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Description:  Turning the carbon-eating organism into crude could conserve oil and lower carbon emissions.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 10/02/2009

Keys:  Risk (p.209), Cash flows (p355)

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2009/10/02/n_ef_algae_oil.cnnmoney/

Questions for discussion: 

  • What are the risks associated with investing in this industry?
  • What are the existing infrastructures that give this concept certain advantages over other alternative energy technologies?
  • Are there opportunities for smaller operators or will the energy business always be reserved for large firms?
  • How would you go about preparing statements of projected cash flows?

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Description: So IBM decided to drop the bomb on Google — Big Blue will offer a basic email service for $36 per seat, undercutting the latter’s $50 a head Apps pricing. A Gartner analyst called it “trouble for Google,” but I’m not so sure. I think that Google has still got some enormous advantages, and that IBM’s target may actually be another company.

Source: BNET.com

Date: 10/03/2009

Keys: Capital budgeting and Cash flows (p355)

Link: http://industry.bnet.com/technology/10003588/ibm-versus-google-youve-got-to-be-joking/

Questions for discussion:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages to using email services from IBM or another competitor? 
  • How does this decision affect capital budgeting and cash flow?
  •  What are the implication for HR?

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Description: Legislation tightening oversight of the $592 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market would give regulators authority to ban so-called abusive swaps.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 10/03/2009

Keys: Stock market (p281), Derivatives (p664)

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=amik0fY5tT7c

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the effort to regulate the derivatives market. Explain your answer.
  • Do you think the financial crisis would have been averted if this legislation was in place? Why or why not?
  • Is there a basic problem with derivatives of any sort? Explain your thinking.

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Description: The Berkshire Hathaway chief notes the ‘irony’ in the BofA chief having saved the system — by overpaying for Merrill Lynch just hours before it would have failed.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 9/16/2009

Keys: Analysis (p85), Stock market (p281)

Link:  http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/16/news/newsmakers/lewis.faint.praise.fortune/index.htm

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think the Buffett’s criticism of Lewis is fair? 
  • What do you think would have happened had Merrill not bought BofA?
  • To what degree was this deal “forced” by government?
  • How would you change current government regulation of banking?

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Description:  The microblogging site reportedly is planning to raise $100 million this year based on that valuation.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 9/25/2009

Keys:  Raising capital, valuations, IPO

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/technology/2009/09/25/f_tt_twitter_valuation.fortune/

Questions for discussion: 

  • Summarize the arguments for concern over Twitter’s valuation. Do you have similar concerns? Explain your thinking.
  • What are a few potential revenue streams for Twitter besides advertising?
  • Do you think Twitter’s business model is vulnerable to competition? Explain your thinking.

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Description: BlackBerry maker Research in Motion reported a 37% jump in revenue after the bell Thursday, but its gloomy forecast punished the stock Friday.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 9/25/2009

Keys: Investing, stock market

Link:  http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/25/technology/research_in_motion_stock_falls/index.htm?postversion=2009092517

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think the drop in market price is justified or is this an opportunity to buy on the pullback? Explain your thinking.
  • What metrics would you use to assess the current and future values of RIM and Apple shares? Explain your thinking.

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Description: Sara Lee Corp (SLE.N)will sell its personal care brands like Sanex and Brylcreem for $1.87 billion (1.275 billion euros) to consumer goods giant Unilever and set a $1 billion share buyback plan, sending its stock up 6 percent. Sara Lee also said on Friday it has seen significant interest in its household products business, which includes Ambi Pur air freshener and Kiwi shoe polish. The divestitures allow it to focus on its food and beverage businesses like Sara Lee baked goods and Hillshire Farm meats.

Source: Reuters.com

Date: 9/25/2009

Keys: Mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, stock market

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSLP41983520090925

Questions for discussion:

  • What are the arguments favouring this decision?
  • How might this decision impact future cash flow for each firm? Explain your thinking.
  • Do you think this decision will work out better for one firm? Explain why you think so.

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Description: Dell Inc.’s proposed $3.9 billion buyout of Perot Systems Corp. reflects the second-largest personal-computer maker’s ambitions in the market for health- care information technology.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Date: 9/22/2009

Keys: Mergers and acquisitions, marketing

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aQoF5RIBfpSY

Questions for discussion:

  • Explain why this deal makes sense for Dell.
  • How might it affect its financial metrics – particularlythose found in cash flows reports?
  • Do you agree with the price offered? Explain your answer.

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Description: You wouldn’t know it by his pay stubs, but Jiang Jianqing heads the world’s largest bank. Jiang, chairman of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, made just $234,700 in 2008. That’s less than 2 percent of the $19.6 million awarded to Jamie Dimon, chief executive of the world’s fourth-largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Source: Reuters.com

Date: 9/23/2009

Keys: Management, HR, ethics

Link:  http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE58M2QU20090923

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think U.S. bank CEOs are fairly compensated? Explain your thinking.
  • How else could compensation for these sorts of important managerial positions be decided? Explain your answer.
  • How might compensation affect share value and other financial metrics?

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Description:  CEO Carol Bartz explains why her company formed a partnership with Microsoft one year after their initial offer.

Source: CNNMoney – video report
 
Date: 9/16/2009

Keys:  Mergers & acquisitions, strategic planning

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/fortune/2009/09/16/f_mpw_bartz_microsoft.fortune/

Questions for discussion: 

  • Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the partnership for both firms from a strategic planning point of view? Explain your answer.
  • Do you believe that this deal benefits one firm more than the other? Explain your thinking.