M & A wrap: WaMu eyes bankruptcy exit

Washington Mutual, the biggest bank to fail in U.S. history, said it reached a settlement in a dispute between shareholders and certain creditors that had prevented the bank from emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Three former WaMu executives have agreed to settle a civil lawsuit, marking the latest setback for the government in a high-profile, financial-crisis-related case, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Deal Journal also has a roundup of financial crisis legal settlements.

An independent arbitrator cleared the way for mining group Rio Tinto to take over Ivanhoe Mines, saying the $16 billion Canadian group’s “poison pill” defense was not valid.

Mitt Romney’s experience at Bain Capital is being searched by his critics for ammunition in the presidential campaign, and by others for clues as to how he would perform as president, NYT’s DealBook writes.

Exchange operators NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse offered more divestments in a bid to assuage European authorities’ antitrust concerns over their proposed $9 billion merger.

M & A wrap: Who is Mark Pincus?

As Zynga Inc aims to list shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange this week in an initial public offering that will value the company at around $9 billion, investors eyeing the online games developer will be wise to understand its chief executive Mark Pincus.

Bloomberg uses an one-on-one meeting between Pincus and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg last year to show Pincus’s negotiating prowess.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which has approval for a $65 billion bankruptcy liquidation plan, will ask a judge to let it use $1.3 billion of the estate’s money to increase its stake in Archstone, its biggest real estate asset, Bloomberg reports, citing a person familiar with the planned bid.

M & A wrap: Icahn bids for Commercial Metals

“Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has launched his $1.73 billion unsolicited buyout offer for Commercial Metals Co., threatening to take the company’s board of directors to court if it does not allow the purchase,” the Washington Post reports.

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting Commercial Metals has changed its mind and will review Carl Icahn’s $1.73 billion buyout offer after all, just days after dismissing it as “substantially undervalued” and “opportunistic.”

“The SEC served notice that it will likely sue billionaire Phil Falcone and other people affiliated with his Harbinger hedge fund,” the Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal reports, while the impetus is yet to be revealed.

M & A wrap: Corzine: I don’t know where the money is

Former MF Global chief Jon Corzine apologized to customers, employees and investors who have suffered because of the brokerage firm’s collapse, but said he does not know where missing customer money is. “Their plight weighs on my mind every day — every hour,” Corzine said in lengthy remarks prepared for delivery before a House panel.

New York Times’ Deal Professor has 10 questions for Corzine.

Alibaba Group is seeking up to $4 billion in debt financing, sources told Reuters, in a deal expected to help the Chinese e-commerce giant buy back a 40 percent stake in the company owned by Yahoo.

Private equity firms are looking to hire in growth areas so that they deliver the returns investors seek.

M & A wrap: D.Boerse, NYSE mull spin-off

Deutsche Boerse and NYSE could spin off parts of their derivatives arms to create a third-party competitor as a way to allay anti-trust concerns about their $9 billion merger, two sources told Reuters.

J.C. Penney bought a 16.6 percent stake in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc in a $38.5 million deal.

Banks want regulators to give them more time to liquidate investments in certain private equity funds under the Volcker rule, arguing that without more leeway they will have to hold “fire sales.”

M & A wrap: MF Global workers sue Corzine

Past and present MF Global employees sued ex-CEO Jon Corzine and other executives over alleged misrepresentations they say destroyed the value of the company’s stock. Meanwhile, the WSJ reports that Corzine had rebuffed internal warnings on risks.

An independent panel issued a damning report on a $1.7 billion accounting scandal at Japan’s disgraced Olympus Corp, urging legal action against the executives responsible for the cover-up and the replacement of other board members who knew.

Blackstone’s Asia-Pacific chief, Michael Chae, told the 2012 Reuters Investment Outlook Summit that he sees China and Southeast Asia as top destinations for Asia investments next year. “There’s an above-average level of uncertainty around macro conditions in this region and globally, which makes it a really intellectually interesting time to be alive and to be investing,” he said.

M & A wrap: Olympus hid billion in losses

An investigative panel has found Japan’s disgraced Olympus Corp hid up to $1.67 billion in losses from its investors, but is likely to say there is no evidence of involvement by organized crime in the cover-up, a source says.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy estate is close to naming a new board of directors to help finish winding down the defunct financial firm, the WSJ reports.

Metals recycler Commercial Metals Co rejected billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s buyout bid, saying the offer substantially undervalues the company and is “opportunistic.”

M & A wrap: Game on for Zynga

Zynga plans to sell an 11.1 percent stake in a scaled-back initial public offering that would value the Facebook game maker at as much as $9 billion on a fully diluted basis.

For US Airways, the merger-hungry fifth-largest U.S. airline, a bankrupt American Airlines may present an irresistible takeover target, but many in the aviation world think the headaches and hassles of consolidation are not worth the payoff of such a tie-up.

Hedge funds are steering clear of the big bets they are famous for, rattled by worries that the lenders who bankroll their most lucrative plays will soon turn the taps off.

M & A wrap: Bidding for all of Yahoo

Blackstone Group and Bain Capital are preparing a bid for all of Yahoo with Asian partners in a deal that could value the Internet company at about $25 billion, a source familiar with the matter said.

“Yahoo’s directors are leaning toward selling a minority stake in the company to an investor group instead of selling the business outright, after a meeting of the company’s board on Wednesday, according to people briefed on the matter,” reports the NYT’s DealBook.

“AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG, the parent of T-Mobile USA, have discussed an alternative transaction—forming a joint venture that would pool network assets from the two U.S. wireless carriers—if their current acquisition deal falls apart,” the WSJ reports.

M & A wrap: An offer for Yahoo

“A group of investors led by private- equity firm Silver Lake offered to buy a minority stake in Yahoo! Inc. for about $16.60 a share,” Bloomberg reports.

AT&T will struggle to find buyers for any asset sale big enough to salvage its $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA, with most likely buyers Leap Wireless and MetroPCS Communications lacking the cash, writes Sinead Carew.

Glencore  is in talks with Spanish refiner Cepsa on a merger of oil operations that would be a first major step towards transforming the commodity trader’s energy division into a vertically integrated oil company, industry sources said.