Opening Bell: 8.27.07

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Taiwan's Acer Agrees to Acquire Gateway for About $710 Million (WSJ)
And with that, the long, sad saga known as Gateway finally comes to a close. Not really much to say about the "cow company" , other than it seemed to hang around a longer than it should have. It did some stints in consumer electronics, though it never really went anywhere, ultimately returning to its roots as a boring boxmaker. With the purchase, Acer passes Lenovo as the world's third biggest computer maker, behind HP and Dell. With any luck, we'll never have to see Ted Waite's ponytail again.
Goldman to buy Tiffany's Tokyo for $318 mln-source (Reuters)
A jewelry business is a nice asset to round out any well diversified operation. Just ask Warren Buffett and all the wives of Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders who receive a new bauble every year, right around the time of the annual pilgrimage. Goldman Sachs has announced the purchase of Tiffany's flagship Tokyo store in the popular Ginza shopping district. The purchase price of $318 million is considered a high price for the area, an indication that Tokyo real estate prices are on the rebound. Still, they have a long time to go before they hit their peak again. Wasn't the royal palace once worth the same as all of Manhattan?
Debt Issues Top Economists' Fears (WSJ)
According to a poll, economists are more fearful of the subprime debt crisis than they are of terrorism. Or, at least, they think it represents a bigger threat to the US. All polls are suspect, but let's just assume for the time being that this is true. It sort of makes you wonder how many on the right would react if a contingent of politicians started acting this way. Suppose the Democrats decided to make this their top priority -- would the right start flipping out that they weren't adequately concerned about the global war on terror? Consider the reaction when any politician suggests that global warming is the #1 threat facing humanity. A host pundits and pols start coming down on the guy, calling the person naive for thinking that that could possibly be a bigger issue than the GWOT. It's one thing to believe in something, it's another thing when you start getting pissed that not everyone shares your biggest concern.
Home Depot Hit As Credit Crunch Squeezes Deals (WSJ)
Last week it was revealed that there were serious concerns about the fate of Home Depot Supply, the unit that Home Depot has been trying to unload for several months. It had a deal lined up, but nothing got done before the recent chapter of the credit crunch, putting financing at risk. Well, it looks like they got a deal done, but it's at a price tag nearly 20% off MSRP. So, the unit will still go to private equity, but Home Depot will have about $2 billion less cash in its bank account than it would have had before.

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U.S. Steel to buy Stelco for C$1.1 billion (MarketWatch)
If you ask us, this summer didn't quite live up to last summer in terms of excitement in the metals space. It started out hot, and yes there were a few interesting deals, but nothing to make you want to read Canadian business news first thing in the morning. US Steel has announced the purchase of Canada's Stelco for C$1.1 billion (which these days is probably US$5 billion or something like that). The price represents a 43% premium over the closing price.
Mortgage Crisis Forces Sale Of German Bank
The subprime crises continues to reverberate internationally, as a state-owned German bank, Landesbank Sachsen Girozentrale, was forced to sell itself to a rival. A few banks in Germany have already reported subprime losses, although there hasn't been much new in the past week or so. Maybe it's all finally contained.
HK shares surge amid funds inflows expectations (People's Daily)
The Hong Kong stock market surged after the Chinese government announced rule changes making it easier for investors on the mainland to invest in the Hong Kong market. The rally was on anticipation of strong, across-the-board inflows. It's nice that China will permit its citizens this luxury. You have to figure that a big motivating factor is the desire to relieve pressure on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Officials have been worried about the rapid run up for quite some time, so perhaps they believe that they can cool things down by giving investors more options.
Play It Again, Nokia. For the 3rd Time. (NYT)
Once again, Nokia is hoping to sell the world on its concept of a gaming phone, otherwise known as the N-Gage. The first one was a total disaster. Don't be surprised if it happens again.

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