Monday PM January 15th, 2007

Tanox shareholders approve buyout by Genentech...AT&T dropping Cingular brand name...Cell phone tower operator Crown Castle International completes $5.8 billion purchase of Florida-based GlobalSignal...

Tanox shareholders have voted to approve its proposed buyout by San Francisco-based Genentech. Those voting in favor at a special meeting of Tanox stockholders in Houston represent about 75.5 percent of the company's total outstanding shares. The two firms have been working together with Novartis on the asthma treatment Xolair. The Houston Tanox facility has about 150 employees. Tanox went public in 2000 in what was the largest initial public offering in biotech history.

AT&T is dropping the six-year-old Cingular brand name, now referring to its wireless service as Wireless from AT&T. Dan Feldstein with Fleishman-Hillard for AT&T says services are converging and customers want simplification.

"For simplicity and to reflect the fact that we offer so many different communication services, we're going to have the same brand for all of them—for long distance, for DSL, for wireless phones and for your line at your home. People like things to be simple and direct, and having all these services on one bill and with one name and with conveniences and synergies between them just made sense."

The 51 Houston-area Cingular stores will be placing temporary banners in their windows showing the change, and permanent signage will be up over the next few months. The transition advertising will include Web sites, company buildings and vehicles. The San Antonio-based company is taking these actions following its merger with BellSouth late last year.

The Planet has dropped the EV1Servers portion of its name. In May, Houston-based Everyone's Internet merged with Dallas-based dedicated hosting firm The Planet. The combination created the world's largest privately-held dedicated hosting provider, with more than 50,000 Web servers under management. The company operates six data centers serving more than 22,000 customers and powering more than 2.8 million Web sites.

Houston-based cell phone tower operator Crown Castle International has completed its $5.8 billion purchase of Florida-based GlobalSignal. Three former GlobalSignal directors will be added to Crown Castle's board.

A leader says Venezuela will end talks with foreign oil companies on how it will take majority control of their operations along the Orinoco River. Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters in Caracas that there's "there's no possible negotiation'' with the foreign firms. But Ramirez says private companies will be allowed to own minority stakes in the lucrative Orinoco River Basin oil projects. The companies are Houston-based ConocoPhillips, British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total and Statoil. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez--a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro--also announced plans to nationalize companies within Venezuela's telecommunications, electricity and natural gas industries.

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