Wednesday, November 17, 2010

AstraTech Dental Implants

AstraTech Dental Implants - AstraZeneca is stepping up a drive to wring value out of the business with plans to sell its Astra Tech dental implants and medical devices unit for some $2 billion.

Industry analysts said the move demonstrated management's focus on boosting returns as the group heads into a wave of patent expires on some of its biggest-selling medicines.

The sale, equivalent to around 3.4 times last year's sales, would free up cash that could be put to use for increased share buybacks or small-scale acquisitions in the core pharmaceuticals operation.

"It shows there are hidden pockets of value in the business," says Panmure Gordon analyst Savvas Neophytou, who was already expecting AstraZeneca to increase share buybacks in 2011 while it is still generating plenty of cash.

AstraZeneca has hired JP Morgan Chase to help sell the Swedish unit, according to a source familiar with the situation. The London-based drugmaker declined to comment.

Astra Tech, best known for dental implants, also sells catheters, breathing aids and blood management systems used in surgery. It employs around 2,200 staff and had sales last year of 3.9 billion Swedish crowns ($588 million).

The business is not core to AstraZeneca's operations and the company has considered a sale in the past. Analysts said the climate for a disposal now looked favorable, with deal activity picking up in the medical devices sector on the back of ample funding.

AstraTech Dental Implants

Thursday Night Football

Thursday Night Football - The second instalment of this year’s Thursday Night series involves another pair of inter-Conference rivals and like Ravens vs. Falcons, this matchup involves one team currently sharing a piece of first place in its division. (Yes, those Bears!)

CHICAGO (6-3) AT MIAMI (5-4)
Line: Dolphins -1
Over/Under: 40

Chicago started the season 3-0 SU but after getting thumped in Week 4 and having its O-line exposed for 10 sacks by the New York Giants, most bettors were ready to write this team off.

Seven weeks later and the Bears are back on top of the NFC North by virtue of a 3-0 record against the division. Still, it seems a lot of people aren’t sold on this group including oddsmakers who have posted the Dolphins as favorites despite one of the longest injury reports in the league.

Quarterback is the glaring concern for Miami, with Chad Pennington gone for the year and Chad Henne sidelined by a left knee injury.

Thursday Night Football

GM Selling Stock, Shares

GM Selling Stock, Shares - General Motors Co. is on pace to sell $18.1 billion in shares in what likely will be the second-largest U.S. initial public offering ever, capping a remarkable two-year turnaround in which the car maker went from begging for a government bailout to posting its first steady profits in more than six years.

GM sold about 478 million shares Wednesday at $33 each, a price higher than the company and its bankers thought was possible just days ago. An additional 71.7 million shares are expected to be sold by GM's bankers as part of an "overallotment" allowed when sales are stronger than expected. And it sold $4.35 billion in preferred shares.

Wednesday afternoon at the Manhattan headquarters of one of the lead bankers, Morgan Stanley, GM executives were greeted by traders and bankers standing and cheering while wearing blue GM T-shirts over their shirts and ties.

Buyers of the GM shares included giant pension and hedge funds as well as GM factory workers and retirees. Among foreign buyers was China's largest car maker, SAIC Motor Corp., which is GM's biggest partner in the world's largest auto market. SAIC bought about $500 million of shares for a GM stake of close to 1%.

The proceeds will help pay back the U.S. government for the $49.5 billion it spent on its controversial rescue of GM, which has gone from losing billions of dollars a year to making $4.07 billion so far in 2010. The Detroit company, after eliminating half its eight brands, slashing its debt and trimming its work force in bankruptcy, has been gaining U.S. market share with strong-sellers such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Buick LaCrosse after years of seeing customers slip away to foreign-based rivals.

The U.S. Treasury will cut its ownership stake in GM to about 26% from 61% through the stock sale, including the overallotments. That could ease the "Government Motors" taint that had turned off some car shoppers as well as potential GM investors.

GM Selling Stock, Shares

Brent Barry's Wife Involved In Divorce

Brent Barry's Wife Involved In Divorce - According to Sports Illustrated staff writer Bryan Armen Graham, Tony Parker cheated with Erin Barry, wife of former San Antonio Spurs team mate Brent Barry.

"Have it on good authority from entertainment sources that 'former teammate' in Tony Parker-Eva Longoria affair is Brent Barry," Graham tweeted.

He added that the Barrys are also going through a divorce.

