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Business briefs — July 25

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TECHNOLOGY

Google unveils new Nexus 7

Google is introducing a sleeker version of its Nexus 7 tablet as the Internet company escalates its battle with Apple and Amazon.com in the mobile computing market.

Google also announced a $35 device that will let you watch Netflix, YouTube and other content on a high-definition TV. Simply plug the Chromecast into the TV’s HDMI port, and it’ll display content from your phone, tablet or laptop.

The Chromecast is available right away, while the new Nexus 7 devices go on sale in the U.S. on Tuesday. It’s available in Google’s online store and various other retailers. Google made the announcement Wednesday at an event in San Francisco.

The extra firepower added to the second generation of Nexus 7 tablets will come with a higher price. A model with 16 gigabytes of storage will sell for $229, a $30 increase from the original Nexus 7 released a year ago. That’s still 30 percent below the $329 that Apple Inc. charges for its iPad Mini. A comparable Kindle Fire HD tablet from Amazon.com Inc. currently sells for $199.

Talk coming to iHeartRadio

Clear Channel says it is adding talk shows and listener-generated content to iHeartRadio, expanding the online radio service’s offerings beyond music.

Clear Channel, which operates more than 850 terrestrial radio stations as well, said Wednesday that users who update their iHeartRadio apps on the iPhone and Android phones will be able to search for talk shows on those phones. For now, iHeartRadio Talk is only available on the Web, but the company says it’s coming to mobile phones in September.

Clear Channel says users can access talk shows such as Good Morning America, Direct from Hollywood with Ryan Seacrest, Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Daily Update Minute and TED Talks.

Users will also be able to submit their content that iHeartRadio may feature alongside established shows.

WALL STREET

Dell’s founder raises offer

A group led by Dell’s founder raised its offer for the struggling computer maker Wednesday in hopes of attracting more shareholder support for its plan to take the company private.

The 10-cent per share increase came just hours before Dell’s shareholders were scheduled to vote on the previous $13.65 per share offer from Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake Partners.

But the extra money comes with a catch, a stipulation that the offer’s fate be decided by the will of the shareholders who choose to vote in favor of the plan or against it, leaving out those who don’t vote at all. Previously, nonvoting shareholders were counted as opponents of the proposal.

The Round Rock, Texas, company delayed its shareholder meeting for the second time in two weeks, moving it to Aug. 2 to give the special committee of its board time to consider the offer. The meeting had been set for Wednesday, after being delayed the week before in a sign that the offer didn’t have enough shareholder support.

Michael Dell and Silver Lake said Wednesday that the new offer represents their “best and final proposal” and increases the total amount they are willing to pay shareholders by about $150 million, valuing the company at more than $24 billion.

FOREIGN CURRENCY

Author on 10-pound note

Jane Austen will become the new face on England’s 10-pound notes — a sign there is plenty of pride and little prejudice against women on the country’s currency.

The Bank of England chose the chronicler of 18th century English country life as the new face of the note, bowing to critics who complained that the venerable institution was ignoring women on its currency.

“Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes,” the bank’s new governor, Mark Carney, said Wednesday.

“Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognized as one of the greatest writers in English literature.”

OIL & GAS

Brazilians exploring shale

With the discovery of shale gas reserves in Brazil and plans to auction drilling rights there, a delegation is visiting western Pennsylvania to see how its drilling boom has turned the state into one of the leading natural gas producers in the United States.

The group of Brazilian business and energy industry professionals hopes to learn from the state’s experience and to explore the possibility of exports to Brazil during meetings Wednesday and today.

Celia Feldpausch, executive director of the Brazil Industries Coalition, said Wednesday that the national oil company plans to hold auctions for drilling rights later this year, but shale gas drilling is a new issue for Brazil and “we want to make sure to protect the environment.”

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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