DealZone

Deals wrap: Buffett pulls the trigger

Warren E. Buffett, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway, testifies before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission during a public hearing in New York in this June 2, 2010 file photo. Reuters/Shannon StapletonWarren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway struck a deal to buy lubricants maker Lubrizol for $9 billion in cash to tap rising demand for chemicals used to operate engines and machinery. Shira Ovide of the Wall Street Journal takes a spin through Lubrizol’s fundamentals and businesses.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is shopping around its 66 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team and the Toronto Raptors basketball team.

Venture capital investment in U.S. clean technology companies rose 46 percent to $5.1 billion last year after a big decline in 2009, according to a report by research firm Clean Edge.

Could Los Angeles-based Leonard Green & Partners do better than team up with owner-managers to buy discount chain 99 Cents Only? Bloomberg’s Tara Lachapelle and Rita Nazareth make a case for why a leveraged buyout of Dollar Tree  may offer the biggest bang for the buck, citing Bloomberg data that Dollar Tree holds three times as much cash as Family Dollar, is more than twice as profitable as 99 Cents and generates 55 percent more income per dollar of sales than Big Lots.

Deals wrap: ING Direct USA up for sale

CIT Group CEO John Thain is shown in New York in this November 17, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidDutch financial group ING has kickstarted an auction to find a buyer for its U.S. online banking operation ING Direct as part of an effort to raise funds to pay back state aid it received during the financial crisis in 2008.

A report in the New York Post said the sale could raise as much as $10 billion and that several institutions had expressed an interest in buying the unit, including U.S. consumer lender CIT Group, which is now run by former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain (right).

Prosecutors present opening arguments in their insider trading case against Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam, who they say built an elaborate network of stock tippers who helped him gain $45 million in illicit profits between 2003 and 2009.  NYT’s DealBook connects the dots in the complex Galleon network with a helpful visual graphic.

Deals wrap: Galleon trial to be a “battle royal”

Raj Rajaratnam, the principal in the $21 million Galleon Group hedge-fund insider trading case, leaves Manhattan Federal Court for a bail hearing on conspiracy and securities fraud charges in New York, January 12, 2010.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton The insider trading case against Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam finally goes to trial next week. Rajaratnam faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud but plans to fight the charges and clear his name in court.

“All signs are pointing to a battle royal,” one securities attorney said of the upcoming trial in an interview with Reuters correspondent Grant McCool. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has agreed to testify for the U.S. government at the trial. Here’s a rundown of some of the other main players involved in the case.

Should Americans be alarmed that Germany’s Deutsche Boerse is taking over Big Board parent NYSE Euronext? Not really seems to be the consensus with lawmakers and regulators who took part in the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit this week.

Deals wrap: A status update from Twitter

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone attends the "World Economy and Future Forum" hosted by broadcaster MBN in Seoul March 3, 2011. Stone denied a report that Twitter was in talks to sell a $450 million stake of the company to a JP Morgan fund, reiterating that it was committed to remaining independent.   REUTERS/Lee Jae-WonCross Twitter off your IPO watch-list, at least for now. Co-founder Biz Stone told Reuters in an exclusive interview that the social networking service has no plans to go public or raise funds any time in the immediate future, saying his company is making enough money on its own at the moment.

Stone also flat-out rejected a Financial Times report earlier this week that said a J.P. Morgan technology fund was in talks to take a 10-percent stake in the social networking message service. “(The report is) made up,” he said.

News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is about to get a little bit bigger. The British government gave a green light to the company’s planned $14-billion buyout of satellite pay-TV company British Sky Broadcasting after Murdoch and co agreed to spin off a chunk of his Sky News channel into a separate company.

Deals wrap: Consolidation wave to grow for exchanges

Professional surfer Kelly Slater (L) catches a 40 foot wave beside Grant Baker during the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational surf contest at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu in Haleiwa, Hawaii December 8, 2009. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry “The mergers of exchanges have only just begun as growing competition and even new regulation drive them closer together, irrespective of national borders,” write correspondents Luke Jeffs and Rachelle Younglai from the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit.

As talk of future exchange deals swells, the CEO of the Singapore Exchange said he’s not planning any more concessions to Australian officials to win approval for his exchange’s $7.7 billion bid late last year for that country’s bourse operator ASX.

J. Crew will once again be a private company after shareholders approved a $2.86 billion deal for the retailer to be acquired by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners.

Deals wrap: Blackstone expands property empire

CENTRO/SHARESBlackstone has struck a deal to buy nearly 600 U.S. shopping malls and other properties from Australia’s Centro Property Group for about $9.4 billion, a person with direct knowledge of the transaction told Reuters on Monday.

Large financial institutions may need to make significant and potentially costly structural modifications to comply with new rules, bank regulator Sheila Bair told the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit on Monday.

A new J.P. Morgan investment fund that targets privately held Internet and digital media firms is in talks to acquire a hefty stake in social networking and micro-blogging service Twitter, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times. According to the report, the fund hopes to acquire 10 percent of the Internet messaging service for $450 million, which would value the company at about $4.5 billion.

Deals wrap: The biggest company you never heard of

A worker of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. takes an anode sample at the copper smelting plant in central Philippines.  REUTERS/Cheryl RaveloGlencore is Switzerland’s top-grossing company and has been compared with investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. It’s the biggest company you never heard of.

Global listings activity has been the highest on record so far this year, with firms raising a total of $24 billion from IPOs, according to Thomson Reuters data.

A Renaissance Capital report looks at what is driving this year’s surge in U.S. IPO activity.

Deals wrap: Sexy but risky IPO

Formula One team Williams is on the final straight toward its market debut next week, the first of its kind to float, and while its novelty will attract some, others are unconvinced by the investment case.

Western investment banks are keen to underwrite more IPOs on China’s Shenzhen exchange this year as a surging economy turns the once insignificant market into a fundraising hotbed.

Italian fashion house Prada is quickly moving toward a Hong Kong listing thanks to a more favorable regulatory environment in Asia, Chief Executive Patrizio Bertelli told an Italian newspaper.

Deals wrap: A second NYSE bidder?

A pedestrian walks past the NASDAQ building in New York City, April 30, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas JacksonNasdaq OMX Group could launch a rival bid for NYSE Euronext to avoid being left on the sidelines, a source said.

The recent wave of exchange mergers marks an era of consolidation that will leave no more than four global trading firms in five years’ time, said Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange.

Merger and acquisitions activity in the global mining sector is expected to accelerate in 2011, fueled by strong commodity prices and repaired balance sheets, Ernst & Young said.

Deals wrap: Betting big on gas

BHP Billiton struck a deal to buy shale gas reserves from Chesapeake Energy for $4.75 billion, pitting itself against oil giants and China in the battle for the fast-growing energy source in North America.

China should account for 8-9 percent of global mergers and acquisition activity this year, continuing close to its strong levels in 2009 and 2010, JPMorgan’s head of China M&A said Tuesday.

Europe is braced for a flurry of stock market listings in the next two months as firms use annual results as launching pads for share sales — and hope to complete deals before investors disappear for the Easter break.