Companies in Brief
Nokia: The Finns' Answer to the iPhone
Nokia has a lot riding on its new touchscreen N8 smartphone. The world's biggest mobile-phone maker is trying to claw back ground lost to Apple's iPhone and devices based on Google's Android software. The Finnish company's shares are down 60 percent since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007. Analysts at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch say orders for the N8, out later this month, are ahead of expectations. The phone features an anodized aluminum case surrounding a 3.5-inch screen and streaming television services. Nokia will showcase the N8 and the rest of its Symbian smartphone lineup at its annual Nokia World event in London on Sept. 14 an 15.
Bank of New York Mellon: Planning an 'eBay' for Illiquid Securities
BNY Mellon (BK), the biggest custodian of other firms' assets, is planning what it says is Europe's first online market to trade hard-to-value asset-backed securities, currently traded only at bank and brokerage desks. The so-called Structured Credit Connect market will allow banks, asset managers, hedge funds, and dealers to buy and sell anonymously. According to John Spedding, a managing director at BNY Mellon, the system will be like an "eBay (EBAY) of illiquid securities," where people know the number of bidders but not their identities. Structured Credit Connect will initially handle residential mortgage-backed securities and then expand to other assets.
PotashCorp of Saskatchewan: BHP May Soon Have Rival Bidders
PotashCorp CEO Bill Doyle says he doesn't believe BHP Billiton's $40 billion hostile takeover bid last month will be the only offer for the company. Potash, the world's biggest fertilizer producer, rejected the bid from the Australian mining giant, setting off speculation over the possible bidders, including China's state-owned Sinochem Group. According to a Reuters report, Sinochem approached Singapore-based Temasek Holdings about joining a group that may bid.
Volkswagen: The Automaker Beefs Up Its Audi Line
Audi is adding the A7 Sportback—a $66,000 five-door model—to its lineup in a bid to attract big spenders with big familes. The Volkswagen-owned brand will introduce a dozen models this year, including the A7, an updated A6, and the A1, as it tries to push past BMW and Daimler's (DAI) Mercedes-Benz in the luxury market. Audi forecasts record sales of more than 1.08 million cars and SUV's this year.
Roche: Buying Rights to Experimental Drugs
Switzerland-based Roche may pay Belgian firm reMYND more than $639 million to help with the pre-clinical development of experimental medicines to treat Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. The companies will collaborate on establishing new therapies, according to Roche.
• Barclays: Robert Diamond appointed CEO
• HSBC: Chairman Stephen Green leaving to become Britain's trade minister
• Int'l Coffee Org.: Director Néstor Osorio named Colombia's U.N ambassador