Nvidia Makes Mobility Move With Icera Purchase
Looking to make a move in the ever growing mobile environment, Nvidia has acquired wireless baseband and RF chip supplier Icera for $367 million in cash.
By brining aboard Icera, Nvidia is getting a leading manufacturer of baseband processors for 3G and 4G cellular phones and tablets. Nvidia says with Icera in the fold, it is now able to offer the two main processors used in smartphones (the application processor and baseband processor). With this, it can help manufacturers improve their time to market and deliver the requirements of next-generation mobile computing.
This is a key step in NVIDIA's plans to be a major player in the mobile computing revolution, Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA chief executive, said in a statement. Adding Icera's technology to Tegra gives us an outstanding platform to support the industry's best phones and tablets.
Nvidia estimates the market for baseband processors is $15 billion and will continue to grow due to the increasing interest in the smartphone/tablet market. Icera's software based processor allows for multiple products to be developed from from a common platform. This in turn, reduces development costs, accelerates time to market and secures a route to support future baseband standards.
The company's biggest competitors, Qualcomm and Intel, are already both offering both application and baseband processors. Intel's acquisition of Infineon's wireless assets gave it access to that company's cellular baseband chips. Ambrish Srivastava, analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said it Nvidia clearly made the move to keep up with its competitors.
Nvidia has thrown its lot in the bandwagon of other applications processor suppliers that find it important to have a baseband offering in order to make bigger inroads in the mobility market, Srivastava said, before noting the lone semiconductor company that has ignored this market. Texas Instruments now remains as one of the only companies left that has an applications processor business without any internal baseband support, besides for Nokia,
Stifel Nicolas analyst Kevin Cassidy predicted, This will put Nvidia on equal footing with Intel and Qualcomm.
The purchase was approved by both companies' boards of directors and will close in 30 days. Nvidia's stock was up 1.50 percent, or 29 cents per share, from $19.32 at the end of Friday to $19.61 as of press time.
Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna
No. 2 Cameron DiazNo. 2 Cameron Diaz
Stock futures rise on toxic asset plan reports
S&P 500 stock index futures rose in electronic trading on Sunday after media reports detailed the U.S. Treasury's three-pronged bid to cleanse the financial system of toxic assets clogging banks' balance sheets.
The latest plan is aimed at banks and insurance companies given their large holdings of mortgages and other hard-to-price assets. The S&P financial index <.GSPF> has fallen 61 percent since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.
The new measures face a skeptical market after concerns about the lack of investor interest in the Treasury and Federal Reserve's new fund aimed at reviving consumer and small business lending, called the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), rippled through the U.S. stock market on Friday, sending major indexes down about 2.0 percent.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.4 points on Sunday night's open and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures climbed 38 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5 points.
The new bank plan will include setting up an entity to be used by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp -- the main U.S. banking regulator -- to offer low-interest loans to private interests for buying up banks' soured assets, many of which are tied to mortgages and have tumbled in value, a source familiar with the plan told Reuters on Saturday.
Second, the Treasury Department will hire investment managers to run public-private funds to invest for potential profit in troubled mortgages, with government capital matching private capital contributions, according to the source.
Finally, the Federal Reserve will expand its new consumer loan-focused $1 trillion Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility to buy legacy assets, the source said.
Legacy assets are older securities, many of them tied to mortgage assets that have plunged in value after housing prices fell and have racked up massive losses for the banking system.
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ECB could cut rates, take other steps: Trichet
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Monday the bank can cut interest rates further but that its deposit rate was already at very low levels, and added it could use more non-conventional measures to help the troubled banking system.
As regards the future rate of our main refinancing operations, presently at 1.5 percent, I said clearly that we could decrease it again, Trichet said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
We will certainly continue to do whatever we think optimizes our own situation. In the next decisions that we could take, it's pretty possible that we would continue to be non-conventional through the channel of bank financing. This channel remains for us essential, he said.
Trichet said that when considering potential moves such as buying assets central banks had to maintain a clear distinction of responsibilities from governments.
As regards possible outright purchases of securities in general I said that we are not pre-committed for any new decisions.
One element which has to be taken into account is that the risks of the central banks and the risks of the governments are, in the euro area, clearly separated without combination of risks or blending of responsibilities, he said.
