- GM mulls job cuts, brand closures. Sources say GM (NYSE:GM) will cut thousands more jobs and reduce its eight brands - moves which would both humble the once-might carmaker, as well as offer competitors the chance to grab more of GM's market share. Some say the brands are a drain on GM's resources; proponents point to its closure of Oldsmobile earlier this decade, which saw many enthusiasts defect to other companies. With about $24B in cash, but burning $3B a quarter, analysts think GM need to raise $10-15B to keep afloat through 2010. Besides brand sales, it may consider spinning off its international operations, or offering the UAW a stake in the company in exchange for wage concessions. A share sale would be difficult due to its anemic stock price.
- NBC and partners to buy The Weather Channel. NBC Universal (NYSE:GE) is buying The Weather Channel, with help from private-equity firms Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and Bain. Terms weren't disclosed; previous talk was for a $3.5B deal. The acquisition promises to be one of the year's biggest LBO deals to date.
- Bud buyer getting impatient. Belgian brewer InBev raised the pressure on Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) Monday, saying it will attempt to oust A-B's board - which would require the consent of a shareholder majority. InBev reiterated it would still prefer to achieve a friendly combination with the U.S. brewer, but said barring constructive talks, its latest move will give shareholders an opportunity to have their say.
- Merrill may sell stakes in Bloomberg, BlackRock. Sources say Merrill (MER) is in active negotiations to sell its 20% stake in Bloomberg LP back to Bloomberg - part of a broader plan to raise $50B through asset sales. Merrill will also reportedly make a decision on whether to sell its stake in private-equity firm BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) early this week.
- APP snags $3.7B bid. German healthcare company Fresenius agreed to pay $3.7B cash to acquire U.S. generic drugmaker American Pharmaceutical Partners (APPX). The $23/share price represents a 29% premium from Friday's close. Fresenius says the acquisition will give it a foothold in U.S. markets, and allow it to sell APP's lineup internationally. If certain targets are met, APP investors could get another $6/share. Fresenius fell 11% in Frankfurt.
- CNOOC unit bids on Norway firm. Chinese oil producer CNOOC (NYSE:CEO) says it will offer about $2.5B for Norway oil-services company Awilco Offshore - an 18.7% premium. An acquisition would help CNOOC increase its number of drilling rigs and increase its international presence.
- Store rentals weaken; apartments remain solid. U.S. shopping mall vacancies rose to 6.3% in Q2 from 5.9% in Q1 - the highest level since early 2002. But demand for apartment rentals remained strong, and rents rose by a surprising 1.1% over the quarter. Still, the growth in rental demand has not been as strong as the drop in homebuying, a possible indication people are doubling up or moving back in with their parents. The ICSC predicts 6,500 retail store closures this year.
- Carmakers push back. Some auto makers are refusing to pay steel-price surcharges on previously-signed supply contracts. They may have reached the tipping point - unable to withstand higher prices, which could put pressure on steelmakers like ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) and United States Steel (NYSE:X).
- Teva MS hopeful falls through. Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA) fell much as 6.8% in Tel Aviv today, after a higher-dosage treatment of its multiple sclerosis drug proved no more effective than the original, lower-dosage treatment.
- BP strikes back. BP (NYSE:BP) is suing its Russian TNK-BP partners for $360M in back-taxes it says they should have payed. While not directly related to their current struggle, the two sides are clearly jostling for position.
- UBS gives rosy outlook. Shares of UBS (NYSE:UBS) jumped 8.2% in Zurich Friday after it said Q2 will be about breakeven, and that it has no need for more capital. The Street's outlook was far more pessimistic.
- BCE buyout as planned - more or less. The private-equity buyers of BCE (NYSE:BCE) said they will stick to the original C$42.75/share price tag. Still, the final price will be $2/share cheaper after BCE agreed to drop all dividends. Shares gained +12.4% to $39.50 in Toronto Friday.
- UK manufacturing fell by 0.5% to an eight-month low amid high materials prices and slow economic growth. "The bank is still facing huge inflationary pressures. Rates will be on hold this week," Fortis economist Nick Kounis said.
- Asian markets were mainly higher Monday: Nikkei +0.9% to 13,360. Hang Seng +2.3% to 21,903. Shanghai +4.6% to 2,792. BSE +0.5% to 13,526.
- Europe is higher at midday: London +0.46%. Paris +0.54%. Frankfurt +0.67%.
- Futures at 7:00 AM: Dow -0.11%. S&P -0.14%. Nasdaq +0.12%. Crude -1.53% to $143.05. Gold -1.27% to $921.70.
- Today's economic calendar:
7:30 Fed's Janet Yellen speaks on economic outlook.
10:00 Conference Board's Employment Trends
3:00 PM Consumer Credit
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