Opening Bell: 5.14.07

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CBS Acquires WallStrip for $5 million (TechCrunch)
As soon as we saw Lindsay Campbell on the Sopranos last night, we thought to ourselves, "how are we going to be able to work a reference to this in in the Opening Bell?" Then, when the show was over, and we flipped on our computer, we got our answer. Word is that little 'ol WallStrip is going mad corporate, as CBS is said to be acquiring the show for $5 million, despite its, um, lack of revenues. But hey, $5 million for the (second) hottest brand in next-generation financial media? Maybe not so bad. After all, that's a mere thousandth of what News Corp. has offered Dow Jones. Think about it.
Daimler to Sell Chrysler to Cerberus for $7.4 Billion (Bloomberg)
And in other "transactions"-related news, some car company called Daimler is selling some unit called Chrysler to some firm called Cerberus for something called $7.4 billion. Daimler will still own a slice of Chrysler through a holding company, but practically speaking, this is divorce after nine years. The original merger holds some sentimental value to us, because it occurred while we spent a week in the hospital after an appendectomy -- we've still never watched so much CNBC as we did that week. Larry Ribstein has some interesting analysis on what the move means in terms of the company's corporate structure and the UAW.
Ford Family Members Weigh Sale of Controlling Stake, People Say (Bloomberg)
In a story that sort of sounds like an amalgam of a bunch of different stories that are going on right now, it's being reported that members of the Ford family are increasingly interested in cashing out of their money-losing monstrosity. Apparently, some family members are angling to get investment bank Perella Weingberg (not sure why them) to help find some strategic alternatives. However, the family seems split. According to last week's Detroit News, a faction of the family is rejecting this approach (via Alphaville). If the Ford name is going down, then the family will just have to go down with it. Let's just hope that they're all well diversified at this point.
China's Bank of Communications' A-shares seen up 49% on debut (MarketWatch)
Every day, fresh signs point to the fact that China is in a bubble, and that the company is just crazy for stocks. One sign is the crazy pops that Chinese IPOs are getting as boring old banks are spiking like crazy on their debut. Tomorrow, China's Bank of Communications (its 10th largest) will go public, and analyst expect it to shoot up by 49% upon debuting. Of course, that pales compared to Citic Bank Corp. which surged about twice as hard when it came public in April. In addition to the spikes though, the sheer volume of huge companies cuing up to go public right now is truly impressive.


Bancroft family split on meeting Murdoch (Reuters)
After last week's media insanity, it'd be fair to assume that this week will see a slowdown in the reporting on News Corp.-Dow Jones. It has to. This story is interesting, but without major movement, it has to eventually get relegated to second page of the business section. In the meantime, this is becoming a real page turner as its being reported that the Bancroft family is now split -- split on meeting with Rupert Murdoch. Not meeting his offering, literally just meeting with him. Some want to hear him out, while others have heard enough. Snooze button time.
Mayonnaise, rice bowl costs hint at Japan inflation (Reuters)
Now this is big news. Japan is getting a whiff of price inflation. It's showing up in things like rice bowls, vegetables, meat, mayonnaise and orange juice, as sellers are finding themselves able to absorb increases in raw material costs. This is a pretty big shock to an economy where everything had been trending towards free (including money) for so long. Just as long as it doesn't spread here, it's ok. We'll be really put off, if the cost of our unagi don rises by one cent.
Wedding Insurance Covers Calamities (AP)
With the summer months just around the corner, some of you must be getting married soon. If you are, you should put your financial acumen to some good use and try to find a nice deal on some wedding insurance. In part because of heightened concern over stuff like hurricanes, insurance policies are increasingly available to cover things like inclement weather. You can even buy an insurance policy that will take care of you in case the bride loses the dress. The male equivalent to that would be if that groom forgets to call the tux place, or his groomsmen forget to. If you think wedding insurance is a scam (and it very well might be), then you should find a way to play the other side and write it.
Motorola's Zander Loses Support Amid Signs He Can't Top Razr (Bloomberg)
Pundit are starting to write the obituaries for Motorols chief Ed Zander, whose company continues to deteriorate as it failes to find a follow up hit to the RAZR. The problem is that the company fell too much in love with the RAZR and its outstanding sales. After that phone came out, every subsequent handset rhymed with RAZR. Meanwhile, the company is losing on all fronts to Nokia, Research in Motion and soon to Apple, whose iPhone will almost certainly be something of a hit (the magnitude we'll have to wait and see). Zander is not expected to see next year.
Biofuels are the 'next environmental danger' (The Register)
When even John McCain starts singing the praises of biofuels (as he did yesterday on Meet The Press), you know that they're probably full of rubbish. Either that or you know that John McCain is full of rubbish, which is just as (if not more) likely. A new report tries to douse a lot of the optimism over them by noting several ways in which they're bad for the economy and the environment. This shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone, since if they were so good, they probably would've been developed much more fully in the first place.

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