DealZone

Deals wrap: A Blockbuster deal for Dish?

A Blockbuster movie rental store is seen in Golden, Colorado September 16, 2009. REUTERS/Rick WilkingActivist investor Carl Icahn may have shown up in person at Blockbuster’s bankruptcy auction to place his bid, but it was U.S. satellite TV provider Dish Network that walked away the winner.

Dish, led by satellite billionaire Charlie Ergen, won the assets of the once-mighty video rental chain for about $320 million, beating out Icahn and at least two other bidders in an auction that lasted into the early morning hours on Wednesday.

NYSE Euronext will “absolutely not” be placing a counterbid for Nasdaq OMX, a source close to the Big Board told Reuters corresondent Paritosh Bansal in an exclusive interview. The source said such a combination would be strategically unattractive and face “insurmountable antitrust problems.”

Embattled clothing retailer American Apparel is exploring a possible sale as it grapples with a lagging share price and persistent financial problems, sources close to the matter told peHUB.

Private equity-backed deals drove the U.S. market for initial public offering in the first quarter of 2011 and look set to continue doing so for the rest of the year, bankers told Reuters at the Global M&A Summit in New York.

Deals wrap: Singapore Exchange’s ASX bid in trouble

Singapore Exchange (SGX) Chief Executive Officer Magnus Bocker (R) talks as Australia's ASX Ltd Managing Director and CEO Robert Elstone listens during a media briefing in central Sydney October 25, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz Consolidation in the Asian exchanges industry hit a roadblock on Tuesday when Australia said it intends to reject Singapore Exchange’s proposed $7.8 billion bid for Australia’s ASX on “national interest” grounds.

Although a final decision has yet to be made, share moves hinted that the market doubts the deal can be salvaged. All eyes will now be on other major exchange deals awaiting approval from regulators and politicians.

Texas Instruments is buying National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, paying a hefty 78 percent premium to merge two of the industry’s oldest firms into a dominant force in analog microchips.

Deals wrap: Dealmakers play it safe

USA/Bankers taking part in the Reuters Global M&A Summit this week told correspondents Quentin Webb and Victoria Howley that despite a recent pickup in global dealmaking, economic fragility, natural disaster and political tumult in the Middle East are hurting corporate confidence and holding back a more robust M&A recovery.

“A new guard of private equity bosses has emerged at the top of the industry, striving to make their business more open before investors and policy makers, and alter preconceptions of this at times secretive industry,” writes Reuters private equity reporter Simon Meads.

Pfizer said it struck a deal to sell its Capsugel unit, the world’s largest maker of hard capsules, to private equity firm KKR & Co for nearly $2.38 billion.

Deals wrap: Nasdaq triumphant?

Trading specialists glance at each other as they prepare to leave the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 26, 2009.  REUTERS/Chip East Nasdaq OMX and IntercontinentalExchange unveiled a rival bid to buy NYSE Euronext for about $11.3 billion in cash and stock, a 19 percent premium to the offer made by German competitor Deutsche Boerse. The move could raise new antitrust questions as it would combine the two largest U.S. stock exchanges. The new offer is valued at $42.50 per share, Nasdaq and IntercontinentalExchange said. The offer represents a 19 percent premium to NYSE’s closing price on Thursday and is 27 percent above the company’s valuation before Deutsche Boerse’s $10.2 billion bid in February. Analysts were skeptical about whether Deutsche Boerse would launch a counterbid.

Citigroup might be uncomfortable sitting on information needed to determine whether the onetime successor to Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett violated securities laws when he personally traded in shares of Lubrizol, which Berkshire acquired for $9 billion, but it doesn’t have to be damaging territory for Citi, writes Rob Cox.

No.1 concert promoter and ticketing company Live Nation Entertainment is in the running to buy the recorded music assets of Warner Music Group, the world’s third largest music company, according to a person familiar with the talks. Bids have come in valuing Warner Music Group at around $3 billion on an enterprise value basis, which includes both debt and equity.

Deals wrap: What now for Berkshire?

David Sokol, Chairman, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, and Chairman, President, and CEO of NetJets, speaks during the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference in Dana Point, California April 13, 2010. Reuters/Mario AnzuoniWarren Buffett’s reputation as someone who prides himself on his transparency and handpicks managers who can run businesses in a similar manner, took a blow when David Sokol, widely seen as Buffet’s successor at Berkshire Hathaway, resigned after buying shares in chemical company Lubrizol Corp before pushing Buffett to acquire it. Sokol said he did nothing wrong. Analysts said any impact on Berkshire Hathway will be short-term but acknowledged that Buffet’s brand was damaged.

Other Berkshire execs seen as possible successors to Buffett include Ajit Jain, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group chief, repeatedly praised by Buffett for his running of the insurance business;  Gregory Abel, MidAmerican Energy Holdings CEO, who Buffet called a “terrific manager” and part of a “dream team” at the Berkshire-owned utility; and Matthew Rose, Burlington Northern CEO, who joined Berkshire after selling the No. 2 U.S. railroad company to Buffett last year for $26.4 billion.

