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Top of the Morning – UBS Downgraded, Zynga $ZNGA IPO

Fitch Downgrades UBS (WSJ)

Fitch Ratings fired a warning shot at European and U.S. banks late Thursday, downgrading Swiss giant UBS AG and foreshadowing possible rating cuts for other lenders as Europe continues to grapple with its debt crisis. UBS’s long-term issuer default rating was cut to A from A-plus. It comes as the bank is struggling to recover from a multibillion-dollar trading scandal that has already triggered a slew of management changes. Fitch said it was concerned about waning government support for the bank rather than the bank’s financial strength.


Zynga $ZNGA to Debut on NASDAQ (NYTimes)

Zynga, the online gaming giant, is one step closer to the public markets. The San Francisco-based company announced in a securities filing late Thursday that it would trade on the Nasdaq when it goes public, under the ticker symbol “ZNGA.” Zynga is pressing ahead with its initial public offering plans amid continuing market volatility, which has recently delayed or derailed several I.P.O.’s.

Bausch & Lomb Considers IPO (Reuters)

After four years in private hands, Bausch & Lomb may soon head back to the public market as Chief Executive Brent Saunders is setting sights on an IPO for the U.S. eye-care giant “in the next couple of years.” Saunders, a CEO of a year and a half, is also focusing on at least two other targets: growth in emerging markets and boosting the company’s pharmaceutical business.

EQT Raises Over €4.75 Billion (FT)

EQT Partners, Scandinavia’s largest private equity group, has raised €4.75bn in fresh capital in less than nine months in the biggest European buy-out fund raising to close since the height of the financial crisis. Demand for the Swedish private equity group’s sixth fund has by far outreached its initial target of €4.25bn,. It is set to be surpassed soon by the expected closing of BC Partners buy-out fund, which is expected to reach almost €6.5bn.

Hulu Calls Off Plans to Sell (NYTimes)

Hulu’s owners, including the News Corporation, the Walt Disney Company and Providence Equity Partners, have decided not to sell the online video hub, the consortium announced late Thursday. In a short statement, the owner group said that each of its members found value in holding on to the Web video company instead of selling it to any of a number of potential bidders.

Ubiquiti Prices IPO (FT)

Ubiquiti Networks has become the first US initial public offering to price since mid-August, though it sold shares at the bottom of an already reduced price range. The US equity capital markets have been virtually shut for the past two months amid a surge of market volatility, with only a handful of secondary sales of shares and no IPOs pricing on an exchange. Bankers tend to avoid volatile markets when pricing IPOs, as companies would prefer to wait for steady times to ensure that they raise enough cash in the sale.

US Rejects IMF Plan (Reuters)
Proposals to double the size of the IMF as part of a broader international response to Europe’s debt crisis immediately ran into resistance from the United States and others, burying the idea for now and firmly putting the onus back on Europe. The outlines of the plan, that had the backing of several developing economies, emerged as G20 finance ministers and central bankers began meeting in Paris to discuss a world economy under threat from European nations mired in debt.
Mattel, Inc.’s Profits Climb 6.2% (WSJ)
Mattel Inc.‘s third-quarter earnings rose 6.2% as sales grew in all brands, led by Barbie and other girls products, and the toy maker increased its stock repurchase program by $500 million. The company’s results have exceeded expectations in each of the past four quarters, driven by strong demand for the Barbie and American Girl brands, as well as for the Monster High and Disney Princess doll lines. Mattel has also had success in linking toy lines to the entertainment properties of media giants, including Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

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