Under The Radar News - Friday

by: SA Eli Hoffmann
  1. Barron's says Blockbuster (BBI) deserves a fresh look as the company refocuses on its 7,800 retail stores, and plays down a previous venture into renting movies by mail, a-la rival Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Ward Davis of Trivium Capital Management says BBI ($3.90) could be worth more than $12 in two years. CEO Jim Keyes is looking at new ideas for retail outlets, like digital download kiosks that ensure movies never go out of stock. Analysts say Q4 numbers should be strong on Keyes' initiatives and seasonality.
  2. China will open the door for foreign investment banks, but just barely. New rules will give future ventures less access to China than currently enjoyed by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and UBS AG (NYSE:UBS), which already manage China JVs. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), which have already signed preliminary agreements, will likely still be limited by the new rules.
  3. Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) now plans to ship its MCP72 chipset family in January instead of a previous "late November or early December."
  4. Evidence suggests Siemens (SI) officials knew of accusations over potentially suspicious transactions at least two years before acknowledging them. Siemens has already identified €1.3B in suspicious deals.
  5. China Investment Corp.'s $5B stake in Morgan Stanley (MS) is raising questions about MS's 34% passive stake in China International Capital Corp.; CIC owns 43% of CICC. MS could easily sell its stake, though CICC can't afford to buy it. It prefers it be sold to a Chinese firm.
  6. In preparation for Beijing, Honeywell (NYSE:HON), GE (NYSE:GE), United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), and IBM (NYSE:IBM) are helping the Chinese gov't design and install one of the most comprehensive public surveillance systems in existence.
  7. Nvidia (NVDA) is asking graphics card partners to help it reduce manufacturing costs for its GeForce 8800 card so it can compete in price with Advanced Micro's (NYSE:AMD) Radeon HD 3800 series.
  8. Mitsui (OTCPK:MITSY), Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Industries will invest $423M in an iron ore project, thereby attaching greater value to the assets of Rio Tinto (RTP), helping it protect itself from a hostile takeover by BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP). Separately, New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart, may be considering an offer of up to $5B for the packaging arm of Alcan, recently acquired by Rio Tinto.