peHUB First Read

Some links to kick off your Tuesday:

* Equity Private sees a problem with LBO firms buying up their own portfolio company loans. But maybe this is a calendar-calculated bet, with LBO firms thinking they can resell the notes by the time IRS officials get through all the tax returns being submitted today.

* Reuters on the strategic synergy myth, in light of Blockbuster-Circuit City. Speaking of Reuters, it’s T-minus 48 hours until it officially hooks up with Daddy Thomson. If only someone would send me a new logo…

* AOL is buying Sphere, a VC-backed contextual search company whose widget we use here at peHUB. No financial terms disclosed, although TechCrunch is estimating $25 million.

* UK regulators will now be able to force buyout firms to fund portfolio company pension obligations.  

* The ABA takes aim at new Chinese M&A regulations.

* A bull market for hostile bids. This is interesting, because I raised this very issue while moderating a buyout panel just two months ago for ACG in Boston. Each member of the panel downplayed the issue, saying things like MicroHoo were one-offs rather than part of a trend.

* McCain supports “say on pay.” Both Democratic candidates are also in favor, which means that shareholders should have a (non-binding) voice on CEO compensation by this time next year.

* Question: Who was the first evangelist for innovation in Massachusetts? The answer may be John Adams.

* Whaddya want to bet that some producer got yelled at for this? Of couse, it’s not a mistake that should have been made by any Yankees fan, Red Sox fan or Northeastern media pro.