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Opening Bell: 4.10.08

News Corp., AOL Pursue Yahoo Deals (WSJ)
Microsoft's bid for Yahoo was thrown into utter disarray last night as rumors emerged of both AOL and News Corp. getting into the mix. Yes. News Corp is said to be partnering with Microsoft on a renewed deal, while AOL may announce a merger with Yahoo, as early as next week. This was all of course in the hours after Yahoo and Google unveiled an ad trial designed to show that an independent Yahoo had levers to pull in juicing its revenue. Microsoft did the old antitrust freakout, but suffice to say, all those discussions about how this conclusion is all a matter of "when", not "if" probably should be thrown out the window.
CBS News, Katie Couric Are Likely to Part Ways (WSJ)
This is the real blockbuster news, that CBS and Katie Couric could part ways before her contract expires in 2011... it could be as soon as the end of the election. Obviously her employ at the network has not lived up to expectations, though her low ratings are really about the decline of evening news, rather than anything to do with her.
Slowdown Deals A Bad Hand to Las Vegas Casinos (WSJ)
Over on our personal site where we occasionally jot some ill thought out notes, we predicted a bad year for casinos -- the ultimate recession proof industry. Most of the rest of our predictions have been terrible (duh), but that one looks to have been spot on. And the reasoning was that Vegas is no longer the gambling-driven economy it once was. Now it's more and more about other non-gambling luxuries, which aren't so immune from a slowdown. Give us points: "Meanwhile, Las Vegas shifted its business model away from gambling and began to get more of its revenue from retail, spas, hotels and restaurants. The shift stabilized and boosted Vegas profits, and spurred a boom in upscale development, with about 45,000 rooms expected to come online in Vegas by 2012. But the reliance on more traditional tourism also left the destination far more vulnerable to an economic slide."
For Pilots, Dreams Run Into Reality (NYT)
With so many airline closures, layoffs, and other issues affecting the civil aviation industry, job security and high pay isn't the sure thing it used to be for pilots. Now as merger talks between Delta and Northwest are said to be reviving once again, watch the pilots fight tooth and nail for their perquisites and their seniority arrangements -- all, it would seem, increasingly out of date.

Soros Says Credit Crisis Will Worsen Before Improving (Bloomberg)
Not that he's always right or anything, but George Soros thinks calls of a bottom in the credit markets are premature. He's certainly entitled to that opinion, and we may agree with him (though we may not), but we sort of sense with him that a lot of his views are informed by his politics. And in fact he blames the current situation on a lack of regulatory oversight and a deriliction of the administration's duty -- surprise surprise.
Boeing faces big bill for Dreamliner delay (Cargonews)
Back in the early, early days of The 'Breaker, one of our favorite whipping boys out in the world was Airbus, for its wiring delays, for its Europeanness, and the fact that it seemed emblematic of a bloated, subsidized company that didn't know how to compete. Well, well, well. Over the past several months, it's been our supposedly lean friends Boeing that can't get their act together. And yet again the Dreamliner will be delayed. Cargonews estimates "billions of dollars in additional development costs and penalties" from the delay. It's not hard to believe.
Quote du Jour: MSFT/YHOO/AOL/NWS/etc. (Infectious Greed)
As usual, Paul K pretty much nails the broader meaning of the whole AOL/News Corp/Google/Microsft/Yahoo drama. Also, one question that's been going around: when all five of these companies merger, what will they be called. And what will their logo look like?
Deep Inside an SEC Filing (CrossingWallStreet)
For your amusement, Eddie finds a profanity buried with an SEC filing. This particular one strikes a chord with us, since we once made the same error in something professional we were working on. Yeah, you're shocked we once made a typo. It happens.