Power outage at Delta causes flight cancellations, delays

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) canceled hundreds of flights and delayed many others on Monday after an outage hit its computer systems, grounding planes and stranding passengers of one of the world's largest carriers at airports around the globe.Atlanta-based Delta, the second-largest U.S. airline by passenger traffic, said it had canceled 451 flights after a power outage that began around 2:30 a.m. EDT (0630 GMT) in Atlanta. Flights gradually resumed about six hours later.The disruptions dealt a blow to Delta's efforts to use its recent success in avoiding flight cancellations to win over corporate and leisure customers. With Monday's outage, Delta now joins rivals Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) and American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) among airlines that have suffered flight disruptions during the past year due to data system malfunctions.The financial impact from Monday's flight cancellations was not yet clear. Delta said passengers booked for travel Aug. 8-12 would be entitled to a refund if their flight is canceled or significantly delayed. The airline said late Monday it would provide $200 in travel vouchers to all customers who experienced a delay of greater than three hours or a canceled flight as a result of Monday's disruptions. Analyst Jim Corridore of S&P Global Market Intelligence downplayed the impact to Delta, saying it was "not as severe as a mild snowstorm." However, Corridore added "the reason for the cancellations are a cause for concern and needs to be explained." The analyst reaffirmed a "strongbuy" rating on Delta shares. Delta shares were down 0.6 percent at the close of trading. Delta said it was investigating the cause of the "system-wide outage." As of 1:30 p.m. EDT, it was operating about 1,679 of its nearly 6,000 scheduled flights. The problems arose after a switchgear, which helps control and switch power flows like a circuit breaker in a home, malfunctioned for reasons that were not immediately clear, said Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft.Georgia Power, a unit of Southern Co (SO.N) which provides electricity to most counties in Georgia, earlier sent a team to investigate, Kraft said. The problem has not affected other Georgia Power customers, he said.The carrier was probably running a routine test of its backup power supplies when the switchgear failed and locked Delta out of its reserve generators as well as from Georgia Power, industry analyst and former airline executive Robert Mann said. That would result in a shutdown of Delta's data center, which controls bookings, flight operations and other critical systems, he said. A Delta spokeswoman declined to comment when asked about backup systems."It's (an) all-hands-on-deck effort" at Delta to get customers back into the air, Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in a video posted on the airline's Twitter account. Industry consultants say airlines face an increasing risk from computer disruptions as they automate more of their operations, distribute boarding passes on smartphones and outfit their planes with Wi-Fi.Delta's flight information was not showing correctly on Delta's website or on airport information boards, and this could also take time to resolve, the carrier said earlier. Mann said monitors typically display cached data until the computer system updates with new information. "This is ridiculous," said Nyasha Arthur, a 39-year-old AT&T employee who had to use a vacation day after being stranded at Newark Liberty International Airport."I don't understand what is going on here. It's just a mess," she said as she stood in a long queue at Delta's check-in counter.Around the world, passengers stuck in airport queues or on planes waiting to depart took to Twitter to share photos and frustration at the delays, as well as to ask how a major airline could be grounded by a power cut.According to website Flightradar24, some of the first flights to take off were from Amsterdam to the United States, while a flight from Phoenix to Atlanta was among the first to depart from a U.S. airport. (Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York, Victoria Bryan in Berlin, Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Sarah Young in London; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Diane Craft)

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BRIEF-Vista Gold qtrly shr $0.02

Aug 1 Vista Gold Corp* Net income of $1.6 million or $0.02 per share for three months ended June 30, 2016 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ; )

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UPDATE 7-Verizon to buy Yahoo's core business for $4.8 bln in digital ad push

