Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: Rachael Granby
Rachael Granby
Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day and delivered to over 900,000 email subscribers.

  • LVMH buys Bulgari. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (OTCPK:LVMUY) agreed to buy Bulgari (OTC:BULIF) for around €3.7B ($5.2B), marking the luxury goods maker's biggest acquisition in at least a decade. LVMH will pay €1.87B in stock for the Bulgari family's 50.4% stake in the jeweler, and will then make a tender offer of €12.25 per share for the remainder of the company. The deal represents a 61% premium to Bulgari's closing price on Friday, and is meant to help LVMH better tap growing demand in emerging markets and rebounding demand in developed markets. In France, LVMH -0.7%. In Italy, Bulgari +58% to €11.99 (7:00 ET).
  • LSE eyes Nasdaq approach. The London Stock Exchange (OTCPK:LDNXF) is considering a takeover of Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ), according to reports, just weeks after announcing a $3.2B deal to buy TMX Group (TMXGF.PK), the owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange. LSE apparently plans to make an offer later this year after its deal with TMX closes. The industry is undergoing major consolidation, and speculation has been rampant about which exchanges may team up to stay competitive.
  • Starbucks looks for deals. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz said the company may target acquisitions over the next 12-18 months as it seeks to "build a significant consumer products business that over time will rival the size and scale of our retail company." In particular, Starbucks is looking for deals in the fast-growing single-cup brewing segment. Schultz also said that Starbucks has already locked in coffee prices for 2011, and won't implement across-the-board price increases despite the volatility in coffee prices.
  • Sanofi extends Genzyme offer. Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) extended its offer for the outstanding shares of Genzyme (GENZ) to April 1 instead of March 16. The merger agreement between the two firms calls for an offer of $74 in cash, plus one contingent value right, per share. Meanwhile, other biotech firms focused on rare diseases say the Sanofi-Genzyme deal could put many peers into play as takeover targets.
  • Terumo buys CaridianBCT. Japan's Terumo Corp. (OTCPK:TRUMY) agreed to buy U.S. medical device company CaridianBCT from Sweden's Gambro for $2.6B. It's the largest acquisition on record in Japan's medical equipment sector, and comes as the country's pharmaceutical firms increasingly turn towards overseas acquisitions to fuel growth and take advantage of the yen's strength.
  • BP holds onto Algerian assets. BP (NYSE:BP) has decided not to sell its Algerian assets, backtracking on plans that had never been officially confirmed but had been widely expected. The move is a blow to TNK-BP, BP's Russian joint venture, which was seen as a potential buyer, and stands in contrast to BP's decision to suspend some operations in neighboring Libya amid continuing unrest in the region. BP didn't give a reason for the turnaround, though Algeria's Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi suggested it was because BP no longer needed to make the divestment in order to raise sufficient funds to cover its Gulf spill liabilities.
  • Oil jumps on continued unrest. Fighting between government forces and rebels intensified in Libya, sending the already-elevated price of oil above $106 per barrel. Investors are concerned the continued unrest will lead to a protracted suspension of oil production and export from Libya, and that the violent protests and political upheaval could spread throughout the Middle East, a region with more than 60% of the world's proven oil reserves. Citigroup expects "output disruption, or at least the threat of, will support a fear premium for the rest of 2011," and has raised its 2011 average forecast for brent crude to $105 from $90. Crude futures +2.1% to $106.57 (7:00 ET).
  • Moody's downgrades Greece. Moody's cut Greece's credit rating three notches to B1 with a negative outlook, noting significant risks to its fiscal restructuring program. Moody's is the first of the major ratings agencies to classify Greek debt as 'highly speculative,' a label the Greek finance ministry said was completely unjustified.
  • Nan Shan decision targeted for H1. Taiwanese regulators expect to make a decision in the first half of this year on the sale of AIG's (NYSE:AIG) Nan Shan life insurance unit. AIG's second attempt to sell the unit has been stalled for over a year.

Today's Markets

  • In Asia, Japan -1.8% to 10505. Hong Kong -0.4% to 23313. China +1.9% to 2997. India -1.4% to 18223.
  • In Europe, at midday, London +0.7%. Paris +0.2%. Frankfurt +0.6%.
  • Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.3%. S&P +0.3%. Nasdaq +0.5%. Crude +2.1% to $106.64. Gold +0.9% to $1441.30.

Monday's Economic Calendar

The SA Currents team contributed to this post.

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