Afternoon Roundup: Today's Top Stories

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The energy industry may get a fresh new deal as Samson Investment, one of the country's largest privately held oil and gas explorers, considers selling itself. The deal could bring in up to $10 billion. The Tulsa, Okla.-based company is hiring a financial advisor to help it look at different options ranging from starting a joint venture to a complete sale. The company owns 4,000 wells and offers significant production in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

Samson is considering the sale to expand its operations in shale drilling. Shale drilling, though profitable, can be very expensive. It involves extracting oil and gas from shale, a porous rock. Recently, there has been an increase in shale drilling among companies like Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) , which has sold five shale ventures amounting to $12 billion. Others have sold themselves completely to larger companies. Read more atThe Wall Street Journal.

Banks and hedge funds have always had a close relationship. But this affair may have gotten closer as banks, desperate to secure clients, are now offering employment-recruiting services to major hedge funds. Banks such as Bank of America (NYS: BAC) , Morgan Stanley (NYS: MS) , and Goldman Sachs (NYS: GS) have begun to scout finance executives, accountants, and receptionists and send them to hedge funds at no charge. Goldman Sachs calls the practice "talent introduction."

The Wall Street giants could risk upsetting, as much as they are pleasing, their customers if they accidentally dip in to their talent pool. Hedge funds could also make risky decisions to please the banks that are helping them instead of keeping their clients in mind. But many of the banks said they have strict policies in place to avoid poaching talent and, more important, minimizing conflicts of interest. Read more atThe New York Times.

(NYS: DTG) ended its deal with Hertz Global Holdings (NYS: HTZ) after nearly 18 months of negotiating. Dollar Thrifty said Hertz had not made an offer that met the board's standard of being free of antitrust risk. Hertz, the second-largest car rental service in the U.S., looked to buy Dollar Thrifty, the fourth-largest, in hopes of maintaining its position behind Enterprise Holdings.

Dollar Thrifty had asked Hertz and Avis (NAS: CAR) , the contending suitors, for final bids by 5 p.m. yesterday. Avis dropped its bid in September and Hertz never filed the final bid. After the failed attempt of a deal, Dollar Thrifty announced it will continue with independent operations. The company's stock fell 3.9% in the hours before trading, while Hertz's went up 4.2%. Read more atBloomberg.

Regulators released the Volcker rule for public comment. The rule, which is expected to ignite an intense lobbying campaign, restricts Wall Street's ability to trade for its own profit. Comments will be received until Jan. 13, 2012, a longer period than expected. Regulators have provided 350 questions that they want the public to weigh in on. Some of the criticism points out the difficulty in enforcing the ban on "proprietary trading." The rule is part of the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law that intends to prevent another financial crisis. The Volcker provision is aimed at preventing banks from engaging in risky transactions. Banks would not be allowed to engage in short-term trading for their own profit and would be prohibited from making investments in and sponsoring hedge funds and private equity funds. The rule would go into effect with the Dodd-Frank law on July 21, 2012, but banks have two years to adhere to it. Read more atReuters.

So there you have it, the top financial stories for this afternoon. If you are interested in getting all the news and commentary on these stocks, sign up to My Watchlisthere-- it's free!

At the time thisarticle was published Michelle Zayed doesn't own any stocks mentioned.The Motley Fool owns shares of Hertz Global Holdings and Bank of America.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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