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Opening Bell: 7.12.07

Rio Tinto to buy Alcan for $38.1 billion (MarketWatch)
So it looks like Alcoa probably isn't getting Alcan, as Rio Tinto has stepped in with an offer that's nearly 33% higher than Alcoa's offer. And no, the Alcan board isn't allergic to money, so it has agreed to the deal. We supposed that in theory, Alcoa could try to re-reraise, but that doesn't seem likely. This summer is shaping up like last summer for Alcoa, which just can't get a deal done. Sadly, nobody wants Alcoa's worthless American dollars these days.
Motorola warns of loss as sales trail forecast (Bloomberg)
So all the RAZRs, RIZRs, GRZRs, KRZRs, and SLVRs in the world can bring Motorola out of its funk. The company warned that its mobile business probably won't be profitable in the coming year, which really sucks, since they're a mobile phone company. Like, if there's one business that they'd want to be making money in, mobile phones would be it. Amusingly, before the company issued this terrible report, the stock was up yesterday on rumors that its CEO, Ed Zander, would be resigning. Always funny when a CEO brings negative value to a company.
Whole Foods Is Hot, Wild Oats a Dud -- So Said 'Rahodeb' (WSJ)
Well this is embarrassing. The FTC revealed that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was, for many years, a frequent poster on the Yahoo Finance message board for Whole Foods, writing under the name Rahodeb (his wife's name spelled backwards). The Yahoo Finance message boards are really a cesspool of idiocy, if you ask us. A bunch of cheerleaders convinced that every time their stock drops it's the result of some conspiracy of hedge funds or market makers. Judging from his postings, it seems that Mackey fit right
in, aggressively touting Whole Foods stock and bashing the competition (Wild Oats) and short sellers.
Black jury continues deliberating (Toronto Star)
Another day, another lack of verdict in the Conrad Black trial. We really hope that for the sake of the jurors, there isn't one lone holdout trying to be a prick. That would be wildly annoying. It had seemed as though we were going to get some resolution yesterday, but no dice. So we'll have to wait again and see what we come up with today.

Fox Business Network sets date (Variety)
Well it's official, October 15th will be the launch for Fox Business Network (FBN). All the branding plans are set, though if Murdoch is able to wrest Dow Jones by then, then he's likely to make changes that will reflect that. We couldn't be happier about the whole thing. You're kidding yourself if you think that FBN won't be entertaining (or maddening), and we certainly think that CNBC will benefit from the competition.
Bush Official Opposes Raising Taxes on Private Equity (NYT)
The private equity industry is screwed not that George Bush is on its side. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. He's not so poisonous yet, is he? Either way, the administration has warned lawmakers against raising taxes on PE and hedge funds, saying that any such move will be damaging to the economy. Good to hear, though we wonder what prompted this spasm of laissez-faire thinking, exhibited so rarely by the Prez.
Newmont Mining Plans $1 Billion Debt Offering (Dealbook)
Newmont mining is really levering up. First it announced that it would eliminate its hedging operations, thus unsmoothing its earnings stream. And now its adding a hefty pile to its debt load. Hey, if it's what investors want, who's to tell them they can;t have it.
Brazil Files Broadest Attack on U.S. Farm Aid at WTO (Bloomberg)
Brazil has filed a WTO complaint against the US, attacking our beloved farm subsidies. All we can to to Brazil is: good luck. Despite the fact that they're obviously bunk and obviously counter free trade, nothing's going to be done about them, ever. Ok, maybe Brazil will get to introduce some marginal tariff, but it'll be hurting itself just as much by doing so.