Treasury to sell more GM stock; YouTube to offer paid content

May 6, 2013
Financial Policy
Treasury to sell more GM stock

The Treasury Department said Monday it will begin another round of sales of the General Motors stock it acquired during the government’s bailout of the auto sector.

GM last month said it would make it easier for Treasury to sell its remaining 241.7 million shares, or nearly 18 percent, of common stock of the No. 1 U.S. automaker.

It also will bring GM a step closer to eliminating the stigma of government ownership.

While Treasury now owns nearly 18 percent of GM shares of common stock, its ownership is about 16.4 percent of GM’s diluted shares.

— Reuters

Technology
YouTube to offer paid content

Google’s YouTube plans to offer paid subscription channels in the next few weeks, people with knowledge of the matter said, in a move that may give the video service a new revenue source beyond ads.

The channels will cost about $1.99 a month, said one of the people, who sought anonymity because the plans aren’t public.

“We have nothing to announce at this time,” YouTube said in an e-mailed statement. “We’re looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube.”

With a subscription service, YouTube would join Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.com in offering online entertainment that bypasses traditional cable and satellite pay-television. Subscription revenue could provide YouTube and its program suppliers additional funds for production, said one of the people.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

Monster Beverage is being sued by San Francisco’s city attorney for marketing its energy drinks to children. The city says the products pose severe health risks.

U.S. banks eased standards and terms on loans to businesses as commercial lending led a credit thaw, according to a Federal Reserve quarterly survey. The fraction of banks easing these standards was described as “relatively large.”

MBIA and Bank of America settled a five-year legal battle over soured mortgage debt in a deal that will pay MBIA the equivalent of $1.7 billion and give the bank a 5 percent stake in the bond insurer. MBIA shares surged to the highest since September 2008.

General Motors announced Monday it is recalling more than 38,000 Chevrolet and Buick hybrid cars for a potential fire issue. The automaker said circuit boards in the trunk can potentially overheat, causing the cars’ 12-volt battery to drain and one of several indicator lights to turn on. If owners ignore the warning lights, the engine could stall and a fire could occur in the trunk, GM said.

The California jeweler who gave a former KPMG auditor cash, an expensive watch and concert tickets in exchange for inside information about public companies agreed Monday to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, according to court papers.

Bryan Shaw, the jeweler who took tips on Herbalife and other companies from his one-time golfing buddy Scott London, agreed to pay about $1.3 million in restitution and will continue to cooperate with the government as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to the documents.

General Electric said Monday that the renewal of the U.S. production tax credit has helped it sell wind turbines with 1 gigawatt of generating power since January. The credit, a key lifeline for the nascent wind power industry, was caught up in “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Congress at the end of last year, and for a time it was unclear whether it would be renewed. Congress renewed it shortly after the new year began.

Pacific Gas & Electric should pay a $2.25 billion fine for negligence leading up to a deadly 2010 gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood, the California agency investigating the blast said Monday. Officials say the penalty would be the largest ever assessed by a state regulator. The California Public Utilities Commission recommended the fine and said the company’s shareholders should shoulder it. The blast in San Bruno sparked a fireball that killed eight people, injured dozens and destroyed 38 homes.

Corn stockpiles in the United States, the world’s top grower and exporter, will be 20 percent larger before the next harvest than projected last month, the government said. Analysts were expecting a bigger increase.

Bitcoin could become subject to Commodity Futures Trading Commission rules, as agency officials examine whether consumers need more protection in dealing with the virtual currency.

— From news services

Coming Today

10 a.m.: Wholesale trade report.

10 a.m.: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released.

Earnings: Walt Disney, Electronic Arts, Symantec, Zillow

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