Deals wrap: AOL still eying Yahoo deal?

November 9, 2010

AOL Inc has tapped Bank of America to explore strategic options including a potential Yahoo Inc merger, according to people familiar with the matter. The idea of combining AOL with Yahoo is still considered in an early stage and may not materialize into a deal, the sources said.

“First of all, Yahoo has to be approached and this is nowhere close to that point,” said one of the sources.

China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, has reportedly been approached by a group of private equity investors to gauge its interest in joining a bid to buy Yahoo. Alibaba is 40 percent held by Yahoo and it was unclear if the bid attempt was part of the AOL deal.

Chevron Corp agreed to buy U.S. natural gas producer Atlas Energy for $3.2 billion, excluding debt, becoming the latest energy giant to break into the lucrative Marcellus shale field. Chevron’s move into the Marcellus follows acquisitions by Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell  earlier this year.

Sanofi Aventis CEO Christopher Viebacher and Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer have exchanged letters over Sanofi’s $18.5 billion hostile takeover bid for Genzyme. M & A Law Prof Blog editor Brian JM Quinn says Viebacher is attempting to assert pressure on his counterpart to do the deal by appealing to Termeer’s “fiduciary duties as a director of a MA (Massachusetts) company.” In related news, the vice chairman of investment advisory firm Peter J. Solomon, Frederick Frank, said “Genzyme is history.”

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