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CSCO: Patent Maven Mosaid Fires Latest Round In Flurry Of Suits

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Small-cap ($367 million) patent holder Mosaid Technologies, which is based in Kanata, Ontario, in Canada, this afternoon fired the latest salvo in an ongoing patent battle with Cisco Systems (CSCO), complaining to the U.S. International Trade Commission that Cisco infringed six of its patents on networking technology, including power-over-ethernet, DSL access points, and voice technology for cable modems.

Mosaid, whose shares trade on the Toronto stock exchange under the symbol “MSD,” requested that the ITC halt import of Cisco products to the U.S.

Last August, Mosaid said that Cisco had requested a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of its products in light of nine U.S. patents held by Mosaid and requested a jury trial. Mosaid, beginning in October of 2009, had sent notice to Cisco saying the company infringed some of Mosaid’s 300 patents on various networking technologies, and demanded  Cisco pay for a license.

Mosaid is also suing chip maker Nvidia (NVDA) in the Disctrict Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, accusing the company last month of infringing its patents on power management in integrated circuits. It sued Japanese memory chip maker Elpida Memory in the same jurisdiction a week ago, charging the company infringes its patent on “field effect transistors,” or FETs.

And Mosaid also has a mammoth suit down in Texas, in the Marshall division, filed in March, against numerous companies, including Intel (INTC), Dell (DELL), Research in Motion (RIMM), chip maker Marvell Technology Group (MRVL), and several others, charging them with infringing on six patents relating to wireless technology, in particular as it pertains to wireless area networking.

Mosaid has had some patent victories of late. In December of last year, it got IBM (IBM) to license its technology applicable to application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC).

The company’s fiscal Q2 report last November featured a 17% jump in revenue on the licensing of wireless patents.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 05.04.11

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U.S. May Pursue More Lenders After Suing Deutsche Bank on Loans (Bloomberg)
“We go where the evidence takes us, and if it takes us to the larger players on Wall Street, so be it,” Kanovsky said. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said it wouldn’t be a “fantastical stretch” for prosecutors to scrutinize other lenders.

Steep Drop Tarnishes Big Bets On Silver (WSJ)
George Soros’s big hedge fund, a firm operated by high-profile investor John Burbank and some other leading firms have been selling gold and silver, according to people close to the matter, after furiously accumulating precious metals for much of the past two years…Some others with stellar records—including Mr. Burbank, of Passport Capital, and Alan Fournier, of Pennant Capital—also have been passionate about precious metals, giving encouragement to individual investors to follow. Now they are selling, in each case for distinct reasons…[John] Paulson told investors Tuesday morning that gold prices could go as high as $4,000 an ounce over the next three to five years, as the U.S. and U.K. flood the money supply…Andrew Hall, a former star trader at Citigroup who runs hedge fund Astenbeck Capital Management LLC and trades for Phibro, a unit of Occidental Petroleum Corp., told his clients last month that gold and silver will continue to “march higher” unless evidence emerges of “an imminent rise” in interest rates.

Official: Portugal bailout to be $115 billion‎ (BusinessWeek)
“The government got a good deal, one that safeguards Portugal,” Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in a televised address to the nation. He did not take questions.

Portugal aid terms likely to spark 2-year recession (Reuters)
An official source told Reuters the austerity measures to be included in the deal, such as higher taxes, point to a “contraction of 2 percent in gross domestic product in 2011 and in 2012″. That will make it yet more challenging for the heavily indebted country, which has had some of the lowest growth rates in Europe for a decade, to ride out its crisis and return to financial health. The source told Reuters taxes will rise on cars and property and there will be cuts in deductions on health, education and housing.

US Becomes Net Exporter of Fuel (FT)
The US has become a net exporter of fuel for the first time for nearly 20 years as drivers struggle with high petrol prices.

4 Billionaires at Glencore (BBC)
When Glencore publishes its full flotation prospectus later this morning, it will show that there are four billionaires working for the world’s leading commodities, minerals and energy trader. These are led by the chief executive Ivan Glasenberg, who will be shown to be worth around $10bn. But it is the quartet of billionaires, plus many others worth more than $100m each, and hundreds who are millionaires, that makes Glencore quite extraordinary.

