Business

Business
4:06 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Dell Inc. Comes With Pile of Cash

The company is sitting on $14 billion in offshore accounts.
courtesy Dell Inc.

If you’re spending $24 billion to buy a company, it’s important to know that that company also has $14 billion in cash. That’s Dell’s situation exactly, according to its most recent financial filings. But there’s a catch: it’s in overseas accounts.

Company founder Michael Dell, who’s trying to buy the company, can touch that money, but he’ll pay a steep price, according to Lillian Mills, chairwoman of the Accounting Department at UT’s McCombs School of Business. She says that money was earned outside the United States, and if it comes home, it’s subject to U.S. taxes.

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Business
5:42 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Lawmakers Focus on Eagle Ford Shale

A legislative group wants to help guide the effects of the drilling boom in South Texas.
Eddie Seal, Texas Tribune

In the latest report on state sales tax revenues, some towns are reporting huge increases in sales tax collections.

Asherton, for example, saw its January sales tax grow by 191 percent. Asherton is near the Eagle Ford Shale, an area being transformed by the oil and gas drilling boom.

As Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas, a new bipartisan group of state lawmakers hoping to guide that transformation hosted its first meeting today at the Capitol.

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National
7:15 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Reports: Postal Service Will Move To Halt Saturday Mail

Letter carrier Raymond Hou delivering mail on his route in San Francisco (March 2010 file photo).
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 2:57 pm

(We updated the top of this post at 10:37 a.m. ET.)

Calling it "absolutely necessary" if the U.S. Postal Service is going to stop losing billions of dollars a year and reach anything close to financial stability, Postmaster Gen. Patrick Donahoe confirmed Wednesday morning that USPS is moving to eliminate Saturday delivery of first-class mail.

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Business
7:42 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Austin Airport Breaks Passenger Record in 2012

Ihwa Cheng/KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport saw more passengers last year than it ever has before. About 9.4 million people departed from or arrived to the airport in 2012. That was a four percent increase from 2011.

ABIA added more non-stop flights last year, including service to Washington D.C., Portland, and Philadelphia. And 200,000 people came through for the Formula One race in November.

But officials say they don’t expect to see the same gains in 2013. 

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Business
10:56 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Michael Dell Taking Company Private (Updated)

It's showtime: Michael Dell at a 2012 Dell World event.
flickr.com/dellphotos

Update: Dell's announcement this morning has thousands of Austin employees wondering how going private will affect them.

John Doggett is a Senior Lecturer at UT’s McCombs School of Business. He expects layoffs at Dell.

“I expect they will substantially reduce their PC group by most likely getting rid of consumer PCs and anybody in that group may lose their job," Doggett said. "They will also get out of their investor relations group because they don’t have any investors to talk to in the public. They probably will also not do any or many acquisitions... And I expect those who can leave, are going to leave. There’s going to be an exodus if they feel that their job is at risk."

Michael Dell sent an email out to employees shortly before 8:30 this morning.

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Real Estate
1:11 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Texas Home Sales End Year on a Bang

Bunches and Bits/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunchesandbits/4714938136/

The Texas real estate market rang out 2012 on a high note, according to the latest reading from the Texas Association of Realtors. It says 56,488 single-family were sold across the state in the fourth quarter of last year. That's an increase of almost 20 percent over the same period in 2011. 

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Business
6:08 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Service Businesses Getting Less Optimistic

Restaurant and other service business owners worry that people will be spending less.
courtesy flickr.com/drmillerlg

The Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas sees some signs that the Texas economy could be softening. The Dallas Fed’s monthly report on service businesses shows a decline in expectations about business growth.

Dallas Fed economist Jesus Canas says that there’s less optimism among service business owners than there was a year ago, and that’s mostly because of conditions in the national economy.

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Immigration
7:40 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Immigration Overhaul Good for Business?

The bipartisan proposal calls for a path to citizenship and increased border security
Flickr user Noah Jacquemin, bit.ly/127bpAP

Yesterday’s bipartisan Senate proposal to overhaul the immigration system has drawn praise and criticism from both sides of the aisle. In Texas, one question remains: is immigration good or bad for business? 

The proposal from eight U.S. Senators calls for increased border security and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country.

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Business
6:33 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Japan Could Eat More Texas Beef

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Texas ranchers are applauding Japan’s move to ease restrictions on U.S. beef. Japan will allow imports of meat from American cattle aged 30 months or younger, instead of the current 20 months, according to a statement from the U.S. government. 

“There were a bunch of these cattle that we could not prove they were under 20 months," said Pete Bonds, a rancher in Fort Worth and a vice president with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

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Business
12:05 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

BBB: Austin Air Duct Company is Cleaning Customers' Wallets

The Better Business Bureau is warning Austin consumers from doing business with a local duct cleaning company.
flickr.com/icyaero-photography

An Austin-based air duct cleaning company is looking a little dirty.

