Opening Bell: 6.29.07

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Soaring RIM shrugs off iPhone threat (Globe and Mail)
Well today is the day: iDay. That's not a pathetic witticism. That's literally what Apple is calling today, which is, to be perfectly honest, sort of silly. iDay? Whatever. We walked through the city for awhile yesterday evening, and although we passed a few AT&T Wireless corporate stores, we were disappointed to see nobody camped out. Guess you have to go to the Cube or the Soho shop for that. Meanwhile, one of the big expected losers from iPhone mania, Research-in-Motion, reported blowout earnings yesterday evening, sending shares soaring in after hours trading. That's great, now you can sell your RIMM to buy your iPhone.
Bancroft Heir Pursues Alternative to Murdoch (WSJ)
So you know that the Murdoch-meter is really pushing the mercury, as the deal seems closer than ever to going through. But it's not at 100%. A few folks inside the Bancroft clan are still actively pursuing alternatives. The Journal (hmm, you know, they seem really fixated on this topic), points to Leslie Hill (Hill?), a key Bancroft that's been traveling up and down the east coast looking for an alternative suitor. It doesn't really sound like she's found much out there, although she actually wants to hear out MySpace co-founder Brad Greenspan, who holds a grudge ever since his company was sold for a song to News Corp. He made some dopey announcement last week about wanting to buy Dow Jones (just to stick a needle in Murdoch's eye), though it didn't seem particularly serious.
Western Digital to Buy Komag for $1 Billion in Cash (Bloomberg)
Hard drive maker Western Digital has agreed to buy out Komag for $1 billion in cash. There may be no other merger in history where the word 'synergy' is more apt. Western Digital makes the technology that writes data to the storage. Komag makes the part where the data is stores. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
FDA bans seafood from China (Chicago Tribune)
The hits just keep on coming for products from China. We've seen concerns about everything fro toy trains to toothpaste and pet food, and now the FDA has slapped a ban on certain seafood products from China. Of particular concern are farm-raised shrimp, catfish, eel, which appear to be grown using some drug that's banned in us fish farms. Just as long as there's still plenty of eel at the local sushi joint, the FDA can do whatever it wants.


Milan’s Latest Trend: Hedge-Fund Chic (Dealbook)
So designers of haute couture are taking their cues from the finance world (hedge funds specifically, even) for their latest designs. We wonder how they know that its hedge funds, and not, say private equity or M&A specialists, who's style is being copped. That being said, if it's true, we wouldn't be all that surprised. There's been an important shift in the relationship between hedge fund folks and pop culture. It used to be that guys with money bought their way into glamor (investing in movies and whatnot). Now it's the other way. Guys with glamor want to get into the hedge fund game, per the fawning over the finance folks at Cannes this year.
Century-Old Ban Lifted on Minimum Retail Pricing (NYT)
In a 5-4 split decision, the Supreme Court agreed to lift an age-old ban on minimum pricing agreements. So instead of MSRPs (manufacturer's suggested retail prices), you just might say MMRPs (manufacturer's minimum retail prices). The manufacturers, who have been pushing for the change, argued that MMRPs will allow for better customer service. The reasoning is that under the current regime, a customer can go to Best Buy to hear a big spiel about a various TV, but then go to PC Richard & Son, where they won't get the same attention, to actually buy it. With MMRPs, PC Richard & Son wouldn't be able to undercut Best Buy by skimping on service (or store organization!). Prediction: don't really expect to see much of a change in anything.
Scrushy Gets Nearly 7 Years in Bribery Case (WSJ)
At long last, Richard Scruchy is going to prison. He nearly avoided this fate, after getting off on some initial charges. But when more stuff came to light, the government came back at him and nailed him. Scrushy will perhaps be known as the defendant that set a new bar in terms of a cynical exploitation of faith to get off. He conveniently found JC during his first trial, and even started his own local Christian radio show in order to broadcast about faith (and reach jurors). The jurors in the second trial weren't buying the crown-of-thorns act, and the judge (who must be a secular humanist -- he is a judge after all), didn't let Scrushy's Christianity earn him any extra points.
Mrs. Murdoch To Take Over At Chief of Strategy At MySpace China (PaidContent)
Elsewhere in the Murdoch-verse, wife Wendy Deng will assume a role as the chief of strategy (whatever that is) at MySpace China, as the popular social networking site tries to enter that market. If we were her, we'd be complaining about the blatant racism going on. Would they just put some random Jewish guy at the helm of MySpace Israel? Maybe they would, but they wouldn't make it so obvious.

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