DealZone

Deals wrap: Genzyme bid hinges on new drug

Genzyme (GENZ.O), resisting a hostile bid from Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA), is open to a deal that links its value to the success of key drug Campath, the U.S. biotech’s chief executive was quoted as saying. But it was not up to Genzyme to suggest that to the French drugmaker, which has launched a $18.5 billion takeover offer for Genzyme, Chief Executive Henri Termeer was quoted as saying in French newspaper Le Figaro.

“This is one of the alternatives that could be explored. We are thinking about it with regard to the Campath molecule. This could be used by Sanofi or by other companies we talk to,” Termeer told the newspaper in an interview.

Global food companies are set to square up against emerging market buyers and private equity players to buy half of Yoplait, the world’s second-largest yogurt maker after French peer Danone (DANO.PA). General Mills (GIS.N), Nestle (NESN.VX) and Lactalis, Europe’s largest dairy group, all have sound strategic reasons to pursue the maker of Petits Filous yogurts and Yop drinking yogurt, valued at 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) by its CEO Lucien Fa in a Reuters interview.

Spanish group Ferrovial has hired Goldman Sachs and HSBC to sell a 10 percent stake in BAA, Britain’s largest airport operator, and the sale will begin next week, people familiar with the matter said.

This week’s arrest of Don Ching Trang Chu, an employee at California-based expert-network firm Primary Global Research, is part of a “larger insider-trading case that is expected to continue unfolding between now and the end of the year,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

DealZone Daily

With just over two months to the end of the year, there is a sense that time is running out for getting deals done in 2009. Many of the long-running deal sagas are coming to a close, or are getting done. Overnight, news emerged that BAA has finally agreed a 1.5 billion pound sale of British airport Gatwick.

Other deal news in the papers on Wednesday include:

* U.S. Bancorp is eyeing FBOP Corp, an owner of eight banks that may be put up for sale by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the situation.

* National Express’s largest shareholder, Spain’s Jorge Cosmen, supports a merger proposal by British bus and rail operator Stagecoach, the Financial Times reported.

Wings clipped

The first China-assembled Airbus A320 aircraft lands at the Tianjin Binhai International Airport after a test flight in Tianjing MunicipalityThe sale of BAA-owned airport Gatwick has been beset by delays and difficulties. Another cloud on the horizon might be government plans to launch a new regulatory regime for big UK airports.

BAA today complained that proposals to introduce a “special administration regime” for London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted would create additional uncertainty for investors and drive up the cost of airport finance.

The Department for Transport is considering introducing such a regime to safeguard operations if an airport operator goes bust. Similar schemes already exist for power and water supplies.

Gremlins hit Gatwick sale

(From Acquisitions Monthly)

British Airports Authority (BAA) is pulling out all the stops to make sure the Spanish-owned company gets top price for Gatwick Airport. BAA wants to sell London’s second-largest airport to reduce the eye-watering debts Ferrovial took on to purchase the group.

That is the Spaniards’ prime motive. After all BAA started the sales process before the Competition Commission (CC) told it that it would have to sell Gatwick, Stansted and one of either Edinburgh or Glasgow to encourage competition.

The offer prices were always destined to disappoint the vendor, since the sale was started during the worst week imaginable, on September 17, days after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, which knocked any confidence out of financial markets.