U.S. Regulators Face Budget Pinch as Mandates Widen (NYT)
On a recent trip to New York to tour a trading floor, a group of employees from the commodities watchdog rode Mega Bus both ways, arriving late to their meeting despite a 5:30 a.m. departure. The bus, which cost $30 a person round trip, saved the agency roughly $1,000 over Amtrak…The money squeeze comes as Wall Street regulators take on added responsibilities in the wake of the financial crisis, including monitoring hedge funds, overseeing the $600 trillion derivatives market and other tasks mandated by the Dodd-Frank law.

Euro Approaches 18-Month High Versus Dollar Before ECB Decision (Bloomberg)
The 17-member common currency strengthened against all but one of its most actively traded peers as a report showed European services and manufacturing growth accelerated in April. The Dollar Index declined toward the lowest level since July 2008. New Zealand’s dollar dropped to a two-week low after a government report showed the nation had the biggest net outflow of residents in more than 10 years. The pound slumped to the weakest in more than a year against the euro.

Foreign Banks Get Scrutiny in Britain (WSJ)
The Financial Services Authority’s goal is to prevent certain companies from exploiting European rules to set up banking and brokerage operations that the agency views as potentially risky because they use a structure that doesn’t face tough local supervision. But the move by the FSA is controversial. Some observers said the pressure conflicts with Europe’s “passporting” rules, under which financial institutions from anywhere in the 30-country European Economic Area are allowed to open outposts in other member countries. Those “branches,” which can house a range of business activities, face limited oversight by local regulators. Instead, they primarily are the responsibility of regulators in their home countries.

KKR and TPG look to move into Brazil (FT)
KKR and TPG are hunting for a senior figure to lead their offices in Brazil, who will then recruit start- up teams, people in the industry said.

At Nasdaq, a Pitch and Woo (WSJ)
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. has rolled out the red carpet to hedge funds, racing to persuade them to buy up shares of NYSE Euronext to derail the Big Board’s planned tie-up with Deutsche Börse AG…Some merger arbitragers and hedge-fund investors have met with Nasdaq Chief Executive Robert Greifeld three times in the last few weeks, people familiar with the matter said. They also are being offered private meetings with Mr. Greifeld and special tours of Nasdaq headquarters, these people said.

Southampton’s Former Goldman Sachs Party Pad Sells for $4.1M (Curbed)
In 2009, the New York Post caught wind that Goldman Sachs exec Richard Kimball Jr. was in hot water with the Southampton Police. Turns out Kimball, the ex-husband of Holly Peterson, was throwing pretty rowdy pool parties at his Southampton rental. But while Kimball was partying, the rental was trying to find itself a more permanent buyer.

Wall Street’s Cult Calculator Turns 30 (WSJ)
Thirty years after the launch of the 12c, it’s still commonplace for financial analysts filing into a conference room to set down their calculators next to their papers and cellphones. Indeed, the 12c, which costs $70 on H-P’s website, is H-P’s best-selling calculator of all time, though the company won’t reveal how many units it has sold over the years. (A standard calculator costs about $10.) Its chief competitor is Texas Instruments’ $28 BA II Plus, which is the only other calculator test-takers are permitted to use on the official CFA exam.

Florida woman, Gloria Esther Perez, busted for hiding knife in her ‘private area’ (NYDN via Daily Intel)
Perez was searched and found to be hiding dozens of prescription pills, police said. Perez then “became ill,” the police report states, and was taken to a hospital. Once there, it was discovered she was concealing two knives. One was tucked within the folds of her fat while the other was “hidden in her vagina.”



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Apple, Google Phone Home, Says WSJ

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This is the other shoe dropping.

Following a revelation earlier this week by programmers that Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone maintains a database on the device of the locations an individual has traveled with the phone, The Wall Street Journal’s Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries write today that both Google’s (GOOG) and Apple’s operating systems are transmitting some location data back to the companies.

“According to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour,” the authors write.

(Kamkar, a convicted computer felon, maintains a Web site here. The Journal used a consultant to test Kamkar’s research, and apparently he verified the findings about the Android OS.)

As for Apple, the authors cite a letter the company sent last year to representatives Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Joe Barton, Republican from Texas, saying it, “‘intermittently’ collects location data, including GPS coordinates, of many iPhone users and nearby Wi-Fi networks and transmits that data to itself every 12 hours.”

