Ten Must-Know Stories for Monday

by: SA Eli Hoffmann
  1. Merrill Lynch (MER) CEO John Thain is in talks with Chinese and Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds which could lead to the sale of yet another big stake. Sources say Thain needs funds urgently, and is working "around the clock" to bolster Merrill's balance sheet.
  2. Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU) CFO Shawn Wang died in an accident. Shares down $6.07 to $392.80 (-1.5%) in pre-market trading.
  3. Worldwide chip sales were $23.1B in November, up 2.3% year-over-year and 0.7% From October. Early indications show strong holiday sales of LCD TVs, MP3 players and digital cameras. Pricing pressure continues to impact memory sales, especially DRAM.
  4. Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. will buy a 35% stake in Delta Petroleum (DPTR, +17.3% ) for $19/share, a 23% premium.
  5. Drug maker Mylan (MYL, +1.8%) said its generic version of Salix Pharmaceutical's (SLXP, -5.1%) Colazal ulcerative colitis capsules received FDA approval. Colazal has U.S. sales of $131M.
  6. BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) CEO Marius Kloppers may test Rio Tinto's shareholders' resolve by presenting them with an unchanged offer of about $153B ahead of the "put up or shut up" date of Feb. 6, by when BHP must submit a bid to RTP's board or be barred for six months.
  7. Workstream Inc. (OTCPK:WSTM) said it received an unsolicited offer from a U.S.-based payroll firm to determine the viability of a merger.
  8. Transmeridian Exploration Inc. (TMY) said Trans Meridian International, a company formed by the Company's Chairman and CEO, will purchase all of TMY's outstanding shares for $3.00, more than double Friday's $1.40 close.
  9. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) will sell some trademarks and related assets to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) Ltd. for INR2.15 billion ($55M). The sale includes the exclusive license for trademarks on Benadryl and Benylin, Caladryl, and Listerine. The transfer is part of a $16.6B 2006 deal. PFE shares gained 2.2% in Bombay.
  10. Steve Souders, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) Chief Performance exec. is jumping ship and heading to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as of January 7.