money digest


WMG upgrade

Banc of America on Wednesday upgraded shares of Warner Music Group from "neutral" to "buy," saying a potential takeover of U.K. rival EMI Group likely would create an extended positive bias toward the stock. The investment bank argued EMI is now arguably in a weaker competitive position after two recent earnings warnings, which could make regulatory approval of a deal easier. WMG said Wednesday that any offer for EMI likely would come in the form of an all-cash bid. The companies confirmed Tuesday that WMG had made a tentative approach to EMI.

EchoStar invests

A unit of satellite TV firm EchoStar Communications Corp. has invested $40 million in TU Media Corp., South Korea's only operator of satellite digital multimedia broadcasting services. It said the deal makes EchoStar, led by chairman and CEO Charles Ergen, the second-largest shareholder in TU Media after mobile phone operator SK Telecom, but it didn't disclose further details. TU Media has more than 1 million subscribers. The companies said EchoStar, TU and SK can accelerate the adoption of mobile video.

Euro Disney probe

German financial regulators are investigating for possible market manipulation a hostile takeover attempt of French theme park Euro Disney late last year, according to a spokeswoman for regulator BaFin. The case involves small Swiss firm Center-Tainment, whose shares are listed in Frankfurt. The company's takeover talk in late November raised eyebrows, led to immediate doubts and fizzled quickly. However, the takeover talk did not end before Euro Disney's share price had increased by more than one-third before slumping back to normal levels after it became clear that Center-Tainment was financially incapable of making a realistic offer, observers said.