- Green Mountain Coffee nears Van Houtte buy. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) is expected to acquire smaller rival Van Houtte in a deal likely to be valued at around $1B, sources said. Green Mountain reportedly won an auction for Van Houtte after its private-equity owner Littlejohn & Co. put the business up for sale earlier this year. Terms of the acquisition couldn't be determined, though a deal announcement could come as soon as this morning.
- MedAssets buys Broadlane Group. MedAssets (MDAS) agreed to acquire The Broadlane Group for $850M in cash, with $725M to be paid at closing and $125M to be paid in January 2012. MedAssets called the deal an "outstanding strategic fit" and expects it to add $0.05-0.10 to 2011 earnings per share.
- Time Warner Cable, Cox talk cable swap. Time Warner Cable (TWC) reportedly held talks with privately-owned Cox Communications about swapping cable systems in California valued at around $2B and the possibility of a broader alliance. Sources said talks slowed in August after months of progress, but the two sides could be back at the negotiating table in the near future. Time Warner Cable and Cox, the second and third largest U.S. cable operators, are trying to better compete against larger rival Comcast (CMCSA) which is buying GE's (GE) NBC Universal.
- AIG looks for the exit. AIG (AIG) is reportedly formulating a plan to exit government ownership faster than previously anticipated. Sources said the plan, which could be rolled out as soon as H1 2011, will repay U.S. taxpayers in full and could see the Treasury convert $49B in AIG preferred shares to common shares. Though the conversion would temporarily increase the government's stake in AIG to over 90% from 79.8%, those shares would then be sold to private investors in phases. As a result, AIG could speed up its exit from government ownership while the government could potentially turn a profit on its holdings.
- Vodafone to slim down, refocus. Calling his company "a little bit too heavy, not fast enough," Vodafone (VOD) CEO Vittorio Colao wants to unwind some of the ventures built up during a decade of expansion and focus on new services in key markets. The restructuring could include selling minority stakes worth tens of billions of dollars in mobile-phone operators around the world, a process it has already begun with last week's sale of its China Mobile (CHL) stake. Expansion efforts will be focused on offering more services in Vodafone's three key regions (Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and India) rather than pushing into new emerging markets.
- Air Products continues to get the cold shoulder. Air Products and Chemicals (APD) disclosed in a regulatory filing yesterday that it once again contacted Airgas (ARG) and expressed its willingness to raise its $5.5B hostile offer, but Airgas refused to engage in constructive discussion or indicate a bid value that would prompt discussions to begin. Air Products has been repeatedly rebuffed and plans to drop its pursuit altogether if Airgas' shareholders don't elect APD's slate of directors at this Wednesday's annual meeting.
- Microsoft may opt for debt sale. Microsoft (MSFT) is planning a debt sale to pay for dividends and share buybacks because too much of its cash is held overseas, sources said. The company would probably try to raise as much money as it possibly could without endangering its AAA debt rating, which means Microsoft may end up raising as much as $6B. The debt sale could come as soon as this calendar year. Shares of Microsoft rose 5.3% in yesterday's trading.
- TiVo may have settled with Dish Network. Shares of TiVo (TIVO) jumped 7.2% yesterday on speculation the company may have reached a settlement in a long-standing patent infringement lawsuit against Dish Network (DISH). The speculation was prompted by an SEC filing showing that TiVo has received approval from the SEC for confidential treatment of two exhibits in its 10-Q, though skeptics note the SEC has granted confidential treatment to TiVo more than two dozen times since May 2008.
- Aussie regulators nab victory. National Australia Bank (GM:NAUBF) terminated its agreement to take over AXA's (OTCQX:AXAHY) Asia-Pacific arm in a deal that had been valued at A$13.3B ($12.45B). Australia's competition regulator had announced last week that it would block the transaction on competition grounds.
- RBS gets back to MBS. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is launching its first sale of mortgage-backed securities since the financial crisis hit. The £4.7B ($7.2B) issue is a significant step both for RBS, which is trying to rebalance its funding sources, and for the broader asset-backed market, which is still recovering and plays a critical role in the general economic recovery.
- Kan wins in Japan, yen jumps. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan beat Ichiro Ozawa in a vote today for control of the ruling party, briefly sending the yen to a fifteen-year high against the dollar before giving back some of its gains. Markets will be watching closely to see whether Kan takes any action in regard to the yen, as the yen's strength is a growing problem for Japan's exporters.
- In Asia, Japan -0.2% to 9299. Hong Kong +0.2% to 21696. China flat. India +0.7% to 19347.
- In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris -0.1%. Frankfurt flat.
- Futures: Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude -0.6% to $76.76. Gold +0.6% to $1254.40.
Tuesday's Economic Calendar
- 7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:30 Retail Sales
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
10:00 Business Inventories
10:00 IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism
5:00 PM ABC Consumer Confidence Index
- Notable earnings before Tuesday's open: BBY, KR
Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.
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