Charter Expresses Interest in Friendly Deal Talks With Time Warner Cable (WSJ)
Cable pioneer John Malone,the chairman of Charter’s largest shareholder Liberty Broadband Corp.,called Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Rob Marcus in recent days to express Charter’s interest in pursuing friendly deal talks, people familiar with the approach said. That is in contrast to the unsuccessful hostile takeover Charter pursued last year. The call from Mr. Malone came after Comcast Corp. recently walked away from a planned merger with TWC in the face of stiff regulatory resistance.
HSBC whistleblower Falciani says his work is not done: El Mundo (Reuters)
Herve Falciani, a former HSBC employee who leaked information on the bank's clients and tax situation, told Spanish newspaper El Mundo he had knowledge of other cases and could act again, adding his "work was not done". Falciani previously said that media leaks on HSBC accounts held in Switzerland, which unleashed a public storm around the British bank, were "only the tip of the iceberg", and that tax authorities had access to a lot more data. The former information technology worker at HSBC's Swiss subsidiary hinted in the interview published on Sunday that he could be moved to make more revelations.
A Milestone for Warren Buffett, and Profits for Investors (Reuters)
Net income rose to $5.16 billion, or $3,143 a share, from $4.71 billion, or $2,862 a share, a year earlier. Quarterly operating profit increased 20 percent to $4.24 billion, or $2,583 per share, from $3.53 billion, or $2,149. Analysts on average expected operating profit of about $2,373 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 7 percent to $48.64 billion. Book value per share, Mr. Buffett’s preferred measure of growth, rose 0.5 percent from year-end to $146,963.
Takeaways From the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (MoneyBeat)
Berkshire is eager to do a European deal: As he always does, Mr. Buffett extolled the virtues of America. But he let it be known he thought there may be bargains to be found in Europe and that “prices may be a little more attractive there than in the United States.” Berkshire hasn’t been wildly successful in finding companies to buy on the continent, but it did just do a small deal to acquire a German motorcycle apparel and accessories retailer. Mr. Buffett said he suspects that will bring in more opportunities. “I will predict we buy at least one German company in the next five years,” he said.
Report: Some beards as dirty as a toilet (PBP)
A group of men in New Mexico had their beards swabbed and tested for bacteria, and the results in some cases were a bit shocking, according to KOAT.com. Many of the beards tested had normal levels of bacteria, but others were comparable to toilets, the report said. The results were mind-blowing, said Quest Diagnostics microbiologist John Golobic, who tested the swabs. “Those are the types of things you'd find in (fecal matter),” Golobic said. “I'm usually not surprised and I was surprised by this.” Not all this is cause for alarm: the human body is alive with bacteria, many of it beneficial and not leading to disease, researchers say. And many surfaces we come in contact with daily, such as our office desks and toothbrushes, are also covered with bacteria. Still, KOAT.com reports, Golobic suggested thorough beard-scrubbing and lots of hand-washing, and to try to keep your hands away from your face.
Trading in Greek Government Bonds Slows to a Trickle (WSJ)
Only €2 million ($2.24 million) of Greek government bonds changed hands on the country’s HDAT electronic-trading platform in April, according to the latest data from the Bank of Greece. Last year, monthly volumes averaged €866 million. Not since the run-up to Greece’s 2012 default have volumes been so low.
Icahn Says BlackRock’s Fink Makes Fixing Bad Businesses Harder (Bloomberg)
BlackRock Inc.’s Laurence Fink is protecting underperforming executives with his campaign against activist investors, according to billionaire Carl Icahn. “You can’t get rid of these guys,” Icahn said, speaking in an interview on Sunday on the “Wall Street Week” show. “A lot of them feel like they can do what they want, because of guys like Larry Fink.” In a letter last month, Fink told the CEOs of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that they should avoid giving in to pressure from investors seeking immediate dividends and buybacks, instead focusing on long-term growth. Icahn said some CEOs shouldn’t be allowed to invest money. BlackRock hasn’t backed his efforts to oust them, Icahn said.
Yankees Say They Won’t Pay Alex Rodriguez $6 Million Homer Bonus (Bloomberg)
The team agreed in 2007 to pay Rodriguez as much as $30 million for catching the four players ahead of him on the Major League Baseball career home run list. He was scheduled to get $6 million each for matching Mays, Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755), as well as another $6 million each for tying and passing Barry Bonds’s record of 762 home runs. That bonus package is in addition to the 10-year, $275 million contract Rodriguez, 39, signed in 2007. His contract includes a base salary of $21 million for 2015. “We have the right, but not the obligation, to do something,” general manager Brian Cashman told reporters before Saturday’s game at Boston. “And that’s it. It’s not, ‘You do this, you get that.’”
Spotify’s Valuation Assumes Full Stream Ahead (WSJ)
...if you’re looking for big numbers, consider Spotify, the closely held streaming service based in Sweden that raised $400 million last month implying a value of $8.4 billion. Spotify is losing money but that valuation reflects hopes of big profits at some point...One example of how hard it is to value music streaming—and make a sustainable business from it—concerns Pandora Media. Yet to report an annual profit, its value soared from about $2.6 billion at its initial public offering in 2011 to almost $8 billion in 2014. It is now worth $3.7 billion.
Man sues Florida hospital after his leg found in the garbage (Reuters)
John Timiriasieff, 56, had his right leg amputated below the knee in October at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables. "Rather than properly disposing of the plaintiff's limb as expected and as required by Florida law, Doctors Hospital threw the Plaintiff's amputated limb into the garbage, with tags indicating it belonged to the Plaintiff," according to the lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. A month later, Timiriasieff said his family was contacted by homicide detectives investigating if he had been the victim of foul play. When the family went back to the hospital to find out what happened, they were told it would "provide no explanation for what had occurred," the lawsuit said. Normally, amputated limbs are incinerated by hospitals, said Clay Roberts, a lawyer for Timiriasieff...In the lawsuit, Timiriasieff described the hospital's conduct as "outrageous and beyond the bounds of human decency as to be regarded as odious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community."