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By Jason Stipp | 07-21-2011 03:47 PM

Forced Hands

Action may need to come sooner than later at Clorox, E*Trade, Apple's rivals, Boeing, and the Beltway.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar, and welcome to the Friday Five.

We didn't force you to watch the Friday Five this week, but we did see several examples of hands being forced to act sooner rather than later.

Here with me to offer the details is Morningstar's markets editor Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for joining me.

Jeremy Glaser: You're welcome, Jason. Hopefully you won't see too many unforced errors here.

Stipp: Hopefully not. What do you have for the Friday Five this week.

Glaser: We are going to take a look at Clorox, at E*Trade, Apple, American Airlines, and finally at the debt ceiling talks.

Stipp: So, Clorox got a letter at this week from Carl Icahn, sort of forcing them to action. What did that letter say and what do you think is going to happen?

Glaser: Carl Icahn offered to buy Clorox, to take it private. He is largest shareholder already, but he really doesn't think that Clorox management is doing everything that they need to do in order to bring their brand portfolio to penetrate international markets and to grow domestically.

He offered to buy it. Clorox rejected his offer. He's raised his offer again, but interestingly he also said that Clorox really should go out and look at other suitors who potentially could have more of a synergy play, other large consumer-packaged good producers who'd be able to bring Clorox into their stable and really help establish their brands across the globe.

It's interesting that he ... doesn't have a lot of faith that management can handle it as a standalone company, but he is happy to either take it private or push them into the arms of another suitor, but either way it seems like he wants some action; he wants a better return on investment that he's made in the company. It's really going to make Clorox management make some tough decisions and figure out what they're going to do.

Stipp: E*Trade also got a letter from one of its big investors. I assume it wasn't just asking how their summer is going. What did that letter say and what do you think is going to happen there?

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