There's some pretty big news jingle-jangling out of the phone sector this weekend, but none major enough to shake Wall Streeters out of their focus on Thursday's
Employment Cost Index
report and the continuation of
U.K. papers are reporting that
Cable & Wireless
may soon sell its
wireless phone business.
The Financial Mail on Sunday
said One2One, co-owned with
of the U.S., could fetch as much as 11 billion pounds, or $17.4 billion, in a sale to Germany's
The Sunday Times
of London separately reports that Cable & Wireless is on the verge of buying back its business phone operations, formerly called
, from 53%-owned
Cable & Wireless Communications
for about 7 billion pounds, or $11 billion.
Elsewhere in telecom, or telecoms, as our British Empire friends say, the Australian government said a further 16.6% of
, the huge, mostly government-controlled Aussie phone company, will hit the public market in October. The flotation of up to 2.132 billion shares is expected to raise about A$16 billion, or US$10 billion. The government, which sold 33% of Telstra in 1997, will hold about 51% after this latest offering.
is close to a stock-based merger of equals with
of the U.S. The resulting company would be worth about $1.5 billion.
In big global trade news, the U.S. and Vietnam inked an agreement in principle that moves the former combatants closer to full commercial ties. The pact came after a marathon negotiation that included a 17-hour session on Saturday, which left U.S. Trade Representative
stomach knotted from an ill-advised
combo ... sorry, that was me in college.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Hemisphere,
has made the sad, momentous decision to withdraw the Wonderbra from sale in Shanghai, according to the
. The bra enjoyed initial success upon its limited introduction to Shanghai in 1997, but sales were disappointing after department-store counters opened. "The Wonderbra has overestimated Chinese consumers' purchasing power," said the
. Further details on the bra's cognitive abilities were unavailable at virtual-press time.
In the Papers
fronts a piece on "How to Revive
." The story points out the Mouse House's multiple disorders, such as weak retail sales, weak
ratings and a weak hold on the attention of young fans bombarded by cooler entertainment alternatives (the last being the subject of an April
series). But it goes on to say Disney's parts are so appealing, despite recent struggles, that the sum of them will likely see its value rise in due course.
(this just in: He's bearish) talks with Tom Petrie of oil-and-gas investment shop
, who likes
The paper also includes a positive feature on
and a look at the competitive threat that electronic communications networks pose to the big stock exchanges.
The big business feature in Sunday's
New York Times
new Metreon "urban entertainment destination" (or mall, for those of you not in the PR business) in San Francisco. The mall-like whozamawhatzit, featuring shops, interactive games and movie theaters, is seen as part of the next wave in retail and entertainment, but its estimated $225 million cost has observers reserving judgment for now.
also takes a long look at the convoluted battle between
for control of
U S West
, focusing on Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio. You may know the contretemps ended with Qwest agreeing to buy U S West and Global Crossing winning Frontier, but in this story you'll find out who called and emailed whom when and how often; what Nacchio's family gave him for his birthday; and much, much, much more.