DIGEST

Google to buy travel technology firm ITA

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Friday, July 2, 2010

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Google to buy travel technology firm

Google Inc. plans to buy travel technology company ITA Software Inc. in a $700 million deal that would enable the Internet search leader to steer more of the airline reservations booked on the Web.

The all-cash deal announced Thursday signals Google's intention to challenge flight-comparison services that are ITA customers, including Kayak, FareCompare, Hotwire and Microsoft Corp.'s Bing Travel. ITA Software sells technology that helps run the reservation systems of many airlines, including American, Southwest and Continental.

The deal will probably face a rigorous review by federal antitrust regulators. The Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department declined to comment Thursday.

-- Associated Press

THE ECONOMY

Manufacturing index dropped in June

An industry trade group's manufacturing index slipped in June but was still at a level that suggests growth in the industrial sector.

The manufacturing sector has been one of the U.S. economy's bright spots for nearly a year as companies restock inventories and replace old equipment. As the initial burst of activity drops off for companies coming out of a deep decline during the recession, economic growth will slow, analysts say, especially if consumer spending remains weak.

The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that its index fell to 56.2 last month from 59.7 in May.

That was a steeper drop than economists expected. They were looking for a reading of 59 for last month; a reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The Commerce Department said last week that the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.7 percent in the first quarter. Slower growth in manufacturing suggests the broader economy is going to be more "subdued" for the rest of 2010, said Alistair Bentley a research analyst at TD Bank Financial Group, growing from 2.5 to 2.8 percent.

BANKING

Sale of Citigroup stock raises billions

The Treasury Department said Thursday it has raised $10.5 billion from the sale of 2.6 billion shares of Citigroup stock it received as part of the government's rescue of the bank.

The government sold the shares at a profit as it seeks to recoup the costs of the $700 billion financial bailout in 2008.

Treasury says the latest sale of 1.1 billion shares, which figures into the total, completes its second phase of selling operations.

In the latest Citigroup sale, the stock sold for an average price per sale of around $4.03, Treasury said. That would represent a profit from the $3.25 price Treasury paid to obtain the shares.

Citigroup's shares slipped 8 cents, to $3.68, in morning trading Thursday.

The government still owns 5.1 billion shares of Citigroup stock and expects to continue selling shares at a future date.

Citigroup received $45 billion in taxpayer-funded bailout money, one of the government's largest bank rescues. Of the $45 billion, $25 billion was converted to a government ownership stake; the bank repaid the rest in December. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said last week that banks have repaid about 75 percent of bailout money they received.

-- Associated Press


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