Seeking new ways to be a player in mobile messaging, Facebook announced today that it will acquire the fast-growing WhatsApp firm for some $16 billion in cash and stock. The deal includes an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock for the employees of WhatsApp, who would see the shares vest over four years.
This is the second headline-grabbing acquisition by Facebook, following the $1 billion deal for Instagram that was announced in the spring of 2012. The new deal calls for Facebook to pay $4 billion in cash, along with around $12 billion in stock.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 5:05 am
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a multibillion-dollar loan guarantee Wednesday for building nuclear reactors in Georgia, underscoring the White House's plan for an "all of the above" energy strategy.
The two reactors will be the first built in this country in nearly three decades.
I have a new streaming music service in my life. Let's call him Beatsy. It's an open relationship — I'm still accessing other music streams, and Beatsy's positively promiscuous, winning the hearts of the music press and thousands of trial subscribers. But I don't mind. When I'm with Beatsy I feel special. Yes, he is a computer program — the world knows him as Beats Music, just one of many services that make it possible for me to listen to music stored in its cloud library via my phone or computer.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:58 am
"I'm worth 83.7 million dollars and bored out of my mind."
"My friend who is a banker just told me he's working on Dropbox's IPO...oooh."
"The drug use in Silicon Valley is outrageous. So are the inflated egos. It's like LA for smart, ugly people."
Declarations like these — some plaintive, some fueled by professional frustration and some just plain gossipy — tumble forth anonymously on the new app Secret, and because many of them seem to be coming from within the booming tech industry, the app has built early buzz.
NPR's business news starts with a climb in consumer debt.
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INSKEEP: Household borrowing is on the rise. It gained 2.1 percent last quarter, which is the biggest gain since the fall of 2007 - which is to say, the biggest gain since before the financial crisis peaked. A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says consumer debt held by American households has reached $11.5 trillion.
And our Last Word In Business is an update on the campaign against the scourge of cheap food. This really is a problem in the minds of small-business people. Think about how giant stores have crowded out local retailers.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
But in this case, the giant food is local. It's the $1 slice of pizza, which has been a tradition in New York City for many, many, many years.
Let's talk next about Iraq. Not the violence there, but the other thing the country is - for better or worse - quite famous for, oil. An ethnic group that controls a large slice of Iraq also control some of the oil, and this group, the Kurds, have found a way to export the oil while bypassing the rest of the country, including the central government - which is not happy.
Ben Lando is the editor-in-chief of the "Iraq Oil Report," and has been covering the story. Welcome to the program, sir.
A leader of the U.S. manufacturing sector is calling on Congress and the president to put aside their differences. Jay Timmons, who is head of the National Association of Manufacturers, would like to see some progress on the president's trade agenda.
Chuck Quirmbach of Wisconsin Public Radio reports.
Here's a reality. Of the individual insurance plans being offered under the Affordable Care Act, the price you pay for the same coverage may vary tremendously depending on where you live. In fact, you may well be paying three times as much for the same insurance as somebody else in a different part of the country.
We know this thanks to Jordan Rau. He's a senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News and he ran the numbers. He's in our studios. Welcome to the program.
The Treasury and Justice Departments issued guidelines, last week, allowing marijuana stores to do their banking like any other small business. The new rules assures banks there will be no retribution if they provide financial services to state licensed firms that provide medical or recreational marijuana. Banks are still not so eager to play since the drug is still against federal law, which leaves legit pot businesses dealing mostly in cash.
On a Wednesday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
And I'm Renee Montagne. President Obama arrives in Mexico today to meet with Mexico's president and Canada's prime minister. It's been dubbed the meeting of the Three Amigos. The one day summit of North America's leaders will focus on trade and commerce, but also on the agenda: security, energy, border issues and immigration. NPR's Carrie Kahn is in Toluca near Mexico City, where the summit begins later today. Good morning.