Follow the money in Crikey today by the numbers …

  • $387 million: the apparent cost to News Corporation in payouts, legal fees and other financial fallout from the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. And the bill will only increase. As Glenn Dyer reports: “That’s serious money and underlines how much the investment community and some shareholders (not to mention News Corp media outlets around the world) have been seduced by the way the company is using the current $US5 billion share buyback to prevent a nasty and sustained fall in the price of the company’s shares.”
  • $976 million: the amount Facebook — now a $100 billion business — has paid to acquire mobile photo application Instagram. As Stilgherrian writes today: “Like a peacock investing in its tail, Facebook just spent a full quarter of the cash it had on hand at the end of December 2011. [But] no one should be surprised by the Instagram deal. Growing fast and selling for big bucks is the entire purpose of these internet start-ups.”
  • $130 billion: the peak of our national debt, according to Treasury, which Wayne Swan wants to somehow clear from the books over the next 12 months. As Business Spectator‘s Rob Burgess notes: “Swan’s 2012-13 budget will be Australia’s sharpest fiscal U-turn since the dramatic rebalancing of Treasury finances by Arthur Fadden in the 1951 ‘horror budget’.”

We’re not sure what all that means. But it does offer some perspective, perhaps.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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