Wagging the dog

May 16, 2008

Follow Carl, from the Good Dog, Carl series of Classic Board Books published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989Yahoo has struck an advertising partnership deal with WPP Group that will let WPP units GroupM and 24/7 Real Media buy ads on Yahoo’s online ad exchange. Yahoo said the deal would first involve WPP units GroupM and 24/7 Real Media. It may be a stretch to expect this shake off the dogs of war unleashed by Carl Icahn, who is trying to unseat the Yahoo board for its failure to deal with a $47.5 billion unsolicited takeover bid from Microsoft. If the ad tie-up deal with Google that’s still in the trial phase hasn’t done so, why would a deal with WPP? But at the same time, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang can hardly be seen to be sitting on his hands.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has pulled out of the bidding in Royal Bank of Scotland‘s 7 billion pound ($13.62 billion) auction of its UK insurance business, according to the Financial Times. Berkshire told the FT it had looked at the business, which includes the insurers, Direct Line and Churchill, but had decided not to bid, without giving a reason.

Japan’s Bridgestone said it was forming a strategic alliance with rival Toyo Tire & Rubber aimed at coping with high materials prices and intensifying competition. The two companies plan to team up in developing advanced tire technology and procuring raw materials. They will also use each other’s production facilities and said they would take stakes in each other worth 8 billion yen ($76 million).

Other deals of the day…

* Finnish shareholders holding together more than 10 percent of TietoEnator said they would not accept the 1.08 billion euro ($1.67 billion) offer for the firm from Sweden’s Nordic Capital.

* Nuclear power company British Energy has received three bid approaches, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. The potential bidders are French utility EDF, France’s Suez and a combined proposal from Germany’s RWE and Spain’s Iberdrola, the source said.

* Norway’s biggest media group, Schibsted ASA, said it had acquired all shares in Belgian online classified site for 20.25 million euros ($31.34 million).

* Thai Beverage PCL, the country’s largest brewer and distiller, plans to take over Thai green tea and sushi maker Oishi Group for 6.94 billion baht ($214 million). Thai Beverage — the maker of market leaders Beer Chang and Mekhong whisky — has agreed to buy a 43.9 percent stake in Oishi from Yodkit Thurakij Co, for 3.045 billion baht ($94 million), Oishi said in a statement.

* Swedish-Canadian mining and exploration firm Lundin Mining has sold its 90 percent stake in the Norrliden project to Canada’s Gold-Ore Resources, IGE Nordic AB said.

Photo: “Follow Carl,” from the Good Dog, Carl series of Classic Board Books published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989

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