DealZone

Deals du jour

Top deals news today includes Fiat boss’s confidence about an Opel takeover, Regions Financial planning a $1.25 billion stock offer, Aussie Rio shareholders seeking a new Chinalco deal and Novartis buying cancer drugs unit. All the latest deals news here.

In the morning papers:

Fiat SpA has more than a 50 percent chance of successfully linking up with Opel, La Stampa said, citing chief executive Sergio Marchionne. Reuters story here.

British pub company Mitchells & Butlers is in talks with banks over a possible rights issue, the Financial Times reported.

BAA bondholders have hired investment bank Reynolds Partners to advise them ahead of the British government’s proposed changes to regulation of the airport operator, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Fiat and China’s Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group plan to form a car production joint venture with total investment of 4.27 billion yuan ($625.8 million), the official Shanghai Securities News said. Reuters story here.

Deals du jour

A man looks at local newspapers, with articles regarding France's President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit on their front pages, at a news kiosk in Mexico CityA Facebook IPO is a few years off, Bank of America raises $13.47 billion in a share sale, GM’s bankruptcy plan envisages a quick sale to government, and more. Here are the latest deal-related stories:

Facebook CEO says IPO a few years out

Bank of America raises $13.47 billion in share sale

GM bankruptcy plan eyes quick sale to government

SolarWinds IPO prices at $12.50, above range

IBM to continue being active dealmaker

Itau interested in buying small banks in Brazil

Broadcom urges Emulex investors question rosy view

Viterra to buy Australia’s ABB for $1.2 billion

Investors expect better hedge fund terms

And in the morning papers:

Global mining company Rio Tinto may replace the $7.2 billion convertible bond that is part of its tie-up with Chinalco with a capital raising underwritten by the Chinese firm, The Australian newspaper said. Reuters story here.

India’s Religare Enterprises and Australia’s Macquarie Group have jointly bid $500 million to buy AIG Investments, which manages $100 billion in client funds globally, according to The Times of India.

Deals du jour

A journalist inspects a board with newspapers and magazines during the annual news conference of German publisher Axel Springer in BerlinState Street is selling $2 billion of stock, Morgan Stanley expects more listed company share sales and billionaire Kirk Kerkorian strikes his latest deal, and more. Here are the latest deal-related stories:

State Street sells stock, takes $3.7 billion charge

Morgan Stanley exec sees more follow-ons

Kerkorian buys MGM Mirage shares, stake now 42 percent

Fujitsu eyes more M&A to boost software operations

Lehman seeks OK to probe Barclays payment

Kona Grill shareholder offers to take company private

Morgan Stanley to sell remaining stake in MSCI

And in the morning papers:

The U.S. Treasury has preliminarily granted BlackRock Inc a second-recond interview to buy toxic assets from U.S. banks, using taxpayer money, the Wall Street Journal said on its website.

German retailer Arcandor AG‘s Chief Executive, Karl-Gerhard Eick, said he opposed Metro AG‘s proposal to combine the two companies’ department store chain, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported. Reuters story here.

Deals du jour

A man rides past a newsstand with French daily newspapers in Nice, southeastern France, February 24, 2009.

AIG plans to float its Asian crown jewel, Volkswagen halts talks with Porsche, Nomura hires for a massive push in U.S. equities, and more. Here are the latest deal-related stories:

AIG to launch IPO for Asia crown jewel

Volkswagen halts tie-up talks with Porsche

Nomura hires for massive U.S. equity push

Cubs’ offer won’t be voted on next week: sources

Babcock & Brown infrastructure fund gets acquired

China pension fund plans foreign PE deals: sources

China government OKs Minmetals’ OZ Minerals deal

Daiwa SMBC to buy unit of Britain’s Close Brothers

Whitehaven says to drop merger deal with Gloucester

Metro to present Karstadt deal outline: sources

And in Europe’s morning papers:

* Hedge fund manager Noam Gottesman, co-chief executive of GLG Partners Inc (GLG.N), plans to move to New York from London to build up the fund’s U.S. assets, the Daily Telegraph said.

* Alan Miller, former fund manager at New Star, plans to launch two new funds in a joint venture with Alexander Spencer Churchill, the Daily Telegraph said.

from MediaFile:

Tech M&A: Going down, down, down

Investment bank Jefferies recently released a report on technology M&A in the first quarter of 2009. As one can imagine, there are few surprises. We may as well give you the highlights here, which point to some signs of recovery compared to the end of last year, but clearly there's still a long way to go:

    The number of tech deals in North America fell 4 percent to 373 in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2008. It's the lowest level of activity in five years, but at least the drop is a manageable 4 percent -- in the December quarter, the number of deals dropped 23 percent from the third quarter of 2008. The aggregate value of North American M&A transactions was $4.3 billion in the first quarter, also a 4 percent drop from the prior quarter and an 85 percent plunge from the first quarter of 2008. Not a single tech IPO priced in the U.S. market during the quarter. The biggest tech deal announced in the quarter was Autonomy's purchase of Interwoven for $764 million. The first quarter of 2009 has only three transactions greater than $500 million, compared to 10 such deals in the year-ago quarter.