(Adds Australian joint venture response in 5th last graf)By Malathi Nayak and Deborah M. ToddNEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, July 25 Verizon Communications Inc said on Monday it would buy Yahoo Inc's core internet properties for $4.83 billion in cash, marking the end of the line for a storied Web pioneer and setting the stage for a big new internet push by the telecom giant.Verizon will combine Yahoo's search, email and messenger assets as well as advertising technology tools with its AOL unit, which it bought last year for $4.4 billion. Verizon has been looking to mobile video and advertising for new sources of revenue outside the oversaturated wireless market.The No. 1 U.S. wireless operator is betting that it can take data on more than 200 million unique monthly visitors to Yahoo sites, many of them on mobile devices, and combine it with data on 150 million or so unique monthly AOL users and data on its own user base of over 100 million wireless subscribers to offer a more targeted service for advertisers.Barclays said last month Verizon could save $500 million a year in costs of acquiring internet traffic and other expenses by buying Yahoo's internet business.The deal likely means more investment in popular content sites such as AOL's Huffington Post and Yahoo Finance when they become part of a much larger entity."It now becomes somewhat easier to justify investing in content," said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research.Verizon said it would provide more detail on the strategy behind the acquisition when it announces second-quarter earnings on Tuesday.LONG WAY DOWNThe deal came after activist investors led by Starboard Value LP lost faith in Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer, who was hired in 2012, and forced what became a protracted sale process. Yahoo, founded in 1994, was a dominant player in the early days of the internet, but has long lost its leadership position in internet search and advertising to Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc and others.Mayer said on a conference call with investors that she planned to stay at Yahoo through the deal's close. Marni Walden, head of product innovation and new business at Verizon, will head the combined internet unit and said no decisions had yet been made on the management team."Yahoo gives us scale that is what is most critical here," said Walden, adding that the company's audience will go from the millions to the billions. "We want to compete and that is the place we need to be."Mayer, in an interview with Reuters, said she still saw a "path to growth" for Yahoo, especially in mobile. "What's exciting about the Verizon transaction is that it brings us back to growth sooner," she said. She said she was "open-minded" about a possible role with the combined companies.But analysts expect AOL CEO Tim Armstrong - like Mayer a one-time Google executive - to be the driving force behind the combined companies. Yahoo is still one of the largest properties on the internet, with hundreds of millions of customers using its email, finance and sports offerings, among others, and a heavily trafficked home page.But Google has a stranglehold on the internet search business and built an industry-leading email service, while Facebook dominates in mobile and social media. Meanwhile, traditional web banner advertising, long Yahoo's strength, has become much less lucrative in the age of mobile and video."It's a decade of mismanagement that has finally ended for Yahoo," said Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner. "It's the continuation of an extension of Verizon's strategy toward becoming a wireless internet player and a move away from (telecom) regulation for Verizon into an unregulated growth industry.Under Armstrong, AOL has beefed up its advertising technology with a string of acquisitions, and launched the mobile video service go90. Verizon has not disclosed how financially successful the unit has been, but Armstrong, known as a formidable salesman, has clearly won the confidence of Verizon's leaders.FAR BEHIND GOOGLE, FACEBOOK The integration of Yahoo will not come without challenges. In its latest results, it reported a second-quarter net loss of $439.9 million as it wrote down the value of Tumblr, the microblogging and social media service it acquired in 2013 for $1.1 billion.Even with AOL and Yahoo, Verizon would still be far behind s Google and Facebook. According to eMarketer, Yahoo is expected to generate $2.32 billion in net U.S. digital ad sales, while AOL is expected to make $1.3 billion in 2016. Facebook and Google are forecast to deliver sales of $10.3 billion and $24.63 billion, respectively, by the end of this year.The Verizon deal would transform Yahoo into a holding company, with a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and a 35.5 percent interest in Yahoo Japan Corp as well as Yahoo's convertible notes, certain minority investments and its non-core patents.Yahoo executives said the remaining company is structured to "indefinitely" hold its Yahoo Japan and Alibaba stakes. They are worth about $40 billion based on their market capitalizations, while Yahoo had a market value of about $37.4 billion at Friday's close.Australia's top-rating free-to-air television network Seven West Media, which has an online joint venture with Yahoo, said it will consider "various options" if its 50:50 digital partner gets sold. It declined to name the options but noted that it has "dramatically expanded its digital products" beyond the Yahoo7 business.Yahoo will continue as an independent company until the deal receives shareholder and regulatory approvals, the companies said. It is expected to close in early 2017. It plans to change its name and become a publicly traded investment company.Yahoo currently has $7.7 billion in cash, in addition to the $4.8 billion it will receive at the close of the deal, which it plans to return to shareholders, Yahoo executives said on the call.Verizon prevailed over rival bidders, including AT&T Inc ; a group led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and backed by billionaire Warren Buffett; private equity firm TPG Capital Management LP ; and a consortium of buyout firms Vector Capital and Sycamore Partners.Under pressure from Starboard, Yahoo launched an auction of its core business in February after shelving plans to spin off its stake in Alibaba.(Additional reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru, Jessica Toonkel in New York and Byron Kaye in Sydney; Writing by Jonathan Weber; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Rigby)

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China brushes off calls for Philippines boycott after S.China Sea ruling

BEIJING, July 19 A senior Chinese official on Tuesday brushed off calls for a boycott of the Philippines after an international arbitration court found for Manila in its dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea.China angrily rejected the verdict last week by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, describing the case as illegal and farcical. It has repeatedly said it will not change its approach or its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.Some Chinese have reacted by calling for boycotts on products from the Philippines and the United States, which many in China blame for pushing the case. So far, there has been only sporadic evidence of these calls being heeded.Asked if China would take retaliatory trade measures against the Philippines because of the ruling, China's vice minister of commerce Gao Yan told reporters that trade relations with Manila were developing smoothly."In recent years, the development of China's trade relations with the Philippines overall has been smooth and stable. China is willing to develop mutually beneficial and diverse trade relations with the Philippines," she said."I should say that though some internet users have called for boycotts on products from the Philippines, in actuality this situation has not occurred." Total two-way trade between China and the Philippines rose 5.7 percent in the first six months of the year to $22.3 billion, according to Chinese customs figures.Calls for boycotts of countries deemed to have offended China are not uncommon. Disputes with Japan over the country's painful shared history and contested ownership of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea have in recent years bubbled over into anti-Japanese violence, and destruction of Japanese goods and restaurants.There has been no evidence of such widespread anger in China this time, though some reports have surfaced of people in generally third tier cities holding up banners in front of U.S. fast food restaurants including Yum! Brands Inc-owned KFC asking people not to eat there.State media has called on people to oppose "irrational patriotism" over the case. "Other net users have levelled false accusations against public figures and have started to mislead people into blindly boycotting foreign products and brands such as Philippine bananas, iPhones and KFC," the influential tabloid the Global Times said on Tuesday.The government also appears to have no intention of allowing protests, as it has done in the past against Japan.On Monday, police in Siyang in the eastern province of Jiangsu said on their microblog it was aware of calls for protests against KFC but said protests needed approval, and suggested they would be a waste of time."Love your country, but please don't take out your anger on its territory," Siyang police said. (Reporting by Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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BRIEF-Wells fargo reports 16.40 pct passive stake in Herc Holdings

July 12 Herc Holdings Inc * Wells fargo reports 16.40 pct passive stake in Herc Holdings As of June 30 - SEC filing Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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