GE’s inorganic growth

July 24, 2008
GE | GM | Tribune

General Electric’s Jeffrey R. Immelt in a file photo.General Electric has bulked up on its health binge, moving to buy medical device maker Vital Signs for $860 million. Vital Signs shareholders are to get $74.50 per share in cash, a 28.4 percent premium to Wednesday’s closing price, and above the shares’ 52-week high of $61.20, reached on May 9. GE said the deal, which it expects to close in the fourth quarter, values Vital Signs at $860 million, net of cash and investments. It said that shareholders with a 37 percent stake in Vital Signs have agreed to vote in favor of the deal.

Chinese pickup truck maker Hebei Zhongxing Automobile Co is in talks with General Motors and major Chinese automaker FAW Group to explore opportunities for cooperation, including possible equity ties, a source close to the situation said. “Consolidation is inevitable in the Chinese auto market, which now has more than 100 players, and a company of Zhongxing’s size makes a good takeover target or joint venture partner,” the source told Reuters. “Zhongxing is holding talks with several potential partners including FAW and GM to seek cooperative opportunities, including possible equity ties, but nothing has been decided at the moment,” a source said.

Tribune has narrowed the potential list of bidders for the storied Chicago Cubs baseball team to 3-5 groups bidding $1 billion or more, according to sources briefed on the matter. Of the 10 groups approved to bid for the Cubs by Major League Baseball, only those that bid $1 billion or more for the team, its home ballpark Wrigley Field and a stake in a regional sports TV network advanced to the next round, said two sources, who asked not to be identified because the process is ongoing. While Tribune and baseball officials declined to comment, three sources said Internet billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association Dallas Mavericks; and a publicly held group led by New York City taxi tycoon Andrew Murstein were among those advancing. Others advancing included Tom Ricketts, chief executive of Incapital LLC, a Chicago securities and investment banking firm, and son of the founder of TD Ameritrade; and a group headed by Michael Tokarz, chairman of MVC Capital, one of the sources said. The Tokarz group includes Fred Malek, who previously bid on the baseball team in Washington.

Other deals of the day:

* The head of state-run Korea Development Bank said it would resume the delayed sale of Daewoo Shipbuilding in August, possibly wrapping up the $4 billion deal by end-2008.

* South Korea’s Hana Financial Group, the country’s No.4 banking group, said its banking unit would invest 329.6 billion won ($327 million) to take a 19.7 percent stake in the Bank of Jilin in China.

* Malaysia’s Maybank is set to buy another 5 percent of Pakistan’s MCB Bank as early as next month, in a deal estimated at $218 million, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

* Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of top chipmaker Intel Corp, said it would pump $17 million into three Indian companies, comprising two Internet portals and one advertising firm.

* Mapletree Investments, a property firm owned by Singapore state investor Temasek, said it will support a rights issue by Mapletree Logistics Trust by buying units not taken up by other investors.

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