As the authors note, there are some specific limitations. For example, Apple’s data on locations transmitted back to its data centers is not tied to a phone’s unique identification code. Google’s process, Kamkar’s work suggests, includes data gathering and transmittal that is tied to the phone and that proceeds even when the phone’s apps are not explicitly requesting network location.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Write-Offs: 04.18.11

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$$$ JPMorgan To Double Headcount In Brazil [Reuters]

$$$ “Michigan is giving hundreds of financial professionals and public employees a crash course in advising troubled municipalities, building an army of emergency managers that may become a model for other U.S. states.” [Bloomberg]

$$$ Jitters Put Focus Back On European Debt [WSJ]

$$$ Where did your tax dollars go? [GB]

$$$ Morgan Stanley fund fails to repay debt on Tokyo property [Reuters]

$$$ ProPublica wins Pulitzer for The Wall Street Money Machine [Pulitzer]

$$$ Texas University Takes Cue From Kyle Bass to Hold $1 Billion in Gold Bars [Bloomberg]

$$$ Winklevoss Twins Ask for New Hearing in Facebook Case [Bits]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Marvell: Susquehanna Cuts To Hold; Drive Biz, RIM Are Risks

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Susquehanna Financial chip analyst Christopher Caso this morning cut his rating on Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) to Neutral from Positive, arguing that a cheap stock price is balanced by risk in the form of the hard-disk drive market and ongoing shifts at top customer Research in Motion (RIMM).

Marvell provided a forecast for its April quarter before the Tsunami hit Japan, which means that it couldn’t foresee at the time what may well be a weak Q2 market for disk drives, writes Caso, given supply chain disruptions. He believes Western Digital (WDC), 21% of Marvell’s annual revenue, “is likely to be affected by [Texas Instruments's (TXN)] motor controller shortage.” Seagate Technology (STX) will be adding some Marvell parts in its PC client business, but Marvell will also lose sockets at Seagate to LSI (LSI), which means Seagate is kind of a neutral, overall, for Marvell, he writes.

Marvell can look forward to getting parts into Hitachi’s drive business, but that’s going to take time. (Hitachi’s storage unit is being bought by Western Digital.)

As for RIM, there are “negative headlines” on the horizon. He expects Marvell will in the second half of this year have, “at least three new phones ramping at RIM,” which makes up 14% of Marvell’s revenue. However, the first RIM phones that eventually use the “QNX” operating system — the one that runs RIM’s “PlayBook” tablet — will probably use a Qualcomm (QCOM) chip, not Marvell’s, he thinks. And the Playbook tablet “will remain at Texas Instruments,” Caso thinks.

Marvell shares today are down 75 cents, or almost 5%, at $15.22.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

INTC, AMD: Earnings On Tap For Next Week

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PC shipments are sure to be a focus of next week’s earnings reports from Intel (INTC) and AMD (AMD). The chip giants report after the market close on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

PC shipments, according to Gartner and IDC estimates, were down between 10% to 13% from an already weak fourth quarter, versus a normal seasonal decline of 7%, as tablets continue to weigh on consumer PC sales. In a note this morning, Bernstein Research analyst says that year-over-year PC shipments are now likely to be flat, making Intel’s forecast for low-to mid-double digit growth “increasingly unlikely.” The firm lowered its price target on Intel to $23 from $24, holding onto a Market Perform rating.

“Intel has remained committed to the point of view that tablets will be largely incremental to demand; we disagree, and view the risk to cannibalization at least to notebooks (and potentially, lower-end mainstream notebooks) as probable,” Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon writes today.

“The company appears late to the party in the tablet space, with Oaktrail’s forthcoming release behind current offerings from Nvidia (NVDA), Qualcomm (QCOM) and Texas Instruments (TXN).”

Rasgon continues to hold onto an $11 price target and Outperform rating for AMD. She writes: “It is possible that weak consumer PC shipments in Q1 may drive some downside (given AMD’s higher exposure to consumer markets); however, we also note that the company is in the midst of a ramp of their Brazos products which may act as a bit of buffer, as well as some likely benefit from Intel’s chipset difficulties.”

