Nasdaq and Dubai reach a deal

State-owned Borse Dubai and Nasdaq Stock Market agreed to a complex four-way deal that would leave Nasdaq in control of Nordic stock exchange operator OMX. (Reuters) Borse Dubai and Nasdaq had been bidding against each other for OMX, and OMX’s stock dropped 13 percent after the deal was announced. In the deal, Borse Dubai will buy 20 percent of Nasdaq and most of Nasdaq’s 31.5 percent share of the London Stock Exchange. (MarketWatch) The deal is “a sound strategic move” for Nasdaq, said William Cline of Acai Solutions LLC. “It solves a good portion of their problem by getting that LSE stake off their books and freeing up capital.” (Bloomberg)

NBC to offer free downloads

NBC Universal said it will allow viewers to download free copies of its popular television programs for a week after the program airs. The new NBC Direct service is set to start in November. The downloaded videos will contain embedded ads that can’t be skipped over. The move comes after NBC and Apple had a fallout over selling NBC shows through the iTunes store. (The New York Times, free registration required) Not to be outdone, ABC will make its prime-time shows available for free through AOL starting today, joining CBS. (The Wall Street Journal, paid subscription required)

Goodbye, Southwest ‘cattle call’

Southwest Airlines is revamping the way passengers board its flights. The airline is ending its iconic “cattle call” boarding procedure, as the first-come-first-serve arrangement has led to passengers camping out at the gate. But the new boarding procedure, in which Southwest will assign passengers a place in line when they check in, still allows people to choose their own seat. (The Baltimore Sun) Dallas-based Southwest flies more people in the U.S. than any other carrier. Travel analyst Terry Trippler said the new “mini-cattle call” will still appeal to Southwest’s loyal customers, who like the airline’s open seating policy. (MarketWatch)

The Crocs escalator crock?

Crocs probably aren’t any more dangerous than other soft-soled footware, but you’d never know it from surfing the Internet. The brightly colored, rubbery clogs are often accused of offending good taste, but now reports of Crocs-covered feet getting stuck in escalators are causing panic. Of 53 escalator-shoe entanglements reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, however, only four involve Crocs. And David Lacrosse of the escalator-heavy Washington subway system says that most escalator-shoe incidents there involve sandals and flip-flops. “Crocs,” he said, are “getting a raw deal.” (Los Angeles Times, free registration required)