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May 30, 2014

Exclusive: U.S. companies seek cyber experts for top jobs, board seats

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Some of the largest U.S. companies are looking to hire cybersecurity experts in newly elevated positions and bring technologists on to their boards, a sign that corporate America is increasingly worried about hacking threats.

JPMorgan Chase & Co, PepsiCo Inc, Cardinal Health Inc, Deere & Co and The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) are among the Fortune 500 companies seeking chief information security officers (CISOs) and other security personnel to shore up their cyber defenses, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

May 15, 2014

AT&T turns to Lazard for advice on DirecTV deal: sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) – AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is working with investment bank Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as it negotiates a potential takeover of DirecTV (DTV.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the country’s top satellite TV operator, according to people familiar with the matter.

AT&T is in active discussions to buy DirecTV for low to mid-$90s per share, or nearly $50 billion, and is working to finalize a deal in the next few weeks, Reuters reported on Monday.

May 9, 2014

In M&A frenzy, deals that show CEO confidence is returning

NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) – Over the past few years
conditions have been ideal for dealmaking. Financing has been
cheap, thanks to record low interest rates. Balance sheets have
been strong, as companies hunkered down in the aftermath of the
2008-2009 financial crisis. The U.S. economy has come out of
recession, but growth is still slow.

So every year, bankers have been predicting the return of
corporate M&A in a big way. It has not really happened, though,
because an essential ingredient in large, transformative
transactions has been missing: CEO confidence. That’s no longer
a problem, say bankers and executives who see merger mania
gripping corporate America again after a six-year hiatus.

May 9, 2014

Apple close to buying Beats for $3.2 bln -source

SAN FRANCISCO, May 8 (Reuters) – Apple Inc is close
to paying a record $3.2 billion for Beats Electronics, two
people with knowledge of the matter said, an expensive foray
into music streaming and headphone gear that would mark a
departure for the usually cash-conservative iPhone maker.

Both companies are hashing out details and the envisioned
deal could still fall through, one person told Reuters on
condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

Apr 15, 2014

Exclusive: Turmoil at Symantec luring activists, buyers – sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The abrupt firing of Symantec Corp Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett last month is attracting activist investors and private equity firms to the U.S. security software maker, in a development that could potentially lead to its breakup or sale, sources familiar with the situation said.

Activist investors, including ValueAct Capital, are examining the company’s prospects and may decide to build up stakes to agitate for change, the sources said. ValueAct declined to comment.

Apr 15, 2014

Turmoil at Symantec luring activists, buyers -sources

NEW YORK, April 15 (Reuters) – The abrupt firing of Symantec
Corp Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett last month
is attracting activist investors and private equity firms to the
U.S. security software maker, in a development that could
potentially lead to its breakup or sale, sources familiar with
the situation said.

Activist investors, including ValueAct Capital, are
examining the company’s prospects and may decide to build up
stakes to agitate for change, the sources said. ValueAct
declined to comment.

Apr 8, 2014

Exclusive: Apax seeks Advantage Sales buyer for more than $3 billion – sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Private equity firm Apax Partners LLP is exploring a sale of Advantage Sales & Marketing Inc (ASM) that could value the consumer marketing solutions provider at between $3 billion and $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apax is working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on an auction of ASM, which involves a small number of other private equity firms, the people said this week.

Mar 5, 2014

EBay CEO says top shareholders agree PayPal should stay put

NEW YORK (Reuters) – EBay Inc CEO John Donahoe said on Wednesday that several of the online retailer’s most active shareholders have assured him they support his efforts to resist demands by activist investor Carl Icahn for a spin-off of the PayPal unit.

Donahoe told Reuters on Wednesday he has spoken with as many as 16 of the 20 most-active shareholders in eBay, and most favored hanging on to the fast-growing PayPal payments unit. He did not say what percentage of the company’s shares were held by the investors who agreed with his resistance to Icahn.

Feb 24, 2014

Icahn, eBay trade accusations as fight escalates

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn accused eBay Inc Chief Executive John Donahoe of failing to spot – or ignoring – conflicts of interest on the company’s board and called again for the spinoff of its fast-growing PayPal payments business.

Icahn, who also disclosed a 2.15 percent stake in the e-commerce giant on Monday, said in a letter to shareholders that two long-time board members, Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook, had business interests that directly competed with eBay.

Feb 24, 2014

Icahn accuses eBay board members of conflicts of interest

Feb 24 (Reuters) – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn accused
eBay Inc Chief Executive John Donahoe of failing to
spot – or ignoring – conflicts of interest on the company’s
board and called again for the spinoff of its fast-growing
PayPal division.

Icahn, who also disclosed a 2.15 percent stake in the
e-commerce giant, said in a letter to eBay shareholders on
Monday that he had found “multiple lapses in corporate
governance” that “could put the future of the company in peril.”