Shares of Intel were up two cents at the open to $19.60. AMD was up a penny to $8.20.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Bernstein Lowers TXN Estimates to Account for Japan Quake

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First-quarter 2011 results for Texas Instruments (TXN) should come in a bit below consensus estimates and at the midpoint of company guidance as consensus has not yet factored in the fab damage resulting from the Japanese earthquake, according to analysts at Bernstein.

Bernstein’s updated estimates model first-quarter 2011 revenues of $3.372 billion (down about $50 million from its earlier estimate of $3.421 billion). That compares with consensus of $3.399 billion and comes in at about the midpoint of the company guidance range of $3.340 billion to $3.480 billion provided on March 8, before the quake.

The firm’s first-quarter EPS estimate of 57 cents (down two cents from its prior estimate of 59 cents) is also a bit below the consensus estimate of 58 cents and meets the midpoint of company guidance of 56 cents to 60 cents.

“We note that EPS is likely to be further impacted from additional one-time charges (stemming from scrapped work-in-progress, etc.) that we have not incorporated, as well as the potential for an eventual insurance settlement,” wrote analyst Stacy A. Rasgon.

The revised estimates are consistent with Texas Instruments’ guidance for potential impact stemming from damage to their Miho facility, which is responsible for about 10% of total company revenues. The facility primarily sustained infrastructure damage (e.g. piping, gas lines, etc).

The company originally believed it could find alternative manufacturing sites for about 60% of the volume in the fab, a figure which was later revised to about 80%, Rasgon noted. Texas Instruments believes it will be back to full production by July, with full shipment capability in September.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Gleacher Downgrades National Semi to Neutral

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Analysts at Gleacher & Co. downgraded shares of National Semiconductor (NSM) to Neutral from Buy, arguing that further competitive bidding on the company is unlikely after the $25 a share offer from Texas Instruments (TXN).

“The deal is expected to close in six to nine months with about $1 of upside,” wrote analyst Doug Freedman in a research note. “We advise investors to rebalance towards Analog Devices (ADI) and Texas Instruments.”

Freedman raised his target price to $25 from $17.

National Semiconductor is trading flat midday at $24.05.

Texas Instruments is down 0.9% at $34.88.

Analog Devices is down 2% at $38.32.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 04.07.11

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Feds: Insider Scheme Spanned 17 Years (WSJ)
The alleged scheme revealed on Wednesday stretched back to 1994, when Mr. Kluger allegedly told the co-conspirator while attending law school at New York University and after taking a summer associate job at Cravath that “I’ve got something,” meaning he had access to confidential information, prosecutors said. The co-conspirator then approached Mr. Bauer, whom he had worked with in the 1990s at venture capital firm Weiss, Peck & Greer. Mr. Bauer agreed to trade based on the information provided, prosecutors said. “They structured their relationship so that Bauer and Kluger did not have direct contact prior to the trades,” said Daniel M. Hawke, the regional director for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Philadelphia office.

Portugal Bailout May Reach $129 Billion (WSJ)
“The talk is for around €75 billion, but this could be raised to around €90billion. A bailout package can be put together very quickly as there has already been preparatory work in anticipation of Portugal’s request,” said the minister, who asked not to be identified.

Moody’s May Take Axe To UK Bank Ratings (Reuters)
Up to 18 British banks could see their senior debt ratings cut several notches by Moody’s over coming months as the rating agency assesses how they would fare without implicit government support. The banks more immediately vulnerable to a downgrade are smaller institutions, including many building societies, rather than larger banks still heavily supported by the state, Moody’s said Thursday.

The Valley’s Banker Returns To The Top (NYT)
Andrew Ross Sorkin: “I’d really prefer you didn’t write about me,” Mr. Quattrone said recently, trying to dissuade me from this column. But it is hard to ignore Mr. Quattrone. In the last year, his boutique advisory firm, Qatalyst Partners, has been involved in nearly every major technology merger. As Hewlett-Packard and Dell battled over 3Par last summer, Mr. Quattrone was calling the shots. He orchestrated the sale of Palm to H.P. for $1.2 billion in April 2010. And Texas Instruments’ $6.5 billion deal to buy National Semiconductor this week? Yes, that was his deal, too.

ECB Raises Interest Rates (WSJ)
The European Central Bank on Thursday raised its benchmark interest rate to 1.25% from a historic low of 1%, as expected, making it the first of the developed world’s major central banks to initiate a cycle of raising rates.

