Thursday, June 28, 2007

Paperstand (RIMM, PALM, FLWS)

The WSJ reports that two bidders are expected to make competing offers for Altadis within days that could value the cigarette and cigar maker at $17.5bn or more and result in one of the biggest tobacco deals ever. Imperial Tobacco (ITY) and CVC Capital have been negotiating terms and conditions in recent days with Altadis in anticipation of making formal bids by next week.

According to the WSJ, Massachusetts regulators accused UBS (UBS) of improperly providing below-mkt office space, low-interest personal loans and other perks to Boston-based hedge-fund execs if they steered enough business to UBS. The administrative complaint, part of a previously disclosed investigation, was filed by the Massachusetts Securities Division against UBS's US brokerage arm.

Barron’s Online out saying that the reviews are in, and Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone is being hailed as a groundbreaking consumer product that is likely to be an enormous commercial success. For RIM (RIMM) and Palm (PALM) it means that both stocks will likely struggle in coming mo’s. iPhone has convinced some observers that cellphones will increasingly be used to consume information through Web browsing and playing music and video. It won't be easy for RIM and Palm to prove they can dominate that new landscape the way they have their existing mkts. Nonetheless, both stocks seem priced for continued success that may be elusive. RIM sports a FP/E of 33.8x and Palm, 24.2x, ahead of the 23x multiple, on avg, of MOT, NOK, ERIC and QCOM. "To justify even $140 a share for RIM, we need to see the co selling more than 1m units per qrtr outside of their traditional base of business customers," says Richard Windsor, of Nomura Securities. "We're just not seeing it."

“Inside Scoop” section reports that RLR Capital disclosed it had accumulated a 5.1% stake in 1-800 Flowers (FLWS) with more than 1.3m class A shares. In its activist 13D filing, RLR said that co's shares were "substantially undervalued" when they were purchased. RLR founder Robert Rosen also sent a letter Wed to James McCann, founder, Chmn and CEO of 1-800-Flowers, declaring support for mgmt's cost-cutting and growth initiatives. Ben Silverman, of, says that RLR's "buying into strength and their flattering letter shows that they have a lot of faith and confidence in mgmt."

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