Opening Bell: 7.12.06

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Soros rigged bid on city's GM building - suit (Daily News)
The iconic GM building was auctioned off improperly in 2003, claims Leslie Dick Worldwide Ltd. in a filing. The building was put up for sale in 2003, after its majority owner, Conseco, declared bankruptcy and was required to raise cash. But Leslie Dick claims the Soros Group rigged the bidding, as the seller ended up taking a bid $100 million beneath its offer. As for a motive, Soros was affiliated with the ultimate buyer, real estate mogul Harry Macklowe, and was personally interested in getting a cut of the building. At this point, details seem scant (and it's not clear what Conseco's motivation was, if indeed the allegations are true), but it should be a fun drama to start following.
Nanjing Auto to build car plant in Oklahoma-paper (Reuters)
Is this the alternate trade-deficit reality? So the Chinese, apparently, have tons of US cash, and many are worried that one day they'll just dump the Dollars, causing a Dollar plunge. That's one scenario; the other scenario is that the Chinese will use all of their dollars to invest in the United States, which despite the gloom, tends to have a safe economy. So now we see the continuation of foreign automakers building plants in the US. It's not just Japan anymore; China's Nanjing Auto plans to build a plant in Oklahoma, starting next year. The plant will create 500 jobs, and replace a GM plant that closed in the state last year. Unless you're inherently suspicious of the Chinese (like you think they're all out to get us), this kind of news seems good. And now we're taking bets as to whether Lou Dobbs will mention this on his show tonight. Any takers?
High court loads up on business cases (CNN Money)
In recent history, the Supreme Court has been bad about taking corporate cases, often declining the case of remanding the question back to a lower court. Patent law has been a major black hole, as the Court refused to rule on some major question, such as when the Blackberry service almost needed to be shut down. In turn, the corporate world basically sticks to Delaware, where the courts are skilled and quick when it comes to handling such cases. Now, however, with former corporate lawyer John Roberts at the helm, the Court is taking on a full course of business cases. Types include patent issues, liability and anti-trust -- all stuff that really needs to be made more clear.
Giuliani Capital Is Close to Forming Alliance With 2 European Firms (NYT)
The Giuliani juggernaut rolls on, as he continues to paraly his name, experience as mayor, and as a prosecutor to investment banking. The i-banking arm of Giuliani Partners is expected to announce a deal with two European firms, allowing him to expand his empire across the continent. That being said, the firm has yet to rise to the top of its niche, which is mid-market deals. So maybe the Giuliani name isn't as important as you might think.


Condé Nast Buys Wired News (Wired News)
There was never a more illogical move than the splitting up of Wired Magazine and Wired news (Wired.com). True, Wired Magazine article did appear at Wired.com, but the magazine had little control over it, and the site, which had been owned by Lycos (remember them?) looked straight out of 1997. So, in a move of utterly clear logic, Condé Nast, the owner of Wired Magazine has decided to buy out Wired.com (getting confused), and merge the magazine with the eponymously named site. Just one problem, isn't Wired rather 90's too?
White House sees deficit decline (Marketwatch)
One thing that politicians don't seem to get is the fact that just because is how it is today, it doesn't mean it will stay as such. So Bush sees high government receipts as 'vindication' of his tax cuts, and that there's no choice between fiscal responsibility and tax cuts. The two go hand in hand. But does Bush realize that we've just had a fantastic run in the stock market, which no fiscal policy can preserve. And more importantly, over the long term, the less politicians feel that taxpayers are on the hook, the more likely they are to spend. Instead of bragging about how much revenue the government is sucking from the taxpayers (which doesn't even sound very Republican), why not take major steps to cut government spending?
In Sycamore Suit, Memo Points To Backdating Claims (WSJ)
It turns out there's a victim in the backdating scandal. This certainly changes the tenor of the whole affair, as it's no longer just about some wonkish accounting. An ex-employee of former bubble darling Sycamore Networks claims in a suit that he was removed from his job for not going along with a scheme to manipulate options. Though the actual manipulation occurred five years ago, how many are going to talk about how brave the guy is for standing up to corruption. It's sort of the same way the Enron "whistleblower" did little more than write a letter to Ken Lay, telling him that they better clean up their act before their operations were discovered.
Official: Japan hasn't beaten deflation (AP)
We're officially T - 2 days away from an expected rate hike in Japan, the first one they'll have seen in years. And while this has been seen as a potential boon for the Yen, some officials are already cautioning that nothing is guaranteed to come out of the BOJ's meeting. Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki has said that Japan has yet to totally whip deflation, and that keeping rates at 0% would be prudent. Chief Cabinet secretary Shinzo Abe expressed the same sentiment. So, at this point it's a waiting game. We'll be on top of it as the news breaks.
Theft of Coca-Cola Trade Secrets Involved Two Products, Filing Says (WSJ)
The whole mythology about the secret ingredient in Coke is just that, a myth. Why? Because a first-year chemistry student could break down the contents in a can of coke and figure out what's in it. And if generic pharmaceutical companies can do that to a pill, obviously Pepsi can do it to Coke. More details are emerging in the current trade secrets that bolster this view. The two men who tried selling secrets to Pepsi just had samples of the new drink. Again, it proves that samples are enough to discover a drink's ingredients.

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