Top of the Morning – UBS Chief Sergio P. Ermotti Pushes for Cuts


Yahoo! Not Necessarily for Sale Says Yang (Bloomberg)

Yahoo! Inc., the U.S. Web portal exploring strategic options after firing Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz last month, isn’t necessarily up for sale, co- founder Jerry Yang said. “The intent going in is not to put ourselves up for sale,” Yang said at the All Things Digital Asia conference in Hong Kong today. “The intent is to look at all options. There’s plenty of options for the board, and plenty of options for our shareholders to realize value.”

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Groupon Seeks Lower IPO Valuation  (FT)

Groupon, the online coupon seller, will seek a valuation of less than $12bn in its upcoming initial public offering, about half of what it initially wanted, according to people familiar with its plans. The company, which plans to launch its roadshow on Friday, also appears set to sell only about 10 per cent of its shares to the public, a relatively small “float”, which would mimic the approach taken in the successful offering of LinkedIn, the business-focused social network, earlier this year. LinkedIn’s shares nearly tripled in first-day trading, and the scarcity of shares on offer was said to be a boost to demand.

Olympus Shareholders Demand Answers (FT)
Olympus, the beleaguered Japanese camera maker, has come under fresh pressure after two major shareholders demanded answers about controversial deals revealed by its ousted chief executive. Nippon Life, the Japanese life insurance firm which holds an 8.26 per cent stake, and Harris Associates, a US fund with a 4 per cent stake, called on Olympus to explain the transactions and dispel investor anxiety which has caused its share price to plummet by half since Friday.
Nestle May Exceed 2011 Growth Target (FT)
Nestlé said sales in the first nine months fell 13.5 per cent to SFr60.9bn, as the strong Swiss franc and disposals continued to depress reported revenues at the world’s biggest foods group by turnover. But in constant currencies, the group’s preferred measure, sales rose by 7.3 per cent, net of discontinued operations, prompting Nestlé to predict it might exceed its previously stated 2011 growth target.
Citi Settles SEC Case for $285 Million (FT)
Citigroup will pay $285m to resolve a Securities and Exchange Commission probe alleging the bank misled investors in a 2007 mortgage-related security. The settlement comes as the SEC is looking to resolve a half dozen more cases involving Wall Street’s sale of collateralised debt obligations, or CDOs, securities linked to pools of mortgage-related assets, people familiar with the matter have said.
Strikes at Freeport-McMoRan Mine Cause Profits to Fall (FT)
Strikes at the Grasberg mine in Indonesia cost Freeport-McMoRan, the world’s largest listed copper miner, production equivalent to about 7 per cent of its copper sales and 25 per cent of its gold sales in the third quarter, the company said on Wednesday as it reported an 11 per cent drop in post-tax profit. Grasberg has the largest recoverable reserves of copper and the largest single gold reserve in the world. An eight-day strike in July and a second dispute that started in mid-September have cut copper production by 70m pounds and gold production by 100,00 ounces, Freeport said. At its average selling prices for the quarter, that production would have been worth about $420m.
UBS Chief Sergio P. Ermotti Pushes for Cuts (WSJ)
Under pressure to revive UBS AG‘s fortunes and help the firm recover from a rogue-trading scandal, the Swiss bank’s interim chief is preparing to shrink its once high-flying investment-banking unit. Sergio P. Ermotti, who has been at the helm for less than a month, has ruled out a sale or spinoff of the investment bank but has decided to significantly reduce its scope and size in order to bolster UBS’s focus on its giant wealth management business, according to people familiar with his thinking.