SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook says it expects

$5 billion fine from FTC

Facebook said it expects a fine of up to $5 billion from the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating whether the social network violated its users' privacy.

The company set aside $3 billion in its quarterly earnings report Wednesday as a contingency against the possible penalty but noted that the "matter remains unresolved."

The one-time charge slashed Facebook's first-quarter net income considerably, although revenue grew by 25 percent in the period. The FTC has been looking into whether Facebook broke its own 2011 agreement promising to protect user privacy.

Investors shrugged off the charge and sent the company's stock up nearly 5 percent to $190.89 in after-hours trading. EMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson, however, called it a "significant development" and noted that any settlement is likely to go beyond a mere dollar amount.

ENTERTAINMENT

DirectTV Now reports

big drop in customers

DirecTV Now, AT&T's streaming video app, has seen sharp customer declines in recent months that all but wiped out a year's worth of subscriber growth, according to the company's latest earnings report.

On Wednesday, the company said DirecTV Now had lost 83,000 subscribers since January, leaving the service with roughly 1.5 million customers — almost precisely the number it had this time last year. Company filings show that as many as 350,000 subscribers have abandoned DirecTV Now since October, when the service hit a peak of 1.85 million customers.

The steep losses highlight the obstacles facing AT&T as it seeks to build a viable successor to its legacy TV products, DirectTV and U-verse, which also have continued to suffer as Americans cancel traditional cable subscriptions. But, some analysts say, the slump at DirecTV Now is another sign that the holy grail of cheap, a la carte television remains as elusive as ever, and that the promise of cord-cutting has yet to materialize for consumers.

 

OIL INDUSTRY

Bidding war breaks out

over Anadarko Petroleum

A bidding war is breaking out over Anadarko Petroleum, with Occidental making an offer that it says is about a 20 percent premium to Chevron's deal announced earlier this month, a rare move not often seen in the U.S. oil industry.

Houston-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. said the proposed combination would bolster its position in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, where it is already the largest oil producer.

"We have been focused on Anadarko for several years because we have long believed that we are ideally positioned to generate compelling value from a combination with them," Occidental President and CEO Vicki Hollub said in a statement.

Occidental said in a letter to Anadarko's board on Wednesday that its bid is worth $76 per share in cash and stock and would give Anadarko shareholders $38 in cash and 0.6094 shares of Occidental stock for each Anadarko share.

Occidental puts the value of its proposal at $57 billion, including debt and book value of noncontrolling interest. Chevron's deal was valued at $33 billion in cash and stock, or $50 billion including debt and book value of noncontrolling interest.