Moody's has placed Microsoft's 'AAA' credit rating under review for downgrade following the software giant's deal to buy LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) for $26.2B, citing concerns that it would be funded through new debt. Why is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) taking out such a big loan if it has enough cash to buy LinkedIn 4x over? Bloomberg's David Kocieniewski says it could lower the tech giant's tax bill (it will avoid paying a 35% tax rate to repatriate cash from overseas and could also deduct interest payments).
Alibaba expects to log 6T yuan ($912B) in gross merchandise volume in fiscal 2020, nearly double the 3.09T yuan recorded in fiscal 2016. That won't deter the company from cracking down on phony items, Alibaba's (NYSE:BABA) Jack Ma said at an investor conference in Hangzhou. "I promise you guys that counterfeits, fake products, and intellectual property theft - we are more and more confident than ever that we can solve the problem."
A Brazilian judge has dismissed a 20B reais ($5.7B) civil lawsuit against Vale (NYSE:VALE) seeking environmental and property damages for last year's Samarco disaster which killed 19 people. The mine's partners, Vale and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), already had reached a settlement with federal and state governments to pay 20B reais over 15 years to cover and repair damages, which was approved by a court last month. BHP-2.9% premarket.
The connection between Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and Warren Buffett became evident last month with news of their surprise bid for Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), but the two men have another business connection that hasn't been previously reported. Berkshire (BRK.A, BRK.B) owns a company called Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, which buys mortgages for traditional houses exclusively from Quicken. "There could well be more business relationships in the future," Buffett told Reuters.
Ericsson plans to lay off between 3,000 and 4,000 staff this summer and is considering large, additional cost cuts (and further layoffs) due to slowing markets, Svenska Dagbladetreports. With most of the latest generation of networks already built, especially in developed regions, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has been struggling to find growth for that part of its business.
In a banner year for deal activity by Chinese buyers, NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) has struck another asset-sale pact with Jianguang Asset Management. The chip company has agreed to sell its Standard Products unit to state-owned Jianguang and Wise Road Capital for $2.75B. Just over six months ago, NXP sold its RF Power unit to Jianguang for $1.8B, a deal that helped clear the way for its purchase of Freescale Semiconductor. NXPI +1.3% premarket.
Blaming ongoing regulatory probes and fewer sponsored links, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has slashed revenue projections for its fiscal second quarter. The Chinese search giant now expects revenue of between $2.81-$2.83B, compared to its previously stated range of between $3.12-3.19B. Baidu added that the regulatory probes are "being rolled out with varied timing with different levels of implementation and interpretation across geographies." BIDU -5.2% premarket.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is a little less deafening this year with the absence of Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), while Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY) told fans not to expect to see its next-generation game console, code-named NX. Still, Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT) got attendees buzzing on Monday with plenty of game announcements, and the unveiling of PlayStation VR (which will be released Oct. 13) and Xbox One S.
Prompting a call for the company to implement the reform, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) shareholders have approved a proposal for the second year in a row to grant investors so-called "proxy access." The video provider has so far held out against the change, which would make it easier for groups of investors owning as little as 3% of NFLX shares over three years to run their own candidates for board seats.
The former girlfriend and confidante of Sumner Redstone is seeking a new trial to argue he's mentally incapacitated after a Los Angeles judge dismissed her lawsuit last month. Manuela Herzer claims she has new evidence that Redstone's daughter, Shari, has been scheming for two years to have her evicted from the business mogul's mansion and to take control of her father's life and businesses, including Viacom (VIA, VIAB) and CBS.
Bitcoin prices hit a two-year high on Monday, trading above $700 for the first time since 2014, after jumping 21% over the weekend. The surge came days before an unusual event called the "halving," an adjustment to Bitcoin's (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) protocol designed to control the creation of new coins. Other factors that could have led to the surge: Brexit fears, blockchain rising, inflow/demand and China worries.
The two largest daily fantasy sports companies, FanDuel (Private:DUEL) and DraftKings (Private:DRAFT), are in early-stage talks to merge, as the industry faces a crackdown by U.S. states over whether it runs illegal gambling. The firms' valuations each topped $1B last year when they were raising money amid a frantic effort to gain market share through giant advertising buys and billions in prize money.