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Best Buy Buy-Out Offer
Best Buy Buy-Out Offer

Richard Schulze - Best Buy's largest shareholder, with a 20.1% stake - founder and former chairman of Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) on Monday, offered $24 to $26 a share for the roughly 80% of the electronics retailer he does not already own. Schultze said the price represents a 36% to 47% premium over the shares' last Friday closing price. A Schulze spokesman said the total value of the proposed deal could reach $9 billion. Schulze said in a press release that he has talked with some private equity firms about participating in the transactions and that he, "plans to finance the proposed acquisition through a combination of investments from the private equity firms, reinvestment of approximately $1 billion of his own equity, and debt financing." Credit Suisse, Schulze financial adviser, has said it is highly confident that it can arrange the needed debt financing for the deal. "This proposal represents a unique win-win opportunity for everyone involved. It would create a new day for Best Buy employees and provide public shareholders with a significant all-cash premium for their shares," Schulze concluded.

Baidu (BIDU) spokeswoman Betty Tian on Monday reported that three employees had been arrested by the police due to the large amounts of money that had been transferred in exchange for the deletions to the website. Baidu fired four employees suspected of having taken payments to delete posts from its website. "Baidu has always firmly cracked down on the illegal behavior of online posts deletion for payment," the Ms. Tian wrote in an email. Baidu said that illegal deletion of online posts remains a major problem in China, and that it would proactively report illegal activity to the authorities. According to Chinese media reports, it is common for individuals or companies to pay money to have controversial or negative posts deleted from websites and blogs. Baidu said they maintain records of original posts and of deletions made by employees, and verifies the records later.

In a regulatory filing, Jersey City, N.J. based firm Knight Capital Group Inc. (KCG) reported that investors have agreed to buy $400 million of 2% convertible preferred stock a 'rescue plan' - a "securities purchase agreement" - which can be converted into about 267 million shares of common stock, providing a critical lifeline for the Jersey City, N.J.-based market-maker. The rescue plan will help fill hole left by errant trading last week as Knight entered into 'securities purchase agreement' with investor group which includes Jefferies, TD Ameritrade and Getco. Knight currently has about 89 million shares outstanding and the deal was anticipated to be consummated Monday. Knight said in a statement, as a result of the loss it "experienced reduced order flow and liquidity pressures, and its capital base was severely impacted." Monday morning, the New York Stock Exchange advised that it has temporarily assigned custodial responsibility for about 680 stocks listed on its NYSE and NYSE Market exchanges to the designated-market-maker unit of Knight rival Getco LLC. Upon "completion and approval of a recapitalization plan" the exchange said the stocks would be reassigned to Knight - a decision reached "in full cooperation" with Knight and Getco. Knight typically handles nearly $20 billion of shares a day through the New York Stock Exchange, most for retail brokerages that serve small investors. Last Friday, the 17-year-old firm told customers it had received a line of credit to allow it to stay open for business, but some of the firm's largest clients continued to steer their business to rivals. According to a research note Monday from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. the deal ensures Knight remains afloat and will able to trade thus, also presage a breakup of the company. Mary Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected Knight's request to be allowed to cancel many of last Wednesday's errant trades which resulted in a $440 million loss. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) reportedly bought the stock in a bulk lot at a discount. The errant trades were triggered a day after Knight installed software related to the launch of a New York Stock Exchange platform aimed at attracting more retail investors.

A monthly labor-market report released Monday by the Conference Board showed- a gauge of employment trends ticked higher in July, signaling that jobs growth may continue during the next few months at a slow rate. The private research group said its employment-trends index, which is designed to forecast turning points in employment, rose 0.41% in July from June. "There is no reason to expect employers to rapidly expand their workforce in the current economic environment," said Gad Levanon, macroeconomic research director at the Conference Board. The employment-trends index is made up of eight labor-market indicators, five of which made positive contributions in July, led by initial claims for unemployment-insurance benefits. July's index level is 5.9% higher than last year. The index reached 108.11 in July, compared with 100 in 1996.

According to a survey released Monday, U.S. banks have made it slightly easier for companies to obtain loans as well as for consumers to get car loans and credit cards. The Federal Reserve’s senior loan officer survey did not report any major change in lending. The Fed said, most banks held lending standards unchanged for business loans in the face of stronger demand. For the small percentage of banks that did change their standards, their move was in the direction of easing. The Fed surveyed 64 domestic lenders and 23 U.S. branches of foreign banks to help gauge the willingness of banks to lend and the demand that they were seeing. Lending standards were eased due to more aggressive competition from other banks and nonbank lenders - not because of a more favorable economic outlook. The survey found that small firms did not benefit from the easing of lending terms. Per the Fed survey, U.S. banks continued to tighten their lending standards to European banks as a result of the debt crisis. Demand for loans in the consumer sector increased slightly while lending standards were little changed. There were reports of stronger demand for mortgages and auto loans with some reporting that they eased standards of auto loans and credit-card loans.
 

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Aug 6, 2012


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