A company known alternately as Austin City Air Ducts, ANS Air Ducts, AC Air Ducts and AOS Air Ducts, advertises cleaning services in ValPak coupons and on group buying websites like Eversave. But the Better Business Bureau says it received several complaints about the company from consumers in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas/Forth Worth.

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Business
5:05 am
Thu January 24, 2013

How a Private Dell Deal Might Go

The computer giant Dell has its headquarters in Round Rock.
courtesy Dell Inc.

Update: This article has been edited to correct when Larry Stern saw fliers for Dell on the UT campus. It was not 1981, but some point later in the 1980s.

Dell says that recent talk of a buyout is only speculation, but there’s still a whole lot of speculating going on, including about how a possible deal might work, and what it might mean for Austin.

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Labor
12:57 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Union Membership Continues Decline; Now At Lowest Level Since 1930s

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 11:34 am

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says union membership continues to decline in the United States.

In 2012, American Union membership rate dropped to 11.3 percent from 11.8 percent in 2011. As The Washington Post reports, that's the lowest level since the 1930s.

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Economy
3:55 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

While Austin's Unemployment Rate Inches Up, Texas' Falls

Construction was the fastest growing industry in Texas in 2012.
flickr.com/devar/

Austin’s unemployment rose from 4.9 to 5 percent in December, while Texas’s overall unemployment dropped to 6.1 percent from 7.4 percent last year.

Mark Lavergne, spokesperson for the Texas Workforce Commission, said the change in unemployment in Austin is a slight change. What is more significant, he said, was the unemployment change in Austin and Texas in the past year. Austin’s unemployment has dropped to 5 percent from 6.1 a year ago, while Texas’s unemployment rate has fallen from 7.4 percent to 6.1 in the past year.

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Economy
4:40 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Austin’s Economic Incentive Payments: $19 Million & Counting

This graph produced by the city plots city economic incentive agreements against local unemployment.
Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office, City of Austin

Austin got a look at the return on its investments Thursday. 

The city currently has 11 active economic incentive agreements in place – deals with companies like Visa and Apple stipulating that as long as a company meets negotiated hiring and spending goals, they’ll receive annual benefits from the city, often in the form of tax breaks.  Total incentives, if honored over the course of their entirety, approach $73 million.

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Business
4:48 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Drought Forces Panhandle Beef Plant to Close

KUT News

Years of drought have wreaked havoc on the cattle industry in Texas. Today a major beef processor in the Panhandle said it is temporarily closing a plant because of dwindling supply.

Cargill says it will idle its facility in Plainview, which employs about 2,000 people.

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Business
4:10 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Austin No. 2 in Economic Growth

Tech is the main driver of Austin's growth, a report says.
Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Austin has come out on top, almost, in an economic ranking of U.S. cities.

The Milken Institute said Austin is the second best performing city, based on measures like job growth and wage increases. The study’s author, Ross De Vol, say technology is the region’s big wealth driver.

De Vol says what Austin needs to catch No. 1 city San Jose is more money for growing businesses.

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Economy
11:06 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Jobless Claims at Five-Year Low; Home Building Hits Five-Year High in 2012

Going up in Chicago: Row houses under construction.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 1:53 pm

There were 335,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 37,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That's the lowest total for any one week since January 2008.

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Business
6:53 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Whole Foods Founder John Mackey On Fascism and 'Conscious Capitalism'

Whole Foods has more than 300 stores and continues to expand.
Harry Cabluck AP

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 2:51 pm

UPDATE at 12:35 p.m., ET, Jan. 17: Many of you wrote in to tell us you were taken aback by Whole Foods top executive John Mackey characterizing the health law as fascism in an NPR interview, and apparently, he's feeling a little sheepish.

About three minutes into his otherwise amiable chat with CBS This Morning hosts on on Thursday, Mackey walked back his comments in response to a direct question from Norah O'Donnell:

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Technology
7:16 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Facebook Unveils Graph Search, Adding A New 'Pillar' To Services

A sample search of Facebook's new Graph Search feature shows users' photographs. The company says users can also look for music.
Facebook

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 5:48 am

Users of Facebook will soon have a new search tool at their disposal, the leaders of the company announced Tuesday during a live event. The new Graph Search feature will let those on Facebook sift through photos, people, places, and business pages.

The new search ability will join Facebook users' newsfeed and timeline as "pillars" of their experience, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who predicted Graph Search would become an "amazing resource."

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Business
4:55 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Austin Energy Issues Record Solar Rebates in 2012

A solar panel installation on a home in Austin. Austin Energy had a record year for rebates in 2012.
flickr.com/coreyp

Rebates for solar panels prompted more people than ever to install them in their homes last year. Austin Energy says it issued 463 rebates in fiscal 2012. That was the highest number ever, breaking the previous record by 40 percent.

The increase came even though Austin Energy decreased the amount of the rebate its lowest ever in June: $2 per watt. 

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