Trichet's comments come as the ECB becomes increasingly isolated among central banks as it has not yet moved beyond interest rate cuts onto other quantitative measures to boost the recession-hit euro zone.
The U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of England said recently they would purchase some of their governments' bonds in a bid to pump more money into the system. Both the Fed and the BoE have already cut their rates to near zero, forcing them to look for other ways to stimulate their economies.
But Trichet maintained a reluctance to see the ECB's interest rates fall to zero.
There are a number of drawbacks associated with policy rates deliberately put at a zero level by the decision of the central banks. That's the reason we do not think it would be appropriate.
But what counts are the interest rates that are in the market and that the public gets, he said, adding that euro zone six-month money market rates were below those in the United States.
He rebuffed criticism from some quarters that European governments were not going far enough to stimulate growth, which had become a significant sticking point with the United States.
He also said that decisions should be implemented quickly, and said that nothing would work until the financial sector was back on track and lending on a sustainable basis.
Trichet reiterated recent comments that the economy would see a gradual recovery during 2010.
The ECB has cut rates to a record low of 1.5 percent and has signaled it is prepared to go lower still, but most ECB policymakers have seemed reluctant to follow other leading central banks by cutting rates as low as possible.
(Reporting by Ben Deighton and Marc Jones; Editing by Kim Coghill)
AFI Life Achievement AwardsJennfier Aniston: Burberry dress, Giuseppe Zanotti sandals, Valentino clutch
Kristen Stewart beat out some of Tinseltown's most revered stars to earn the title of The Highest-Paid Actress in Hollywood.
Forbes ranked Stewart above the likes of Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron -- women almost more than twice her age who have been in the business for decades. At only 22, Stewart is already earning $12.5 million per Twilight film.
How does she command such a hefty salary?
At this point, could anyone else play Bella Swan in Twilight? asks Forbes' Dorothy Pomerantz. Probably not; if the studio tried to switch in another actress, fans would revolt. So for the last two Twilight films, Stewart has been able to demand an estimated $12.5 million per film, plus a share of the profits.
Between May 2011 and May 2012, the brunette beauty raked in $34.5 million, earning more than Twilight co-stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.
Just one year ago, Stewart ranked at No. 5 on Forbes' Highest-Paid Actresses list, tied with movie vet, Julia Roberts.
Forbes compiles its list through the consideration of factors like upfront pay, profit participation, residuals, endorsements and advertising deals. Agent fees and expenses were not factored in.
Although Stewart is raking in the dough, she seems completely unaffected by her celebrity.
You can Google my name and one of the first things that comes up is images of me sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe with my ex-boyfriend and my dog, Stewart told Vanity Fair contributing editor, Ingrid Sischy, in July's cover story.
The photos of Stewart smoking were taken by paparazzi in 2008, when the first installment of Twilight was released and the young actress was thrust, unprepared, into the spotlight. In the photos,Stewart sits on her front porch in gray sweatpants and a white tank top with her hair thrown into a messy ponytail and a black pipe in her hand. Subsequent photos showed Stewart smoking.
It was [taken] the day the movie came out. I was no one. I was a kid. I had just turned 18. In [the tabloids] the next day it was like I was a delinquent slimy idiot, whereas I'm kind of a weirdo, creative Valley Girl who smokes pot. Big deal. But that changed my daily life instantly. I didn't go out in my underwear anymore.
She might be one of the most popular and highest-paid young stars, but she still faces her share of criticism. Lucky for Stewart, she wears armor that no critic can penetrate.
I have been criticized a lot for not looking perfect in every photograph, Stewart said. I get some serious sh-t about it. I'm not embarrassed about it. I'm proud of it. If I took perfect pictures all the time, the people standing in the room with me, or on the carpet, would think, 'What an actress! What a faker!' That thought embarrasses me so much that I look like sh-t in half my photos, and I don't give a f--k. What matters to me is that the people in the room leave and say, 'She was cool. She had a good time. She was honest.' I don't care about the voracious, starving s--t eaters who want to turn truth into s--t. Not that you can say that in Vanity Fair!
Who else made Forbes' Highest-Paid Actresses in Hollywood list? Check out the following slideshow for the complete list plus the amount of earnings made between May 2011 and May 2012.