DealZone

Deals wrap: Investors willing to overlook LinkedIn’s risks

LinkedIn’s IPO, which is expected to price after the close of U.S. markets on Wednesday and start trading on Thursday, appears set to be a stunning success, but it carries a number of risks that may shake up investors in the future.

Potential risks include LinkedIn’s gutsy bet on future growth, an admission that it does not expect to be profitable in 2011 and the prospect of having its site blocked, which would limit its user base and could curtail some of the potential growth so attractive to investors.

After two years of losses, LinkedIn finally made money for its common stockholders in 2010 — but then it was back to only breaking even in the first quarter of 2011. A profitable company flatlining or swinging to a loss in its first year as a publicly traded stock could prove an unwelcome surprise for investors betting on the booming growth of social media companies.

On Seeking Alpha, IPO Candy says LinkedIn’s growth, positioning and financial performance in large part justifies their stocks filing range. But unless their future execution surpasses recent performances, investors will not see expected returns.

Takeda Pharmaceutical will announce the $12 billion purchase of closely held Swiss rival Nycomed later today as it seeks to expand in Europe and emerging markets.

Deals wrap: LinkedIn boosts IPO, pushes more air into bubble

LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, boosted the pricing of its initial public offering by 30 percent valuing the 9-year old company at a little over $4 billion, or about 17 times their 2010 revenue.

LinkedIn’s IPO, which is scheduled for Thursday, comes on the heels of what appears to be an unsuccessful offering Renren.

Earlier this month Renren, one of the biggest social networking sites in China, stock surged 29 percent in their debut but it has since dropped to below its IPO price.

Deals wrap: Nasdaq, ICE drop NYSE bid

Nasdaq OMX and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) dropped their $11.1 billion bid for rival exchange NYSE Euronext after it became clear the deal would not gain approval from U.S. antitrust regulators. The companies first offered to buy the New York Stock Exchange parent on April 1, aiming to curb a proposed friendly merger with Deutsche Boerse that was worth $10.2 billion when first announced in February. Deutsche Boerse responded to the news of the dropped bid by saying it plans to continue to pursue a merger with the Big Board parent.

In other exchange merger news, a consortium of Canadian banks and pension funds launched a $3.7 billion bid for TMX Group in the hopes of keeping Canada’s largest stock exchange from falling under foreign ownership. The bid tops a $3 billion offer for the exchange operator from the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The LSE said it remains committed to its own merger proposal with the TMX despite the higher rival offer, but should its bid fail it could find itself to be a takeover target, analysts said.

U.S. chemicals group DuPont won its takeover battle for Danish food ingredients company Danisco. The $6.4 billion acquisition is a part of DuPont’s push into the food technology business that CEO Ellen Kullman says will “create an industry leader in industrial biosciences and nutrition and health.”

Deals wrap: Big appetite for Glencore’s IPO

Commodities trader Glencore will close the books for its planned $11 billion initial public offering a day ahead of schedule, underscoring strong investor demand for its shares despite volatile commodity markets. A source told Reuters on Friday the offer was already “multiple times covered” across the price range, but part of that success is due to the relatively small stake in the company being placed with funds and to Glencore’s size, which makes it a must-buy for many.

Takeda, Japan’s largest drugmaker, said on Friday it has not agreed to  buy Swiss rival Nycomed, following reports it was in talks to buy the privately held company for more than $12 billion. “Takeda is constantly seeking and evaluating opportunities to increase shareholder value and enhance our business through strategic investment; however, there is nothing that needs to be announced at this point,” Takeda said on its website.

Yum Brands is adding Chinese hot pot to its menu of fast-food restaurants with an offer to buy out China’s Little Sheep for $586 million, paying a premium to introduce the popular chain to a global audience and sending the restaurant’s shares to a record. Analysts said the deal was positive for both Yum Brands, the parent of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, as it expands in China and for Little Sheep, which has more than 300 restaurants, primarily in China, as it would help save costs.

Deals wrap: Takeda offers $12 billion for rival Nycomed

Takeda Pharmaceutical is in talks to buy privately-held Swiss rival Nycomed for more than $12 billion, said sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Japan’s largest drugmaker is seeking to boost its presence in Europe and emerging markets, as well, the acquisition would help them gain a lung disease drug from Nycomed which has just been approved in the U.S. Japanese drugmakers have been actively pursuing acquisitions to boost growth as they face the loss of patent protection on key medicines.

A planned rescue deal involving Saab and China’s Hawtai Motor Group collapsed after it failed to get necessary approvals, leaving Saab’s owner, Spyker, chasing new funding alternatives to restart production at the Swedish automaker. Spyker said it was continuing talks with Hawtai, while a Reuters exclusive reported the Dutch sportscar-maker was also talking to another Chinese company, Great Wall Motor about a possible tie-up.

