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Opening Bell: 10.9.07

Sonepar Offers to Buy Hagemeyer for EU2.51 Billion
Biiiiig consolidation in the electronic sockets and switches market, as France's Sonepar SA has made an offer for Hagemeyer NV, based in the Netherlands. If the deal goes through, Sonepar would blow past industry leader Rexel in terms of revenue --- a real coups in our book, no? Still, while the offer is seen as attractive, Hagemeyer may yet shop around for a better bid.
Alitalia shares jump on second investor shortlist (Reuters)
Alitalia has frequently been described as the embarrassment of the European civil aviation sector, as it's long been considered the worst run national airline. There's been talking about privatizing it, or selling it off for years and years, but you know how the Europeans are about air travel (which is odd, since they have no problems privatizing airports). Anyway, it looks like it might really sell itself off, as it's narrowed down a list of six potential suitors that it could sell to, mainly consisting of other European airlines.
French president wants 'truth' on allegations of insider trading at EADS (MarketWatch)
Speaking of Airbus, French President Nicholas Sarkozy is getting involved in the whole insider trading scandal, demanding "truth" over the allegations. Sure, a crime could've been committed, but does it really need to go all the way to the top? It's like if Bush had gotten involved in the Waksal-Stewart-Erbitux case. Aren't there some people below him that can handle this?
Stealthily, Stores Start Christmas in October (NYT)
So it's nowhere close to Christmas -- or even Thanksgiving, really -- but some stores can't resist the lure of banging the holiday sales drum. It's appalling, sure, but we hate to feed into the outrage that the secular humanists at the times are trying to stoke by running this article. That being said, we really don't understand the whole push to start selling Christmas items now, when stores have to know that everything's just going to be recalled sooner or later. Really, why bother?

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The Next Software Acquisitions (BusinessWeek)
If you took Columbus Day off like we did (which you probably didn't), then you could've missed SAP's purchase of business intelligence software maker Business Objects. It's SAP's biggest acquisition ever, as it's historically gone for smaller "tuck in" deals (to use their language). Certainly, the companies are hoping that this Franco-Deutsch marriage works out better than some other ones, though the Germans are fully in charge, which is probably a good thing in this instance. Naturally, everyone's cheering the return of the strategic acquisition, hoping it picks up where private equity's left off. Seems like that might be a little too convenient.
Jamie Olis seeks another chance (Houston's Clear Thinkers)
We often decry the endless Enron (and Dynegy) litigation, but as long as there are people locked up for 20+ years over nebulous, unclear crimes, it's going to be an issue that keeps bobbing up from time to time. Tom Kirkendall looks at the efforts to free former Dynergy CEO Jamie Olis, who's serving 24-year sentence over a financial engineering scheme that some feel was perfectly legal. Anyway, some new developments are happening in his appeals process, as a number of possibly influential supporters are looking to help him get his sentence overturned. Between the rejuvenation of his case and the "significant frailties" of the Jeff Skilling case, we may yet have some more chapters in this story.
Google's shares top $600 mark (FT)
Back during the bubble, pundits on CNBC were fond of saying things like "with today's move, the market cap of Excite@Home is now bigger than Ford, GM and Chrysler combined... amazing". Well, this isn't quite so dramatic, but Google is now bigger than Wal-Mart, from a market cap perspective. It's also bigger than Pfizer and Coke. Then again, it should be. Coke just sells commodity sugar water and spends on a ton on advertising to do so. Pfizer, no pipeline. Maybe Google should open a bank.
Who will win the Nobel Prize in economics this year? (Marginal Revolution)
There's no Nobel Prize for finance, though there probably should be. The next closest thing is the Nobel Prize for economics, which can be awarded to a financial economist, although technically speaking there's not even a Nobel Prize for economics either. Anyway, announcement day is coming up, whatever the prize is, so it's time to start making guesses. Any guesses? Put 'em in the comments.
What's a "Strong Dollar"? (Econbrowser)
We wish the title of this post had been "What's a 'strong dollar', anyway?", as in: "Q: how would your policies strengthen the dollar. A: 'what's a strong dollar, anyway?' In the absence of being able to lift the old greenback, the next best thing would be to cast doubt in the minds of the greenback's doubters.