Business Briefs


POSTED: Friday, January 02, 2009


GMAC bondholders to swap debt

NEW YORK » GMAC Financial Services said Wednesday that bondholders representing $21.2 billion of its debt have agreed to the terms of a debt-for-equity swap that was designed to help it raise enough capital to qualify for much-needed federal aid.

The results of the exchange offer come a week after the Federal Reserve went ahead and approved GMAC's application for bank holding status, making it eligible for a portion of the $700 billion bank rescue package.

Earlier this week, the financing arm of General Motors Corp. received $5 billion in aid from the U.S. Treasury Department. In addition, the Treasury said it would lend up to $1 billion to GM so that the automaker would be able to buy more equity from GMAC. Those purchases are expected to raise more capital for GMAC.


Apple may unveil cheaper iPhone

NEW YORK » Apple Inc. will probably begin selling a lower-priced version of the iPhone in the first half of this year, tapping a new chipmaker for a key component, according to Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co.

Qualcomm Inc. will replace Infineon Technologies AG as the supplier of the baseband processor - the chip that translates radio signals into voice and data - in the new model, analyst Craig Berger said Wednesday in a report. The phone might debut in the second quarter, he said, citing unidentified industry sources.

Apple may be turning to lower-cost products to fuel sales next year as the economy shrinks. The company is planning a new smaller version of its Shuffle music player and a cheaper MacBook laptop, Berger said. None of the devices is likely to be ready to be unveiled at next weeks Macworld conference, where Apple typically makes product announcements.


Failed trades to get new penalty

NEW YORK » Bond dealers and hedge funds that fail to complete trades in Treasury securities face a penalty of as much as 3 percent on the proceeds of transactions, according to a Federal Reserve-backed industry code to be implemented in the next six months.

The plan, which strengthens official oversight of trading, will be unveiled as soon as Monday, said Thomas Wipf, chairman of the Treasury Market Practices Group and the head of institutional securities group financing at Morgan Stanley in New York.