A Hot Idea Falls Short At Goldman (WSJ)
Goldman spent millions of dollars to develop the private exchange, and senior Goldman bankers spent over a year on the project. They gave it an awkward name—the “GS Tradable Unregistered Equity OTC Market” or GSTrUE—but it seemed like an instant success. Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management LLC raised about $1 billion in May 2007, selling a 15% stake in itself on the Goldman market. Two months later, Apollo Management LP, the big New York private-equity firm, also sold shares, raising $895 million. Many bankers expected the new market to steal some of the hottest offerings from the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Private-equity firms, hedge funds and others that guarded their privacy seemed likely to sell shares there. At the time, Oaktree partners Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh predicted in a memo to clients that “a number of premier companies in other industries” would join their firm on the Goldman platform. Rival banks and exchanges soon launched competing private markets. Then a curious thing happened—hardly any investors showed up.

Sailor, 85, crosses Atlantic on raft with friends (MSNBC)
A stroke of bad luck for Anthony Smith paid for the trip (he was hit by a van and broke his hip). “I got some compensation money,” he said. “So what do you blow the compensation money on? You blow it on a raft.”
Slower Recruitment In London (FT)
City hiring in 2011 is unlikely to reach the heights of last year when banks snapped up staff in a fight for market share, Robert Walters, the white collar recruitment firm, said on Wednesday. “Last year was an unrepeatable correction,” Robert Walters, chief executive of the eponymous firm, said. “Banks had made savage cuts during the financial crisis and they needed to replenish staff quickly. But that was a one-off. Now we’ll have to wait and see.”

RAB Says Clients to Pull 79 Percent of Flagship Fund’s Assets (Bloomberg)
The hedge fund will allow investors to withdraw money when a three-year freeze on client redemptions ends on Oct. 1, the London-based firm said in a statement today. The fund, run by co-founder Philip Richards, had $2 billion at December 2007. The fund slumped 73 percent in 2008, hurt by a bet on Northern Rock Plc, the first British bank nationalized during the credit crisis. RAB won investor approval to halt redemptions in September 2008. The fund declined 7.6 percent in 2010.

Marc Lasry & Team OKed To Control Trump Casino (AP)
Lasry’s Avenue Capital was given final approval Wednesday by New Jersey casino regulators to control the Atlantic City casino company that was founded by Donald Trump. Avenue, which specializes in distressed investments, won the company in a bankruptcy battle last year, and is the largest shareholder at nearly 22 percent.

Sokol Joins Brandon Winning Praise In Buffett Head-Scratcher (Bloomberg)
Sokol’s contributions to Berkshire were “extraordinary,” Buffett said when he announced his resignation March 30. Buffett said in 2009 that Brandon helped in “righting the ship” at General Re. Brandon left in 2008 after prosecutors named him an unindicted co-conspirator at a trial where four former General Re officers were convicted of helping American International Group deceive investors through a sham transaction.

Should There Be A Fat Tax? (CNBC)
Arizona says yes.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

GameStop Buys Spawn, Impulse For Digital Distribution

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GameStop (GME) this afternoon said it purchased privately held Spawn Labs and Impulse, a division of privately held Stardock Systems for undisclosed sums to bulk-up on digital distribution of video games.

GameStop president Tony Bartel remarked, “Our customers are gaming in many locations and on many devices, and we need to deliver the same great immersive experience that they have come to expect,” while CEO J. Paul Raines said, “With these important acquisitions, we will continue to make appropriate investments related to our multichannel strategy. GameStop is uniquely positioned to be the leader in both the physical and digital gaming space.”

GameStop’s ability to compete with the rising tide of digitally downloaded video games, as opposed to store-bought games, has been a concern of some investors, as noted in a report yesterday by Caris & Co.’s Scott Tilighman.

Spawn Labs of Austin, Texas has developed software to play console games from different rooms in a house, without having to be in front of the TV, and also programs for playing one’s console game across the Internet, rather like the SlingBox player does for remote cable TV watching.

Plymouth, Michigan-based Stardock publishes and develops several games, including Elemental: War of Magic, Demigod, and Sins of a Solar Empire. The company’s Impulse program allows one “to download, update, and archive” games, according to company materials.

GME shares are unchanged at $22.52 in late trading.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily