Digest: Optimism on Apple shares

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Bear Stearns analyst Andrew Neff on Wednesday raised his price target on shares of Apple Computer by $6 to $100 citing optimism about growth opportunities, especially in interactive TV. After a meeting with Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer and vp iPod product marketing Greg Joswiak, "we remain optimistic about Apple's continued innovation," Neff wrote, adding that "iTV could be more impressive" than previously thought. "Though details remain sketchy, Apple emphasized focus of iTV to improve user experience and implied that there may be features beyond streaming video content." Apple shares rose most of the day before closing down fractionally at $91.80.

EMI update

A private-equity deal for music firm EMI Group is unlikely to match the price tag offered this year by Warner Music Group, which has put any deal talks on hold amid regulatory concerns, UBS analyst Ian Whittaker said Wednesday. Some on Tuesday suggested a price in the £3.20 per-share range, "which was what Warner bid for EMI earlier this year," he said. "A deal with Warner would have realized operational synergies, which we think would have helped the bid price. It is hard for us to see how private equity can offer a similar amount with no potential synergies." Instead, a private-equity deal might be able to offer a lower price in return for a greater likelihood of regulatory approval, Whittaker said.

Liberty Global OK

John Malone's Liberty Global Inc. said its board has approved Dutch auction self-tender offers to buy as many as 5.1 million shares of its Series A and 5.2 million shares of its Series C common stock within certain price ranges. The cost of the move will come to about $265.2 million-$300 million if Liberty buys the maximum amount of shares of each series.
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