The WSJ reports BCE (BCE) said it agreed to be acquired by the investment arm of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Providence Equity Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners for $32.6bn. The deal also includes an additional $15.9bn in debt, preferred equity and minority interests, for a total value of $48.5bn, making it also the largest private-equity buyout package in history. "The plan in private equity is to go after bigger and bigger deals, and this is yet another level," says Shahid Khan, of Interactive Broadband Consulting Group.
The WSJ reports that AT&T (T) said it was working to resolve problems preventing some buyers of Apple's iPhone from activating the device. The hiccup affected about 2% of those who purchased an iPhone. Neither co disclosed sales, although industry observers expect the new product to be a strong seller.
According to the WSJ, Vivendi's Universal Music Group is considering notifying Apple that it isn't renewing a long-term contract to sell digital-music downloads through iTunes Store. Such a move wouldn't mean Universal would remove its vast catalog from iTunes in the foreseeable future. Instead, Universal hopes to go to a short-term sales agreement rather than a contract that lasted more than a year.
"Heard on the Street" column out saying that Quicksilver (ZQK) may be ready to quit the sport it took up just 2 years ago. And that could give the co's share price a nice run. The co last mo posted its 1st quarterly loss since '92. The main reason: a foray into the ski business via the co's '05 acquisition of Rossignol. The European brand, once seen as a growth opportunity, now seems to be dragging the co under the waves. Rossignol was always viewed as an odd choice for Quiksilver. Then the weather changed for the worse. Last winter saw record-low snowfalls in both N-America and Europe, drawing few skiers to the slopes and even fewer into stores. Sales plummeted along with the stock price. The price has since recovered, with investors returning after solid performances by the co's apparel ventures. The stock's recovery isn't enough to quell analysts who believe the Rossignol brand remains a near-certain liability for investors and the co. Quiksilver is considering whether to backtrack completely by selling Rossignol. Any sale would undoubtedly be at a loss to what the co paid, but observers say it would nonetheless boost interest in the stock by removing a cloud hanging over the co. "They are probably going to sell something, either all or part of Rossignol," says Jeff Mintz, of Wedbush.
The NY Times reports that the Carlyle Group is in discussions with Virgin Media, the British cable co whose largest investor is Richard Branson, over a potential bid worth around $20bn. The talks are still early and may not lead to a bid.
DigiTimes reports that AMD's (AMD) Phenom processors were originally planned to begin test-production between Sep and Oct, and to start shipping in Nov this year. However, AMD may now be planning to postpone Phenom's launch date to the 1Q08.