Northern,WI  2/20/2013 (BasicsMedia)  —   Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) 15,500 engineers have accepted the company’s new four-year contract offer, but its 7,400 technical employees have rejected it and authorized the Speea union to call a strike at any time. Speea negotiators now hope to restart talks with Boeing over an agreement for the technical workers. Meanwhile, Wall Street is becoming increasingly nervous about the strain on Boeing’s finances from the 787 grounding.

Dell’s (NASDAQ:DELL) FQ4 earnings beat expectations, which might provide ammunition for investors who want a higher buyout price, but the numbers were still ugly. EPS came in at $0.04, net profit slumped 31% to $530M and revenue dropped 11% to $14.31B. Sales of notebooks, desktops and 3rd-party software/peripherals all fell sharply, although servers/networking was still a bright spot as revenues climbed 18%.

 Sony (NYSE:SNE) is expected to introduce the PlayStation 4 in New York today as it seeks to revive an electronics business that’s badly in need of a hit. The event comes after a lackluster launch of Nintendo’s (NTDOY.PK) Wii U amid the rise of casual gaming on mobile devices, and gets in ahead of any announcement by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) about a rumored successor to the Xbox 360.

The FBI is reportedly launching a criminal investigation into certain trades made ahead of the $23B deal for Heinz (NYSE:HNZ). At least one trader bet that Heinz would gain 8.1% through the June expiry, a trade that paid off more than 18X when the deal was announced last week.

 The U.K.’s auction of 4G spectrum has raised £2.34B, below the government’s expectation of £3.5B and well below the £22B raised in a 3G auction in 2000. Five operators won spectrum, including Vodafone (NYSE:VOD) with a bid of £791M, Everything Everywhere (DTEGF.PK, FTE) with £589M, Telefonica’s (TEF) O2 with £550M, and BT’s (BT) Niche with £186.5M.

 The prospects for a sale of Life Technologies (LIFE), which has a market cap of $10.9B, are reportedly diminishing following a sharp increase in the company’s share price this year due to merger speculation. One potential suitor for the biomedical lab-equipment firm, Thermo Fisher (TMO), has stopped pursuing a deal, while private-equity firms such as Blackstone (BX) and KKR (KKR) have made bids significantly below what Life’s board would accept.

BP (BP) has won an early victory ahead of a civil trial next week over the Gulf oil disaster, with a judge yesterday agreeing with the company’s claim that it collected 810,000 barrels of oil from the spill site. The crude should therefore be excluded from the calculations of any penalties that BP may face. The ruling could cut the maximum fine by up to $3.5B.

 

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