Warren Buffett’s hunt for a large acquisition could lead to targets like Eaton, Illinois Tool Works or Cliffs Natural Resources, all of which seem to fit his recent preference for growth in industries outside of his core insurance unit, writes Michael Erman and Ben Berkowitz.

Deals wrap: Swiss wealth managers targeted

A man uses his cellphone as he walks past a logo at the entrance of Swiss bank Julius Baer Group headquarters in Zurich October 6, 2008. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann The latest clampdown by German and U.S. authorities on tax-evading clients at banks such as Credit Suisse could make Swiss wealth management firms alluring takeover targets, bankers say. Swiss private banks have been intensifying their cleanup of untaxed assets in an effort to limit the attention of foreign authorities, reducing risk for potential acquirer, writes Martin de Sa’Pinto and Edward Taylor. Union Bancaire Privee, EFG and Julius Baer are seen as targets.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals said it was not interested in a bidding war for drugmaker Cephalon and was willing to walk away. But Chief Executive Michael Pearson also said Valeant may consider raising its offer if Cephalon opens up its books and the deal looks right. Shares of Cephalon surged more than 29 percent on Wednesday, above the $5.7 billion unsolicited offer from Valeant, in a sign investors are expecting a higher bid.

Conditions are better for a wave of U.S. bank mergers, with large deals that carry a price tag of $5 billion or more possible by the end of the year, a UBS AG investment banker said on Tuesday.

Deals wrap: GE to slow M&A warpath

General Electric Co Chairman & CEO Jeff Immelt talks to the media before speaking at the Detroit Economic Club in Birmingham, Michigan June 26, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca CookGeneral Electric continued on its M&A warpath with a $3.2 billion agreement to acquire France’s Coverteam, a maker of automation systems used in the oil and gas sector, marking the latest in a series of deals in the energy industry. But, after some $11 billion in acquisitions in the energy sector over the past six months, GE plans to slow its pace of dealmaking, a top executive said.

Rio Tinto said it would go ahead with its A$3.9 billion ($4 billion) takeover offer for Riversdale Mining even if it ended up with a minority stake in the Mozambique-focused coal miner.

Canada’s federal election could add a fresh element of uncertainty to the London Stock Exchange‘s proposed C$3 billion ($3.1 billion) takeover of TMX Group, a deal which was already seen as far from a sure thing, writes Cameron French.

Deals wrap: eBay’s $2.4 billion GSI buy

Visitors chat next to the Ebay logo at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz EBay said it plans to buy e-commerce company GSI Commerce, which owns Web businesses such as the flash site Rue La La and ShopRunner, for $2.4 billion. Ebay said it will offer shareholders of GSI $29.25 per share, a 51 percent premium over its closing price on Friday.

Tabula announced $108 million in funding, one of the largest venture rounds in a decade for a chip company, writes VentureBeat’s Matt Marshall. The company says it can create programmable logic devices for $200, compared to a cost of more than $1,000 offered by competitors.

Despite soaring valuations of tech companies and warnings that the bust a decade ago may be repeated, there are notable differences between the dot-com boom and now, write Evelyn M. Rusli and Verne G. Kopytoff of the New York Times. Today, the stock market is not glutted with offerings and attractive tech start-ups like Groupon have real businesses — not just “eyeballs and clicks”. But, as cash continues to pile up, the fear is that all the money cannot be put to work responsibly, they add.

Deals wrap: Blockbuster year for M&A?

A man and child look out over destroyed homes after a tsunami and earthquake in Sendai, northeastern Japan March 12, 2011. REUTERS/KyodoDespite upheaval in the Middle East and Japan, worldwide M&A have risen 58 percent to $717 billion so far this year, according to preliminary data from Thomson Reuters, marking the best start to a year since 2007 and building on last year’s tentative recovery. Analysts expect to see continued strong activity in mining and energy, but some warned it’s still too early to see the full implications of the recent crises.

Deal-making in Asia got off to a strong start in 2011, with cashed-up companies tapping investment opportunities in sectors from energy to industrials, and bankers say the transaction pipeline for the rest of the year looks healthy.

Executives at boutique investment banks see an increasing number of clients wanting their advice after a Delaware ruling last month accused large investment bank Barclays Capital of conflicts of interest.

Deals wrap: Walgreen prescribes drugstore.com buy

A sign for a Walgreens store is seen in Belle Glade, Florida January 6, 2010. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaWalgreen plans to buy drugstore.com for $429 million, expanding the online presence of the world’s largest drugstore chain.  Drugstore.com shareholders will receive $3.80 a share, which is more than double the company’s closing stock price on Wednesday.

A sale of the British government’s $107 billion stake in Lloyds Banking Group and RBS may start next year, Bloomberg said, citing four people familiar with the matter.

Geothermal energy is likely to attract interest as investors rethink the outlook for nuclear power following the crisis in Japan, writes Leonora Walet and Tessa Dunlop. Japan sits on enough untapped geothermal power to replace all of its planned nuclear stations over the next decade, but the quake-prone country’s only plan to harness that energy’s potential is to develop hot springs.