Under The Radar News - Monday

by: SA Eli Hoffmann
  • AOL dials up Microsoft. Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) AOL reportedly approached Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) after the latter backed off its bid for Yahoo (YHOO). There is speculation Rupert Murdoch will try and sell AOL and MySpace/Fox Interactive to Microsoft, which is clearly looking to increase its internet presence.
  • No News with Yahoo. Yahoo's (YHOO) talks with News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS), once seen as a defense against Microsoft's (MSFT) now-pulled bid, have cooled in recent weeks.
  • Intel looks for acquisitions. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) will become "more acquisitive" and expand into consumer electronics and other areas, a top exec says. Pat Gelsinger, head of Intel's Digital Enterprise group, identifies five areas in which the chipmaker can enhance its in-house development with acquisitions, including smart-phones and mobile internet devices (mids), especially those based on WiMAX, on which Intel has "placed a big bet."
  • Murdoch won't match offers. Rupert Murdoch (NWS) will not raise his $580M offer for Newsday in response to Cablevision's (NYSE:CVC) $650M bid. The bids don't appear to be completely equal: Cablevision's bid includes Newsday's real estate while News Corp.'s does not. Still uncertain is how Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman will respond.
  • BSkyB looking at Virgin Media portfolio. News Corp. (NWS) controlled BSkyB is mulling a £600M bid for Virgin Media's (NASDAQ:VMED) cable channels. KKR has also shown interest.
  • BHP getting ready for Rio bid. Last week shares of Rio Tinto (RTP) fell on speculation suitor BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) had lost interest. Now UK media reports say it is prepared to file with the European Commission within the next two weeks in the hopes of gaining approval to make a hostile bid for the company. It is possible BHP will up its bid prior to filing.
  • Arcelor tables cooperation plan. Arcelor Mittal (NYSE:MT) has held discussions with Chinese steel company Angang in the hopes of extending its presence in the region. Angang turned down Arcelor's proposal to take a 25% stake in the company earlier this year. Lakshmi Mittal offered to send two leading Indian women table tennis players to train with Angang's championship-winning female ping-pong team in the hopes of increasing the companies' cooperation.
  • Forbidden futures. India's finance minister is considering a ban on foodstuff futures on growing concerns speculation is compounding a recent surge in food prices.
  • Lenovo Thinks of spreading its wings. Lenovo Group (OTCPK:LNVGY) CEO Yang Yuanqing says the company will look to make acquisitions to boost its market share after losing ground to Acer last year. "We are not satisfied with our current market share and global ranking," he said Sunday. "I believe there will be further consolidation in the industry and we hope to seize the opportunity." HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell (DELL) have recently expanded their distribution networks, causing further Lenovo erosion. "The most important thing is growing our market share, more than making money," Yang said. Lenovo has the right to use IBM's (NYSE:IBM) ThinkPad brand until 2010.
  • Rich daddy. After bailing out Bear Stearns (NYSE:BSC), student lenders reached out to the Fed for help in hope of receiving similar support. "It is appalling where we are right now," former governor William Poole says. We've become "a backstop for the entire financial system." The yield spread between Treasurys and the debt of GSEs Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) has already dropped to just 0.55% from 1.15% as the Street banks on a similar bailout, if need be.
  • Declining dollar. Merrill Lynch strategist Brian Belski notes U.S. dollar bear runs tend to last just 53 months, vs. a much longer 102 months for bull runs. For what it's worth, the dollar began falling in about March 2002, more than 72 months ago.
  • Get AP on iPhone. AP is launching a service to make its news stories available on iPhones (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other mobile devices.
  • LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) is up 4.5% to $34.92 on speculation Siemens (SI) is preparing a bid for the company.
  • MoneyGram (NYSE:MGI) is up 12% after Calyon analysts upgraded its shares to Buy from Neutral, citing its profitable and growing money transfer business. Calyon says recent trading has driven shares down to a point at which investors can buy-in for considerably less than the long-term value its the stand-alone money transfer business. MGI reports Thursday.