PBL considering $5 billion float, will partner with Hulu.com, Ireland agrees to bailout: Economy Roundup

PBL Media is reportedly planning a $5 billion float next year that will see the company join up with American video streaming site Hulu and welcome back Microsoft executive Daniel Petre to the board.

According to The Australian, PBL is now in the last stages of planning a joint venture with Hulu as chief executive David Gyngell’s exposure in a range of different markets.

It is understood that Petre has accepted a proposal to join the board.

Hulu is gaining popularity in the United States by allowing users to watch episodes of television shows for free whenever they want. The company is set to earn over $US240 million this year and hopes to expand internationally.

The report mentions that the deal would not affect any deals US studios currently have with the Seven and Ten networks, but discussions would be held to bring in back catalogues from those channels.

“Hulu may take off or it may well amount to nothing (in Australia) but Gyngell is going to try a few different things in the lead-up to the float. It is both an offensive and defensive move,” a source told the publication.

The move comes just after PBL launched Cudo.com, an entry in the ever-expanding and saturated group buying market.

Meanwhile, administrators for Allied Brands will request the Queensland Supreme Court delay a second creditors meeting in order to conduct a more thorough investigation of the company.

Administrators Peter Dinoris and Peter Biazos of Vincents on Monday have said they need more time to investigate in order to provide reliable advice, Reuters has reported.

“An extension of time will enable us to properly investigate and understand the business and affairs of ABQ (Allied Brands Ltd) which in turn will allow us to maximize ABQ’s prospects of continuing in existence and provide more informed recommendations to creditors at the second meeting,” the pair said in a statement.

Shares higher after Ireland agrees to bailout

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher today following a solid result from Wall Street last week and a request from the Irish Government for a bailout to solve its banking crisis.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 28 points or 0.62% to 4658.1 at 12.15 AEST, while the Australian dollar opened slightly higher to US98.7c.

AMP shares gained 0.6% to $5.07, while Commonwealth Bank shares rose 0.4% to $48.99. Westpac rose 0.7% to $21.78 as NAB lifted 0.8% to $24.26.

Meanwhile, shares in QR National have opened at $2.54 on the first day of trading, just below the offer price of $2.55.

Westfield has said it will raise $1.42 billion by selling half of a London shopping centre currently under construction. The company will sell 50% of the retail component to Dutch group APG.

“This transaction delivers, a year ahead of opening, the value and profit we have created through the development of Stratford City,” Westfield managing director Stephen Lowy said in a statement.

“The group will significantly improve its return on invested capital from the development and will remain a long-term investor, property manager and developer of this landmark shopping centre.”

Treasurer Wayne Swan has signalled that credit unions could form a “new pillar” in the banking system to complement the big four banks.

“The government is determined to see a new pillar in the banking system, particularly based on our mutual sector,” he told Channel Nine. “Particularly based on our credit unions and our building societies. They are safe and they’re very competitive.”

“They’re supervised in the same way that banks are supervised, and, of course, you can get a far better deal, particularly say when you’re looking for a mortgage if you go to a credit union you may be able to get up to 100 basis points better in terms of your mortgage.

Ireland formally requests financial aid

Confidence has risen in Europe after the Irish Government requested help tackling its debt and budget crisis, following a meeting of officials within the Government itself, the European Central Bank and IMF.

“The European authorities have agreed to our request,” prime minister Brian Cowen said in a statement. “I expect that agreement to be finalised shortly, within the next few weeks.”

While the size of the bailout is not yet known, reports have varied from $US110-120 billion. EU economic and monetary affairs commission Olli Rehn has said that a three-year loans package would be prepared before the end of the month.

“Providing assistance to Ireland is warranted to safeguard the financial stability in Europe,” he said.

“The programme under preparation will address both the fiscal challenges of the Irish economy and the potential future capital needs of the banking sector in a decisive manner.”

In the United States, the Wall Street Journal has reported the Federal Government may file a series of insider trading cases against hedge fund traders and Wall Street bankers before the end of the year.

It is understood that targets include such large names as Goldman Sachs.

The investigation has now continued for three years, and several sources have claimed that prosecutions could begin either in the next few weeks or during the start of 2011.

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