Deals du Jour

Xerox Corp says it plans to buy Affiliated Computer Services Inc for $5.5 billion to  expand from a document-management company into the outsourcing business. ACS would be the first big deal for new CEO Ursula Burns.

Taiwan says it will allow contract chipmakers and flat-panel firms to acquire rivals in China, a move analysts said will help cement TSMC and UMC’s lead in the semiconductor sector.

For more on these stories and the rest of the latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

And here’s the buzz from Tuesday’s newspapers:

* The Netherlands is looking into options to sell Fortis Bank Nederland assets to French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) to get approval for a merger of nationalised banks ABN AMRO and Fortis Bank Nederland, Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reported.

* UBS  (UBS.N) (UBSN.VX) chief executive Oswald Gruebel said the bank’s U.S. wealth management unit Paine Webber is “non-core” but the Swiss bank will not sell at present, the Financial Times quoted him as saying.

Deals du Jour

ING sells its 51 percent stake in a wealth management joint venture to partner Australia and New Zealand Banking Group for $1.6 billion as the Dutch group slims down through asset sales.

ING is offloading assets to raise 6-8 billion euros, and is also selling its Asian and Swiss private banking assets. HSBC is the front-runner to buy the Asian private bank assets, sources tell Reuters.

In other M&A news:

Britain’s biggest pubs group, Punch Taverns, puts more than 300 of its worst performing pubs up for sale as it strives to cut its debt pile.

Deals du Jour

Canadian media firm CanWest Global Communications Corp will sell down its 50.1 percent stake in Australia’s Ten Network, worth about A$714 million ($620 million), in a move that could put Ten into play.

In other M&A news reported by Reuters and other media on Thursday:

* Chilean forestry group CMPC said it is in talks to buy a unit of Brazilian giant Aracruz for $1.4 billion, which would give it access to the world’s cheapest pulp producing market.

* Chinese solar wafer manufacturer ReneSola said it will buy Dynamic Green Energy Ltd for about $88.5 million, mostly in stock, expanding the arts company into the market for solar panels.

Deals du Jour

POSCO and South Korea’s chemicals-to-brokerage group Hanwha are studying a potential bid for Daewoo International, sources close to the companies tell Reuters. Daewoo International’s market value is around $3 billion.

Meanwhile, five British companies unleash a wave of cashcalls to raise over 1.6 billion pounds, rushing to strengthen balance sheets during a “window of opportunity” as investors show a strong appetite to support fundraisings.

In M&A news reported by Reuters and elsewhere on Wednesday:

U.S. oil and gas exploration and production firm SandRidge Energy strikes a deal to buy bankrupt rival, Crusader Energy Group, for $230 million, in a cash and stock deal that would give it additional acreage in the Anadarko and Permian basins.

Deals du Jour

Bank of America fails to meet a deadline to hand lawmakers further details about its acquisition of Merrill Lynch and faces the possibility of new charges from U.S. securities regulators. Meanwhile, Oracle Corp (ORCL.O) Chief Executive Larry Ellison says Sun Microsystems Inc (JAVA.O) is losing about $100 million a month as European regulators delay approving his company’s $7 billion purchase of the struggling hardware maker. And in Asia, China Investment Corp, the $200 billion sovereign wealth fund, buys a 14.5 percent, $850 million stake in trading firm Noble Group (NOBG.SI), giving China greater exposure to global commodities and trading expertise.

For these stories and more deals-related news from Reuters, click here.

Here’s what we found in Tuesday’s papers:

* The head of confectioner Cadbury PLC (CBRY.L), which is facing a possible takeover by U.S. food giant Kraft Foods Inc (KFT.N), said there were some “complementary elements” in the two companies’ portfolios, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

* Plantation and palm oil processor Wilmar International (WLIL.SI) is expected to spin off its China food operation, raising up to HK$27.3 billion ($3.5 billion) in a flotation of shares in Hong Kong in October, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported. Reuters story here.

Deals du Jour

Royal Bank of Scotland is talking to investors to gauge support for a “modest” equity placement of 3 to 4 billion pounds, a source tells us, as it tries to limit government control.  JPMorgan and Cazenove are thought to be close to agreeing a price for Cazenove’s share of their J.P. Morgan Cazenove joint venture before the end of the year, the Independent on Sunday newspaper says.

For these and other Reuters stories on deals, click here. And for Monday’s stories in other media (some of the links may require subscription):

German power giant E.ON is in advanced talks with potential partners to build new solar power plants in Andalusia, southern Spain, its chief executive tells Spanish daily Expansion.

Deals du Jour

The European Commission’s restrictions on state aid for banks may force Lloyds Banking Group to sell off all or part of its Halifax branch network, a report today said. The news comes days after it emerged that Royal Bank of Scotland may dust off old brands ahead of a similar sale, also prompted by the possibility of action from the European Commission.

And here’s a round-up of deal-related stories from Wednesday’s press:

* Creditors of Oleg Deripaska’s En+ energy and metals group may ask the Russian billionaire to pledge a stake of up to 10 percent in aluminium firm UC RUSAL in order to restructure a $1 billion debt, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Wednesday.

* Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has gathered a group of banks to finance a possible purchase of Anheuser-Busch InBev assets in central and eastern Europe, Belgian daily De Standaard reported. Reuters story here.

The Car Business: Self-loathing and Chinese Takeaways

Nobody hates cars as much as the car industry does these days. The business is crippling some of its biggest players and behold the dearth of industry names queuing up to buy other automakers.

Opel in Germany is being sold yet are Volkswagen, Porsche, BMW or Daimler anywhere to be found? Spot the empty parking lot.

Without the Chinese, auto sector M&A right now is about as exciting as a 1981 Yugo.

Road to fortune or highway to hell?

GM-OPEL/That will ultimately be the question asked about what kind of a future the German carmaker Opel faces.

Parent General Motors said on Thursday that it indeed wanted
to sell a majority stake in the unit to Canadian auto parts
group Magna and Russia’s Sberbank, a decision long favoured by the German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel.

With about two weeks to go until a general election in
Europe’s biggest economy, this would clearly be a political
victory — but the question remains whether it will also be an
economic one.

Poor? Some chocolate?

IndiaIf they don’t have bread, will they eat chocolates?

Cadbury’s hold on emerging markets such as India is part of the reason why Kraft wants the company so much, the Wall Street Journal said

The paper points out that Cadbury estimates more than half of India’s more than 1 billion people have never tasted chocolate, providing an opportunity for growth.

That’s a big number, but not necessarily a huge market. 

India measures poverty line in terms of daily calorie intake — 2,400 calories for folks living in rural areas and 2,100 for those living in cities. On that basis, the government estimates 27.5 percent of Indians lived below the poverty line in 2004-05. The measure might be conservative. As this New York Times report points out some say the number is at least 50 percent, and the actual caloric intake of the poorest 25 percent just 1,624 calories.