The afternoon deal: Testing the IPO waters

Climate activists Lesley Butler and Rob Bell (R) "sunbathe" on the edge of a frozen fjord in the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen April 25, 2007. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir   IPOs have been described as a company’s coming-out party but these days it’s more like a “testing the waters” event – which may or may not happen depending on the temperature. Find the latest IPO news below.

CBOE files for $300 million IPO (Reuters)
“The Chicago Board Options Exchange will pay a special dividend of $113 million before the IPO to its current stakeholders, and annual dividends of 20 to 30 percent of prior-year net income to shareholders after the IPO, the company said in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Kabel Deutschland IPO – ambitious play or cunning ploy?
“Kabel Deutschland’s premium pricing for its $1 billion IPO could invite a similar fate to other recent failed private equity-led offerings, and some still think it’s a ploy to smoke out trade buyers.”

Samsung Life gets bourse nod for record $4 billion IPO (Reuters)
“Fund managers and analysts are cautious in predicting demand for Samsung Life, ranked 14th among global life insurers in premiums received, but said the IPO would attract developing market-focused funds.”

Sensata Rises on Stock Debut (WSJ)
“If Netherlands-based Sensata Technologies Holding B.V. can hang on to its gains for the entire session, it would be the first time a new stock priced within range and rose on the first day of trading in the U.S. since January.” – WSJ

UK clean tech to try luck in uncertain IPO market (Reuters)
“British companies involved in the waste and energy efficiency sectors are considering flotations to raise funds for growth even as the IPO market remains uncertain.”

Hope yet for a Lehman Seoul mate

Lehman BrothersJust yesterday, the sound of doors closing could almost be heard echoing across the pacific as Lehman Brothers reportedly hit the Asian wealth circuit looking for help filling its expected $4 billion in third-quarter writedowns. Now state-run Korea Development Bank says it might be interested in buying the bank, lighting an 8 percent fire cracker under Lehman’s stock in premarket trade. “We are studying a number of options and are open to all possibilities, which could include (buying) Lehman,” a KDB spokesman said. KDB said it was open to mergers or acquisitions of both domestic and foreign companies to beef up its weak areas as the government was aiming to privatize it by 2012. Previous reports said KDB and CITIC Securities, China’s biggest brokerage, balked at the high price Lehman was asking.

Since its long-standing dispute with CME Group‘s Chicago Board of Trade over trading rights is just about settled, the Chicago Board Options Exchange may soon become a takeover target. While the CBOE is expected to pursue an initial public offering, with a filing possible as soon as next month, many exchange industry experts see that as only an interim step. It will be like sticking a “for sale” sign up, they argue. Despite being the top U.S. equities options market, with a stranglehold on index options, the CBOE may have to consider a bigger partner. It is one of the few remaining stand-alone exchanges, which leaves it vulnerable to a squeezing of its margins by growing competition, particularly exchanges that can offer investors stocks and options under the same roof.

Mining giant BHP Billiton‘s $128 billion bid for rival Rio Tinto could raise competition issues in iron ore. With mines across Australia’s ore-rich Pilbara region, Rio Tinto and BHP are the world’s second- and third-largest iron ore producers, respectively, behind Brazil’s Vale, and analysts reckon a combined group would control about 35 percent of the world’s seaborne traded iron ore. In a nine-page “statement of issues” ahead of its Oct.1 ruling, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which can order companies to sell assets if it thinks they have too big a hold in one sector, highlighted the likely impact of a deal on the iron ore trade and, in particular, on Australian steelmakers, but saw no major competition issues in copper, gold, uranium, bauxite or alumina. “I don’t think that’s a surprise to the two companies, particularly BHP … that iron ore would be the one area the regulators would be looking at very closely,” said Ken West, a partner at Perennial Growth Management. “But the Pilbara is the one they don’t want to be tampered with. If the regulators don’t show flexibility, then the Pilbara could become a deal breaker,” West said.