DealZone

from Reuters Investigates:

The coming of Glencore

Checking background for our Special Report on Glencore, "The Biggest Company You Never Heard Of", I stumbled on the novel “The Fortunes of Glencore” by Charles Leveglencore acquisitionsr. On a whim I read it. There were some intriguing parallels between the 20th-century company and the book, even though that was published in 1857.

The further I read, the more I asked myself if this little heard-of scrap of 19th-century literature couldn’t be used as some kind of coda. It sounds crazy, but maybe you can understand the temptation. Glencore is a secretive, controversial Swiss-based commodities trading and mining giant, and even though it may soon be quoted on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, it works hard to maintain its mystique. Could this little novel be some kind of “Da Vinci Code” for Glencore?

MYSTERY AND EXILE

The Glencore of the book is a mysterious figure to all those around him: “Little, or indeed nothing, was known of Lord Glencore...” it says. “‘Who is Lord Glencore?’ people would say. ‘What is the strange story of his birth? Has anyone yet got at the truth?’”

That’s the company to a tee.

We know it emerged from a management buyout of Marc Rich + Co -- Rich was a fugitive from U.S. justice in Switzerland after he was found to have sold oil to Iran during the 1979-81 hostage crisis. But apart from that, beyond a sense that it’s an omnipresent commodities trader with secretive high- level connections in just about any country that has raw materials, there’s not an awful lot more in the public consciousness.

The origins of its name are a mystery, although some bright spark has figured out it could stand for GLobal ENergy COmmodities and REsources.

Deals wrap: Sexy but risky IPO

Formula One team Williams is on the final straight toward its market debut next week, the first of its kind to float, and while its novelty will attract some, others are unconvinced by the investment case.

Western investment banks are keen to underwrite more IPOs on China’s Shenzhen exchange this year as a surging economy turns the once insignificant market into a fundraising hotbed.

Italian fashion house Prada is quickly moving toward a Hong Kong listing thanks to a more favorable regulatory environment in Asia, Chief Executive Patrizio Bertelli told an Italian newspaper.

Deals wrap: A second NYSE bidder?

A pedestrian walks past the NASDAQ building in New York City, April 30, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas JacksonNasdaq OMX Group could launch a rival bid for NYSE Euronext to avoid being left on the sidelines, a source said.

The recent wave of exchange mergers marks an era of consolidation that will leave no more than four global trading firms in five years’ time, said Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange.

Merger and acquisitions activity in the global mining sector is expected to accelerate in 2011, fueled by strong commodity prices and repaired balance sheets, Ernst & Young said.

Deals wrap: Betting big on gas

BHP Billiton struck a deal to buy shale gas reserves from Chesapeake Energy for $4.75 billion, pitting itself against oil giants and China in the battle for the fast-growing energy source in North America.

China should account for 8-9 percent of global mergers and acquisition activity this year, continuing close to its strong levels in 2009 and 2010, JPMorgan’s head of China M&A said Tuesday.

Europe is braced for a flurry of stock market listings in the next two months as firms use annual results as launching pads for share sales — and hope to complete deals before investors disappear for the Easter break.

Deals wrap: Activist investors team up

A traffic light is pictured beside the Wall Street road sign in the financial district of New York September 19, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson Activist investors are back and flexing their muscles again after fading into the background during the credit crisis, though they are now dependent on cutting deals with big institutions to get their way.

As technology giants and private equity firms look for potential acquisition targets, customer relationship company Convergys may spark renewed interest, several sources familiar with the situation said.

Putin and Medvedev, Gazprom and Rosneft: the key players in Russia tend to come in pairs. Now state banks Sberbank and VTB are set to strengthen their duopoly as Russia’s financial sector emerges from crisis.

Deals wrap: Rare air brings deal

The city of Davos is seen at sunset January 25, 2011.   REUTERS/Vincent Kessler  It took the rarefied air of the Swiss Alps to bring together the chief executives of Sanofi-Aventis and Genzyme  and pave the way for a $20.1 billion deal.

As the cream of the telecoms industry debates how best to make money from mobile data,Vimpelcom’s Alexander Izosimov  is alone in betting his balance sheet on it in unfashionable western Europe.

Chinese oil majors are set to accelerate their overseas buying spree in unconventional oil and gas assets, with an eye on technology key to help shift China’s reliance on coal to lower-carbon fuel over the next decade.

Deals wrap: Key facts about the Sanofi/Genzyme deal

Chris Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi-Aventis, gestures as he speaks during a news conference to present Sanofi-Aventis' 2010 annual results in Paris February 9, 2011.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau  French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis agreed to buy Genzyme with a sweetened $20.1 billion cash offer, plus payments tied to the success of the U.S. biotech group’s drugs, the companies said. Reuters has a factbox about the two companies, a timeline of Sanofi’s quest for Genzyme and a look at Sanofi’s patient CEO.

The London Stock Exchange’s bid to take over Canada’s TMX Group  is likely to navigate through a battery of regulatory reviews and emerge intact, even though investors are nervous about its chances.

In Asia however, tough regulatory regimes, cumbersome ownership structures and protectionist-minded governments mean cross-border mergers involving regional markets will be difficult.

Deals wrap: A game of chicken

A sign is pictured on Wall St. near the New York Stock Exchange in New York November 25, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson Record amounts of cash and cheap financing have emboldened chief executives to sign off on deals aimed at boosting growth in a sluggish economy, helping push global dealmaking to a four-year high.

Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext announced the creation of the world’s largest exchange operator, dodging political issues that could threaten completion of a deal. BBC News takes a step back and looks at what is driving exchanges’ urge to merge.

In what must count as the longest game of chicken ever, biotechnology company Genzyme and French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis, which is seeking to acquire it, are still haggling over price.

Deals wrap: Missing the M&A wave?

A man is reflected on a stock index board showing Nikkei average as he walks past a brokerage in Tokyo January 28, 2011.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon Asia runs the risk of being left behind in the sudden wave of transatlantic stock exchange consolidation, given the tough regulatory regimes, cumbersome ownership structures and protectionist minded governments.

The Wall Street Journal profiles NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer.

Columnist Felix Salmon weights in on why the stock market is increasingly irrelevant.

General Electric is to buy a unit of British energy services firm John Wood Group for about $2.8 billion. The acquisition raises hopes of more deals in the oilfield services sector, where GE has recently been an active buyer of assets.

Deals wrap: Pressure on exchanges

People watch the closing bell at the NASDAQ Marketsite in New York, November 3, 2008.   REUTERS/Brendan McDermid Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd may knock on the doors of the Nasdaq or Chicago’s CBOE as the stock exchange operator eyes a partner amid the politically-sensitive merger activity engulfing the sector.

The departure of L’Oreal Chairman Lindsay Owen-Jones may bring the cosmetics giant one step closer to buying a direct sales company. Some executives and bankers have long held a view that L’Oreal should get into direct sales to boost its penetration of emerging markets where make-up and creams are still sold door-to-door.

Multi-billion dollar deals are back in the headlines and and investors are onboard, the Wall Street Journal reports.