Porsche said yesterday it plans to acquire about a 20 percent stake in Volkswagen, a move aimed at strengthening ties between the automakers and blocking any future hostile takeover of VW.

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Porsche said yesterday it plans to acquire about a 20 percent stake in Volkswagen, a move aimed at strengthening ties between the automakers and blocking any future hostile takeover of VW.

Porsche said VW supplies about 30 percent of the luxury carmaker’s sales volume and is a development partner.

The two companies worked together to develop Porsche’s Cayenne sport-utility vehicle and Volkswagen’s Touareg. Along with Audi, they recently announced an alliance to develop hybrid engines.

A 20 percent stake would currently cost Porsche more than $3.6 billion.

Porsche said its investment would not reach the 30 percent threshold that, under German law, would require it to make a public takeover offer for Volkswagen.


China to allow only “healthy” news on Web

China said yesterday it is imposing new rules to control content on its news Web sites and will allow the posting of only “healthy and civilized” news.

The move is part of China’s ongoing efforts to police the country’s 100 million Internet population.

The new rules take effect immediately and will “standardize the management of news and information” in the country, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

While the communist government encourages Internet use for education and business, it also blocks material it deems subversive or pornographic. Online dissidents who post items critical of the government, or those expressing opinions in chatrooms, are regularly arrested.


Profitable site considers syndicating news content

Charlie Tillinghast has a list of things to do now that he’s been in his new job as publisher of MSNBC.com for three months. At the top is generating income through syndication of the Web site’s original news content.

Potential partners, he told the Puget Sound Business Journal, “would be people we’re not competitive with, like a local news site of any kind — any newspaper in the country would be a fit.”

Tillinghast said MSNBC.com is “extremely profitable.” Revenue for the year ending in June was 40 percent greater than the previous year.

Future plans for the site include more personalization.


New flash music player to compete with Shuffle

Dell last week launched DJ Ditty, a new flash-memory digital music player designed to compete with the iPod Shuffle.

Both devices are $99 and come equipped with 512 megabytes of memory. But because the Ditty uses an audio format that compresses digital music files more efficiently, Dell asserts the Ditty can hold up to 220 songs while the same-sized Shuffle stores about 120.

The biggest difference between the devices is the Ditty’s 1-inch LCD display screen, which helps users navigate music lists. The Ditty also can receive FM radio.

Opera Software

Brower fee dropped in hopes of luring users

Opera Software announced it has removed the ad banner and licensing fee from all versions of its Web browser.

Previously, users had to pay $39 to get Opera without advertising. Despite being in use since late 1998, Opera has only a sliver of the browser usage market. NetApplications.com, an Internet-consulting company, estimated Opera was the choice of less than 1 percent of Web users in July, while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was used by 86 percent and Mozilla’s Firefox is used by 18 percent.

Apple Computer

First Intel-based Macs on target for June

Apple Computer is on track to ship its first Macintosh computers based on Intel chips in June, Chief Executive Steve Jobs said last week.

Intel chips cost less, run faster and generate less heat than the products built by Motorola and IBM that Apple has used in computers for 21 years.

Compiled from MarketWatch, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News