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Top of the Morning – Dee Dee Ricks, Mattel Buys HIT for $680M

Juniper Networks Looking at Possible Acquisition Targets (WSJ)

With some $4.2 billion in cash, Juniper Networks Inc. is looking at potential acquisition targets in Asia, its top executive said in an interview. Kevin Johnson, chief executive of the U.S. telecommunications-networking systems provider, said the company is interested in buying firms that would enable it to offer systems tied to mobile Internet and cloud computing. “Certainly if there are interesting opportunities that have strategic alignment with what we are doing and make economic sense, we’re very open to [mergers and acquisitions] and companies in Asia,” he said.

Juniper Networks, Inc.

PMI Subsidiary Seized by Insurance Regulators in AZ (WSJ)

The main subsidiary of mortgage insurer PMI Group Inc. has been seized by insurance regulators in Arizona, and will begin paying just 50% of claims beginning Monday, according to its website. The remainder of each claim will be deferred, the company said.

Olympus Investigates Past Acquisitions (WSJ)

Olympus Corp. said Friday it will set up an independent committee to look into the company’s past acquisitions, in a significant concession to shareholder demands for greater transparency. The move comes a day after some of the Japanese camera maker’s biggest investors called for a probe into a series of deals done between 2006 and 2008, whose steep price tags and multi-million-dollar adviser payments raised red flags with Olympus’ newly appointed chief executive, Michael Woodford. Mr. Woodford was fired last week, after threatening to confront the board on the matter; Olympus’ shares subsequently plunged, losing half their value since Oct. 13. The company said it had removed Mr. Woodford due to “major differences in management style.”

Copper’s New Role as Germ Fighter (WSJ)

A study that showed copper kills bacteria on contact points to an expansion of possible uses for the industrial metal, which is already found in a range of products. The prospect of hospitals around the world installing copper surfaces, amid other applications of the metal, have copper producers predicting an increase in demand. However, efforts to use more copper in medical environments are still largely in the research stage, and it’s unclear whether a significant increase in consumption of the metal will result.

Virgin America Facing Unionization (WSJ)

The Transport Workers Union on Monday is slated to petition the government to call a representation election in which the union hopes to win the right to represent 650 flight attendants at discounter Virgin America. Virgin America, a Burlingame, Calif., company with a hub in San Francisco, has 2,100 employees and is entirely nonunion. Richard Branson’sVirgin Group of the U.K. has a 25% voting stake and a 49% economic interest in the company.

Hedge Fund Consultant Dee Dee Ricks’ Battle with Cancer (Businessweek)

In 2008, 39-year-old hedge fund consultant Dee Dee Ricks had enough disposable income to drop $400,000 at a charity auction just to sing on stage with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. Ricks lived in a $14 million apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with her two young sons, and says she couldn’t spend the money she was making fast enough. “I also just found out I have cancer,” she says at the start of “The Education of Dee Dee Ricks,” a moving HBO documentary that chronicles her battle with Stage II breast cancer and growing indignation over inequities in the nation’s health-care system.
Mattel Buys HIT Entertainment in $680 Million Deal (NYTimes)
Thomas the Tank Engine is about to make some new friends. Mattel agreed on Monday to buy HIT Entertainment, owner of popular preschool toy brands like Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder, for $680 million in cash from a group led by Apax Partners. The deal is one of Mattel’s larger acquisitions, adding another popular stable of children’s brands to a portfolio that already includes Barbie and Fisher Price.
Samsung Group Confirms Interpark As Preferred Bidder in iMarketKorea Deal (Reuters)
Samsung Group confirmed that it had named a group led by online shopping mall operator Interpark as preferred bidder for its procurement arm iMarketKorea Inc , in a deal to buy Samsung’s up to $342 million stake in the firm. Sources told Reuters earlier that Interpark won the deal for iMarketKorea, beating private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and MBK Partners.