Monday, June 04, 2007

Paperstand (NWS, PALM, AV)

According to the WSJ, as representatives of both co’s prepare to meet Mon, News Corp (NWS) is willing to go further than it has gone before in acceding to tighter editorial-independence controls to win Dow Jones (DJ), ppl close to News Corp. said Sun. But Rupert Murdoch made clear in an interview Fri that he isn't willing to yield to what may be a key demand from the Bancroft family: that the family control any editorial-oversight board created to protect Dow Jones's editorial independence in the event of a deal. Such a board should comprise "ppl with absolutely no business connections to me nor the family," Mr. Murdoch said, adding that the family "can't sell [Dow Jones] and keep it" by joining a newly created board. "I can't put down $5bn of my shareholders' money and not be able to run the business," Mr. Murdoch said. He stressed that he has "no plans to change anything" on the editorial or news sides of the paper.

The WSJ reports that Palm (PALM), facing mounting competition in the smart-phone mkt, is selling a 25% stake to a private-equity partner that will bring former Apple (AAPL) execs to the co. Under the transaction, which is expected to be announced today, Elevation Partners will invest $325m for a 25% stake. The move is designed to give Palm a new long-term investor that will bring in new talent. Palm will pay $940m in cash, or about $9 a share, to existing shareholders whose ownership of the co will drop to 75% under the deal's terms. The co will fund the restructuring with the $325m from Elevation, $400m in new debt and more than $200m of cash on its balance sheet to complete the transaction.

The WSJ reports that private-equity firms TPG Capital and Silver Lake Partners were last night in the leading position to purchase Avaya (AV) for around $17 a share. As in any auction, the situation was fluid and the deal could either break down or veer into the hands of another suitor, such as Nortel (NT). It may be some time until the final details are struck.

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