When contacted by Radar Online, Erin's brother Casey refused to confirm Erin's involvement.

"When we are ready to speak about this, we will contact the press," he said.

Longoria, 35, filed for divorce from Parker, 28, in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday morning, November 17 citing "irreconcilable differences."

"It is with great sadness that after 7 years together, Tony and I have decided to divorce," the Desperate Housewife star Tweeted.

"We love each other deeply and pray for each other's happiness."

Longoria later confirmed the news to Extra host Mario Lopez.

According to Lopez, Eva found hundreds of texts on Tony's phone from the wife of one of his teammates.

Eva also told Lopez that Tony cheated on her earlier with another woman; he kept in touch with the woman through Facebook.

"She is devastated; she wants us all to know that. But she's strong," Lopez says.

According to TMZ, Eva has sought spousal support.

Brent Barry's Wife Involved In Divorce

Pink Announces She Is Pregnant

Pink Announces She Is Pregnant - Pink is putting the pregnancy rumors to rest - by confirming she's expecting her first child with her motocross-racing husband Carey Hart.

The singer revealed in an interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" airing Wednesday her doctor believes the baby will be a girl.

"My mom has always wished me a daughter just like me," Pink, 31, told DeGeneres. "I'm terrified one of us will go to jail."

She did not specify a due date during her appearance.

Asked why she waited to confirm the rumors, she said, "I didn't want to talk about it because I was just really nervous and I have had a miscarriage before."

As for whether the baby was planned, she said, "I worked for it. ... It was not an 'oops.'"

Pink Announces She Is Pregnant

Allure Of The Sea Arrives At Port

Allure Of The Sea Arrives At Port - The new largest cruise ship in the world is about to hit our shores, Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Why do I say "the largest?" Because engineers calculated the ship is approximately two inches longer than its sister ship Oasis of the Seas introduced last year. This was supposedly an unintentional finding - but it certainly doesn't hurt to say they have a new record breaking "largest cruise ship in the world."

The ship is currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean, having left its shipyard in Turku, Finland, last October 29. It is reportedly having a much smoother time than sister ship Oasis had crossing from Finland about a year ago. Allure should be visible off the coast of Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, this week, about 8:00 AM.

Chances are the ship will do the same as Oasis, spend a day installing the real plants in Central Park and running the AquaTheater through its paces - now that the ship will be stable in a temperate climate for the first time. The one disadvantage to building a ship in Finland in November is that you can't fill the pools with water unless your only goal is to make the world's largest ice cube.

Like Oasis, but unlike NCL Norwegian Epic, Allure is making this transatlantic voyage without paying passengers or other guests onboard - no travel agents or media either. The only inhabitants are the new crewmembers getting familiar with the ships facilities and the last of the contracted shipbuilders who needed extra time to finish their jobs and had no choice but to join the ship for the 12-day non-stop ocean crossing.

Allure may be bigger, but that is not the most important point - Allure is better than Oasis in many ways, at least for a little while. Allure will already have many improvements over Oasis of the Seas that Oasis will not have installed until next March, earliest.

These improvements include the first 3-D movie theater for a Royal Caribbean ship. I am a big fan of movies on cruise ships, and would much rather see a film for the first time during a cruise than on land solely because it is so much more convenient. There is no parking, worrying about eating before or after, or usurious ticket prices to contend with. The last time I took my small family to see a 3-D film - Avatar, it cost me nearly $50. Allure will have the same quality 3-D process as that film uses, but there won't be any charging for tickets.

To date, the only other ships to show 3-D feature films onboard are the Disney Magic and Wonder, and there you are limited to only Disney films. Not that there is anything wrong with that, they make great movies. Similar to Disney, Royal Caribbean has something special in store for the kids; the line just made an agreement to show DreamWorks movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters Vs. Aliens and How to Train Your Dragon onboard.

Other DreamWorks activities onboard include meeting the characters from these movies; Po (the Kung Fu Panda), Princess Fiona and Shrek who will make regular appearances in the Adventure Ocean kid's facility. Allure will also feature an original ice show in the Studio B Ice Rink based on the movie "How to Train Your Dragon," while the AquaTheater will have a special show featuring characters from the DreamWorks movie "Madagascar."

Allure Of The Sea Arrives At Port

LA Auto Show Kicks Off

LA Auto Show Kicks Off - In West Hall at the L.A. Auto Show, the domestic automaker offered businesspeople and car geeks a reprieve from serious car talk with miniature slot-car racing and a bumpy rally-car simulator.

