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Murdoch in India, European banks in pain
Rupert Murdoch’s STAR and Dow Jones businesses expand in India. HSBC and Fortis see reduced profits on failed U.S. mortgage bets. And sometimes a music pirate works for the home team.
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EWS AT A GLANCE

Murdoch, and Dow Jones, expanding in India

News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch said his STAR brand will invest $100 million to create six regional TV channels in India, the world’s fastest-growing media market. Murdoch is in India to launch a new index of India’s leading stocks, the Dow Jones India Titans 30. Dow Jones is also creating a Global Dow index, whose stocks will be chosen by Wall Street Journal editors. (Dow Jones in CNNMoney.com) NBC Universal and its parent, General Electric, said they plan to use NBC’s broadcasting of the Beijing Olympics to further GE’s relationship with another emerging powerhouse, China. GE said it is on track to double its revenue from China, to $10 billion a year, by 2010. GE also said it has no plans to sell off NBC, as suggested by some investors. (Reuters)

HSBC, Fortis profits drop

HSBC, Europe’s largest bank by market value, reported a first-half 29 percent drop in profit, to $7.7 billion, as it set aside $10.1 billion to cover bad loans in the U.S. housing market. (MarketWatch) HSBC became the top U.S. supbrime mortgage lender when it bought Household International Inc. in 2003 for $15.5 billion. But HSBC already paid more than $27 billion in 2006 and 2007 to cover bad loans, and its shares are up 0.2 percent this year, making it the best performing bank in Europe. (Bloomberg) Belgian-Dutch bank Fortis posted a 49 percent drop in quarterly profit, to $1.3 billion, on $564 million in credit-related writedowns. “We should be aware that the credit crisis is not behind us yet,” said Fortis CEO Herman Verwilst. (Reuters)

Chrysler renews reduced credit lines

Chrysler LLC said it had renewed lines of credit totaling $24 billion for its financing unit and as a source of funding for its dealerships. Chrysler had initially sought $30 billion, but cut back due to market conditions and a change in retail strategy. On Friday, Chrysler reported $1.1 billion in pretax earnings for the first half of the year, without providing details, and said it is ahead of targets. (AP in CNNMoney.com) In other automotive news, India’s Tata Motors is facing delays in the launch of its planned $2,500 Nano compact car, due to growing protests over the land slated for the Nano plant. (MarketWatch)

The pirates within

An unreleased track by the rock band Buckcherry was leaked onto the Internet, and Buckcherry and its label, Atlantic Records, screamed piracy—then made a bundle when the song hit the Billboard Top 40 charts. At least one filesharing blog is calling foul, alleging that Buckcherry’s manager leaked the song as a publicity stunt. And the blog has evidence. The relationship between labels and music pirates is getting complicated, as both labels and radio stations follow illegal filesharing data to see which songs are gaining traction, even while the labels sue the music sharers. As for Buckcherry, “I’m not sure that their credibility will really suffer,” as fans are “so savvy now,” says Eric Garland of piracy consultancy Big Champagne. (The Wall Street Journal)

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