Posted by: Chi-Chu Tschang on December 26
Warren Buffett’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, will pay $4.5 billion to acquire 60% of Marmon Holdings from the Pritzker family, who own the Hyatt Hotel chain. Marmon is a holding company with more than 125 manufacturing and service businesses, ranging from railroad tank cars to plumbing equipment to electrical components.
The deal is Berkshire’s largest acquisition outside of the insurance industry. Mr Buffett heard about the deal less than two weeks ago, when the Pritzker family arranged to have Goldman Sachs bankers meet him at the San Francisco airport with information about Marmon. Mr Buffett read the material on the flight back to Omaha, Neb. and called the investment bankers when he landed to say that they had a deal.
Source: BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
Retail sales rose 3.6% from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, at the low end of industry forecasts, according to preliminary estimates by SpendingPulse, a division of MasterCard Advisors. A slumping housing market and high gas prices are being blamed for the weakest retail sales in at least four years. And it could have been worse. A surge in last-minute holiday shopping helped retailers post a modest growth this year.
Source: New York Post
Hitachi, Canon, and Panasonic have agreed to collaborate and share the costs of developing and producing flat-panel monitors, one week after rivals Toshiba and Sharp teamed up. Canon and Panasonic will each take a 24.9% stake in Hitachi Displays, which makes small- and medium-sized liquid crystal display monitors. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Source: PC World
Toyota has set an ambitious target to sell 9.85 million vehicles next year, which would put it on track to overtake General Motors as the world’s largest automaker by sales. While the Japanese automaker expects sales in the U.S. to grow only 1% in 2008, it is very bullish on prospects in Russia, China, and South America.
Source: Associated Press
United Airlines canceled more than 300 flights, or more than one-fifth of its total flights scheduled globally, Tuesday after a weekend storm battered its hub at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. United flew planes late into the night Sunday to get holiday travelers to their destinations, but doing so left its planes and pilots out of position Monday.
Source: Chicago Tribune
The California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that shopping malls cannot ban protesters from calling for boycotts of mall businesses. The court case originated when members of a Teamsters Union affiliate involved in a labor dispute with the San Diego Union-Tribune handed out leaflets at a mall in San Diego in October 1998. The court said that free-speech rights extend to the private property of shopping malls.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
Merrill Lynch raised $7.5 billion to shore up the Wall Street investment bank’s balance sheet damaged by the subprime mortgage crisis. Merrill Lynch sold its Chicago-based middle-market commercial finance business to General Electric for $1.3 billion and raised another $6.2 billion from selling stake to Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, Temasek, and American money manager Davis Selected Advisors.
Source: Chicago Tribune
Rap superstar Jay-Z is stepping down from his post as president of Def Jam Recordings. Universal Music Group declined to renew his employment contract because he wanted more a more lucrative deal. The rapper whose real name is Shawn Carter said in a statement that it was time for him to take on new challenges. It is not clear if Universal will fill the opening Jay-Z is vacating.
Today’s Christians and Muslims are proving remarkably adept at using globalization, technology, and growing wealth to market and distribute their Holy Books.
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