With trigger gun controllers in their palms, sharp-dressed auto show attendees stared down at their mini racers, modeled after the 2011 GT Ford Mustang. Buzzing around the black curves of winding track, players joked as they passed each other up or skidded off the road, crashing into plastic bushes on a faux rocky mountainside.

John Edwards, a representative for Land Rover, couldn't help wandering over to pick up a controller.

"I'm just a big kid, really. I love it," Edwards said. "I hit full acceleration around the corner and spun off. The red car won; that's the one to put your money on."

Across the floor, Ford offered a more interactive experience with its rally-car simulator, which, by the way, requires you to sign a liability waiver before you strap in. So you know it's fun. The hulky orange contraption is outfitted with three flat-screen panels, creating a full view of a bumpy forest concourse as the whole apparatus rumbles, rotates and skids out with the driver.

An operator monitoring each game shakes his head as players rocket along the straightaways and tumble off the course once they hit a curve.

LA Auto Show Kicks Off

Ryan Reynolds In Green Lantern

Ryan Reynolds In Green Lantern - Welcome to the Trailer Park, a semi-regular post we roll out every time multiple studio release trailers worth highlighting. Thankfully, as we head into the holiday season, studios have busy prepping promotional materials for next summer’s anticipated blockbusters, so the Trailer Park has been full of eye-catching goodies.

Today, we get our first look at Ryan Reynolds in action as “The Green Lantern” for director Martin Campbell (“Casino Royale”). Waking up in bed with a beauty sets Reynolds’ test pilot, Hal Jordan, in Tony Stark territory. But the clip quickly takes a 1950s sci-fi twist, with Jordan finding a crashed spaceship and acquiring the ring that turns him into Green Lantern. The film will be in theaters on June 17.

Then we have David Gordon Green’s medieval stoner comedy “Your Highness,” which released a restricted trailer ahead of its April 8, 2011 opening. Green’s follow up to the hilarious “Pineapple Express” takes James Franco and Danny McBride as princes forced to complete a heroic mission and save their father’s kingdom. Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel co-star in the action comedy, which McBride wrote with Ben Best. Wouldn’t it be great if Franco and Portman were Oscar winners for “127 Hours” and “Black Swan” by the time this comes out next year?

Ryan Reynolds In Green Lantern

Leonid Meteor Shower 2010

Leonid Meteor Shower 2010 - The annual Leonid meteor shower happens tonight, November 17th through the 18th. With 15 to 20 an hour, you'll be able to see a meteor streak across the sky every few minutes, though Discovery Magazine puts it at more like 20 to 30 an hour.

The best time to observe should be after midnight, when the earth is facing the incoming bits of gravel. No telescope needed, just a space far away from light pollution where you have a wide view of the sky, and maybe a lawn chair to keep you from getting a crick in your neck.

Unfortunately, the gibbous moon will be bright this year. If you're really intent on having the best view, stay up until the wee hours of the morning, when the moon sets and allows the sky to darken, around 5:15 am. The Washington Post report that the sky will be dark enough for a good show by 3 am.

The Leonid shower happens every year in November. This year's shower will be relatively tame, since Earth will be passing through a less crowded area of debris from the comet Temple-Tuttle. Previous showers showcased hundreds or thousands of meteors an hour.

Leonid Meteor Shower 2010

Wreckage Of Missing F22 Found

Wreckage Of Missing F22 Found - The Air Force says they have found the apparent wreckage of the F-22 that went missing Tuesday night.
A rescue team is being deployed to the area approximately 100 miles north of Anchorage.

The jet, from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, was on a training mission when it lost contact with air traffic control Tuesday night. The plane carries one pilot.

The Alaska Air National Guard is leading the search effort, using three helicopters and a cargo plane. In a news release, the guard says the F-22 was flying with another fighter, which also lost contact with it.

The search area is concentrated near Cantwell on the east side of the national park and about 150 miles north of Anchorage.

Spokeswoman Corinna Jones said Tuesday night that the jet, with one pilot aboard, was on a training mission out of the base and lost contact with air traffic control at 7:40 p.m. Alaska time.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this missing Airman, and we thank all Alaskans for their continued support and prayers during this trying time,” said Col. Jack McMullen, 3rd Wing commander, in a release. “Finding the missing pilot is our top priority.”

Wreckage Of Missing F22 Found