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  • Showdown over 3Par. Shares of 3Par (NYSE:PAR) rocketed 44.6% yesterday as investors bet H-P's (NYSE:HPQ) $24/share offer will set off a bidding war with Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), which earlier in the month had offered $18/share for the company that handles data storage systems and cloud-computing infrastructure. Sources say Dell is already preparing a sweetened offer which could be sent in the coming days, but it's unclear how high the company is willing to go. Analysts say the offers are "not about valuation at this point" considering H-P's bid is already more than double what 3Par's shares were worth before the Dell bid was announced, but rather about solidifying a strategic position in storage space and cloud infrastructure. Shares of Dell closed down 1.1% yesterday; H-P closed down 2%.
  • Rio Tinto weighs Potash bid. Rio Tinto (RTP) and an unnamed Chinese partner are considering a joint bid for Potash (NYSE:POT), according to a report by Canada's Globe & Mail. Vale (NYSE:VALE), which had previously expressed interest, has cooled on the possibility of presenting a counter-bid to BHP Billiton's (NYSE:BHP) $38.6B offer. Other potential bidders include Mosaic (NYSE:MOS), Agrium (NYSE:AGU), Monsanto (NYSE:MON), privately-held Cargill Inc. and a handful of Chinese firms including Sinochem and private equity fund Hopu Investment Management. Premarket: RTP -2.6%, POT +0.3%, BHP -1.5% (7:00 ET).
  • Disagreement on threshold price stalls Sanofi-Genzyme progress. Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) continues to talk with Genzyme (GENZ) about a possible takeover bid, but sources say significant progress towards a deal has been held up over a disagreement on the threshold price at which Sanofi can begin due diligence on Genzyme. The threshold price has proved to be such an impasse that Sanofi was reportedly considering last week whether to launch a hostile bid, though it ultimately decided to remain in friendly talks for now. Genzyme board members have also been debating whether it's wise to sell the company in the middle of a turnaround, and consider Sanofi's initial offer of $69/share, or $18.4B, to be "lackluster;" the offer would likely have to approach $75/share for Genzyme to open its books, and approach $80 for the deal to get approved. Premarket: SNY -1.7% (7:00 ET).
  • AWB backs Agrium bid. As expected, Australia's AWB has thrown its support behind a $1.1B takeover bid from Agrium (AGU) after withdrawing its earlier recommendation for GrainCorp's (OTCPK:GRCLF) bid. As part of the deal, Agrium will allow AWB to pay a dividend of up to $0.20/share, which would be funded by a loan from Agrium. Agrium expects the acquisition to generate annual synergies of $36M and to be accretive to earnings from year one.
  • Gov't intensifies Toyota engine probe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stepped up its investigation of Toyota's (NYSE:TM) Corolla and Matrix vehicles because of a possible defect that could cause the engines to stall, not start or shift gears harshly. The preliminary evaluation of the cars began on August 18, and they will now be subject to a more serious scrutiny called an engineering analysis. Toyota confirmed the investigation but declined to provide more details. It's unclear whether a recall will be necessary.
  • Mortgage industry faces new fees. Government officials are said to be considering new fees on the lending industry in order to pay for federal backing of mortgages. The consensus appears to be that regardless of what happens with Fannie Mae (OTCQB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac (OTCQB:FMCC) the government will have to provide some sort of guarantee to keep the mortgage market functioning properly. In order to justify placing this obligation on the government, policymakers want the cost of any explicit guarantee to be fully offset by the mortgage industry itself.
  • Xstrata boosts iron ore exposure. Xstrata (OTC:XSRAF) agreed to buy Australia's Sphere Minerals for $381M, gaining access to magnetite iron ore deposits in Mauritania. Xstrata is exploring for iron ore in the Republic of Congo and in December said it would construct an iron ore extraction plant in Australia, but had no producing assets in the iron ore sector. The purchase reflects the coveted status iron ore has achieved as the fast-growing economies of China and India clamor for the key steel making commodity.
  • Fed loses appeal on bailout disclosure. The Federal Reserve lost its appeal of a ruling that forced it to name firms that would have failed without a bailout. Unless the court stays its decision, the Fed will have seven days to disclose the documents. The central bank may still appeal to the Supreme Court, and the 20 commercial banks that joined with the Fed in the request already said they plan to appeal.
  • Vedanta may face rivals on Cairn bid. Indian state-run energy companies are reportedly considering bidding for a stake in Cairn India (OTCPK:CRNCY) that would edge out Vedanta Resources' (OTCPK:VDNRF) $9.6B offer. India’s oil ministry has told Oil & Natural Gas Corp. to study the possibility of making a counter offer, and GAIL India (OTC:GAILF) may join the bid.
  • Yen rises to multi-year highs. This morning, the yen reached its highest level against the dollar in fifteen years, and the highest level against the euro in nearly nine years. The currency was already on the rise but accelerated its gains after Japanese finance minister Yoshihiko Noda declined to signal that authorities were preparing to intervene in currency markets. Noda said he was watching the currency markets closely, but had no comment on the possibility that Japan could sell yen in its first direct market intervention since 2004. As of 4:15 ET, the yen was +1.1% against the dollar to 84.20.

Earnings: Tuesday Before Open

  • Big Lots (NYSE:BIG): Q2 EPS of $0.48 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $1.14B (+5.2%) in-line. (PR)
  • Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL): Q2 EPS of $0.52 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $370.8M (+147.2%) vs. $338.7M. Shares +1.9% premarket. (PR)

Today's Markets

  • In Asia, Japan -1.3% to 8995. Hong Kong -1.1% to 20659. China +0.4% to 2650. India -0.5% to 18312.
  • In Europe, at midday, London -1.1%. Paris -1.3%. Frankfurt -1.0%.
  • Futures: Dow -0.7%. S&P -0.75%. Nasdaq -0.7%. Crude -1.2% to $72.24. Gold -0.7% to $1219.50.

Tuesday's Economic Calendar

Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.


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