28 May 14. Cisco purchase of CIA-funded Company may fuel distrust abroad. CIA’s non-profit venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, has been pumping millions of dollars into technology startups since its launch in 2000, meaning it’s not the least bit unusual for major vendors to have acquired and assimilated one of these CIA-nurtured seedlings. So what would make Cisco’s recent acquisition of In-Q-Tel-backed security company ThreatGRID any more noteworthy than all the others? You’ve probably seen the pictures of NSA employees apparently intercepting and bugging Cisco equipment, and read of the letter sent by Cisco CEO John Chambers to President Obama suggesting the obvious: that this kind of thing is bad for business. In short, Cisco’s acquisition of ThreatGRID is different because Cisco is today scrambling to counter the impression – especially abroad – that it is in league with the U.S. intelligence community, a charge it has always denied. And in this atmosphere of growing distrust, little distinction will be appreciated between our domestic and foreign spy agencies. Moreover, the connections between Cisco’s new acquisition and U.S. intelligence are more than financial, they are familial, too, as we’ll get to below. As first noted by blogger Brad Reese, no mention was made of the CIA funding of ThreatGRID by those involved in announcing the deal last week. I was unable to find any mention of ThreatGRID on the In-Q-Tel website, though dozens of current and former funding recipients are listed. So might real-world buyers even care about such a link? “I think it’s a reasonable proposition,” says Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst with ZK Research, and a contributor to Network World. “The fact remains, there’s so much uncertainty today about whose watching what that it scares some customers. The uncertainty though should drive U.S. customers back to Cisco but give cause for concern for overseas ones. Either way, it doesn’t help security sales for Cisco or really any company.” There’s an element of bad timing at play here, too, as the deal was clearly in the works before those damaging pictures emerged and ThreatGRID received its CIA funding before the world had even heard of Edward Snowden. (Source: Open Source Information Report/Buzzblog)
05 Jun 14. Saab issues 5.5 year loan. Saab (SAAB B) issued a 5.5 year loan under the existing Medium Term Note programme (MTN). Saab has issued bonds of MSEK 600, 500 floating and 100 fixed-rate loans, with maturity on 19 December 2019. The total size of Saab’s MTN Programme is SEK 3bn and in total Saab has issued SEK 1.6 billion under the programme. The purpose of the transaction is to secure long-term financing of operations and give Saab increased flexibility to finance operating activities and continued acquisitions. Saab also has an unutilized Swedish commercial paper programme of SEK 5bn. “We have chosen to place MSEK 600, which was in line with our objective. The interest rate level and credit spread has worked in our favour since the previous issue in December 2013.” says Stefan Lind, Group Treasurer at Saab. The terms of the issue are three months STIBOR + 125 basis points and mid swap + 125 basis points respectively for the loans with floating and fixed-rate. The bonds will be listed on the NASDAQ OMX.
04 Jun 14. Swedish government looks to increase control of Karlskrona. The Swedish parliament’s defence committee has made a unanimous decision to increase the country’s participation in the Karlskrona shipyard, Swedish radio reported on 3 June. The Defence Committee’s agreement is expected to be finalised on 4 June, before being tabled in parliament the following week. It is understood that under the proposed agreement, the government would then be able to decide which company would be able to operate the shipyard facilities. The Karlskrona shipyard is currently operated by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AB (TKMS AB), formerly known as Kockums, with the firm building submarine