s books to a record 2.73 trillion euros (.46 trillion), some 29 percent of the euro zone’s gross domestic product, its highest percentage ever.
GREECE’S CREDITORS SEEK END TO DEADLOCK
Greece’s international creditors are considering an appeal to French and German leaders to break a deadlock in negotiations over the size of the losses to be taken by banks and other bondholders as part of a 100 billion euros deal seen as crucial to bringing the country’s debt under control.http:/
THREE SET TO BID FOR ANADARKO’S BRAZIL UNIT
Three of Europe’s biggest oil companies are set to vie for Anadarko Petroleum’s Brazilian business, valued at more than billion, as interest from global groups in this new frontier for deep water exploration grows.http:/
SAUDIS SET TO OPEN UP ACCESS TO BOURSE
Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest economy and the world’s largest oil exporter, is expected to allow foreigners to invest directly on its 0 billion stock market for the first time later this year.http:/
RBS PRESSED TO HELP SAVE UK RETAILER PEACOCKS
Royal Bank of Scotland, majority-owned by the UK taxpayer, was pressed on Sunday night to back a deal to save Peacocks , the heavily indebted value fashion retailer.http:/
MURDOCH ATTACKS OBAMA OVER ONLINE PIRACY LAWS
The White House has spoken out against proposed legislation intended to reduce online piracy, inviting a strong response from Rupert Murdoch, and fuelling a battle between the technology and entertainment industries.http:/
RBS STAFF CONSIDER ARM BUYOUT
A group of dealmakers at Royal Bank of Scotland, including its head of corporate finance, are considering a management buyout as the state-controlled bank looks to sell or shut down its advisory business.http:/
CO-OP BANK TO INCREASE BUY-TO-LET LENDING
The Co-operative Bank, one of the UK’s few self-proclaimed ethical lenders, is looking to significantly increase the number of mortgages it provides to buy-to-let landlords, a group accused of fuelling the recent property crash.http:/
MILITARY WARNS GAS IMPORTS AT RISK
UK military leaders have raised concerns that more than 80 percent of the UK’s liquefied natural gas imports would be halted if Iran made good its threat to block the Strait of Hormuz.http:/
OSBORNE PROMISES EXTRA CASH FOR IMF
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will promise on Monday to help struggling euro zone countries by increasing Britain’s contributions to the International Monetary Fund, admitting that “risks faced by the global economy have increased significantly over the past year”.http:/
MANCHESTER AIRPORT CHIEF LOOKS AT OPTIONS
One of the UK’s few publicly owned airports has not ruled out a part-privatisation to raise money for acquisitions but said it was “unlikely” to join the bidding for Edinburgh airport.http:/
* Bitter memories of the collapse of Nortel Networks , once Canada’s most valuable corporation, will be revived on Monday as the fraud trial of three of its former top executives begins.
Prosecutors contend that after Nortel suffered steep financial losses in the dot-com crash at the turn of the century, its postcrash bookkeeping was also fraudulent.
* American Media Inc is hoping that enquiring minds will embrace a digital version of its 70-year-old supermarket tabloid, The National Enquirer.
Next month, the magazine company will introduce an iPad app of The National Enquirer that it expects to “reinvent gossip.” The app, called Enquirer Plus, will have separate content from the print publication and video aimed at younger readers.
* The Treasury’s schedule of financing this week includes regular weekly auction of new three- and six-month bills on Tuesday and an auction of four-week bills on Wednesday. The stock and bond markets are closed Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King’s Birthday holiday.
* As Greece and its lenders prepare for another week of tense negotiations, European officials now say that the task is less to help the country through its troubles than to avoid the sort of uncontrolled default that many experts fear could threaten the global financial system.
Officials from the so-called troika of foreign lenders to Greece – the European Central Bank, European Union and International Monetary Fund – have come to believe that the country has neither the ability nor the will to carry out the broad economic reforms it has promised in exchange for aid, people familiar with the talks say, and they say they are even prepared to withhold the next installment of aid in March.
European economic highlights
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