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Opening Bell: 4.7.08

Washington Mutual to Get $5 Billion (WSJ)
Will the markets rally today, because WaMu is set to raise $5 billion? That would seem to be the pattern. The thrift, which apparently hasn't been so thrifty, will get a $5 billion cash infusion from PE firm TPG and other investors, reports WSJ. The investement would cause a massive dilution for WaMu shareholders, since their market cap is only $9 billion -- shares are off 74 percent in the last year. Of course, while they'd be diluted, they'd also have another $5 billion in cash on the books.
Novartis Buys Alcon Stake, Eyes Majority (AP)
Swiss drug firm Novartis plans to buy its countrymate's stake in US eyecare firm Alcon for a cool $39 billion. First Novartis will just by a 25 percent stake, with an eye towards acquiring another 52 percent down the road. Those Swiss: pretty soon they're going to own the whole damn country.
Yahoo!'s Board of Directors Responds to Latest Microsoft Letter
Microsoft sent a threatening letter to Yahoo's board on Saturday, saying that if Yahoo didn't start talking, it'd go hostile. Yahoo has responded, basically saying "no". Seriously, that's about it.
Buffett Pressed To Dump Chief Of General Re (WSJ)
Berkshire Hathaway's re-insurance arm, General Re, continues to be a thorn. After four top execs were found guilty of some sort of fraud, Warren Buffett is being pressured by the Feds to dump the unit's CEO, Joseph P. Brandon. But basically, at this point, nobody has really accused of Brandon of doing anything wrong. It mainly looks like guilt by association, and rather than take matters into its own hands, prosecutors would rather have Buffett do their job for 'em.

When Foreigners Buy Factories: 2 Towns, 2 Outcomes (NYT)
It appears the NYT is doing some sort of new "America For Sale" series. Hmm, are we going to read this article? Can we stomach it? Is it only going to cause us to get agitated? Ok, we're skipping it. Sorry, no recap for you. If you want to know how in one town, a foreign company bought a factory and it turned out good, and in other town it turned out not so good, then by all means (we're guessing), click on the link.
Hedge fund managers make mint on housing crisis (Reuters)
Look, we're crunched for time every day we write the Opening Bell, so we can't promise to read the entire article. And for you journalists out there, if you want inclusion, then please offer me something I can read past. Just going to quote the first line of this piece, though really, the headline probably tells you all you need to know. "Millions of Americans may be facing the prospect of losing their homes, but a handful of fund managers have become the best paid in their industry -- taking home 10-figure paychecks last year -- by betting against mortgages." (Boldface added)
Blogonomics: Breaking News (Market Movers)
You might've seen the NYT's article about bloggers dropping dead this weekend, AKA the biggest piece of linkbait ever to appear in a major publication, save that one Forbes cover a few years ago. Anyway, we won't take the bait directly, but Felix Salmon's response is pretty good.
The Show Must Go On (American)
Live concert promoter Live Nation has been making headlines lately by signing big acts to monster deals that cover stuff like recording, merch, touring, website marketing... basically everything. U2 just signed a biggie, sans-recording deal. Jay-Z did as well. Anyway, a good piece in the American about the economics behind all this, and how much is riding on the fact that a few old workhorses keep touring and touring and touring.