Fox, Turner agree to $6.8B MLB TV deal. News Corp's (NWS) Fox and Time Warner's (TWX) Turner networks have extended their contracts to televise Major League Baseball until 2021, with Bloomberg reporting that the broadcasters have agreed to pay a combined $6.8B. The contracts allow Fox and Turner to stream games live via the Internet to viewers who already subscribe to a pay TV service.
Family Dollar Stores hits Street forecasts as earnings rise. Family Dollar Stores (FDO) met analyst expectations as FQ4 adjusted EPS climbed 14% to $0.75 and revenues 10% to $2.36B. Customer traffic and the value of average customer transactions increased as well. Family Dollar Stores expects FY13 EPS of $4.10-$4.40, pretty much bang in line also.
Top Stock News
Schulze, P-E firms examine Best Buy books. Best Buy (BBY) founder Richard Schulze and at least four P-E firms, including Apollo Global (APO), are studying the struggling retailer's books ahead of a possible buyout offer worth up to $10.9B, including debt, Reuters reports. Schulze plans to join the firms together in a consortium and submit an offer, although they remain skeptical.
Petrobras in talks to sell $4B-$6B in Gulf assets. Petrobras (PBR) is in talks with three prospective buyers to sell them $4B-$6B worth of stakes in oil blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, with Brazilian media reports saying Shell (RDS.A), Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and BP (BP) are likely to be the most interested. The divestments are part of Petrobras' strategy of selling $14.5B worth of non-core assets.
AMR, pilots to return to the negotiating table. AMR (AAMRQ.PK) and its pilot union intend to restart negotiations over a new labor contract this week after the company abrogated the old agreement as part of its bankruptcy restructuring - and then started to experience a spike in flight disruptions. Meanwhile, American Airlines is inspecting 47 out of its 102 Boeing 757s after seats came loose during two flights. The problem was caused by improperly installed clamps.
ING nears deal to sell Malaysian, Thai units for $1.8B. ING (ING) is close to unloading its Malaysian and Thai insurance units to AIA Group (OTCPK:AAIGF) for about $1.8B, Bloomberg reports. AIA jumped more than 2% in Hong Kong on the news, as ING - more concerned with pleasing EU regulators than returns - might be selling prime assets for less than they're worth.
Pearson CEO to leave post. Pearson (PSO) CEO Marjorie Scardino will step down at the end of the year after 16 years in the job and be replaced by John Fallon, the head of the U.K. publisher's International Education division. Under the leadership of Scardino, who was the first female CEO of a FTSE 100 company, Pearson's net profit more than tripled to reach £942M in 2011.
Mass production of iPad Mini starts. The WSJ has firmed up speculation about the mass production of the iPad Mini, reporting that Apple's (AAPL) Asian suppliers have begun manufacturing the tablet, which will have a 7.85" screen vs. 9.7" for the regular iPad and 7" for Google's (GOOG) Nexus. LG Display and AU Optronics (AUO) started production for the new screen last month.
Lockheed, Pentagon get closer to 5th F-35 order. Top brass at Lockheed Martin (LMT) and the Pentagon have become involved in long-running talks over a fifth order of F-35 fighter jets, Reuters reports. The development comes after a top Pentagon official said recently that the relationship between the sides was the worst he'd seen. The parties are haggling over the last $100M+ of costs and have until January to "obligate" the funds so they won't be vulnerable to sequestration.
Supervalu suitors looking to buy parts of company. Billionaire Ronald Burkle and P-E firms KKR (KKR) and TPG are interested in Supervalu (SVU), Bloomberg reports, but are only thinking of buying parts of the hard-luck grocery chain rather than the whole company, which is what Supervalu would prefer. The retailer, whose market cap has plummeted to $489M, has extended its offer deadline to beyond a prior cutoff date of October 15, with Supervalu's struggles hampering "progress on any kind of offer."
Top Economic & Other News
Freddie Mac stymied in loan scheme. In an attempt to kick-start the housing market, Freddie Mac wants to provide loans to investors who are looking to acquire foreclosed homes so that they can rent them out. However, the mortgage giant faces opposition from banks and the FHFA, which is concerned about increasing the government's role in the real-estate market and crowding out private capital with cheap loans, the WSJ reports.
Brussels wants states to hand over more fiscal sovereignty. A draft provision making the rounds would force EU states to sign binding contracts with Brussels committing themselves to detailed fiscal reforms, reports the FT. The plan could help meet the demands of Germany which insists on tighter control over the budgets of countries it bails out. This may be a silly question, but haven't EU members already signed the Maastricht Treaty? How did that work out?
In Asia, Japan -0.5%. Hong Kong +0.2%. China closed. India +0.2%.
In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris -0.3%. Frankfurt flat.
Futures at 7:00: Dow flat. S&P flat. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude -0.6% to $91.38. Gold +0.3% to $1780.90.
Today's economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:15 ADP Jobs Report
10:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing Index
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
Notable earnings after today's close: MAR
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