M & A wrap: Facebook’s revenue hits $1.6 billion in H1

Facebook’s revenue rose to $1.6 billion in 2011′s first half, a source with knowledge of its financials told Reuters.

Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock fired CEO Carol Bartz over the phone on Tuesday, ending a tumultuous tenure marked by stagnation and a rift with Chinese partner Alibaba.

Yahoo’s new CEO should keep the strategy of Bartz in resisting attempts by Alibaba to end their venture, Bloomberg reports.

“With the Yahoo board firing Bartz as chief executive, the the onetime Internet giant’s already clouded future just got murkier — and might make it a takeover target once more,” reports DealBook.

Former BP boss Tony Hayward has returned to the oil business with an agreement to acquire Turkish explorer Genel Energy via a reverse takeover to create a Kurdistan-focused group worth $4 billion.

M & A wrap: Carlyle steps up

Carlyle Group filed for a $100 million offering for its common units, making it the latest private equity group to list on public markets.

It’s been a rough summer for U.S. initial public offerings after the stock market nosedived, but tech issues could see strong demand after bankers and fund managers return from vacation in September, reports Clare Baldwin.

International Paper won its bid for rival packaging producer Temple Inland. The company raised its bid 5 percent to $32 per share, roughly $3.7 billion, to convince a skeptical Temple board.

M & A wrap: How will AT&T respond?

AT&T is expected to soon present a proposed solution to antitrust regulators to salvage its planned $39 billion acquisition of smaller rival T-Mobile USA, according to people close to the matter. The company misread the Justice Department’s signals on the T-Mobile deal, reports Bloomberg.

AT&T is overlooking its best argument for the T-Mobile merger, reports Fortune.

August was a rotten month for stocks and it wasn’t much kinder to some of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers, early returns show.

AIG’s airplane leasing arm filed for an initial public offering, the last big asset sale by the bailed-out insurance giant to pay back the U.S. government.

M & A wrap: AT&T goes to court

The Justice Department made a bold move when it sued to block AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. Now comes the hard part, reports Carlyn Kolker and Diane Bartz.

“The lawsuit seeking to block AT&T Inc.’s takeover of T-Mobile USA Inc. shows a more aggressive antitrust stance by the U.S. Justice Department that limits prospects for other big telecommunications deals,”  Bloomberg reports.

Consumers still lose if AT&T can’t by T-Mobile, writes Dan Frommer.

It’s a good day for the American consumer, not to mention a great day for Sprint and Verizon, writes columnist Felix Salmon.

from Felix Salmon:

Justice makes the right decision on AT&T

The Justice Department's official complaint seeking to stop AT&T from taking over T-Mobile minces no words:

T-Mobile in particular - a company with a self-described "challenger brand," that historically has been a value provider, and that even within the past few months had been developing and deploying "disruptive pricing" plans - places important competitive pressure on its three larger rivals, particularly in terms of pricing, a critically important aspect of competition... unless this acquisition is enjoined, customers of mobile wireless telecommunications services likely will face higher prices, less product variety and innovation, and poorer quality services due to reduced incentives to invest than would exist absent the merger. Because AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile likely would substantially lessen competition in violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 18, the Court should permanently enjoin this acquisition.

One thing which fascinates me is the way in which neither the complaint nor the press release makes any mention of the fact that the proposed deal would give the merged company substantially all of the market in GSM cellphones -- the only ones which work in most of the rest of the world. Americans who travel internationally pretty much have to get their cellphone service from one of these two providers -- and they're highly sensitive to exorbitant international roaming fees. Which would almost certainly go up in the event of this merger.

M & A wrap: Finding more perks to Google’s latest buy

Google’s blockbuster acquisition of Motorola Mobility will bring an unusual stable of tax and accounting benefits to the search-engine giant, already one of Corporate America’s most savvy users of such perks.

Japan’s Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi will merge their liquid-crystal display operations using $2.6 billion of government-backed funds to fend off growing competition from rivals in South Korea and Taiwan. Here’s the press release.

“Amid rocky markets this month, IPOs failed at a pace reminiscent of the tech-bubble hangover,” reports the WSJ.

from Felix Salmon:

Will AOL go private?

Some companies are in growth businesses; the stock market, as a rule, tends to love them. Other companies are in an inexorable secular decline; they tend to get punished by equity investors. There's a good reason for that: stock-market investors are looking for stocks which go up over time, rather than stocks which are going to zero while paying out as much in dividends as they can along the way.

If you want an example of a business which is in a certain secular decline, it's hard to come up with a better one than AOL's hugely profitable dial-up business. And so it makes a lot of sense that, as Claire Atkinson reports today, AOL is looking at the idea of going private -- perhaps with a sale to KKR. This is not a particularly revolutionary idea: Jonathan Berr has pushed it, and Bloomberg called it AOL's "last, best hope". AOL is on the record as having hired the most high-powered M&A advisors in the world; they're no idiots, and only idiots wouldn't look at a buy-out option for a company trading at a significant discount to its book value.

If I were a potential private-equity buyer, though, I'd do a sum-of-the-parts analysis and rapidly come to the conclusion that Tim Armstrong's strategy is too much risk for too little potential reward. Take AOL, and sell off the non-core assets -- things like Moviefone, MapQuest, AIM, and What's left? The AOL/HuffPo traffic-and-content monster, on the one hand, and the dial-up business, on the other. Armstrong's idea is that you use the cashflows from the latter to beef up the former, so that when the dial-up revenue eventually disappears, the dial-up caterpillar has transformed itself into a glorious web-publishing butterfly. (Sorry, MSN.)

M & A wrap: Lehman plan offers 20 cents on the dollar

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. will ask a bankruptcy judge to let creditors vote on its $65 billion payout plan, a key step toward ending the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Construction Bank rose more than four percent after Bank of America said it will sell about half of its stake in the Chinese lender, providing relief to investors by removing uncertainty surrounding the stake.

Facing limited domestic growth options because of their inability to merge, Canadian banks are finding opportunity to build domestic market share in the troubles of capital-challenged European and U.S. banks.

M & A wrap: Backing away from CCB stake

Bank of America Corp is selling about half its stake of China Construction Bank to a group of investors for $8.3 billion in cash, the bank said.

Greece’s Alpha and EFG Eurobank sealed a mega merger, with the help of Qatar, that is expected to trigger more deals to shore up banks battered by a severe debt crisis and recession.

Zynga, the social games maker may delay its plans for an initial public offering until November because of poor market conditions, the New York Post newspaper reported late on Sunday.

M&A wrap: Buffett trades off his reputation

Warren Buffett showed again that his name and money is enough to give a struggling company instant credibility in the market. But the legendary investor also demonstrated his canny command of that reputation means that deals such as the $5 billion investment in Bank of America can immediately generate profits.

Anglo-Irish bank has chosen preferred bidders for its $9.5 billion U.S. commercial real estate loan portfolio and aims to have completed that sale, the largest in the United States in recent years, before the end of the year.

Glencore, the world’s largest commodities trader, stood on the verge of its largest takeover bid since its May stock market listing, after South Africa’s Optimum Coal confirmed it had received approaches.