Opening Bell: 7.3.07

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Kraft offers €5.3bn for Danone's biscuits (Times Online)
If there's something a little dirty sounding in this article, don't worry, it's all good. Kraft is looking to up its investment in the cracker and cookie market, as its offered to buy out Danone'sTuc, Prince and Lu brands. Other than Lu, which we may have had once at some cocktail party, these are some pretty unfamiliar brands to most Americans. Kraft probably won't do much of an effort to push them here, should it acquire the unit.
Miner Teck bids $4.1B for rival (Toronto Star)
In a move to bring further consolidation to the metals market, Teck Cominco has made a friendly offer to buy out Aur Resources, also a publicly traded Canadian mining firm. Aur has a geographically diverse base, with a number of locations in development across South America. Because this is a friendly deal, there isn't much exciting to report, though with any luck (and history suggests it will happen), one of Teck's rivals will come in with a deal that's not so "friendly".
New CEO at video chain was 7-11's chief (Ft. Worth Start-Telegram)
Blockbuster has announced the successor to CEO John Antioco, who announced in March that he would be stepping down. It sounds like Jim Keyes, the former CEO of 7-11, simply bought himself the job. He agreed to spend $3 million of his own money to buy Blockbuster shares upon assuming the position. Perhaps more companies should do that. Instead of interviewing and all that, they should just see which executives are willing to invest more into the company and give the position to the the highest bidder. Oh wait, then every company would be run by Carl Icahn.
The yield curve dis-inverts, sort of (Econbrowser)
With the recent rise in long-term interest rates, the yield curve (or the yield schlurve as we like to call it) has dis-inverted (yay). The ultimate period of inversion was fairly short, as it typically has been in the past when such a profoundly unnatural phenomenon has occurred. Of course, inverted yield curves are associated with recessions, to the dis-inversion would seem to be a good sign. Ah, but as Menzie Chinn points out, historically recessions come a little while after the inversion has already inverted itself. So we're not out of the woods just yet.


New Scheme Preys on Desperate Homeowners (NYT)
Gretchen Morgenson has a scare piece about a scam that's been going around to deprive people of their homes by taking advantage of their fear of foreclosure. Morgenson doesn't do a great job to describe what's going on here (what's new?), but let's just take her assessment at face value for one moment, that there are these scammy organizations that basically steal people's homes. Okay, fair enough, there are jerks out there, but can't Morgenson realize that there's a world of difference between these people and the Wall Street banks that she lampoons on a weekly basis? Stealing someone's home is not the same thing, by any stretch, as offering someone a loan that they may not be able to pay back, which could lead to foreclosure at some point down the road. Morgenson's problem is that she has no sense of proportion, so it all get lumps together, making her vaguely serious charges that much harder to evaluate.
Ellison’s ‘Other Company’ Prepares for an I.P.O. (Dealbook)
Larry Ellison's probably rich enough as it is, but he's got another company going public. NetSuite, a maker of on-demand business software that was founded in 1998, filed to go public yesterday in a deal that would value the company at $750 million. Ellison's stake would probably come to at least $500 million.
Africans to Bono: 'For God's sake please stop!' (The American)
It's pretty obvious that the billion in foreign aid that's been spent in Africa over the years has amounted to pretty much zilch. That doesn't stop anyone from wanting to do more, which, in a way, is a sign of insanity. One of the big advocates of this aid is, of course, the co-owner of the Forbes magazine, Bono (also he's in a band). He and that other guy that he put on the concert with have probably done more to raise money to be thrown at the 'African problem' than anyone else. Increasingly, voices are merging from a range of underdeveloped countries that are basically telling the west to cut it out. A number of prominent Africans recently spoke at a conference decrying all of the foreign aid and its lack of efficacy. Actually, they recognize that its harmful. Ah, but if only Bono & Co. were motivated by something other than ego, maybe they'd listen.
Where Are They Now: Stephan Paternot of TheGlobe.com (Valleywag)
People tend to forget about it (largely because it was so un-notable), but the first big .com IPO was TheGlobe.com, which proceeded the general bubble by quite some time. There was never a business there, so the company, and its brash young founders, went away. The only little fact that reasonable people could be expected to remember about them was that they wore plastics pants (hey, it was the 90s... just kidding, that's not much of an excuse). Apparently co-founder Stephan Paternot has been trying to do films, including a documentary of himself. Our view is that this current boom won't be complete until he launches another startup. Wouldn't it be cool if VH1 did "where are they now" episodes for famous business busts. What happened to the father/son combo that ran Bamboo.com. That's what we want to know.

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