Daily Briefing: Rejection Day

February 11, 2008

Yahoo is set to reject Microsoft‘s $42 billion unsolicited bid today, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters over the weekend — but it looks more like end of the beginning than the beginning of the end. Yahoo’s “no thank you” could set up a range of complex scenarios, from renewed Yahoo merger talks with AOL to a sweetened Microsoft proposal to a hostile tender offer. No alternate bidder has emerged and Wall Street has been betting that the likeliest outcome is for Yahoo board’s to negotiate for a higher price from Microsoft.

Societe Generale has launched a $7.97 billion attempt to plug holes in its balance sheet following a rogue trading scandal, and is it ever priced to sell: The one-for-four rights issue is offered at a discount of 38.9 percent to Friday’s closing price. That’s a much steeper discount than was expected by fund managers, who had projected a discount of up to 30 percent. One possible reason for the discount: Rival French bank BNP Paribas is not preparing a hostile SocGen takeover bid, a source familiar with the bank’s thinking said on Monday, although it could be interested in a friendly deal.

The chairman of mining company Rio Tinto wrote to shareholders on Sunday, urging them to take no action on a sweetened $147 billion bid for the company by rival miner BHP Billiton. A combined BHP/Rio would be the world’s third-biggest company and control more than a third of all iron ore, a quarter of the uranium and millions of tonnes of copper, aluminum and coal, as well as gold, silver and diamonds.

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