DealZone

Deals wrap: Facebook, Google dueling suitors for Skype

Internet giants Facebook and Google are separately considering a tie-up with Skype after the Web video conferencing service delayed its initial public offering, two sources with direct knowledge told Reuters. A Skype deal could be valued at $3 billion to $4 billion, according to one of the sources.

Swiss commodity trader Glencore’s planned $11 billion listing was fully covered on its first day as investors rushed to take part in the mega-float, two sources close to the deal said on Thursday. Investors placed orders for all the shares on offer, including a 10 percent overallotment option, sources said, adding it was too soon to say where in the indicated 480-580 pence ($0.79-0.95) range the shares would be priced.

Warner Music Group could reach a deal to sell itself as soon as close of business on Thursday when the board meets to make a final decision, according to two sources. The world’s third largest music company is expected to be sold for over $3 billion and leading the bidding is Russian-American industrialist Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.

Shareholders in Actelion threw their weight behind the management of Europe’s largest biotech company, rejecting proposals by activist investor Elliott Advisors as a battle for control came to a head. New York-based hedge fund Elliott has urged the Swiss biotech group to seek a buyer after a string of product setbacks and has accused Actelion of pursuing a high-risk strategy that has eroded shareholder value.

Looking back over April, a month that has seen 31 companies file to go public in the U.S., this piece by Gwen Robinson for FT.com’s Alphaville explains the significance of the bumper crop of IPOs filed this month, including RenRen, Dunkin’ Donuts and Glencore, and why the recent IPO mania seems to be a global trend.

This Bud’s for you

bud.jpgU.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch accepted a hopped-up $52 billion takeover bid from Belgium-based InBev. InBev agreed to pay $70 per share for the maker of Budweiser, up from its original unsolicited bid of $65 per share, both companies said on Monday. The improved offer marked a 27 percent premium to Anheuser’s record-high stock price in October 2002. The deal is expected to gain regulatory approval. It would be the largest in the industry and the third-biggest ever foreign takeover of a U.S. company. Now, let the naming begin. While not nearly as bouncy as Microhoo, the union does lend itself to some intriguing combinations. The company seems to be settling on Anheuser-Busch Inbev. ABI Brewing, or ABIB, could suggest beer drinkers need to protect their shirts. The company could certainly be forgiven for seeking something more mouth friendly. Some DealZone suggestions from reporters who have spent far too much time thinking about it: InBusch, AmBusch, InBever-Busch, AmBever, BudBev or BevBud, lending itself to BevBuddies and BuddyBev.

Spain’s Santander is buying British bank Alliance & Leicester for 1.3 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) in an agreed deal that will bulk up its existing UK bank Abbey. Santander, Europe’s second-biggest bank after HSBC, has long been considered a potential buyer of A&L, but has been able to secure a knockdown price after a collapse in its target’s share price in the past year. Santander said it was offering 1 of its shares for every three A&L shares, plus a cash dividend of 18 pence per share. The deal values A&L stock at 317p, compared with a 12-month high of 1,170 pence. A&L shares soared 54 percent to 338 pence by 1000 GMT after Santander confirmed the deal, reflecting the prospect that a takeover battle could ensue.

GlaxoSmithKline could pay Swiss company Actelion up to 3.3 billion Swiss francs ($3.28 billion) to develop a promising insomnia drug in the largest biotech partnering deal. Glaxo, Europe’s biggest drugmaker, beat many of the world’s top pharmaceuticals companies to partner Actelion’s sleeping pill almorexant and the deal sent the Swiss biotech’s stock soaring nearly 10 percent. “The deal terms already allow significant value to be transferred to shareholders,” said Landsbanki Kepler analyst Denise Anderson. Glaxo, which like other big drugmakers is keen to snap up promising new medicines to bolster its pipeline, had been tipped as a likely partner for almorexant, currently in late-stage clinical development. But some analysts had questioned whether it would go for the deal as it has the only other similar drug in clinical development, on hold in mid-stage trials.