Business, Economics and Jobs

Macro chatter: Billion dollar photos and phonebooks


A demonstration in Madrid on March 29, 2012. Spaniards staged a general strike against labor reforms, spending cuts and soaring unemployment.


Dani Pozo

Need to know:
Spain is planning for some serious belt tightening. The heavily indebted country is trying to slash billions from its budget this year. One government official went as far as suggesting Spain make the wealthy pay for their own healthcare, but the Associated Press said that idea was immediately shot down.

Want to know:
In case you haven’t heard, Facebook is paying $1 billion for the social photo app Instagram.

Some Instagram users are irked, but Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom “couldn’t be happier.”

He’ll be taking home a reported $400 million from the deal.

Dull but important:
The US choice to become the next head of the World Bank didn’t know what a hedge fund was until three years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported.

That’s not the only trouble facing Jim Yong Kim.

This is the first time a US nominee has had competition for the World Bank’s top spot, and Kim’s critics say his competition - Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo - have a leg up.

Just because:
Research in Motion Ltd. is trying really hard to show its BlackBerry can still compete with the iPhone

In Washington, D.C., one of the BlackBerry's few remaining strongholds, sales to federal agencies are rising, RIM told Bloomberg.

RIM emphasized that the BlackBerry remains a White House fixture, but a company official refused to tell Bloomberg whether President Barack Obama still has the BlackBerry he fought so hard to bring with him to the Oval Office in 2009. 

Strange but true:
What else is worth $1 billion? Half of the Yellow Pages, apparently.

The private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management is paying $950 million to buy just over half of AT&T’s Yellow Pages business.

The move may not be completely crazy. Yellow Pages generated $3.3 billion in revenue in 2011, Bloomberg said, proving that there’s still somebody somewhere on earth thumbing through a phone book.