Opening Bell: 5.25.07

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OMX shares surge on Nasdaq takeover offer; analysts broadly positive (Forbes)
The stock exchange mating dance has resulted in yet another hook-up as the NASDAQ will purchase Nordic stock exchange OMX for $3.7 billion. The cash and stock deal gives OMX shareholders a handsome 19% premium over its last closing price. Generally analysts were positive on the deal, and the Swedish government gave no indication that it would block the deal, which seems a bit surprising.
Profit slides as Gap reinvents itself (San Francisco Chronicle)
It can be a little weird to think that there was a time when The Gap was cool. Really, there was. Yeah, we know it's hard to believe, and maybe you never thought it was cool, but at one point that brand had real value. So the company doesn't even know what the company's main demographic is. The company's profits are sliding hard in the face of weak same-store sales numbers and a disastrous jaunt into clothes for middle-aged women. But, seriously, this time it's turning itself around.
Coca-Cola Buys Maker of Vitaminwater for $4.1 Billion (Bloomberg)
Vitaminwater and Smartwater are downright foul drinks, if you ask us, but apparently Coke likes the taste. Or maybe it's just enamored with 50 Cent, who endorses the stuff. Either way, Coke is buying out the parent company that makes these drinks, Glaceau, for $4.1 billion. Who knew it had come to be worth so much? A billion just isn't as big as it used to be, is it? The goal of the buy is to expand Coke's reach into non-carbonated beverages. Instead of focusing on non-carbonation, how about focusing on drinks without sugar? It's not so gross. The pure, Coke-made green tea, which is sold in Japan and at Asian grocers here is awesome. Meanwhile, you can be drinking all kinds of non-carbonated "sports drinks", but if you're just pouring sugar water down you're throat, then you're not doing yourself any favors.
More Than Ever, It Pays to Be the Top Executive (NYT)
The Times is so concerned with income inequality, that it even feels sorry for non-CEO c-level executives, whose pay lags far behind their boss in the big office. It's become routine for the chief to make 4x (or more) what the next highest paid person makes at the company. Seriously, this article is a trip the way it talks about non-CEOs getting "left behind". What the Times fails to note is that the high prize at the top is a reflection of tournament theory. It's not that the CEO is "worth" 4x what the CFO is worth, but that the company structures their incentives so that everyone, no matter how high up, will still work hard as hell to have their shot at the brassiest of brass rings, even though their likelihood of success is low.


Oil Rises on Concern Over Gasoline Supply, Nigerian Oil Strike (Bloomberg)
Ok, we're not going to go through the whole rant about these kinds of articles. That'd be boring. Besides, if you've ever read the Opening Bell before, you've heard everything we have to say on this subject. But, there's just one question that we have. How does oil rise on concerns over the gas supply? Doesn't gas come after oil? Should gas rise on concerns of the oil supply, not the other way around? Wouldn't that be like saying the price of apples has gone up, as people are worried about an apple pie shortage?
Sales Soar as Prices Plummet (Washington Post)
That headline is just awesome isn't it? Hard to believe it's from the Washington Post and not the Onion.
Not Your Father's Pay: Why Wages Today Are Weaker (WSJ)
It's hard to believe that this article is actually in the Journal and not the Times. The basic gist is that men in their 30s today are worse off then their fathers were when they were in their 30s. Ok, here's a simple thought experiment. Imagine what life was like in 1977 (on a whole range of things, from your dwellings, entertainment, ability to travel, etc.), and think if you'd really want to trade places. Just the expression "hell no" mean anything to you?
At Cannes This Year, the Bankers May Outnumber the Movie Stars (NYT)
You already know that hedge funders and bankers are really into movies these days, so it will come as no surprise that there's a large contingent of them at this year's Cannes film festival. Fine, they're there to make deals. What's funny is that the Times feels the need to point out that the bankers don't attract as much attention as, say, Rose Magowan, who is, get this, constantly being photographed.

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