Wall Street Brief: Apple Makes a Deal, Blackstone Acquires a Company

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is p0ised for a win in the e-book wars after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and four major publishers said they will allow retailers to sell books at discounts for two years in an effort to conclude an EU antitrust probe. Publishers include CBS’s (NYSE:CBS) Simon & Schuster and News Corp’s (NASDAQ:NWS) HarperCollins. This offer comes after a similar U.S. deal with publishers sans Apple.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 reviews are trickling out and most of them are full of praise. Walt Mossberg of AllThings D wrote, “Apple has taken an already great product and made it better.” Engadget said: “An amazing performer with great battery life wrapped in a delicious shell.” CNET: “You’re going to be shocked at how light this phone is.” But two features have been criticized: the Maps app and the Lightning dock connector.

Don’t Miss: Are Apple Customers A Happy Lot?

On Tuesday, U.S. conglomerate Anschutz said it will sell its AEG sports-and-entertainment unit; this could bring in supposedly billions of dollars. AEG’s diverse assets include a 30 percent share in the LA Lakers, sports teams, stadiums and music festivals and the world’s second-largest concert promoter. News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS) and Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) have been viewed as potential buyers.

Blackstone (NYSE:BX) has agreed to purchase Vivint for $2 billion from initial investors including Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Jupiter and Peterson, said Vivint CEO Todd Pedersen to Bloomberg. Vivint is a provider of home-security, energy-management and solar-power leases to more than 670,000 North American households.

BP (NYSE:BP) is continuing negotiations with Marathon Petroleum (MPC) to sell its Texas City refinery for as high as $2.5 billion, reported the Financial Times. With  the sale of the refinery, the third-largest in the U.S., would help BP get rid of the site from a 2005 explosion that killed 15 people and brought the company nearer to its $388 billion asset disposal target by the end of 2013.

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