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BNET Daily Dispatch: Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Dow Chemical, and Citigroup

  • Wal-Mart is considering spinning off its Sam's Club operations in an attempt to boost its lagging share price. Wal-Mart said it was part of several options that the mega-retailer outlined in its secret plan dubbed "Project Red" that aims to rejuvenate the company. Wal-Mart also said that it sued its former security engineer, Bruce Gabbard, who had information regarding Project Red on his computer hard drive. The retailer fired Gabbard for recording phone conversations between a New York Times reporter and a Wal-Mart public relations executive.
  • McDonald's said today that it would unionize all of its 670 outlets in China. The news comes just two weeks after a state-controlled newspaper reported that McDonald's was underpaying its Chinese workers and denying some workers full-time benefits. Last year Wal-Mart unionized all 62 of its stores in China after being pressured by the Chinese government.
  • Media reports say a consortium is preparing a $50 billion bid for Dow Chemical that could come by the end of the week. Sources involved with the deal say groups of investors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and several U.S. buyout firms, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts are providing the capital. The Michigan-based company has been surrounded by buyout rumors for the past few months. 
  • Citigroup has entered talks to buy hedge fund firm Old Lane LP in a deal that could top $600 million. If the transaction is completed, Old Lane co-founder, Vikram Pandit, would become CEO of Citigroup's alternative investments unit. Old Lane is rumored to control more than $4 billion of assets.  
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