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Monday, August 07, 2006

Weekend Media Round-Up August 5 -6, 2006


According to Reuters, Wal-Mart employees have set up a second labor union in the company’s stores in China. The first union was established last month. The company has 30,000 employees in China and has resisted unions in all of its stores around the world.

Reuters writes that M&A deals are continuing at companies with stock option backdating issues, and that some of the companies most seriously affected are becoming buy-out targets. RSA Security, Michael’s Stores and mSystems, all of which has options problems, have received offers to purchase the firms.

Reuters writes that slowing demand for tickets may negate the ability of carriers to raise ticket prices, which has often rising oil prices up until now. Growth rates have declined at industry leaders like Southwest Air, American and Continental. The carriers recently announced disappointing July traffic figures.

According to the NY Times, the so-called “sensitive sector” of the US economy which includes consumer purchase of durable goods, residential construction, and business spending on software and equipment actually shrank in the second quarter. A reversal in the “sensitive sector” usually spells slowing in the overall economy,

According to the WSJ, the growth of satellite television business is slowing, presenting a difficult environment for DirecTV and Echostar and presenting new opportunities for companies like Comcast, Time Warner and Cablevision. As phone companies like Verizon begin to offer TV over fiber-to-the-home, the number of competitors to satellite TV will increase. Satellite systems cannot offer broadband or VOIP over the systems the way that cable companies and telcos can.

The WSJ writes that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis are facing generic competition to their Plavix blood-thinning drug. Plavix is the second largest selling drug in the world, in terms of sales.

According to the Associate Press, earnings at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway rose 62% on strength of its insurance and utilities businesses and a good showing in its investment portfolio.

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