Recap of August 4

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Our panelists give you the scoop on all the inside business information before you hear it anywhere else in The Informer segment:

• AT&T

Bob Lenzner, national editor: There's a big bloody battle over AT&T (T) broadband.  On one corner will be AT&T and friends and on the other corner will probably be Microsoft and friends.  And it's all for control of the pipelines into people's home. 

David Asman: So where should we put our money?

Bob Lenzner: I'm not going to answer that question because this isn't a takeover.

Bruce Upbin, senior editor: I would steer clear from whoever buys this company.  Whoever buys this is going to overpay and it's going to take them years and years to get that back. 

Bob Lenzner: Watch out short term, but long term this is going to be good. 

Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: Won't there be regulatory issues too?

Bob Lenzner: John Malone says they're going to get it if they can get over the regulatory problems.  There's going to be regulatory problems.  There's going to be all sorts of problems.

• Home Depot

Bruce Upbin: Home Depot (HD) brought in their new CEO, Bob Nardelli from GE.  He's very highly regarded, but I wonder if he's the right guy for this job.  Home Depot needs a top merchant in the top job.  I wonder if they'll lose the flare that made Home Depot special. 

• General Motors

Jerry Flint, columnist: I just want to remind everyone that in one of the very first shows I predicted high changes at GM's highest ranks.  And guess what?  It happened.  General Motors (GM) made a huge admission that they don't know anything about the automobile industry.  They had to go outside of their company and hire Robert Lutz (former Chrysler president) to run their product development program.  GM had 25% of the car business in the month of July.  That gives you an idea of how bad it's gotten. 

Bob Lenzner: Would you buy GM stock based on one man coming in?

Jerry Flint: Two of the top three GM vets are now Ford veterans.  Bob Lutz changes the face of the auto world. 

• Disney

Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: Disney ( DIS ) just acquired Fox Family in a $5.3 billion acquisition.  That's 81 million homes picked up in the acquisition.  Disney has the very best brand in terms of value.  They don't want to threaten that in any way.  Picking up Pat Robertson could be a big problem.  He's got a hatred for gays.  I was wondering why GE didn't pick it up.  They could've put Pat Robertson behind Will & Grace.  There's definitely a mixing of cultures here that could lead to problems.  You don't want marketplace confusion about your brand. 

Makers & Breakers

• Sapient, (SAPE)

Mike Norman, "The Economic Contrarian Update":  MAKER This is a comprehensive technology service company.  Their revenues are growing.  They do have a loss but I think it's something that they'll be able to handle. 

Jim Clash: BREAKER I wouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole. 

Mike Norman: That's exactly why I like it.

Jim Clash: It was at 75 within the last two weeks and now it's at 6. 

Mike Norman: So what?  That's the way you make money, buying low and selling high. 

Jim Clash: But that's assuming that all these bubble stock make a comeback.

Mike Norman: I prefaced this whole thing that there's a lot of things I didn't like.  This is a company to me that I think can make a turnaround.

Bruce Upbin: BREAKER It's not a disaster but I wouldn't go near it.

• Banco Santander (STD)

Mike Norman: MAKER The greatest emerging theme will be the devaluation of the dollar.  It's got a huge presence in Spain.  Its assets are going to appreciate enormously with the value of the Euro. 

Bruce Upbin: MAKER There's a whole lot of uncertainty with Argentina there because they're a lender there. 

Mike Norman: The dollar goes down, Argentina does great.  That's their problem.

Bruce Upbin: I think Wall Street has already considered it a disaster far enough so that it's cheap here.

Jim Clash: MAKER I think as European countries privatize more there's going to be a lot more bank services needed.

• Anglo American (AAUK)

Mike Norman: MAKER Hand in hand with the dollar decline, gold is going to make a comeback.

David Asman: They dig gold and other minerals too.

Jim Clash: BREAKER I like this company but I don't like this macro environment.  Inflation is stable, the commodity business has been in the dumper for a while. 

Bruce Upbin: MAKER It's always worth it to have some type of minerals in your portfolios.  These guys are the Microsoft of the miners.  They've got great management.