The Jefferies survey also looks at tech M&A in Western Europe, which presents a similarly gloomy picture. Nine of the top 10 Western European deals in the first quarter were cross-border, and four of them involved U.S. buyers. The aggregate deal value fell 80 percent to $1.8 billion compared to the fourth quarter of 2008.

But it's interesting to note that the mix of deals in the software, services and media sub-sector hasn't changed much quarter to quarter. For example, IT services deals have hovered at about 30 percent of total transactions for the past five quarters, while digital media M&A has ranged from 32 percent to 35 percent of total deals in the same period.

Squeezing out a smaller premium

BRITAIN/PepsiCo Inc’s offers to buy the remaining stakes in its two largest bottlers came as a surprise, but the biggest surprise may be the scant 17.1 percent premium in the overtures.
    
PepsiCo’s bid to buy the rest of the bottlers it does not already own constitutes a so-called “squeeze-out,” or a transaction in which the buyer already owned some portion of the target and was seeking to own the 100 percent.
    
Even given that squeeze-out premiums are typically lower than cases where a buyer did not own any part of the target and was seeking to acquire 100 percent, this one looks particularly low, according to FactSet Mergerstat.
    
The average 1-day premium for a squeeze-out deal was 35.77 percent versus the average 1-day premium of 44.10 percent for a full acquisition, FactSet Mergerstat said.
    
Put another way, the PepsiCo premium was half the normal premium for a typical squeeze-out. Both Pepsi Bottling Group and PepsiAmericas rose above PepsiCo’s offer, suggesting that shareholders expect the deal to get a little sweeter.

Another deal in healthcare: what’s the magic pill?

pillsAs dealmakers everywhere struggle to get deals done, the healthcare industry seals yet another one.

Express Scripts has agreed to buy health insurer WellPoint’s prescription business for $4.68 billion in a significant expansion for the U.S. pharmacy beenfit manager. The deal will be a concoction of cash and up to $1.4 billion in common stock, and will generate more than $1 billion of incremental EBITDA.

This comes on the heels of Pfizer’s $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth, Merck’s $41.1 billion takeover of Schering Plough and Roche Holding’s $46.8 billion buyout of Genentech. Granted, this isn’t a pharma deal, but it still falls under the umbrella of the healthcare sector.

Dow Chemical: Official Rainmakers’ Punching Bag

Poor Dow Chemical.

Not only did the company end up having to buy Rohm and Haas at basically the same steep price it agreed to last year, but it has also become the favorite target of lawyers, bankers and maybe even judges at the Tulane Corporate Law Institute, an annual gathering of top dealmakers.

Timothy Ingrassia, head of Goldman Sachs mergers and acquisitions business in the Americas struck the first blow on Thursday morning.

 ”You’ve already had Dow Chemical’s unique interpretation of the merger agreement. There was never a transaction that made Apollo look better,” Ingrassia said, referring to private equity firm Apollo’s previous efforts to get out of an agreement to buy Huntsman Corp. 

(Be)league(red) tables

Preliminary first-quarter data from Thomson Reuters on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and capital markets are out. And unsurprisingly, spring has not sprung in investment banking, with the big exception of a record deluge of corporate bonds.

Fees across investment banking (M&A, loans, and debt and equity capital markets) halved, while fees for completed M&A topped that with a 68 percent fall. Overall announced M&A fell by a third, compared to the same period last year, to $444 billion.

And even that figure is flattered by two huge pharma deals, which bankers doubt will be followed by more of the same, and a flurry of bank bailouts.

from MediaFile:

Sun CEO takes stage, ignores IBM deal talk

What do you do if your company is reported to be involved in an $8 billion acquisition and you’re already scheduled to give a big speech?******If you’re Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, you honor the commitment and then make a swift exit.******The pony-tailed CEO took the lectern on Wednesday at the Open Source Business Conference at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, his first public appearance since reports surfaced last week that IBM and Sun were in acquisition talks (reports that neither company has so far commented on).******While the putative deal has produced endless column inches of analysis and speculation in the business media, it had no place in Schwartz’s remarks. Instead, Schwartz spoke about Sun’s recently-released cloud computing service, largely rehashing talking points he made in an earlier series of blog posts.******The most intriguing nugget, for those running Schwartz’s comments through the filter of an IBM deal, was his characterization of Sun’s open source operating system as the “single most valuable” part of the company, as it represents the key building block for Sun to play in high-margin, adjacent markets like networking.******When his 30 minutes were up, Schwartz slipped behind a curtain and retreated backstage, conveniently avoiding any reporters in the audience eager for ask him about the IBM deal.******And when a couple of reporters greeted him at the hotel’s exit, Schwartz proved equally aloof - the surprised CEO was good-mannered enough to shake hands, but didn’t break his stride, or his silence, to answer a question about the progress of the IBM deal. Maybe next time...