Deals wrap: Another potash miner in play?

March 11, 2011

The $1.2 billion sale by Swiss German chemical company BASF of its stake in K+S could trigger a battle amongst global mining giants for the German potash miner.

BASF sold its roughly 10 percent stake in the company as part of a shift away from the nitrogen fertilizer business in the face of competition from lower-cost producers in the Middle East. If Russian fertilizer company EuroChem sells its own K+S stake of 14% it could push the German miner into play, with majors such as BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto amongst the potential buyers.

The lagging economic recovery has made discount stores an attractive destination for pinched consumers and big investors alike. The Schiffer-Gold family, which currently owns 33% of 99 Cents Only Storesis teaming up with buyout firm Leonard Green and Partners in a $1.34 billion bid to take the retailer private.

Leonard Green has embarked on a retail acquisition spree, having recently pitched up billion-dollar offers for J.Crew and craft products retailer Jo-Ann Stores.

Sources tell Reuters that Bain Capital is on the verge of completing the biggest private equity purchase of a company in Japanese history by buying the restaurant chain Skylark Co. from Nomura Holdings.

And finally, according to unpublished diplomatic cables, U.S. officials believe China’s insurance regulators passed on sensitive information about then-collapsing AIG to Chinese rivals to convince them to buy the troubled assets.

(Corrected to clarify where BASF is headquartered)

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