The Circuit: Groupon IPO; LightSquared issue tangles FCC nominations; cyber spying report

November 4, 2011

LEADING THE DAY:Daily deals site Groupon has priced its IPO at $20 per share and is expected to begin trading Friday under the symbol GRPN. The company’s move gives it a value of about $13 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed people “with knowledge of the situation.” The report said that the company has raised $700 million in its IPO, selling 35 million shares.

The company has faced questions about its accounting practices and the viability of its business model, but none of that seems to have dampened investors’ enthusiasm for the stock.

FCC nominees get held up by LightSquared issue: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Thursday that he would object to the nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai as commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission because the agency has not cooperated with Grassley’s requests for information on its dealings with LightSquared. The Washington Post reported that staff for FCC chairman Julius Genachowski say they have cooperated with the senator but can’t provide him with documents because his committee doesn’t have oversight over the agency. Grassley says that Congress should have access to documents to facilitate oversight. The senator has used similar tactics to obtain documents in the past, using the nomination of deputy attorney general James Cole as an opportunity to get documents from the Justice Department.

Cyber spying report names China, Russia: In a rare move, a recent report from American intelligence agencies names China and Russia as two countries responsible for cyber-espionage against the U.S., The Washington Post reported.

“Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage,” the report said. It also notes that “Russia’s intelligence services are conducting a range of activities to collect economic information and technology from U.S. targets.”

Video site owner pleads guilty: A co-founder of the online site NinjaVideo.net pleaded guilty to charges of conspitacy to commit copyright infringement Thursday. Justin Dedemko admitted that he put content on the popular video site, which streamed television shows and movies. Two other co-founders of the site pleaded guilty to conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement in September, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a release. The site generated over $500,000 in income from advertisers and donations, and Dedemko agreed to pay back the share of the money he received personally. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24 and he faces a maximum of five years in prison.

CIA following social networking sites: The CIA follows up to 5 million messages on Twitter every day, the Associated Press reported, as well as posts to Facebook, news sites and chat rooms in a constant effort to paint a real-time picture of regions across the globe. Known as the “vengeful librarians,” the report said that this team has used its information to predict the recent uprising in Egypt and provide the White House an idea of how the world reacted to the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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