The WSJ notes a Microsoft/News Corporation deal would “create a huge one-stop shop for online advertisers and bring together some of the largest players in social networking, online news and email.”
The Times says:
The talks represent a change of sides for Mr. Murdoch. Just days after Microsoft made its bid, he flew to the West Coast and had dinner with Jerry Yang, Yahoo’s chief executive, offering his assistance in fending off Microsoft.
The NYT says it’s conceivable that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. could make a deal of its own with Yahoo. The FT notes on page one that Yahoo is also exploring an advertising deal with Google, which could result in a three-way Internet power alliance if Yahoo manages to remain independent.
There’s yet another inflation story this morning, this one on the front page of the WSJ. The paper reports an astonishing-if-true World Bank estimate that food prices have risen 83 percent worldwide over the last three years, and notes that oil prices hit a record $112 a barrel yesterday.
The WSJ blames inflation on a few things: crop use for alternative energy, increased demand for natural resources in the developing world, the weak dollar, and globalization (the economic booms in places like China and Russia is raising prices at home and abroad), and somehow manages to make it through the entire story without mentioning the word “stagflation.”
Lehman’s mysterious liquidation move
The WSJ reports on C21 that Lehman Brothers has liquidated three funds worth a billion dollars and brought their assets onto its balance sheet. IT also bought $800 million from other funds. Its shares dropped 7 percent after the news yesterday.
It’s difficult to understand from the reporting so far what the cause is exactly, but the Journal says two were simple money-market funds and the other was an “enhanced-cash” fund. Did Lehman have to bail out money-market funds, which used to be considered safer than safe, to keep them from “breaking the buck,” or returning less to investors than they invested? Such an event might cause a run on the bank that Lehman and others can’t exactly handle right now.
We’ll keep an eye out for a better explanation.
Katie’s short, sad trip at CBS
The WSJ reports on B1 that Katie Couric will be out at CBS by early next year, well before her contract ends, as her Evening News continues to struggle in the ratings. The piece quotes sources on both sides. The LAT writes a brief story that takes CBS’s word for it, saying a person familiar with the situation says “her exit is not in the works.”
In economic news, the FT reports that the International Monetary Fund is predicting anemic U.S. growth through the end of next year. It says the U.S. economy will grow 0.5 percent this year and 0.6 percent in 2009.