Briefs (right)Goldman Sachs Adopts Strong
By Claudia H. Deutsch
THE NEW YORK TIMES
As of Tuesday, Goldman Sachs Group is officially green.
The big investment banking firm just announced a policy that details how its 24,000 employees — be they bankers, analysts, or purchasing agents — should promote activities that protect forests and guard against climate change.
Goldman, which counts paper companies, refiners, and car companies among its clients, stopped short of saying it would reject clients with iffy environmental practices. Instead, it said it would “encourage” clients in “environmentally sensitive” areas to use “appropriate safeguards.” It committed to investing $1 billion in projects that generate energy from sources other than oil and gas. And it strongly endorsed stringent federal regulation.
Goldman said it would establish a Center for Environmental Markets to study how the free-market system can solve environmental problems. Henry M. Paulson Jr., Goldman’s chairman, said that the center — which will cost $5 million to set up and will be running within six months — will help shape public policy.
“We don’t have a lot more time to deal with climate change,” said Paulson, an outspoken environmentalist who is also chairman of the Nature Conservancy. “We need the right balance between regulation and market-based approaches.”
No Series of Rate Hikes in Plans
By Carter Dougherty
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, said Monday that the bank had no plan to embark on a series of interest rate increases, but would assess the need for them over time.
Trichet had signaled Friday that the bank was poised to lift its benchmark rate modestly for the first time in five years when its monetary-policy group meets next week. His remarks, though, were taken by some as a hint that the bank might initiate a series of rate rises, the way the Federal Reserve is doing.
Responding to criticism that the bank could choke off a nascent economic rebound in Europe, Trichet told the monetary affairs committee of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, “It would not be a good working assumption, ex ante, to consider that we are at the start of a series of interest rate increases.”
A transcript of his remarks in the European Parliament was obtained from Reuters.
Though he shed little light on how the bank might act beyond its policy meeting on Dec. 1, Trichet emphasized that the bank would be calibrating its benchmark rate to the conditions of the euro zone as they develop, rather than making assumptions leading to a prolonged cycle of higher rates.
AOL Buys Online
Video Content System
By Saul Hansell
THE NEW YORK TIMES
America Online reached an unusual arrangement on Monday with a start-up company that will allow almost any producer of video content to distribute programming on its service, splitting revenue from advertising or fees.
AOL made its arrangement with Brightcove of Cambridge, Mass., which is building a system that gathers and distributes video content. Brightcove gives producers a way to put video on their Web sites while also making the video available on other sites, the first of which is AOL.
AOL, which is part of Time Warner, has cut several deals to distribute text and more recently video from a variety of sources, paying for the content or splitting the advertising revenue with the publishers. This deal is unusual because it allows video producers an automated way to put content on AOL without having to negotiate a separate deal.
Brightcove is focused on gathering content from independent filmmakers and smaller cable networks.
“Brightcove gives us access to content from small and medium-sized publishers and allows those publishers to get into the game with broader distribution,” said Kevin Conroy, an executive vice president of AOL Media Networks. AOL, he said, will have the right to reject programs if they are inappropriate or duplicate content AOL already has.
Intel and Micron Form
Joint Venture for Chip Production
By Laurie J. Flynn
THE NEW YORK TIMES SAN FRANCISCO
The Intel Corp., the leading semiconductor maker, and Micron Technology announced Monday a joint venture to manufacture NAND flash-memory chips in an effort to tap into one of the chip industry’s fastest-growing segments. The rising demand for NAND flash memory is being driven by the popularity of portable music players like the Apple iPod, digital cameras, and other consumer devices.
“This will enable us to scale and become efficient quickly in this fast-growing market,” said Brian Harrison, an Intel executive who was named vice president and general manager of company’s flash memory business, including the new venture.
Intel and Micron have agreed initially to contribute approximately $1.2 billion each in cash, notes, and assets to the new company, which will be called IM Flash Technologies. The companies will each contribute an additional $1.4 billion over the next three years, followed by additional investments to expand the operation.
While the new venture is Intel’s first foray into the NAND business, Micron was an early supplier of NAND chips to the consumer electronics industry. Micro holds roughly 3.5 percent of the total NAND market, making it the fifth largest supplier.
The worldwide NAND market is led by the Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics, which controls slightly more than half the market, followed by Toshiba with 23 percent share, and Hynix Semiconductor with 13 percent.