Opening Bell: 02.28.11

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Buffett Is "Itchy" For A Big Deal (WSJ)
In Mr. Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire shareholders on Saturday, the Omaha, Neb., company's chairman and chief executive said he needs more large deals to supplement the improving earnings of Berkshire's many businesses, which sell everything from insurance to candy, operate utilities, and manufacture homes and machine tools. "The job gets tougher as the numbers get larger. We will need both good performance from our current businesses and more major acquisitions," wrote the 80-year-old. "We're prepared. Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy."

Goldman to Win Fed Blessing to Repay Berkshire, Buffett Says (Bloomberg)
The Goldman Sachs stake and a $3 billion investment in General Electric Co., each of which pay 10 percent annual interest to Berkshire, will likely be terminated by Dec. 31, Buffett said Feb. 26 in his annual letter. While the Fed has held back Goldman from repaying, the regulator “will likely give Goldman the green light before long,” Buffett wrote.

As Berkshire Improves, Buffett Sings Praises Of US (Dealbook)
Buffett said Berkshire last year spent more than $5 billion on property and equipment in the United States – more than 90 percent of the company’s total expenditure – and that the overwhelming part of the company’s future investment will be at home. “The prophets of doom have overlooked the all-important factor that is certain: Human potential is far from exhausted, and the American system for unleashing that potential – a system that has worked wonders for over two centuries despite frequent interruptions for recessions and even a Civil War – remains alive and effective,” he wrote. “Now, as in 1776, 1861, 1932 and 1941, America’s best days lie ahead.”

JPMorgan Fund In Talks On Twitter Stake (WSJ)
The investment, which is expected to value Twitter at more than $4 billion, will be made from the bank's new $1.2 billion digital growth fund, these people said. Exact terms of the potential deal couldn't be learned.

World's Top Commodities Trader Considers Jumbo IPO (Reuters)
Glencore, the world's largest commodities trader, is considering a flotation that could be one of the biggest listings ever seen in London, a source familiar with the situation said. If it goes ahead, an initial public offering of Glencore could value the company at as much as $60 billion, according to Liberum Capital estimates.

Charlie Sheen To Tell His Side Of The Story On 20/20 (KGO)
In the interview Sheen also insists to ABC's Andrea Canning that he is sober, saying, "I am on a drug, it's called Charlie Sheen." He further proclaims, "I have one speed, one gear: go!"

Wall Street Bets On Debt That Doesn't Exist (WSJ)
Fresh from Wall Street's alchemy labs: Credit derivatives tied to General Motors Co. debt. The rub is, no such debt exists. Banks and hedge funds are trading credit-default swaps, which make payments to holders of General Motors bonds in the event of a default. But GM canceled $40 billion of debt in bankruptcy and has pledged to cut its remaining $4.6 billion bank loan to the bone this year. That is merely a technicality for the banks and hedge funds that have been actively trading the CDS.

Gaddafi Unflinching; Rebel City Fears Counter-Attack (Reuters)
Rebels holding Zawiyah, only 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, said about 2,000 troops loyal to Gaddafi had surrounded the city. "We will do our best to fight them off. They will attack soon," said a former police major who switched sides and joined the rebellion. "If we are fighting for freedom, we are ready to die for it."

Blackstone Said to Buy Centro's U.S. Malls for $9.4 Billion (Bloomberg)
The purchase of 588 malls, at the price they were valued at as of Dec. 31, may allow Centro’s Australian operations to continue as an independent company...Blackstone’s biggest deal since 2007 signals the firm is betting on a recovery in U.S. commercial property after the subprime crisis that derailed Melbourne-based Centro’s U.S. acquisition spree as debt costs soared.

Inside Job Wins Best Documentary Oscar Winner, Filmmaker Notes Nobody Has Served Jail Time For Financial Meltdown (Mediaite)
In other news, last night's awards show was sponsored by JPMorgan.

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