Monday, January 07, 2008

Paperstand (consortium acquires stake in CNET)

The WSJ reports that McDonald’s (MCD) is setting out to poach Starbucks (SBUX) customers with the biggest addition to its menu in 30ys. Starting this yr, the co's nearly 14K US locations will install coffee bars with "baristas" serving cappuccinos, lattes, mochas and the Frappe, similar to Starbucks' ice-blended Frappuccino. Internal documents from ‘07 say the program, which also will add smoothies and bottled beverages, will add $1bn to annual sales.

According to the WSJ, Microsoft (MSFT) will get to use movies and TV programming from several large entertainment co’s under new deals that may help it better compete with Apple's iTunes and rivals such as Adobe (ADBE). Microsoft said it reached agreements with NBC Universal, Walt Disney, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and CBS' Showtime Networks to contribute entertainment content to the software maker's Xbox Live and MSN online services. Mr. Gates also plans to say that Microsoft has sold 100m licenses for Windows Vista.

The NY Times reports that a consortium of prominent investment funds has amassed a 21% stake in Cnet (CNET) and is seeking to oust the co’s directors and take over a majority of its board. The consortium sent a letter about its plan to the CNet board 2 wks ago, which the co has yet to disclose. The consortium is led by Jana Partners. It also includes Sandell Asset Mgmt as well as Spark Capital and Paul Gardi.

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