InBev’s slammer

July 9, 2008

A police officer walks past the Chancery courthouse in Georgetown Delaware.InBev, seeking to avoid a lengthy courtroom battle in its takeover attempt of Anheuser-Busch, has asked a court to make a summary judgment on its suit over the removal of all 13 Anheuser board directors. Inbev had previously filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to confirm the right of Anheuser shareholders to remove the entire board without cause, and Anheuser has said it would challenge InBev’s claim. The court of public opinion may move more slowly than the one in Delaware in this case, as politicians weigh in about the potential tragedy of Budweiser becoming a little less American if the Dutch Belgian brewer’s $46.3 billion offer wins.

WPP Group, the world’s second-largest advertising company, made a hostile 1.08 billion pound ($2.13 billion) bid for Britain’s Taylor Nelson Sofres, challenging its agreed merger with GfK Holdings. TNS is the world’s third-biggest market research company with clients such as Procter & Gamble. The WPP offer has a significant amount of cash, so the lack of a premium to current prices may not bother TNS shareholders wanting to reduce exposure to the advertising environment, with the pervading frosty economic conditions. A source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Wednesday that Germany’s GfK was considering making a counter-offer for TNS with a co-investor to head off the WPP bid and safeguard its own deal.

Other deals of the day:

* Huron Consulting said it bought management consulting firm Stockamp & Associates for about $219 million in a cash and stock deal to expand its footprint in the hospital consulting space.

* Chinese logistics giant Sinotrans has agreed to merge with China Yangtze Transportation, the listed units of the two companies said.

* Belgian-Dutch financial services group Fortis said on Wednesday it had sold former ABN AMRO unit International Asset Management as part of a strategy to bolster its balance sheet.

* Suez Tractebel, part of France’s Suez Energy International, plans to sell its 32.8 percent stake in Oman’s United Power before next March at the government’s behest, a company official said.

* Russian electricity holding Integrated Energy System plans to raise up to $1 billion selling off non-core assets, the head of the company told reporters late on Tuesday.

* Polish media group Agora plans to take over news channel Superstacja to secure a foothold on the local television market, daily Rzeczpospolita reported on Wednesday, without citing sources.

* KPIT Cummins Infosystems said it has bought the mechanical design services of Harita TVS Technologies for an undisclosed sum.

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