Watch your back, Rush Limbaugh: Former Vice-President Al Gore, long a pincushion for right-wing commentators, is in talks to buy tiny, Canadian-based Newsworld International and may remake it as a left-leaning channel. Gore, whose representatives wouldn't comment, approached Newsworld owner Vivendi Universal (V) in April and has offered $70 million for the channel, say sources close to the deal. Gore, 55, who once worked as a reporter, is being assisted financially by Joel Hyatt, a co-founder of Hyatt Legal Services, who could not be reached for comment. Metropolitan West Financial, a financial-services company of which Gore has been vice-chairman since 2001, isn't involved. Turning Newsworld into a hot channel that would draw younger viewers won't be easy. The money-losing channel is seen in only 20 million of the more than 80 million U.S. homes that get cable or satellite. Still, Gore, an Apple Computer (AAPL) board member, is said to be smitten with the power of the Digital Age. Now if he could just figure out how to digitally alter Limbaugh. One of Silicon Valley's most closely watched legal soap operas is winding down. Networking giant Cisco Systems has shelved its lawsuit against Huawei Technologies, the pride of Chinese high tech. In January, Cisco (CSCO) accused Huawei of such intellectual-property violations as stealing source code and reprinting pages of user manuals. At the time, Huawei agreed to address the complaints, but Cisco pressed ahead to prevent future sales of allegedly infringing products. Now, if an outside expert decides Huawei's products don't infringe, Cisco will drop its suit. In a bizarre twist that capped a seesaw week of court rulings and political jockeying, the Federal Communications Commission is appealing to telemarketers to help it enforce a do-not-call list. After a Denver District Court judge blocked the Federal Trade Commission from enforcing the registry, FCC Chairman Michael Powell stepped in, asking the Direct Marketing Assn. to provide the agency with the phone numbers of the 51 million people who had signed up, as well as a list of telemarketers who had downloaded the registry before the court ordered it shut down. Telemarketers say they'll cooperate, but consumers shouldn't expect much relief. The FCC's enforcement authority is limited to financial-services companies, long-distance providers, and airlines.
Corrections and Clarifications
"Do-not-call: Waiting" (In Business This Week, Oct. 13) erred in describing the Federal Communication Commission's jurisdiction. The agency has enforcement authority over all telemarketers.
More allegations of abusive trading in mutual funds are coming out of the woodwork in the wake of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's case against hedge fund Canary Capital Partners and a broker at Banc of America Securities (BAC). Prudential Securities (PRU) fired a dozen brokers and managers in Boston and New York offices Oct. 1 for their purported roles in trades at the expense of fund investors. The day before, Alliance Capital Management (AC) said it had suspended the veteran portfolio manager of its $3.2 billion AllianceBernstein Technology Fund and a salesman of Alliance hedge-fund products. The actions came a month after Spitzer revealed schemes in which hedge funds were trading in and out of mutual funds using stale prices. Cell phones typically run out of gas after a few hours of use, due to energy-hungry chips. But a new chip design announced on Sept. 30 by IBM aims to solve that problem; it could also help enable such applications as movie-quality video streaming over cell phones. To make the advances a reality, IBM (IBM) has taken silicon germanium chips, typically used to power communications, and combined them on a single wafer with so-called CMOS chips, the foundation for computing applications. IBM says the new design could hit the market within five years. -- J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) will pay $25 million to settle a probe into its initial-public-offering allocation practices.
-- The corporate counsel and corporate secretary of Healthsouth (HLSH) resigned.
-- Manulife (MFC) said it would buy John Hancock Financial (JHF) Services for $10.4 billion. Eli Lilly (LLY) got a lift on Oct. 1 when the Food & Drug Administration gave conditional approval to its new antidepressant, Cymbalta. The company must pass an FDA review of its manufacturing before it can market the drug. Its shares climbed 6%, to $63.01.