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CNBC's Schacknow: You May (Or Not) Hear It Here First

Thursday, 8 Feb 2007 | 3:01 PM ET

The News That Wasn’t, Yet: Sometimes, you know there’s news, but you don’t know what the news is. Then, you’re in the position of reporting what the news might be, until you know for sure. Confused yet?

At about 10:40 am, Lear Corporation shares were halted for news pending. As of this writing (2:45 pm), we’ve yet to hear what that news is. But we have a good idea of what it may involve.

New York Stock Exchange reporter Bob Pisani was the first to note Lear’s halt, recalling for our viewers that investor Carl Icahn had made a $36 a share offer earlier in the week (worth $2.75 billion in total) and that before it was halted, the stock was trading north of $40.

A price above any existing offer is usually taken to mean that investors think the company is worth more, and that another offer for the auto parts maker would come along in short order. So, as Bob reported, whatever news they’re planning to announce would likely, in some way, address the takeover issue.

The News That Isn’t, But May Be: Here’s a small story that may - or may not - become a bigger one.

Shareholders of retailer Eddie Bauer rejected a takeover by a group of private equity firms. That in itself was mildly interesting, only because it’s a familiar retail name. It so happened we were doing a retail panel at the moment it broke, so it was reported in a nice and tidy fashion on "Power Lunch".

What struck me about this is - amid a slew of private equity takeovers in the past year - here’s one that was rejected. What were the reasons? Is this the beginning of a trend? Is the private equity boom about to slow?

This story may well have no implications whatsoever beyond Eddie Bauer. But what if it does? Wouldn’t it be cool if we were among the first to nail this trend down? Yes, it certainly would. And if we are, you can say you heard it here first.

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