First Coffee for October 14, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for October 14, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited:

Passing this along, FYI: Sistema, which is probably correct when it claims to be the largest private sector consumer services company in Russia and the CIS, has announced that, according to press reports, Open Joint Stock Company ASVT has filed a lawsuit against Sistema in a Russian court for approximately 50 billion rubles, or $1.75 billion.

Whew. What got ASVT’s knickers in a twist, according to Sistema officials – you writea da press release, you spinna da story – was Sistema’s investment in Mobile TeleSystems OJSC made over ten years ago. There is also a second related lawsuit against Limited Liability Partnership VAST, “in which ASVT seeks to be named as its sole owner. Sistema and its subsidiary MGTS are named as third parties in the second lawsuit.”

Sistema and ASVT own 51% and 49%, respectively, of VAST, which owns approximately 3% of MTS. Sistema’s current majority ownership in MTS includes its beneficial ownership of 1.5% of the shares of MTS through VAST.

While Sistema has not yet received official notice of the lawsuits, according to company officials “the company believes there is no legal basis for the claims and intends to vigorously defend itself.”

If that affects your morning eTrade activity any.

Not every day you get a story datelined Kourou, French Guiana, but that’s where PanAmSat has announced that its Galaxy 15 satellite was launched into space. Propelled by an Ariane 5 rocket, the spacecraft is a first for PanAmSat, as it carries a dual C-band and L-band payload for HDTV and video distribution to its cable programmers and government-related business.

To be located at 133 degrees west longitude, the satellite is the third of PanAmSat’s next-generation satellites from Orbital Sciences Corporation, providing coverage of all 50 U.S. states. It’ll deliver video programming for America’s television programmers, and the L-band payload will provide navigation signals to in-flight aircraft as part of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Wide Area Augmentation System Geostationary Communications and Control Segment.

PeerMe, Inc., a peer-to-peer voice communications technology company focused on voice enabling the Internet, has announced the PeerMe Partners Program created to accommodate Internet portals, classifieds Web sites, e-mail hosting companies and companies offering applications software to add PC based voice and instant messaging
capabilities to their services.

PeerMe has developed a peer-to-peer voice and instant messaging environment supporting PC-to-PC and PC-to-handheld voice communications and instant messaging over public Internet connections.

PeerMe’s technology, according to company officials, can be used independently by users connecting on a peer-to-peer basis or integrated into Web communities.

It’s no small market the company’s aiming for: “The worldwide voice market is a trillion dollars, and poised for continued, rapid growth,” said Tom Lasater, founder and CEO of PeerMe.

In light of “recent announcements by Google and Skype,” Lasater thinks, “more and more companies will follow the lead of these firms and investigate into the possibilities that peer-to-peer technology holds for their business model.”

Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. has announced the development of “BB MediaRouter,” which company officials describe as a gateway platform for home network products in “the ubiquitous era.”

This router is a platform to “organically connect various home network solutions by combining info-telecom technologies with home appliances.” The Tokyo-based company will develop products and deploy them to telecom carriers, ISPs and municipalities.

With the BBMR, users can “fully enjoy new services from networked home appliances, using their existing infrastructure,” said Keizo Ikeda, President of Media-network Appliance Company at Oki Electric.

PECO II, Inc. and Delta Group, providers of power equipment and services to the telecommunications market, have announced a definitive agreement, pursuant to which PECO II will acquire exclusive rights to certain business and inventory for Delta’s U.S. and Canadian service provider business in exchange for an equity position in PECO II that will enable Delta to become PECO II’s largest shareowner.

At closing, Delta will receive approximately 4.7 million shares of PECO II common stock and a warrant to purchase up to approximately 12.9 million shares of PECO II common stock at a $2.00 strike price that is valid for 30 months. As a result, Delta may acquire up to 45% of the common stock of PECO II.

America West customer service representatives have “overwhelmingly” approved the establishment of the Airline Customer Service Employee Association, a joint alliance between the Teamsters labor union and the Communication Workers of America.

The alliance, approved by a 1,321 to 175 tally of Teamster members from America West, will represent more than 9,000 CSRs at the merged US Airways and America West.

“This is fantastic news,” thinks Dan Vogelgesang, an America West reservations worker based in Phoenix. “There is power in numbers, and our alliance with the CWA members at US Airways will have the power of over 9,000 members behind it.”

“By joining forces with the union representing CSRs at US Airways, we’re ensuring that they will receive strong representation in the newly merged airline,” said Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa.

The Teamsters Union represents 3,500 CSRs at America West and the CWA represents 6,000 passenger agents at US Airways. The employees work as reservations, ticket and gate agents, and also staff hospitality clubs at airports and assist handicapped passengers.

The pact calls for General President Hoffa and CWA President Larry Cohen to alternate in heading up the association, with Cohen initially serving as director for the first year and Hoffa as vice director.

The future goal of the association is to improve salaries and conditions for America West and US Airways employees. In day-to-day representation, CWA will continue to represent workers in the eastern, largely US Airways locations, and the Teamsters will represent those in the western states where America West mainly operates.

Pixsy, a developer of multimedia search tools, has announced a partnership with Chitika, Inc., a provider of impulse merchandising services. The Chitika “eMiniMalls” will enable media search provider Pixsy to offer what company officials describe as “contextually relevant PPC shopping ads” through a CPC-based intelligent and interactive product merchandising service.

Rich Lerz, COO of Pixsy Corporation explained that when a Pixsy user types in a media search query, eMiniMalls matches that query with “the most contextually relevant product promotion.”

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