“Our top story tonight”

April 8, 2008

Chevy ChaseThe dearth of deal news on Tuesday reminded us here at DealZone of Chevy Chase’s immortal Weekend Update newscasts updating viewers on the death of Spanish dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco. So we dug up this picture and this link (U.S. only) to a truly classic bit of video.

Most of what is happening is what is not happening. Chief Executive John Thain reiterated in Tokyo that Merrill Lynch still does not plan to raise more capital and will continue to shrink its balance sheet amid the global credit crunch.

Signs of slowing global growth have done nothing to dampen Rio Tinto‘s antipathy towards BHP’s hostile $135 billion all-stock takeover bid (booming China will save them, says CEO Tom Albanese).

And Alitalia is no closer to salvation. The troubled airline called off a meeting with its unions, a source said, a week after Air-France KLM broke off merger negotiations because of union problems.

Deals of the day:
* Icelandic investment company Baugur said it was selling its media, technology and financial investments for 430 million pounds ($855 million) and would use the proceeds to build up its retail businesses. Baugur owns British chains Karen Millen and House of Fraser. Baugur sold its property portfolio to FL Group in December for about $870 million in stock. At the time it said it might join with Dubai-owned Landmark Group to bid for luxury department store Saks Inc.
* U.S. pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions said it will pay about $120 million to acquire a majority interest in Europa Apotheek Venlo, a privately held company providing clinical health care and mail-order pharmacy services in Germany.
* Ideal Shopping Direct said it is no longer engaged in any discussions regarding a potential offer for the company. It said the interested party did not make a proposal at a level that the board of IDS believes would be acceptable to its shareholders.
* Opto Circuits (India) said it acquired a majority stake in US-based Criticare Systems Inc. In February, the firm had agreed to buy the U.S. firm for about $70 million.
* Italian drinks company Gruppo Campari, owner of Skyy Vodka, would consider buying any brands from Absolut vodka maker Vin & Sprit that the Swedish company’s new owner, Pernod Ricard, might put up for sale, its chief executive officer said.
* Plains All American Pipeline said it has agreed to buy the Rainbow Pipe Line, a key oil line in northern Alberta for C$540 million ($534 million), adding to its Canadian assets.
* Gerald Catenacci disclosed a 5.73 percent passive stake in specialty book seller Borders Group, which is considering selling itself.

(Photo: NBC)

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