Opening Bell: 6.26.08

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Anheuser to Reject InBev Offer (NYT)
Not surprising: The great American, hero of a legend of a company Anheuser-Busch plans to formally reject a buyout offer from an invading, European company that wants to rob our beer making heritage. Seriously, let's step back. Of all the buyouts to get huffy about, this has to be the silliest. C'mon: They're a beer company. Beer is for getting people smashed and then they do stupid stuff. Not that we're above that, but to get all red-white-and-blue over it really just plain silly. Plus, good news: the beer isn't going away. They're not going to keep it from us. Related: we recently had a Budweiser in a bottle shaped like a bowling pin. Awesome!?
Tribune Co. may sell buildings to pay off debt (Newsday)
As the business has deteriorated faster than he expected, Sam Zell, CEO and owner of Tribune, has been forced to shed assets faster than he might've liked. So far it's mainly been papers, though he's selling the Chicago Cubs, too. And he might sell the Tribune Tower next. It's dicey. On the one hand, if he is making a bet on the future of newspapers (in some form) then he can't keep selling off papers. On the other hand, assets like the Cubs and the headquarters are probably the company's only assets that aren't spiraling downard in value.
Adelphia founder and son's prison terms cut (Reuters)
A small morsel of good news for the Rigases, the father and son pair from cable firm Adelphi spending years in the cooler. Both got a couple years shaved off their sentences after a conviction of one of their counts was overturned. But they're both still looking at years in jail, so it's small solace. Too bad they're not alcoholics (as far as we know), since we've heard that you can get another year shaved off for entering a treatment program for that in prison.
He Drives This Game-Show Vehicle (WSJ)
! Like everyone else we know, we're pretty much addicted to Cash Cab, the show where you get picked up by a cab and answer trivia questions for money along the ride. And like almost everyone we know, we haven't ever had a chance to go on the show, but we want to. Anyway, WSJ takes a look at the show and its host, comedian Ben Bailey. One interesting factoid: Bailey actually has a taxi license. That's cool. But we're still a little skeptical of the show's premise that riders have totally no idea what they're about to get into. Yes, yes, it claims it, but the whole thing is too well staged to work out so perfectly. But we haven't yet cracked the nut on that one, and this article offers us no help. Commenters?


How big a contribution could oil speculation be making? (Econbrowser)
The debate about the role of speculators in the price of oil is interesting, if only because it's become such a hot-button political issue. Unfortunately, it's now one of those things, where if you didn't get on the plane at the start of the ride, it's hard to hop aboard in the middle -- or at least we feel that way. And, because we pretty much rejected the notion out of hand at the beginning,we weren't paying much attention at first. That being said, James Hamilton at Econbrowser offers some simple analysis questioning the "blame the speculators" viewpoint, which is simple and logical, and worth adding to your debating arsenal.
Will mankind survive the death of the sun? (Marginal Revolution)
Sure, we know what you're thinking: that's so far off, it's not worth thinking about. Or: that's a 50-sigma event. Or: according to my fund's model, it can only occur once every 25 billion years, so why should I even take it into account. Problem is, we heard all that about the mortgage mess too, and how did that turn out. So yes, time to start thinking of the question: can mankind survive the death of the sun? Commenters?
Bell Canada Executive Patrick Pichette to Join Google Executive Team
Announced yesterday after the bell, Google finally named its new CFO, who will be replacing retiring CFO George Reyes. This executive search took pretty much forever, and the selection of a Bell Canada exec was a curveball as well. Pichette will start August 1, and will get about 11 days of on-the-job training before starting in earnest on August 12. Good luck.
Oracle throws wet blanket on strong 4Q results (AP)
Oracle's been killing it for several quarters, and this latest quarter was no exception. But next quarter will be, as it finally sees the slowdown that everyone else has been talking about. One analyst put it this way, talking more about Wall St. than Oracle: "I think companies are realizing that you don't really get rewarded for raising guidance, so there is no reason to be a hero in an environment like this." We'll have to use that one sometime.

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