As the U.S. prepares a massive attack against the Taleban in Afghanistan, where intelligence gathering – although sometimes imperfect – is key to success (as well as “hearts and minds”), it has emerged that some of the world’s biggest defense companies – notably BAE Systems, Boeing and Raytheon – are targeting for acquisition Argon ST.
Having hired in January Stone Key Partners, according to Reuters, Argon is seeking US$30 per share for its business, valuing it at US$660m. That’s a 40 percent premium to where its share price was on January 8 – just before news of a possible deal broke – but only 20 percent higher than where the share price is was as of May 11.
“You will see acquisitions from us,” Dell’s Steve Felice told Reuters’ journalist Christoph Steitz on Tuesday. Felice is president of the company’s consumer, small and medium business, which makes up almost half of all Dell’s sales.
-The following was published in the March 1, 2010 edition of Acquisitions Monthly-
(Acquisitions Monthly) Last year, Russia was in the midst of its worst economic crisis for a decade, but with the return of growth and the successful debt restructuring of aluminium giant UC Rusal, recovery is just around the corner. M&A activity will, however, start slow.
But, National Express’s newly appointed chairman, John Devaney, and his chief executive, Richard Bowker, believe they can go it alone and have firmly rebuffed First Group. They are hoping, instead, to launch a £400 million rights issue.
The rumours just won’t go away.Rumour number one: the Kuwaiti-backed Zain telecommunications group has effectively put its African operations up for sale with a reported price tag of US$12 billion.Rumour number two: Zain is in talks with France’s Vivendi about doing a deal.Zain has even posted on its website some of those news reports stating that its African business is under the hammer, effectively advertising a sale.“I think we will know [about it] very quickly,” one source close to the parties said.But it would be a surprise move, indeed, for the Kuwaitis to push ahead with such a transaction right now.Only a few months ago, Zain’s chief executive Saad al-Barrak told the media that he had earmarked US$5 billinon for new acquisitions up until 2011 and that he wanted to beef up the company’s African operations.Already, Zain is the number two mobile player in Africa along with Vodafone. Each has just over 40 million subscribers on the Continent. They are, however, way behind the number one operator, South Africa’s MTN, which says it has 100m subscribers. And they could fall even further behind if the US$60bn tie-up between India’s Bharti Airtel and MTN goes ahead.Add to that the fact that the majority of Zain’s African businesses are struggling to grow during the global economic downturn, and you have a reason why Zain might want to get out of Africa.Tying up with Vivendi, however, by taking a minority stake in the larger French group, might be a more practical way for Zain to move forward and, in the words of al-Barrak, “to cement Zain as a top-ten leading global mobile operator by 2011″.Whether Vivendi, which has operational control of Maroc Telecom, would want that, or could even afford all of Zain’s African operations for US$12 billion – if indeed that is a realistic valuation – is another question entirely.Vivendi has about €8.3 billion worth of net debt and, according to some analysts, has only €1bn for manoeuvre without jeopardising its investment grade BBB credit rating.An alternative might be for Vivendi, through its Maroc Telecom subsidiary (which owns telcos in Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Gabon) to buy some of Zain’s African operations.When both Zain and Vivendi spokespersons declined to comment, they also failed to scotch the rumours, despite some Paris- and London-based bankers playing down such talk.No doubt, France Telecom is following the situation closely. It chief executive Didier Lombard has increasingly turned his attention to Africa but has so far ruled out buying a pan-African operator.