DealZone Daily

December 23, 2009

Wednesday’s highlights:

Ford Motor Co (F.N) and China’s Geely are set to report progress as soon as Wednesday in talks to sell Ford’s Volvo unit to the Chinese automaker, two people with direct knowledge of the matter say.

Spyker Cars presses ahead with efforts to cut a deal for Saab with General Motors, with talk of possible backing from a Dutch billionaire fanning the Swedish carmaker’s faint hopes of an eleventh-hour reprieve.

Chinese Internet firms are eyeing more spin-off offerings after raising nearly $1.5 billion this year as they bank on strong foreign interest in high growth China plays.

Australia’s Macquarie agrees to acquire the derivatives business of private bank Sal. Oppenheim as a way to boost its presence in Europe, the companies say. Neither gives financial terms, but one source close to the matter said the deal valued the business — which focuses on equity derivatives and structured products — in the double-digit million euro range.

For more on these stories and the rest of the latest deal-related news from Reuters, click here.

And elsewhere:

German biotech firm Morphosys (MORG.DE), which supplies research services to drug majors, is looking for takeover targets to expand its range of experimental drugs, Chief Executive Simon Moroney tells a German newspaper. Reuters story here.

Waste management group Shanks has refused to open its books to Carlyle, its private equity suitor, until the new year after the US buy-out house refused to increase its 135p-a-share cash offer, according to the Daily Telegraph.

A group of institutional investors led by U.S. private-equity firm First Reserve Corp. is set to announce a roughly $2.2 billion cash infusion into Glencore International AG, the WSJ says,  in a move that could be a precursor to an initial public offering of stock for the closely held Swiss natural-resources trading giant.

It’s been a long time in coming, but early 2010 should see the final consummation of the Novartis AG’s deal to buy Alcon, the eyecare company. As the WSJ explains, under that deal, announced in 2008, Novartis initially bought 25% of Alcon from Nestle for $11 billion. In the second step — which could happen starting January 1 — Novartis has the right to buy another 52% for roughly $28 billion.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is considering selling parts of its estimated GBP15 million art collection, when the art market improves, as pressure mounts on state-owned banks to dispose of non-core assets, says Financial News (link via the WSJ). The collection of the bank, which is majority-owned bank by the U.K. government, comprises works by artists LS Lowry, Anne Redpath, Jack Vettriano, Patrick Caulfield and Peter Howson.

And Clusterstock says it has found “pretty much the perfect metaphor for 2009: Darth Vader ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange surrounded by a goon squad of Storm Troopers.”

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