Glencore’s CEO Ivan Glasenberg said recent falls in commodity prices were due to “froth” in the market and had not affected strong demand for the company’s IPO. Commodity price volatility in the past week has prompted worries over Glencore’s planned $11 billion IPO, with fund managers sensing an opportunity to drive down prices. The commodities giant recently unveiled the prospectus for their IPO, detailing plans to raise funds in a dual listing in London and Hong Kong.

Deals wrap: AIG’s $9 billion stock offer less than half of what was expected

American International Group and the Treasury will sell nearly $9 billion in stock as the bailed-out insurer begins its return to public control. This offering is less than half of what had been expected when Wall Street banks offered their services to manage the stock sale in January. The company was rescued in September 2008, receiving $182 billion in bailouts and managed to restructure while preserving two core businesses. At the time, few expected AIG would even exist today.

Professional networking service website LinkedIn is looking to go public, a move that could value the company at more than $3 billion. In this article, NYT’s Steven M. Davidoff explains why certain plans LinkedIn has for its IPO would “not only disenfranchise its future shareholders, but contains elements that have been heavily criticized by corporate governance advocates.”

The impact of AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile on competition, pricing and consumer choice will be examined at a congressional hearing, where top executives are scheduled to appear to defend the deal. A successful merger would concentrate 80 percent of U.S. wireless contract customers in just two companies — AT&T/T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Deals wrap: Microsoft acquires Skype for $8.5 billion

Microsoft plans to buy internet telephone network Skype for $8.5 billion, the biggest purchase ever for the world’s largest software company as it seeks to regain ground on growing rivals. The money-losing Skype has 145 million users on average each month and has gained favor among small business users. The deal would also give Microsoft a foothold in the potentially lucrative video-conferencing market. Skype, which is minority owned by eBay, allows people to make calls at no charge but also offers some paid features.

This article in the Guardian by Graeme Wearden asked telecoms analysts what they think about the Microsoft-Skype deal.

Reuters columnist Felix Salmon gives his opinion on how being public eases acquisitions for companies, using the Microsoft-Skype deal and Facebook’s earlier interest in Skype as an example. Salmon writes that had Facebook been public, it could have snapped up Skype itself instead of having Microsoft buy it to keep it out of Google’s hands.

Deals wrap: Hertz tries to pass Avis in bid for Dollar Thrifty

Hertz Global Holdings is back in the market for smaller car rental firm Dollar Thrifty, offering close to $2.1 billion, taking advantage of rival Avis Budget’s problems getting regulatory clearance for a rival bid. Hertz first bid for Dollar Thrifty in April, 2010, but following a bidding war with Avis, the Hertz offer was voted down by Dollar Thrifty shareholders in September.

Volkswagen made a long-awaited bid for MAN, valuing it at $20 billion and stepping up plans to merge the German truckmaker with Swedish rival Scania in which it also holds a controlling stake. Europe’s largest carmaker made the offer, which is less than the stock was trading for last week, after it increased its stake above 30 percent, requiring a mandatory bid for the remaining shares under German rules. Volkswagen has been toying with plans to create Europe’s biggest truckmaker by merging MAN with Scania.

The New York Times DealBook profiles newly crowned department store prince Richard A. Baker. Just before the recession, Baker bought the Lord & Taylor and Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company chains and most people expected the private equity dealmaker to lose his shirt. But Baker has proved the naysayers wrong.

Deals wrap: Blavatnik’s Access Industries wins bid for Warner Music

The headquarters of Warner Music Group is pictured in Burbank, California August 5, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries has won control of Warner Music Group with an offer of $8.25 a share, according to a source familiar with the matter. The agreement would set the world’s third-largest music company’s enterprise value at approximately $3.3 billion.

The NYTimes’s Ben Protess shines a light on Len Blavatnik, chairman of Access Industries and the new controlling stakeholder of Warner Music Group. Well-known for his investing prowess, he came to America as a penniless teenager and after building a fortune on oil and metal companies, he’s worth roughly $10 billion.

Deals wrap: Facebook, Google dueling suitors for Skype

Internet giants Facebook and Google are separately considering a tie-up with Skype after the Web video conferencing service delayed its initial public offering, two sources with direct knowledge told Reuters. A Skype deal could be valued at $3 billion to $4 billion, according to one of the sources.

Swiss commodity trader Glencore’s planned $11 billion listing was fully covered on its first day as investors rushed to take part in the mega-float, two sources close to the deal said on Thursday. Investors placed orders for all the shares on offer, including a 10 percent overallotment option, sources said, adding it was too soon to say where in the indicated 480-580 pence ($0.79-0.95) range the shares would be priced.

Warner Music Group could reach a deal to sell itself as soon as close of business on Thursday when the board meets to make a final decision, according to two sources. The world’s third largest music company is expected to be sold for over $3 billion and leading the bidding is Russian-American industrialist Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.