DealZone

Deals wrap: Glencore IPO draws key investors

Glencore kept a lid on its aspirations for a much-hyped market debut, targeting proceeds of $11 billion after securing record commitments from investors. The commodities trader set a price range of 480 to 580 pence per share for the London IPO, confirming an earlier Reuters report. That values it at $61 billion at the mid-point, in line with early forecasts. Glencore is planning a dual-listing in London and Hong Kong.

Chip equipment maker Applied Materials will buy Varian Semiconductor for $4.9 billion, as it looks to maintain its edge in new chipmaking technology to meet rising demands. Applied expects to fund the transaction with a combination of cash on hand and debt.

ConAgra Foods said it raised its offer for private-label food maker Ralcorp Holdings by 5 percent to about $4.9 billion in cash. The company, one of North America’s largest packaged food companies is looking to gain access to more U.S. store brands that have been attracting people looking to cut spending on food. ConAgra’s proposal comes after Ralcorp said late on Sunday that its board rejected an unsolicited offer it received from a third party in March.

German engineering conglomerate Siemens is looking for acquisitions of up to 3 billion euros ($4.5 billion) to boost core areas after raising its full-year outlook on strong demand from emerging markets. The company makes products ranging from lights bulbs to trains and power plants to name a few.

When Nasdaq and InterContinentalExchange first unveiled their spoiler takeover offer for NYSE Euronext, it was valued at $11.1 billion – or $1.78 billion more than the bid from rival Deutsche Boerse. Within a month, that gap has narrowed by 55 percent.  In this Wall Street Journal piece, Shira Ovide explains what has happened in the past month to change the price-gap of the offers.

Signs of sovereign life

ubs.jpgSovereign wealth funds were thought to be nearly extinct sources of capital for the crumbling western banks. But life finds a way. The Government of Singapore Investment Corp, one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds, said it would subscribe to UBS‘s rights issue. A GIC spokeswoman declined to provide the value for the transaction but said it currently owns 0.4 percent in UBS common stock. It controls 9.54 percent of the voting rights in UBS. The fund invested 11 billion Swiss francs ($11 billion) in mandatory convertible notes in UBS last December, after the bank’s U.S. housing crisis losses. In January, GIC invested $6.88 billion in Citigroup. Its sister fund Temasek Holdings pumped $5 billion into Merrill Lynch. GIC says on its website that it manages well above $100 billion but some analysts estimate the figure is closer to $300 billion.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board approved Bank of America Corp‘s acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp, the nation’s largest mortgage lender. Bank of America agreed in January to pay $4 billion for Countrywide, a California-based firm that helped fuel a multi-year housing boom that went bust when risky loans to shaky borrowers began to fail. In a statement, the federal regulator said it considered many comments for and against the bank buyout and “has considered carefully the financial factors of the proposal.” The Fed also said that it vetted about 770 individual comments on the proposed takeover and the views of many other stakeholders.

Applied Materials has approached beleaguered Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASM International to buy a significant part of its business for $400 million to $500 million. Shares in ASMI jumped as much as 23 percent to an eight-month high after the company said its U.S. rival had expressed interest in two of its businesses that make machines to deposit thin films of materials on silicon wafers. ASMI, which is locked in a dispute with activist investors who are trying to sack its chief executive, said a divestment would have major implications for its strategy.