DealZone Daily

March 31, 2010

Wednesday’s top stories:

* Australia’s Macarthur Coal rejects a A$3.3 billion ($3 billion) takeover offer from U.S. coal miner Peabody Energy , saying it does not fully value the company and its growth prospects.

* As the number of poison pills, or shareholder rights plans, drops to the lowest level in a generation, corporations face investor pressure against renewing broad takeover defenses but feel a duty to have weapons at the ready to fight off bad offers.

* Ireland hits its banks with a hefty penalty to take loans off their hands and says they need at least 22 billion euros ($30 billion) in extra funds to recover from a property collapse that was worse than feared. AIB says it will sell assets in Poland, Britain and the United States.

* Samsung Life Insurance Co Ltd, South Korea’s top life insurer, seeks to raise up to around 5.1 trillion won ($4.5 billion) in the country’s biggest IPO and second largest offering in Asia so far this year, sources say.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd clinches a deal to buy most of the African operations of Kuwait’s Zain for $9 billion, making it the No.2 cellular company on the African continent and setting India’s biggest carrier a tough financial and management challenge.

* Buyout firm TPG is in exclusive talks with Oaktree Capital to buy German packaging firm Nordenia International, people familiar with the process tell Reuters, as another so-called “secondary buyout” edges to a conclusion.

* Major investors in Forth Ports Plc (FPT.L) have backed its decision to reject an approach from a trio of shareholders and hold out for a higher bid.

* Terra Firma has restarted talks to license the North American rights for its struggling EMI Music unit to Universal Music Group for a fee estimated around $300 million over five years, a person familiar with the talks says.

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

And elsewhere on the web (some external links may require subscriptions):

* Indian conglomerate Essar Group will decide by June whether to move forward to buy three European oil refineries from Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) as part of its global expansion plan, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing Essar’s chief executive.

* Russian companies are eyeing a stake in France’s Altis Semiconductor in what could be a step towards diversifying and modernising an oil-dependent economy, Vedomosti business daily reports. Reuters story here.

* Redwood Trust Inc (RWT.N) is looking to float at least $200 million worth of securities backed by home mortgage loans, the Wall Street Journal says, citing people familiar with the situation.

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