Oprah, meet Howard. Reports in the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal say the head of the FCC will support the merger of XM, home to Ms. Winfrey, and Sirius,¬† where Mr. Stern holds court, removing the last regulatory hurdle to the long-awaited merger of the country‚Äôs only two satellite radio operators. Aides to the FCC chief said he decided to give his support after the companies agreed last week to concessions intended to prevent the new company from raising prices or stifling competition among radio makers, the Post reported.¬† As of last week there was still some static coming from members of Congress, but with the FCC backing the deal it’s unclear how they will make themselves heard.
In his first public comment on the end of the Yahoo/Microsoft merger talks, billionare financier Carl Icahn, said on Sunday the subsequent deal Yahoo forged with Google “might have some merit.” He had previously said a Google deal should be considered a secondary alternative to the Microsoft offer. “While the Google deal is not the same as an offer of $34.375 per share for Yahoo, I am continuing to study it,” Icahn told Reuters. Icahn declined to comment on whether he would continue to press his proxy battle to replace the board of Yahoo.
Belgian brewer InBev warned U.S. rival Anheuser-Busch that it should fully explore its $46 billion takeover offer before doing a deal with Mexico’s Modelo. In a letter that appeared to be aimed at Anheuser-Busch shareholders, InBev suggested that doing a deal with Modelo could impact the value of its $65-a-share takeover offer. Inbev’s Chief Executive Carlos Brito wrote to Anheuser-Busch’s CEO August Busch IV that he was committed to a “friendly combination,‚ÄĚ and “we would expect that prior to proceeding with any alternative transaction, especially if your shareholders will not be given the opportunity to vote on it, you would first fully explore our offer and the potential adverse consequences any such transaction could have on the ability of your shareholders to receive our premium offer.”
Other deals of the day:
* French market watchdog AMF has approved the merger document of Gaz de France and Suez, removing one of the last hurdles to the utilities’ long-delayed 100 billion euro ($153.3 billion) merger.
* Shareholders in Australian miner Zinifex approved a A$4.3 billion ($4.0 billion) takeover by fellow miner Oxiana, creating Australia’s third-largest diversified mining group. The new company said it would look at any assets BHP Billiton may need to sell to satisfy anti-trust regulators in its bid to acquire Rio Tinto
* Rio Tinto dismissed concerns that it could be barred from digging a huge iron ore mine in Africa, as it builds its defense against a $180 billion bid from bigger rival BHP Billiton.
* De La Rue, the world’s largest banknote printing company, has agreed to sell its Cash Systems business to private equity firm Carlyle Group for 360 million pounds ($700 million) in cash.
* Australian oil firm Roc Oil offered to buy Anzon Australia in a deal valuing Anzon at about A$612 million ($572 million), after agreeing to acquire UK-listed Anzon Energy.
* Swiss machine maker Schweiter Technologies said it is selling its Satisloh Holding unit to French eyeglass maker Essilor International for 340 million euros ($521.3 million) in cash, boosting its shares.
* ProSiebenSat.1 has agreed to sell its Scandinavian pay-TV group to Sweden’s TV4 in a deal with an enterprise value of 320 million euros ($492 million) that will help it cut debt, lifting its shares.
* Vodka label Stolichnaya is to be put up for sale after Russian company SPI asked Lehman Brothers to find a buyer, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* Credit Suisse said that it has won approval from regulators to set up a securities joint venture in China, which will allow it to underwrite domestic stock and bond offerings in the country.
* Enmax Corp said that it extended the deadline for the takeover of junior natural gas producer Cordero Energy as the two sides agreed to sweeten the deal with a special dividend.
* Cogeco Cable plans to acquire all the shares of city-owned Toronto Hydro Telecom for C$200 million ($194 million), the cable company said.
* Chip equipment maker Applied Materials said it remained interested in buying some businesses of Dutch rival ASM International and wants to enter discussions on possible transactions.
* ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, bought a 11.31 percent stake in the Turkish steel company Erdemir, bringing its total ownership to 24.9 percent and sending Erdemir shares sharply higher.
* Swedish engineering group Sandvik agreed to buy a 49 percent of U.S. tool maker Precorp for an undisclosed sum.
* Gemini Communication said it has acquired 51 percent stake in Chennai’s Veeras Infotek in a deal valued at 70 million rupees.
* Shares in Banco Popular fell more than 3 percent after Mexican telecoms company Axtel denied reports that it or its chief executive could buy a stake in the Spanish bank.
* French catering and services company Sodexo said it had bought a 90 percent stake worth 23 million euros ($35.3 million) in Yachts de Paris, which operates cruises on the river Seine in Paris.
* The Philippines rebuffed an offer to sell its 40 percent stake in oil refiner Petron Corp to investment fund Ashmore Group for around $550 million, saying it wanted a higher price.