TomTom to buy map supplier Tele Atlas for $2.5 bln (Reuters)
Dutch navigation firm Tom Tom announced the purchase of Tele Atlas, a supplier of maps. This acquisition is personally meaningful to us, because the other day we were walking, and an orange Tele Atlas van with 360 degrees worth of cameras mounted on top of it drove right by us. It appeared as though it was doing something similar to Google's Street View. So, Tele Atlas has a picture of us walking in Brooklyn, which is an image that will now be owned by Tom Tom.
Dubai Offers $2.1 Billion for Auckland Airport Stake (Bloomberg)
Dubai continues to buy anything it can get its hands on, left and right, here and there, from banks to real estate and now a controlling interest in the main Auckland Airport in New Zealand. This is the beauty of oil money. Sure, it flows from all over the world into the hands of some lucky few, but then they have to spend it and everyone gets it back. The only catch is that you have to part with critical chunks of your national infrastructure, like a national airport or a water system. Meanwhile, check out the picture of the CEO of the Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. That's one intense dude.
Cerberus to buy United Rentals for $4 billion (Reuters)
Here's your obligatory Monday private equity deal. This time its equipment rental firm United Rentals, which will sell out to Cerberus for $4 billion, a mere 6.6% premium over its Friday closing price. Of course, United Rentals announced a few weeks ago that it was seeking "alternatives" to its existing structure, so much of the actual premium was already baked in. All in all, seems pretty typical.
A Family Meets Today to Hear the Complexities of a Bid for Dow Jones (NYT)
Just in case you somehow forgot, the Bancrofts are having a family reunion today, where, among other things, they'll be discussing a bid for Dow Jones made by some Australian ex-pat. Just out of curiosity, do you think that the Bancrofts are the type of family to make a t-shirt commemorating their family reunion that they'll give out to all of the members in attendance? Eh, they're probably to Brahmin for that, although you might want to keep a look out at thrift stores for that one.
Grocery Cos Say S. Calif Unions Apparently OK Labor Pact (Dow Jones Newswires)
Another headline/article that we'd expect to read in The Onion. No, really, this time the California grocers and the union have got things all squared away. Dudes, we hope the price of avocados isn't affected at Von's.
Medical devices, 'Web 2.0' firms drive venture investment (MarketWatch)
It may not get as much attention as, say, Facebook, but medical gadgets were the hottest area of venture capital investment last quarter. Of the $7.4 billion that was invested by VCs last quarter, nearly $1 billion went to this area. The hope is that medical gadgets will end up solving medical problems that drugs can't. Meanwhile, if you're interested in this area, we can highly recommend checking out the blog MedGadget, which is on our daily must-read list.
Putin May Have `Third Man' Scenario in Mind for 2008 Election (Bloomberg)
It's important to follow the scheming of the world's most important energy executive, Vladimir Putin. Technically speaking, he only has 18 more months in office (just like President Bush!), but unlike President Bush, Putin probably isn't going to, you know, give up any influence or power once he "leaves" office. So everyone is watching to see who he pushes as his successor and what kind of role he establishes for himself at that point. The latest theory is that he'll push some real no-name, which would ensure that his persona not be eclipsed.
Low-Key Recall of AIDS Drug Hits World’s Poor (NYT)
The recall of an AIDS drug reveals the double standard that pharmaceutical firms are held to, depending on what country they're operating in. In the US, companies are slammed and called "greedy" for failing to recall a drug at the slightest hint that a small percentage of patients may come down with a cold. On the other hand, in developing countries which receive discount AIDS drugs, a recall is "irresponsible", even when a company feels the pills have been tainted. The difference is the level of perceived desperation, but the operative word is "perceived". Those who suffer from chronic pain in the US aren't given as much sympathy as African AIDS patients, which is why it's not a tragedy when we pull Vioxx or Oxycontin off the shelf (for their own good).
Blackstone I.P.O.: A Case of Buyers’ Remorse (Dealbook)
We were among the many that questioned the valuation of Blackstone when it came public, and the company's share price drop has vindicated our view, at least to some extent. But come on, all the handwringing seems a tad overdone. After all, a company can't really be blamed for its one-month performance. And frankly, if your time horizon for a stock is so short, you really have no business investing in a private equity firm -- or stocks at all, for that matter. Perhaps you should go play the Forex market or something like that.
Southwest, JetBlue move to match Virgin America's fares (Today in the Sky)
Voila, the magic of markets works again. Both Southwest and JetBlue have announced that they will cut fares on certain routes in order to match those being offered by Virgin American. So if you've been planning a California trip, now might be the time to book it and save money. Good news for you, bad news for the airlines, which had been talking lately (lately=always) about wanting to raise fares. And to think the government tried so hard to keep Virgin American away.