Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

November 18, 2008

Region's concentration of IT workers called high

The Baltimore-Washington region ranks above Silicon Valley and Boston in the concentration of workers in the information technology sector, with 270,000 IT workers, according to a report being presented at an annual meeting today of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore. The report, the third in a series by the alliance focusing on industries and the regional economy, says the region's market is driven by a base of large federal government agencies that are expected to increase IT spending in the next four years, despite rising deficits. But the report says the region remains a second-tier market for IT in the private sector, along with the metro areas of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Lorraine Mirabella

Yahoo co-founder Yang quitting as chief executive

SAN FRANCISCO : Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang is stepping down as chief executive, ending a rocky reign marked by his refusal to sell the Internet company to Microsoft Corp. for $47.5 billion - more than triple Yahoo's current market value. The change in command announced yesterday won't be completed until Yahoo finds his replacement. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said it is interviewing candidates inside and outside Yahoo in a search led by its chairman, Roy Bostock, and the executive recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles. "Jerry and the board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level," Bostock said. Yang, who started Yahoo with Stanford University classmate David Filo in 1994, will revert to "Chief Yahoo," a titular role he filled before replacing former movie studio boss Terry Semel as chief executive officer in June 2007. He will also remain on Yahoo's board of directors. "I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo realize its full potential, and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation," Yang said in a statement.

Associated Press

Target plans price cuts despite lower earnings

NEW YORK : Target Corp. said yesterday it will cut prices during the holiday season, even as weak sales of its apparel and home offerings led third-quarter earnings to fall 24 percent. The discount retailer also said sales in established stores have been weak this month, and if that persists, it expects fourth-quarter earnings below analyst expectations. The company has fared worse than its chief rival, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as consumers cut back on discretionary spending and shop mainly for necessities. More than 40 percent of Target's revenue comes from nonessentials such as trendy fashions and housewares. During the holidays, Target will remain "keenly focused" on offering low prices on national brands and its own products and will match Wal-Mart prices on identical items in local markets, said Kathryn Tesija, Target's executive vice president of merchandise.

Associated Press

Electronics billionaire buys into Circuit City

RICHMOND, Va. : A Mexican billionaire who controls a chain of electronics stores in Latin America now holds a 13 percent stake in Circuit City Stores Inc., which is under bankruptcy protection. Ricardo Salinas Pliego, who is on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people, owned more than 22 million shares of the nation's second-largest consumer electronics retailer as of Nov. 12, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday. He bought 5.3 million shares of Circuit City at an average price of 22 cents apiece, two days after the Richmond, Va.-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, according to the documents. Circuit City spokesman Bill Cimino had no comment on the transaction. A spokesman for Salinas did not immediately comment because yesterday was a holiday in Mexico. Facing pressure from its vendors and from consumers who aren't spending, Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week and cut more jobs. The company plans to keep operating while it develops a reorganization plan.

Associated Press

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