Happy days for investors who bought into merchant bank
Babcock & Brown’s $500 million share sale, there was an immediate spike in
the share price yesterday. Not to mention the 100 Babcock employees who sold
$400 million of shares for $17.25 each – more than triple their value since
they were floated in October 2004.

Never one to let a chance go by, B&B used the good news
of its extraordinary premium over the market to issue the extra shares, says
John Durie in the Financial Review
(not online).

And it’s high times for purveyors of porn, with Perth-based
Adultshop buying Loop Wireless
in a scrip and cash deal worth about $6.5
million in an effort to cash in on the growth of mobile data services.

Pity about Telstra, though, says Durie. Unless the telco
market takes an unexpected turn for the better, the reality is its dividend
policy is unsustainable.

Meanwhile, Alinta is getting all puffed up, says Bryan Frith
in The Australian, threatening to
launch a hostile bid for AGL if merger talks don’t meet its terms.

In The Age, Max
wants us to remember the importance of insurance, while Stephen Bartholomeusz wonders whether Newbridge
Capital and the Myer family might have paid too much for the Myer department stores.

And if price is the last weapon Chris Corrigan’s Patrick
Corp has left in its arsenal to defend itself against the hostile bid from Toll
Holdings you can be sure that Corrigan will be doing everything in his power to
push it to the limit, says Elizabeth Knight in The SMH.

In other news, West Australian Newspapers poaches the chief of APN
News & Media’s New Zealand
publishing division, Ken Steinke, to replace departing boss Ian Law… Qantas eyes Switzerland… Woolies dabbles in banking… Fosters finally makes the lucrative connection between beer and live
music… And another day, another Enron whistleblower pointing the finger
at Kenneth Lay.

On Wall Street,

stocks closed mixed Thursday
, after a spike in oil prices. The Dow Jones closed
up 43.47 points at 11,253.24.