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Sometimes It's Hard to Count Your Billions

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Sometimes It's Hard to Count Your Billions (New York Times) It's really tough to be in private equity when you don't know your own net worth: "It is the brass-tacks question every stock investor asks: What is this company really worth? But in the rarefied realm of private equity investing, the answer to that question is often hard to find, if it can be found at all. After so many public companies passed into private hands during the boom years, buyout specialists who defined that era of Wall Street wealth are seemingly at odds over how their investments are — or are not — panning out. Freescale Semiconductor, for instance, was taken over by a pack of private investment companies in 2006 for $17.6 billion, of which $7 billion came from the firms. That $7 billion is now said to be worth $3.15 billion. Or $2.45 billion. Or $1.75 billion. The owners — the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group, Permira Advisers and TPG Capital — disagree on its value."

Stocks Trend up after Fed Minutes (Wall Street Journal) "Blue-chip stocks tacked on a second straight session of gains this year, boosted by encouraging economic data and relief over a quiet set of minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 20.43 points, or 0.2%, to 11691.1, extending the gains from its surge on Monday, the first trading session of the year.

Other benchmark indexes closed with modest losses. The Nasdaq Composite fell 10.27, or 0.4% to 2681.25. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index shed 1.69, or 0.1%, to 1270.20."

Ford Ahead of Toyota in U.S. Sales (Financial Times) "Ford Motor overtook Toyota as the US's number-two car maker last year for the first time since 2006, underlining the two companies' contrasting fortunes over the past 12 months. Ford posted a 19 per cent surge in sales, its biggest increase since 1984, while Toyota recorded a slight drop. Sales for General Motors, the market leader, advanced by 6.3 per cent, and Chrysler's were 17 per cent higher. Excluding models of four discontinued brands, GM's sales were up 21.3 per cent."

14th Amendment the Next Constitutional Battle Ground? (New York Times) "Of the 50 or so women bused to this border town on a recent morning to be deported back to Mexico, Inez Vasquez stood out. Eight months pregnant, she had tried to waddle north, even carrying scissors with her in case she gave birth in the desert and had to cut the umbilical cord. 'All I want is a better life,' she said after the Border Patrol discovered her hiding in the bushes on the Arizona side of the border with her husband, her young son and her very pronounced abdomen."

Defendants Allowed Bail in Insider Trading Case (Reuters) Three men accused of being part of an insider trading conspiracy to leak technology company secrets to hedge funds were allowed to remain free on bail on Tuesday.

The men are Walter Shimoon, a former Flextronics employee in California accused of leaking secrets about Apple Inc's iPad ahead of its launch; James Fleishman, who is on leave from his sales job at the California-based research firm Primary Global Research; and Mark Longoria, a Texas-based supply chain manager for Advanced Micro Devices.

They were all arrested on December 16 and freed on bail as part of a probe by federal prosecutors in New York that began at least three years ago, but has been pushed forward by authorities trying to flex their muscles after failing to win any major convictions tied to the 2008 financial crisis.