DealZone

DealZone Daily

Japan’s Monex Group will buy the securities unit of Orix Corp for about $246 million in stock, in a deal that will create the country’s second-largest online broker.

By forming a broker with more than $23 billion in client assets they will be able to cut systems and other costs and beef up product and service line-ups, they said.

In other M&A news reported by Reuters and other media:

Speculation about a possible takeover of UK retailer Debenhams was raised after private equity firm TPG sells its 9 percent stake, the FT says.

Matalan, another UK retailer, is being circled by KKR, Blackstone, Cinven and TPG, the FT adds.

GSI Commerce agrees to buy e-commerce company Retail Convergence for $180 million in cash and stock, to strengthen its online sales platform.

Keeping score: UK M&A, Asian tech and US debt

Here are the highlights from this week’s Thomson Reuters investment banking scorecard:

Cadbury deal lifts UK M&A to $168.8 billion

The $19.3 billion offer by Kraft Foods for UK confectioner Cadbury lifted UK target M&A to $168.8 billion for the year-to-date period, an increase of 19% over last year. The transaction could rank as the second largest non-government acquisition in the UK this year after Xstrata’s $42.5 billion bid for Anglo American in June.

UBS, which advised on both the Cadbury and Anglo deals as well as the UK government investments in Lloyds Banking Group and RBS, leads the year-to-date UK target league table with $124.6 billion from 21 announced deals.

The bulls and bears on equity rallies and M&A

Rising stock markets and talk of improving economic confidence have prompted a barrage of analyst notes on how the M&A market is picking up.  Check out what I wrote on the subject earlier Thursday .

Here’s a few quick points from others:

Citigroup said that as global economic indicators stabilize, financing markets reopen and equity markets recover, hostile takeovers may be poised for a sharp resurgence. “Indeed, many recent high profile M&A transactions have been unsolicited or hostile in nature,” a note said.

My colleague Quentin Webb talked about mergers and aggravation, or hostile bids,  in July.

Keeping score: US leads M&A, Securitizations, National Express

An Iraqi worker adjusts an oil pipe at Nahr Al-Umran gas refinery in Al-Dier District, northern Basra July 17, 2009. REUTERS/Atef HassanHere are the highlights from this week’s Thomson Reuters Investment Banking Scorecard:

- US M&A Accounts for the Majority of Weekly Worldwide Activity

US M&A activity was worth $13.9 billion for the week, bolstered by a flurry of deal announcements ahead of Labor Day in oil and gas, media and pharmaceuticals.  Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch each advised on just over $9 billion in deals this week.

 

- Government Program Lifts Weekly US ABS Volume to $16.4 billion

The weekly volume of US asset-backed securities totaled $16.4 billion, powered by $14.2 billion of offerings eligible for Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF).  Multi-billion dollar securitizations from the likes of Citigroup, Bank of America and Ford brought year-to-date ABS volume to $110.5 billion, a 28% decrease from last year at this time when issuance totaled $154.1 billion.

Deals du Jour

A man carries a cardboard with a picture of a mobile phone inside a hall of the upcoming CeBIT fair in Hanover March 2, 2009. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke (GERMANY)

Portugal Telecom <PTC.LS> and Spanish firm Telefonica <TEF.MC> have both agreed to sell their 32.2 percent stakes in Moroccan telecoms firm Meditel to local investors in a deal likely to be closed by the end of the year

Reports suggest that online telephony firm Skype is set to be sold to private investors by its current owner eBay, with further details likely to be announced today. Sources indicated to the New York Times that co-founder of Netscape, Marc Andreessen is among the group of investors.

For the latest news from Reuters on mergers and acquisitions click here.

Here are some of the stories reported in today’s press (some external websites may require subscriptions):

Deals du Jour

Citigroup plans to sell 20 businesses in consumer finance, many of them located in Europe, its chief executive Vikram Pandit said in an interview with Singapore’s Business Times

He said the move was due to the shift in the consumer finance market where “there is less funding availability and they are probably less robust as businesses.”

Pandit also said that the group’s capital position following the completion of the exchange of preferred shares for common equity in July, reflected an “incredible financial strength.”

“Big Loan”, big problem

Rob “Big Loan” Verrone was the banker with the big name behind the 2007 acquisition of now-bankrupt Extended Stay.

His nickname was trumpeted in the hotel chain’s 2007 press release detailing the deal — in retrospect perhaps not the best quality to shout about.

Big Loan, described as one of three who provided the mortgage and mezzanine financing, moved on from Wachovia according to a Wall Street Journal report last year, and we couldn’t immediately track him down for comment.

Deals du Jour

British bank Barclays said it would sell its BGI investment arm to U.S. firm BlackRock for $13.5 billion, creating the world’s biggest asset manager. For today’s headlines, click here.

And in the media:

* Malaysian gaming group Genting is in partnership talks with U.S. casino operator MGM Mirage, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

* British boiler maker Baxi is close to agreeing a 1.7 billion euros ($2.4 billion) merger with smaller Dutch rival De Dietrich Remeha Group, the Financial Times reported. 

Deals du Jour

Australian miner OZ Minerals said its shareholders approved the sweetened $1.4 billion deal by  Chinese state-owned Minmetals’ to buy most of the indebted miner’s assets. For today’s headlines, click here.

And in the newspapers:

* Turquoise, the European equity system owned by nine investment banks, was forced to close on Wednesday morning because of a technical problem, Financial News said.

* The New York Times Co has hired Goldman Sachs to manage the possible sale of The Boston Globe, and plans to request bids in the next couple of weeks, The Boston Globe reported.

Deals du jour

Top deals news today includes LSE boss mulling new acquisitions, BC Partners downing tools on a BGI bid and Fiat signing a big Chinese joint venture. All the latest deals news here.

In the morning papers:

The new chief executive of London Stock Exchange Xavier Rolet has told La Tribune newspaper that he is ready to look at acquisitions and alliances but is not treating them as a priority. Reuters story here.

Borders UK, the bookshop chain owned by private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, has appointed restructuring experts RSM Bentley Jennison to advise on closing underperforming stores, The Independent reported.