Deals wrap: Wanna buy an Irish bank?

November 23, 2010

Ireland’s banks are up for sale, the country’s central bank chief said, as the government seeks to cut them down in size after their reckless lending forced the country to seek an international bailout.

Shares in Bank of Ireland tumbled 29 percent and Allied Irish Banks lost 17 percent as shareholders face dilution from more capital injections, that could see AIB effectively nationalized.

Fortune’s Dan Primack observes how Republican Senator John McCain once used Ireland’s low corporate tax rate as a fiscal beacon, during his presidential run against Barack Obama. “Ireland considers the corporate tax rate to be a cornerstone of its economic well-being, but today that’s like saying that the Vikings consider Brett Favre to be a cornerstone of this year’s Super Bowl hopes,” writes Primack.

While the Irish economy is crashing, it’s Norwegian friends to the east are preparing for the country’s biggest IPO in nearly a decade. Mutually owned insurer Gjensidige launched a long-awaited initial public offering on Tuesday that could value it around $5 billion, making it the biggest in Norway since oil company Statoil floated in 2001.

In the U.S., GM’s IPO keeps trucking along with the news that Saudi investment firm Kingdom Holding and its Chairman Prince Alwaleed purchased $500 million in GM shares, representing about 1 percent of the value of the company. The GM offering raised $20.1 billion and ranks as the largest IPO in U.S. history.

Pipeline company Kinder Morgan Inc, which was taken private in a $14.6 billion management buyout in 2007, said on Tuesday that its parent had filed with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering of up to $1.5 billion.

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