Under The Radar News - Tuesday

by: SA Eli Hoffmann
  • End of story. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) are done, Microsoft International president Jean-Philippe Courtois says. "That's the end of the story." Courtois says Microsoft will focus on becoming a leading provider of internet services, advertising, and social media.
  • Not the kind of guy you want to get angry. Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Jerry Yang may be toast after bungling the Microsoft deal, if 16% stakeholder and legendary money manager Gordon Crawford has anything to do with it. AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case was gone within a year of its fiasco.
  • Nextel sale may only net $5B. Sprint (NYSE:S) may only get $5 billion if it decides to sell off Nextel, just 1/7 of the $35B it paid in 2005. Cowen & Co.'s Tom Watts estimates a selling price of $5-8B. A sale or spinoff, however, make Sprint a more attractive acquisition target.
  • Taiwan firm aims to put Touch on iPhone. Taiwanese High Tech Computer unveiled a sleeker, more powerful version of its Touch smartphone that takes direct aim at Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. The Touch Diamond runs on Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Mobile. HTC says it sold more than three million Touch units over the past 11 months.
  • iPhone exclusivity unraveling. New deals that will see Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) selling Apple's (AAPL) iPhone on a non-exclusive basis could see carriers in countries bound by exclusivity deals pushing for similar treatment.
  • A picture's worth... Idee says its upcoming image search engine will do for images as what Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) did for text search.
  • Map rap. Chinese officials are worried Google's (GOOG) online maps will expose state secrets and damage its territorial integrity. It's also investigating Sohu's (NASDAQ:SOHU) and Baidu's (NASDAQ:BIDU) maps.
  • Smaller Bear. JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) may layoff more than 10,000 Bear Stearns (NYSE:BSC) employees over the next several months.
  • Flight cutbacks. American Airlines is eliminating some flights due to high gasoline prices. Delta (NYSE:DAL) tacked on a $110 fuel surcharge to its LA-Honolulu flights. JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) cancelled the opening of four daily Boston/JFK flights due to high fuel costs.
  • Gassing sales. Chrysler (DAI) is offering car purchasers guaranteed gasoline below $3/gallon for three years.
  • Hedge funds hoard cash too. Hedge funds are sitting on their hands, and their cash, according to Deutsche Bank's annual Alternative Investment Survey. 33% of respondents say they're holding an unprecedented (for hedgies) 5-10% in cash, vs. a typical 1-3%. The survey finds 80% of investors are bearish for 2008, but 40% expect a 2009 rebound. For the first time ever, investors are weighing Risk Management as a criteria for choosing a money manager.
  • Oh how to finance that JetSki. GE Money (NYSE:GE) will no longer finance the purchase of recreational vehicles and most watercraft, which it considers a low-margin business. The move may impact clients such as Coachmen (CINC), Thor (NYSE:THO), and Monaco Coach (MNC). "The loss of a major lender is never good as the remaining players pick over the exiting lender's originations stream and it tends to lead to tightening in the arena," BB&T Capital Markets analyst John H. Diffendal says.
  • Murdoch's costly silence. Rupert Murdoch's refusal to testify in a trial that accuses the company of hacking into EchoStar's (NASDAQ:DISH) security code and posting it on the internet could cost the firm hundreds of millions of dollars, the trial judge says. EchoStar CEO Charles Ergan says Murdoch hacked the DISH network in revenge for failed merger talks between the two.
  • Flash in the can. A JV between Micron (NASDAQ:MU) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) to produce NAND flash memory is being pushed off for about six months due to oversupply in the NAND market.
  • GMAC helps ResCap bide time. GMAC (NYSE:GM) may lend struggling ResCap another $3.5B (on top of the $2B it already injected) in order to help it avert bankruptcy.
  • Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS) is climbing this morning on rumors of a possible acquisition by Intel (INTC).