M & A wrap: Sony looks to integrate

Sony is to take over its mobile phone joint venture with Ericsson for 1.05 billion euros ($1.5 billion), as it seeks to exploit its music and video to help it catch smartphone leaders such as Apple.

U.S. patent records point to a possible conflict of interest in an Olympus investment in a cookware company, raising more questions for investors demanding a full explanation from the Japanese company of acquisitions that made heavy losses.

“With 57 completed deals under its belt this year, Google has already smashed its 2010 record of 48 acquisitions — and it is only October,” reports DealBook.

Groupon is on its fourth day of its U.S.-only roadshow. Here’s the scoop:

“What’s to prevent Facebook, Amazon and Google from going to merchants and offering better terms. How does Groupon keep margins and pricing intact?”  portfolio manager Charlie Toole told Reuters after attending Groupon’s roadshow.

Groupon is replacing the worst 10 percent of its sales staff as it pushes to win stronger deals from merchants and ensure it can keep growing.

M & A wrap: Deal trouble at Olympus

Olympus Corp head Tsuyoshi Kikukawa resigned after a scandal over hefty advisory fees wiped out half of the 92-year-old firm’s market value, but his successor stuck with the company’s line that it had done nothing wrong.

KKR  plans to launch a new pan-Asia fund to raise up to $6 billion in the first quarter of 2012, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, underlining the global buyout industry’s bullish view on Asia’s economic growth.

Regulators are considering easing a proposed rule so that fewer hedge fund advisers would have to hand over troves of confidential data to the government, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

M & A wrap: ArcelorMittal jumps ship

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, has unexpectedly pulled out of its joint $5 billion bid with Peabody Energy for Australian miner Macarthur Coal, just a day after the buyers said they had secured a majority of shares.

New Hope Corp, the $5 billion Australian coal miner that put itself up for auction earlier this month is considering a break-up and asset sales amid interest from global resource companies, two sources said.

Foster’s, Australia’s largest brewer, said it expects beer sales to pick up again when the economy improves, fuelling small shareholder anger at the company’s capitulation to a $10.4 billion takeover by SABMiller.

M & A wrap: Merger Monday

Health insurer Cigna will buy HealthSpring for about $3.8 billion to jump-start its business selling Medicare plans for the elderly.

Oracle struck a deal to buy RightNow Technologies for around $1.5 billion, agreeing to pay a nearly 20 percent premium for the cloud-based customer service company.

The FBI is probing the massive advisory fee involved in Olympus Corp’s takeover of a British company, a media report said, in a deepening scandal that has wiped out more than half the company’s value.

M & A wrap: Groupon scales back IPO

Groupon plans to raise as much as $540 million in an initial public offering, less than previously planned, as the daily deals website grapples with a weak equity market, executive departures and questions about its accounting and business model.

Saab moved closer to collapse on Friday as its owner rejected the latest rescue proposal from reluctant Chinese investors and its court-appointed administrator said the Swedish carmaker lacked the cash to carry on.

Scandal-hit Japanese firm Olympus gave in to shareholder pressure over massive fees paid to advisers in a 2008 acquisition, announcing it would set up a third-party panel to examine its past M&A deals.

M & A wrap: Groupon’s got a deal for you

Groupon is planning to launch a roadshow for its initial public offering next week, on Monday or Tuesday, three sources familiar with the situation said.

Nasdaq expects between 15 and 20 more U.S. initial public offerings before the end of the year, a top executive at the company told Reuters. The company had initially foreseen as many as 120 IPOs in 2011, but the final tally for the year could come at 80 percent of that because of volatility in global markets.

Abbott Laboratories said it will split into two publicly traded companies. The move may increase pressure on other diversified healthcare companies to examine potential break ups. The New York Times examines the split.

M & A wrap: Stalking Dexia

Qatar National Bank, the Gulf state’s largest lender, is eyeing Denizbank, the fast-growing Turkish arm of euro zone debt casualty Dexia, in a deal potentially worth up to $6 billion.

Deutsche Lufthansa may have to break up its British bmi unit to sell the underperforming carrier, as larger airlines eye its access at Heathrow airport and smaller players look to pick off its budget and regional operations.

The NYT’s DealBook digs into the red flags surrounding Groupon and asks the questions: “How did so many Wall Street firms desperate to underwrite the Groupon I.P.O. miss the warning signs when pitching such a sky-high valuation? Or did they just turn a blind eye?”

M & A wrap: Dollar Thrifty’s hard-earned lessons

Dealpolitik lists the key lessons learned from Dollar Thrifty’s merger saga.

Rio Tinto signaled a major retreat from its aluminum business on Monday, putting an estimated $8 billion worth of assets up for sale across six countries, only four years after buying aluminum giant Alcan for $38 billion.

Kinder Morgan struck a $21 billion deal to buy rival El Paso, combining the two largest natural gas pipeline operators in North America in a huge bet on the fast-growing market for that fuel. The NYT takes a look at dealmaker Richard D. Kinder and how he has shaped Kinder Morgan.

M & A wrap: Sony going solo?

Sony is in talks to buy out Ericsson’s stake in their mobile phone joint venture, a source said, in a bid to catch up with rivals.

Belgium’s federal government and its regions clashed over the fate of the Belgian banking activities of stricken Dexia, delaying a joint Franco-Belgian rescue of the group.

Bloomberg digs into the changing value of the Deutsche Boerse-NYSE merger and the potential return for investors.

M & A wrap: Time to buy EMI?

Warner Music Group Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. has tried to buy rival record label EMI Group for the last six years. Now, his time may have come, reports Yinka Adegoke.

Communications equipment maker Comtech, under pressure from an activist investor to evaluate a sale, is attracting potential takeover interest from several government contractors, people familiar with the situation said.

“This is the froth-filled rumor that just won’t die. Shares of SABMiller rose 5.5 percent today in London on a report that Anheuser-Busch Inbev is talking about a takeover of the brewer of Miller, Coors and Peroni,” reports the WSJ.