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Opening Bell: 2.25.08

Electronic Arts makes another bid for Take-Two (MarketWatch)
The CEO of Electronic Arts said a while back that he thought the era of consolidation in the video game industry was rapidly coming to a close, because there just weren't that many possible big deals left out there. Well, there is still one. For the second time, EA is making a $2 billion bid for Take-Two, the maker of several violent titles, plus a really great game about Ping-Pong (seriously). Not surprisingly, Take-Two rejected the offer (of course... you can't accept a hostile offer), but too early to say how this will play out.
Iridium: 7 Years Out Of Bankruptcy, Satellite Communications Player Eyes A 2009 IPO (TechTraderDaily)
It's ba-ack. Iridium, the ridiculously over-capitalized satellite phone player that lost Motorola billions back in the 90s is still chugging, and now it's profitable. Of course, it had a bankruptcy in the middle. And though Moto spent billions investing in it, the current investor group snagged it for $25 million. And now it's less focused on pure voice, but on niche applications and on mission-critical machine-to-machine communications. But anyway, check out the interesting interview done by Eric Savitz. If nothing else, it'll make you nostalgiac. Funny that anyone ever thought that ridiculously expensive phones, whose only advantage was that they worked in Timbuktu, would prove to disrupt a mass market.
Recession in U.S. More Likely in 2008, Economists' Survey Finds (Bloomberg)
Good news: no recession. Or at least it's not likely, since only 45 percent of economists see one occurring this year. And since 45 is less than 50, we're happy. Then again, we're not quite sure that saying 45 percent of economists see a recession happening is quite the same thing as saying there's only a 45 percent chance of one.
In the Drama of Britney Spears, a Show Business Fortune Is at Risk (NYT)
Forgive us for having a moment here, but it really does seem like Britney Spears is careening inevitably towards bankruptcy. There's no way she can be cash flow positive. One former financial adviser estimates her fortune at $50 million. But given the way she lives her life, how long can that last? You have to wonder whether she's even contributing $4,000 to an IRA each year. She still has some weeks to do that, so let's hope she gets on that.

Bernanke, Bush Fail to Build Better Economy With Cuts, Stimulus (Bloomberg)
Europe's Antitrust Chief Defies Critics, and Microsoft (WSJ)
We like to hate on Neelie Kroes, the antitrust czar of Europe, probably a little too much. It's not that we we've been wrong, but we've never done that much studying on her. All we ever hear about her is when she makes some ludicrous complaint to Microsoft. Anyway, a good profile on her in the Journal, taking a look at her background, and how at first, she was seen as a pro-business regulator. It won't probably change your opinion on her, but still worth a read.
United Said to Mull Options as Delta-Northwest Talks Drag On (Dealbook)
Strange, weren't we supposed to have had some big airline merger by now. What happened. Actually, a worthwhile read their in Dealbook, giving a nice overview of some of the various complications facing everyone. And here's some discussion of the perspective at Continental.