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Netflix (NFLX) is raising prices by 60 percent for subscribers who want to watch films and TV shows both online and via mail-order DVDs. Previously, viewers could opt for a $9.99 monthly package for DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming. Under the new plan, those options will be unbundled and will cost $7.99 each. Netflix needs to boost revenue to raise funds for expansion, acquire new content, and renegotiate contracts with Sony (SNE), Walt Disney (DIS), and others. On July 13 the Los Gatos (Calif.) company signed a multiyear agreement renewing and expanding its rights to movies and TV shows from NBCUniversal, including The Office and 30 Rock.
Looking to reduce costs and revive profit growth, Cisco (CSCO) may trim its workforce by about 14 percent, or 10,000 jobs, according to two people familiar with the plans. The cuts include as many as 7,000 jobs by the end of August, in addition to 3,000 workers who have accepted buyouts. Cisco has been losing market share in its core switches and routers businesses to competitors such as Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Juniper Networks (JNPR). In May, Cisco cut 550 jobs when it shut down the Flip video camera unit.
Dunkin’ Brands, operator of the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee chain, is seeking to raise as much as $460.6 million in an initial public offering scheduled for the end of July. Taken private in 2006 by Bain Capital, Carlyle Group, and Thomas H. Lee Partners, Dunkin’ is one of many companies returning to the public market this year after leveraged buyouts. Private equity owners have been big beneficiaries of this year’s U.S. IPO boom. Dunkin’ will use proceeds from going public to pay off its debt. It had about $1.8 billion in long-term debt as of Mar. 26.
For the first time, Volkswagen sold more than 4 million cars in the first half of the year. Nearly two-thirds of the sales came from its namesake brand. VW is looking to fast-growing markets in Brazil, Russia, India, and China to help it become the world’s No. 1 carmaker by 2018, surpassing Toyota (TM). The company plans to invest $88 billion over the next five years, including $15 billion in two joint ventures in China. It plans to hire 50,000 workers through 2018 to help it hit its goal of making more than 10 million vehicles a year.
The New York Times Co. (NYT) says it will repay the $250 million loan granted by billionaire Carlos Slim five months ahead of schedule, on Aug. 15. Since taking the loan in 2009, Times Co. expanded its digital business and launched paid subscriptions at its flagship newspaper. It plans to adopt a similar model for the Boston Globe later this year. Early repayment of Slim’s money reflects stabilized ad sales, which fell 2.7 percent last year, to $1.3 billion, vs. a 24.5 percent drop in 2008.
— Parmalat: Yvon Guerin named CEO
— Bank of America: Terry Laughlin promoted to chief risk officer
— Starbucks: Jinlong Wang named Asia head
— IMF: David Lipton appointed first deputy managing director