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Yahoo!’s Hard Bargain, SocGen’s Soft Sell
Yahoo! is looking at other options as it spurns Microsoft’s initial offer. Societe Generale wants to raise $8 billion, at cut-rate prices. And the dance craze moves into the YouTube generation.
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EWS AT A GLANCE

Yahoo! to turn down suitor Microsoft

Yahoo!’s board of directors said Microsoft’s $44.6 billion, or $31-a-share, offer “massively undervalues” the company, and is reportedly holding out for $40 a share. (The Wall Street Journal) The Financial Times reported that, anticipating rejection by Yahoo!, Microsoft has hired a team of proxy experts to win over Yahoo! shareholders, bypassing the board. (MarketWatch) Yahoo! has also restarted merger talks with AOL as a way to fend off Microsoft, the London Times reported. (The Times) “A lot of this is gamesmanship on the part of Yahoo,” said Standard & Poor’s analyst Scott Kessler. “Microsoft is well aware that Yahoo doesn’t have any other options.” (Bloomberg)

Societe Generale plans $8 billion yellow-tag sale

French bank Societe Generale said it plans to raise $8 billion by selling new shares at a steep 39 percent discount. The bank said it needed an infusion of capital to help it recover from the $7 billion in losses from unauthorized futures bets by a junior trader. (Bloomberg) The stock discount was steeper than expected. “The price is very low,” said Landsbanki Kepler analyst Pierre Flabbee. “The feedback from the market cannot have been very encouraging.” (Reuters) The bank also announced a revised $3.77 billion writedown related to the U.S. mortgage woes; the writedown was reported at $2.98 billion in January. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)

Writers, producers make a deal

Leaders of the Writers Guild of America over the weekend voted unanimously to approve a contract deal reached with Hollywood producers. The agreement, modeled on a contract between the producers and Hollywood directors, increases pay for content shown over the Internet. The WGA members will vote on ending the strike Tuesday, and could return to work as early as Wednesday. (The New York Times, free registrtaion) New TV episodes could hit the air in as little as four weeks. “It’s a real balancing act,” said TV producer Chris Mundy, “to get up and running as fast as possible, but not let the quality slip.” (AP in Yahoo! Finance)

Movers become shakers

Dance moves are a growing way for unsigned musicians to hustle a record deal. Earlier dance crazes, from the Lindy Hop to the Macarena, were spread from geographic or demographic bases, but the advent of free online video has allowed dance moves to spread quickly. Record labels are watching, too. DeAndre Way (a.k.a. Soulja Boy) has sold a record 3.3 million downloads of his song “Crank That”; the instructional You Tube video for the dance has been viewed 27 million times. “Everybody should understand that he who controls the dance floor controls the business,” says MC Hammer, who recently started a Web site for dance videos. (The Wall Street Journal)

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