Expedia to buy back up to $3.5 billion in stock (Reuters)
There's been a lot of talk about Expedia lately, with many wondering whether the company might sell out to private equity or get bought out by management. Yesterday, an analyst speculated that the company might engage in some sort of leveraged share buyback in the next 3-6 months. Well that was a pretty good call. Today the company announced that it would buy back up to 42% of the company's outstanding stock at a price a few dollars above its current market value.
Pearson shareholder Schroders reportedly against bid for Dow Jones (MarketWatch)
Talk that Pearson and GE might bid for Dow Jones remains just that, talk. While it may happen, it seems far from certain. There are some doubts as to whether the companies can really put together a proposal that will prove superior to Murdoch's, and now one of Pearson's largest shareholders, Schroders PLC, has come out against the idea.
Companies Fall Behind In Cash Management (WSJ)
In politics, campaigns love to spike the news in order to get their agenda advanced. An operative of the Obama campaign might, for example, place a call to a reporter, letting them know about some interesting bit of Hilliary trivia that might make for a good article. Seems the same thing happens in business press, as we can only guess that some activist hedge fund let the Journal know about new research confirming that business have too much cash on their books, much of which is inefficiently locked up in working capital. Get ready for some names to be named, maybe with the goal of shaming management into making the stock price go up.
Yahoo Shakeup: React Rolls In; Ding, Dong, Etc. (paidContent)
paidContent has a roundup of some reactions to the shakeup at Yahoo. You can also check 'em out here. For the most part, everyone's glad that Semel's gone. He had lost everyone's confidence long ago. That being said, nobody is really excited about Yang as CEO. And because of the nature of the announcement (which attempted to spin the whole thing as a natural evolution of the company's strategy), everyone thinks the company is in denial. We haven't confirmed this, but we're sure that several people have made joked about deck chairs on the titanic getting rearranged.
As More Toys Are Recalled, the Trail Ends in China (NYT)
Of all of the papers, the New York Times has done more than any to stoke fears about products from China. They've been all over these toothpaste and pet food articles from the beginning, and now they have a piece pointing out that of the 24 different toys that have been recalled this year, each one was made in China. Newsflash: all toys are made in China. So to point out that all of the recalled toys, which are just a subset of all toys, were made in China, isn't really saying anything.
Queen Elizabeth 2 Sold to Dubai-Owned Company (Dealbook)
In a sign o' the times, the Queen Elizabeth 2 has been sold to a state-owned company from Dubai. You're never going to believe this, but the firm has plans to turn it into a floating hotel, retail and entertainment complex, permanently docked off of an artificial island. Awesome. No doubt they'll put an artificial ski slope there too.
Dr. Pepper, Snapple headed for sale (Reuters)
Its been bandied about for some time, but Cadbury Schweppes has now confirmed that it's looking to dispose of its drinks group, which includes Snapple and Dr. Pepper. We don't know who'll be interested in Dr. Pepper. It's good, but it's carbonated, which is somehow a problem these days. Maybe it should be sold back to Waco, Tex., where it was born. As for Snapple, the once favored non-carbonated drink of Rush Limbaugh, we can only imagine who will bid on that one -- probably everyone under the sun, despite the fact that Snapple drinks are utterly foul.
Builders Confidence Index Sinks (RealtyTimes)
While you're waiting for the housing starts data to come out, here's a little morsel to tide you over for the next few minutes. A measure of homebuilder confidence has plummeted to its lowest level in years, as few homebuilders feel that a recovery in the housing market is imminent. The last time it was this low was after the S&L crash in 1991.