Early Briefing: E*Trade Hit Hard

Here's some of the local business stories that appeared in Tuesday's paper:

* E*Trade, the online trading pioneer with substantial operations in Arlington, saw its stock fall 59 percent after it warned it would be writing down the value of mortgage-related securities and investments. See story.

* Want to launch your campaign for town dogcatcher, but can't afford to hire a crew to produce your TV ads? No worries, you can buy a template for a canned commercial online. That's what dozens of local candidates are doing this season. See story and a Northern Virginia ad here.

* Georgetown Partners, a minority-run private-equity firm based in Bethesda, is asking federal regulators to grant it control over channels geared to minority listeners if the merger between satellite radio companies XM and Sirius is approved.

The firm, which has invested in wireless and media firms, has objected to the $4.7 billion merger plan, arguing that a monopoly could limit opportunities for minority programming. Chester Davenport, the firm's managing director, said that if regulators give the marriage a green light, the combined company should be required to turn over some channels to a minority-controlled entity. He said he hoped Georgetown Partners would fill that role, making it a competitor to the merged company. See the rest of the story here.

". . . even if the economy slows down in China to 8 percent, it's still going to be a great place to invest. People say there is a bubble in China. There are bubbles in every economy that grows," says David M. Rubenstein, managing director of the Carlyle Group. (By Nikki Kahn -- The Washington Post)

* Some of the biggest and most powerful dealmakers in the United States have found a way to keep the buyout boom going: by aggressively pushing into China.

While buyouts were slowing in the United States because of turmoil in the credit markets, deals involving U.S. private-equity firms in China reached $3.1 billion in June, a record month, according to Dealogic, an independent research firm. In three years, U.S. private-equity money in China has grown almost sixfold.

From buying real estate to financing technology firms to partnering with Chinese investors, some private-equity managers say, quite simply, that China is the future. With its economy expanding at four times the rate of that of the United States and with four times as many people, China has enough potential for explosive growth that it could dominate the investment scene for the next century, they say.

Several managers said they were making more money financing start-up firms in China than in any other country in the world. David M. Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group called China the "new Silicon Valley." See story.

By Dan Beyers  |  November 13, 2007; 7:02 AM ET
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