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GATES GOODBYE

Bill Gates said a teary goodbye on Friday to Microsoft, leaving his full-time executive role at the tech giant — which he co-founded with Paul Allen in 1975 — to focus on his philanthropic organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates will become a nonexecutive chairman and work part time. "There won't be a day in my life that I'm not thinking about Microsoft and the great things that it's doing and wanting to help," he told employees as he wiped away tears and they gave him a standing ovation.

NEWS CORP. REDUX

News Corp. will reduce its stake in NDS Group to 49% in a deal unveiled late Friday with private-equity firm Permira Advisers that will take the pay TV technology firm private. The proposed transaction, which values NDS at $60 per American depository share, will reap News Corp. cash of about $1.5 billion and a $200 million note.

SAT GAINS

Shares of XM and Sirius took off Friday, rising 9.4% and 14.8%, respectively. The surges probably were the result of XM saying that it reached a deal of nearly all the holders of its $400 million in 1.75% senior convertible notes to boost the interest rate to 10%. The increased rate, though, comes with assurances that the noteholders won't assert claims that an XM merger with Sirius amounts to a change of control that would allow them to demand XM buy the notes back. The offer hinges on the closing of the merger, which awaits final FCC approval.
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