When Rupert Murdoch dined in Sydney with Telstra’s Sol Trujillo last
Sunday night, his main aim was to work out whether Sol was friend or
foe, says John Durie in the Fin Review. The reality in the
converging world of media and telecommunications is Trujillo is
potentially both friend and foe so the News Corp boss wanted to explore
how to exploit the potential ways to boost his business.

If price alone were the criteria, it’s
difficult to see how the board of the embattled Coopers Brewery could
do other than recommend acceptance of Lion Nathan’s revised takeover
offer, says Bryan Frith in The Australian. But the market seems to have written off Lion Nathan’s chances of
acquiring 100% of Coopers Brewery, even though Lion has
increased its takeover offer from $260 a share to $310, reports The Age.

Orica is pinning hopes for continued profit
growth on the strength of Australia’s primary industries as it battles
continuing softness in consumer and manufacturing markets, reports The Australian. The explosives-to-paints-to-fertiliser conglomerate has pushed through
price increases for explosives on the back of strong China-led demand
from the resources industry and hopes to see a recovery in demand for
fertiliser from Australia’s farmers after a drought last season.

The Fin Review
reports that property developers have warned they
will not proceed with suburban residential developments because of a
raft of new state taxes that force them to provide basic infrastructure
such as roads, sewerage and water. The problem is critical in Sydney,
where developers are objecting to levying of additional charges by the
state government and local councils that could add up to $140,000 to
the cost of each block.

And what began as a whisper on Wall Street became a deafening roar
at the end of last week, reports The SMH. Could General Motors, the largest car
maker in the world and the backbone of American industry, be about
to file for bankruptcy? Shares in the company skidded to their lowest level since 1987
amid fears for its future. The company is in a quagmire – partly of
its own making, partly because of the challenges of globalisation –
and is sinking fast. GM has lost almost $US4 billion ($5.45
billion) so far this year.

On Wall Street, US stocks rose overnight, as
analysts proclaimed a late-year rally and the Dow Jones turned positive
for 2005 for the first time since
March. The blue chip index
closed up 53.95 points at 10,820, rising for a third day and
finishing above the 10,783 level from which it started the year – MarketWatch has a full report here.