- - Monday, January 30, 2012

BANKING

Fed: U.S. banks tighten to Europe counterparts

A Federal Reserve survey finds more than half of U.S. banks that lend to European banks have tightened their standards, a reflection of the persistent European debt crisis.

Of the 26 U.S. banks surveyed that make loans to European banks, five said they had tightened their standards considerably in the October-December quarter. Another 10 said they had tightened them somewhat in the same period, the survey found.

Many economists predict Europe’s debt crisis will push the region into a recession this year. Many European banks are heavily exposed to government debt, making the banks more of a risk.

No banks that reported making loans to European banks said they had eased their standards on those loans, although 11 banks said their standards remained basically unchanged.

NEW YORK

Cosmo founder donating $30M to Columbia, Stanford

NEW YORK — Cosmopolitan magazine founder Helen Gurley Brown is donating $30 million to Stanford and Columbia universities to create a bicoastal media innovation laboratory, the universities and Hearst Corp. announced Monday.

The gift honors Mrs. Brown’s late husband, producer David Brown, a graduate of Stanford and of Columbia’s journalism school.

The David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation will be housed on both campuses.

“The Brown Institute will bring together creative innovators skilled in production and delivery of news and entertainment with the entrepreneurial researchers at Stanford working in multimedia technology,” said Stanford engineering professor Bernd Girod, who will serve as the institute’s founding director until Columbia appoints his East Coast counterpart.

Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, said, “We’re going to be a kind of innovation laboratory. We’re not here to do iPhone apps. … We’re here to try to make fundamental underlying technological advances that will have a lasting effect on media and journalism.”

Each school will receive $12 million, and an additional $6 million will pay for a renovated wing at Columbia featuring a state-of-the-art newsroom.

Mrs. Brown’s gift will fund graduate and postgraduate fellowships as well as grants that will be awarded competitively.

Mrs. Brown, who turns 90 in February, wrote the 1962 best-seller “Sex and the Single Girl” and edited Cosmopolitan from 1965 to 1996.

INDIA

Starbucks, Tata plan 50 new Indian stores

MUMBAI — Starbucks aims to open 50 outlets in India by year’s end, through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, the companies said Monday.

Tata Starbucks Ltd., as their venture is known, hopes to capitalize on the rising aspirations - and fattening wallets - of many Indians, who are eager to partake of the global latte life.

“What we are seeing is an evolution in lifestyles,” said R.K. Krishna Kumar, vice chairman of Tata Global Beverages. “In some ways, the distinctions between the developed world and the developing world are blurring.”

He said the partners would initially invest 4 billion rupees ($80 million), with the first outlet to open in Mumbai or New Delhi by September.

Long known as a nation of tea drinkers - despite a rich tradition of coffee in the south - India has embraced coffee house culture with a vengeance.

Last year, India had 1,600 cafes, up from just 700 in 2007, according to Technopak Advisors, which expects India’s $170 million cafe market to grow 30 percent a year, adding up to 2,700 more outlets in the next five years.

“We’re going to move as fast as possible in opening as many stores as we can so long as we are successful and so long as we are embraced by the Indian consumers,” said John Culver, president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific.

Unusually, the stores will be co-branded “Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance.”

AUTOMOTIVE

Japanese suppliers to pay price-fixing fine

Two Japanese auto suppliers have agreed to pay more than half a billion dollars in criminal fines for a price-fixing conspiracy in the sale of parts to U.S. automakers.

The Justice Department announced Monday that Yazaki Corp. agreed to pay a $470 million fine, the second-largest criminal fine obtained for a Sherman Act antitrust violation. The second company, Denso Corp., agreed to pay a $78 million fine. Four Yazaki executives, all Japanese citizens, will serve up to two years in U.S. prison as part of the deal.

Court documents filed in federal court in Detroit say the executives sold automotive electrical components to automakers in the United States and elsewhere at inflated prices. The Justice Department says they met to monitor and enforce adherence to the bid-rigging and price-fixing scheme.

From wire dispatches and staff reports