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Opening Bell: 4.28.08

Mars, Buffett Team Up in Wrigley Bid (WSJ)
Next weekend's Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting is gonna be sweet (rimshot)! Word is that the company is going to team up with Mars to buy out Wrigley, really putting a strangleholde on the candy industry. The value for the deal is pegged at $22 billion. Exact terms are unclear. BRK may provided Mars with the financing to do the deal and then become a major Mars shareholder. But, given all the talk about how the chocolate makers may or may not have an oligopoly, probably smart for some other end sellers to find strength in numbers.
Continental Airlines Chooses Not to Merge
Forget what ya heard. Continental does not plan to merge with another airline. Some reports over the weekend suggested the carrier was in talks -- mergers are the hot thing now, after 5 or 6 airlines have gone bankrupt, and while others have agreed to tie up. But Continental specifically sent out a press release saying it all wasn't true. From a letter sent to employees (and now to shareholders): "We have significant cultural, operational and financial strengths compared to the rest of the industry, and we want to protect and enhance those strengths -- which we believe would be placed at risk in a merger with another carrier in today's environment."
Eos Airlines Crashes (PE Hub)
Oh right, speaking of bankruptcies, Eos is the latest. The company isn't doing some in-bankruptcy operation. Nope, just shutting down completely. Yesterday was its final day of flying between New York and London (Stansted). What we need is about 10 more of these, including some huge ones, and the remaining ones might actually be able to perform better. BTW, it looks as though the Eos website is down too. Who wants to pay for hosting? Nobody.
Oil Rises to Record on U.K. Pipeline Shutdown, Nigerian Attack (Bloomberg)
You might be able to make the argument that this is the most common headline of the last four years. Like really. Anyway, oil is near $120 now, so that's probably a foregone conclusion. And that means $125 is too. Even without Nigerian attacks, the trend seems to be solidly up.

Dental Clinics, Meeting a Need With No Dentist (NYT)
Maybe we're just drinking the Kool-Aid too much, but we're pretty bullish on the idea that technicians could replace the work of a number of full-on pros in several professions. The latest area, according to the NYT, dental technicians, serving "underserved" communities with basic dental care. Sounds good. But you know: once the NYT picks up on it, the trend is totally over.
AMD launches 1st computer brand, for businesses (Reuters)
Sure, this is totally logical. The struggling chipmaker AMD plans to move into a lower-margin, more competitive industry with lower barriers to entry. Yep, it plans to go vertical, not just making the chips, but selling its own brand of computers (for business). For now, the company says it will eschew the retail model, but c'mon. Will they resist the lure of having their own AMD stor in Soho, ala Apple. We thinks not.
Huzza for Commerce! (Reason)
As the Opening Bell is currently on the road, staying in hotels, this article seemed worth passing along: "Hotels, then and now, are a material manifestation of a world that prizes free mobility and peaceful exchange. “The built environment expresses the values of the people that created it,” writes Sandoval-Strausz. In a time when America is spending billions to build a wall along its southern border, this brilliant history is a reminder that the fear of the traveling stranger is something we have overcome before."
Microsoft faces critical decision over Yahoo (FT)
Well, the deadline for Yahoo came and went this weekend (with nothing happening). And there was some expectation that Microsoft might announce its reaction this morning (so far, nothing). FT suggests that the question of what to do next: raise, go hostile, walk, is still being debated in Redmond, and that a decision may be pushed back to "mid-week" (so probably Wednesday).