Coming Soon: Apocalypse

November 13, 2008

Just a couple of months ago, USA Inc executives talked about the “challenging environment” in which they were operating. We at DealZone always figured that euphemism would give way to more dire descriptions as recession grew more likely.
Sure enough, Best Buy took the crisis lexicon to a new level yesterday, warning investors of a “seismic shift” in consumer attitudes. JA Solar described conditions in its business in terms of “panic”. 
For some expert analysis of the word play at work, we turned to Wordsmith Anu Garg, publisher of the daily newsletter “A Word A Day”. Never at a loss for words, Anu warned us to expect not only more cataclysmic hyperbole, but violently mixed metaphors.

“We look for metaphors to make sense of a crisis, trying to find words that depict the worsening scene. We may turn to geology, describing changes in economy as tectonic shift or seismic shift. We may go nuclear, as in a market meltdown. We might employ nautical lingo, for example, bailing out a company.
Sometimes we mix metaphors, such as bailing out companies in the economical meltdown. But with so much going on, mixing metaphors would be the least of someone’s worries.”

Deals of the day:

* Citigroup is in talks to buy U.S. regional lender Chevy Chase Bank, which operates in the mid-Atlantic region, the Wall Street Journal said.

* Shareholders in St. George Bank, Australia’s fifth largest bank, approved an around $9 billion takeover by rival Westpac Banking, in Australia’s biggest ever banking takeover.

* Standard Chartered said its subsidiary, Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong limited, has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Cazenove Asia.

* South Korea’s Doosan Corp said local private equity house MBK Partners had agreed to buy Doosan’s packing unit for 400 billion won ($295.3 million).

* Shareholders in Australia’s Dairy Farmers milk co-operative approved a A$910 million ($580 million) takeover bid by National Foods, an Australian unit of Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings.

* Ultra Electronics Holdings acquired Weed Instrument for $31.6m.

* South Africa’s black-owned Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) has taken control of one of the country’s biggest media firms, Primedia, in a deal worth 246 million rand ($23.98 million), MIC said.

(Photo credit: IMDB)

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