DealZone Daily

American International Group has agreed to sell it’s Taiwan life insurance unit for $2.15 billion, a key step in its effort to raise cash after a U.S. government bailout last year saved the company from collapse, Reuters reports.

CIT Group Inc is seeing little interest from bondholders in a debt exchange offer aimed at repairing its fragile balance sheet, making bankruptcy increasingly likely, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The following other corporate finance-related stories were reported by media on Tuesday:

PC maker Dell Inc is eyeing more acquisitions as part of a turnaround plan and is developing merger expertise, Chief Executive Michael Dell told Bloomberg in an interview.

Bank of America Corp has agreed to hand over to investigators documents describing the legal advice it received related to its purchase of Merrill Lynch, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

DealZone Daily

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown plans to outline a sale of government assets on Monday aimed at raising 3 billion pounds, according to a draft speech provided by his office. The sale will be carried out over the next two years and include betting company Tote and the cross-channel rail link between the UK and France.

In other stories reported by the media on Monday and over the weekend:

British bank Lloyds has lined up a syndicate of investment banks to underwrite a 11 billion pound rights issue, the Sunday Times reports, without citing sources. The deal would be linked to Lloyds’ attempts to reduce its participation in the UK government’s toxic asset scheme.

Barclays is planning to spin off a 4 billion pound portfolio of complex credit assets as its presses ahead with a process to clean up its balance sheet, the Financial Times says, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Weekends held hostage by M&A chatter

rtr1almWith Merger Mondays back in fashion, could “Freaky (Rumor) Fridays” be far behind, as Eric Savitz over at Barron’s Tech Trader Daily blog writes? Since this morning, there has been a steady stream of rumors — most of them originating in the options market — about who might buy whom. Not surprisingly, these are all tech companies, since tech is the one sector that has seen a flurry of recent deals, including Dell buying Perot Systems, Cisco buying Tandberg and Brocade shopping itself. A quick roundup:

    Blue Coat Systems option volume is up after Deal Reporter suggested Cisco might bid for it. NCR calls are up on rumors of a takeover bid, although it has not been linked to any company. American Superconductor jumps on rumors of an ABB bid. Riverbed Technologies could be acquired by Juniper Networks.

Another old favorite among tech gossips is also doing the rounds today — the idea of Microsoft buying Research in Motion. That one came from Alley Insider’s Henry Blodget (seems like he suggested the same thing in February too).

But as my colleague Wojtek Dabrowski, who covers tech, media and telecoms companies out of Toronto, says: “Microsoft could have bought RIM at $35, because that’s the low the stock hit in March of this year. The stock is now at $70 and RIM is under pressure from the iPhone. Such a deal makes no sense, though it could have in the past, especially given Microsoft’s continued commitment to Windows Mobile.”

DealZone Daily

On a quiet day for deals, worth noting that Royal Bank of Canada joins the growing queue of prospective buyers of a wealth management business. Read the exclusive Reuters story here. On a larger scale, Wynn Macau‘s strong debut in Hong Kong ups the ante for Europe, where bookbuilding for the IPO of Poland’s PGE starts next week. For more deal-related news from Reuters, click here.


* The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is questioning the positive conclusions given to Citigroup Inc’s management team in a government-mandated review in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal says.

* A management buyout of Malaysia’s national carmaker Proton Holdings could be possible, the firm’s chairman was quoted as saying in the Star newspaper.

PE deals indicate lending thaw

NORWAY/Two very different deals announced Wednesday show that financing markets are starting to support larger private equity transactions again.

Still, large numbers of banks were involved in each deal and both involved a significant amount of the private equity firms’ own equity.

“It suggests there’s a little bit of thawing,” said Steven Kaplan, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago. “It suggests there will be a normal world at some point and they are both the kind of deals you’d expect to see in this environment — you don’t expect public-to-publics in this market.”

In asset management, it’s shedding season

For asset managers, the shedding season seems to have no end in sight.

More asset management units of financial institutions are likely to find their way into the market in the months ahead, as they look to separate distribution from product creation, Jefferies & Co’s financial institution group predicts. 

More than two-thirds of global asset management deal activity came from such divestitures in the third quarter, a record level in a three-month period, Jefferies said.

These included deals such as Bank of America’s agreement to sell the long-term asset management business of Columbia Management to Ameriprise, Bank of New York Mellon’s acquisition of Insight Investment from Lloyds, and the purchase by Sumitomo Trust & Banking of Citigroup’s 64 percent interest in Nikko Asset Management. 

Deals du Jour

Julius Baer will buy ING‘s private bank in Switzerland, the two have said (Reuters has long been reporting that Baer was the frontrunner to seal the deal).

The battle for Dutch retailer Super de Boer heats up, with Ahold now showing interest to buy 30 to 50 of its supermarkets. For these and other stories about deals, click here.

And two deal stories in other media:

Citigroup is working on a sale of its commodities unit Phibro in a move that could raise hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Financial Times.

Deals du Jour

At long last, Europe may see its first sizeable IPO: Aviva says it expects to complete the flotation of its Dutch unit, Delta Lloyd, in November. And shares in Telenor jump 15 percent after it settles a long-standing row with Russia’s Alfa Group. The agreement will involve a pooling of assets between the two companies. For these and other stories on deals, click here.

And here’s what we found of interest in other media today and over the weekend.

Shoprite Holdings Ltd chairman Christo Wiese is looking to swap some or all of his stake in Africa’s biggest grocer for stock in furniture maker Steinhoff, a South African newspaper reports.

Diamonds in the rough

Diamond pictureSomewhere out there are ailing companies in need of a turnaround specialist. These experts — also known as company doctors — parachute into troubled businesses to turn their business around.

Funds, such as Oaktree Capital, HIG Capital and Apollo Management, specialise in buying up companies in distress (either through buying equity or debt) and turning them round.

And this should be a great time for these investors — banks are loaded with stakes in troubled companies and unwieldy corporates may want to spin off unwanted businesses.

from MediaFile:

CSC: No comment is the safest

I was rather surprised yesterday to see an e-mail from Ogilvy PR pitching an interview with Dave Booth, the Chairman President of Global Sales and Marketing at Computer Sciences Corp, only a couple of hours after Xerox announced its $6.4 billion planned purchase of Affiliated Computer Services.

After all, CSC -- an IT services company that competes with ACS, and has a market value of $8.1 billion -- was the first company that came to bankers' and analysts' minds when I asked them who else could be in play, as tech companies look to buy into new growth opportunities.

Given how market sentiment works, any comments from the chief senior executive of a potential acquisition target like CSC could easily move the stock. As a rule, that's why, companies typically don't comment on rumor or speculation about themselves. So naturally, an on-the-record interview with the CSC chairman executive wasn't something I could pass up.