Under The Radar News - Thursday

by: SA Eli Hoffmann

Nick Leeson step aside. The new all-time biggest rogue trader, responsible for Société Générale's (OTCPK:SCGLY) €3.6 billion ($7.2B) trading loss, is 31-year-old banker Jerome Kerviel, who joined the bank in 2000.

Apple slashes iPhone projections. Slow iPhone sales in Europe have forced Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to slash FQ2 projected shipments to 1 to 1.2 million units from a previous 2 million, Taiwanese component suppliers say.

Apple faces iPhone lawsuit. Minerva Industries is suing Apple (AAPL) and others for patent infringement with its new iPhone.

Yahoo attracts vultures. Sources say private-equity firms have been aggressively reaching out to Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) since shares moved below $24. Other potential buyers include AOL (NYSE:TWX), AT&T (NYSE:T), CBS (NYSE:CBS), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Viacom (NYSE:VIA) and News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS). Yahoo does not want to sell, but executives worry whether the company can fend off a takeover bid given its low stock price.

More Yahoo defections? Sources say Yahoo (YHOO) HR boss Libby Sartain may be on her way out.

AMD and IBM may formalize partnership, merge. AMD (NYSE:AMD) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) may establish a more formal semiconductor joint venture than their current partnership, which could even result in a merger between IBM's microelectronics division and AMD. Such a deal would be a big vote of confidence for the much maligned AMD, and would boost IBM's ongoing move away from hardware and into services.

Palm shrinks. Palm (PALM) will close all of its retail stores except those located at airports this month.

Rumors continue to circulate that Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) may pounce on Bear Stearns (NYSE:BSC).

Doubts over BofA's acquisition of Countrywide. Some risk arbitrageurs say BofA's (NYSE:BAC) buyout of Countrywide (CFC) is far from a done deal. BofA might seek a lower price once it fully understands CFC's risks, causing the deal to collapse.

Icahn to badger Motorola again? Industry observers think Carl Icahn, having successfully ousted Motorola (MOT) CEO Ed Zander, will once again battle the company after Wednesday's weak earnings and massive share price drop, looking for a possible break off of certain units. Analysts also predict Icahn will boost his stake in order to increase his leverage on the firm.

Bank stocks haven't bottomed. Citigroup analysts say it's still to early to call a bottom for bank stocks. It says the current two-day rally was driven by hedge fund short-covering. Bank ETFs include KBE, RKH and KCE.

Debt backlog to hinder new loans. A $230 billion backlog of high-risk, high-yield debt has stopped shrinking as banks struggle to sell more debt. The backlog will likely hinder new lending, a Bank of America report said.

New VoIP boosters may signal landline death knell. Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is conducting trials of mini, plug-in base stations known as "femtocells" that improve VoIP call quality, a development that may signal the demise of the landline telephone.

Goldman in talks to buy £700M pension fund. UK's Rank Group is in exclusive talks to sell its £700M pension plan to Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). A deal is expected in a matter of weeks.

The next liquidity crisis. Business leaders were told at Wednesday's World Economic Forum global water demand will trigger an acute shortage that will leave key sectors without sufficient supplies. Water ETFs include FIW, CGW and PHO.

DoCoMo, Google team up on mobile search. NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM) will put Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) search box on its mobile i-mode web browser in the hopes of drumming up much-needed ad revenue.

BusinessWeek.com's soft ad growth. BusinessWeek's (MHP) website ad growth grew a weak 10.5% in Q4 and 14.8% on the year, vs. 46% growth in 2006. Some say more layoffs are in store.

JC Penney sued over shoe. Stuart Weitzman has filed a lawsuit against J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) and for alleged patent infringement. It claims JCP sold a shoe that infringed on a design patent the firm holds.