DealZone

DealZone Daily

Friday’s highlights:

Bonus watch: Goldman Sachs Group Inc plans to pay top managers their 2009 bonuses in stock, rather than cash, as it seeks to deflect outrage over a near-record pay haul months after it repaid billions of dollars in taxpayer aid.

UK fund manager Gartmore has lowered price guidance on its initial public offer (IPO) and restructured the deal after investors balked at the valuation, a banking source close to the sale says.

Swedish private equity firm EQT says it, together with the Singapore government, will buy scientific journal publisher Springer Science and Business Media for an undisclosed sum. EQT’s purchase of Springer, from rivals Candover and Cinven, was first reported by Reuters on Wednesday. (See some of the articles Springer has published by Nobel Prize winners here.)

French bank Societe Generale says it is close to reaching a definitive deal with rival Dexia over buying Dexia’s 20 percent stake in Credit du Nord to give SocGen full control.

Oracle Corp’s customers tell concerned European Union regulators the U.S. software company’s $7 billion deal to buy Sun Microsystems Inc will not curtail competition in the database market.

DealZone Daily

Thursday’s top stories:

Dubai’s Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) says it will not merge with Dubai Holding’s property units, a move analysts said protected the developer from Dubai Holdings’ vulnerable debt position.

Sempra Energy (SRE.N) may join Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L) in selling off their entire joint commodities business, offering quick entry into a lucrative market with a diverse, global trading book.

When AOL Inc Chief Executive Tim Armstrong rings the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, he hopes to put behind one of the most disastrous mergers in corporate history. The question is, Yinka Adegoke writes, whether investors will take to the newly independent Internet company, especially since the spin-off was structured so the first holders of the stock are Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) shareholders.

DealZone Daily

Wednesday’s top stories:

Japan’s Suzuki Motor will sell a 19.9 percent stake to Volkswagen for $2.5 billion and use half the proceeds to buy shares in the German automaker, as the two firms form a formidable force in the auto industry.

Dutch mail group TNT (TNT.AS) needs to be a part of consolidation in the fragmented European courier market, a new shareholder says, fuelling investor pressure for TNT to sell its express business.

Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) agrees to buy BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) closed Ravensthorpe nickel mine for $340 million, paving the way to revive 5 percent of world nickel capacity.

DealZone Daily

Citigroup Inc and the U.S. government disagree over how much the bank should raise to repay taxpayers and talks may not finish for weeks or even months, people briefed on the matter say.

General Motors Co is talking to BAIC, China’s fifth largest car maker, about a partial sale of assets associated with its Saab brand, including tooling and technology, two people with direct knowledge of the discussions say.

State-controlled Dubai World is discussing with its bank creditors a new date for $3.5 billion in debt maturing on Dec. 14, a Dubai newspaper reports, citing British bankers.

DealZone Daily

Monday’s big deal stories:

Dubai moves to ring-fence prized assets from the $26 billion debt restructuring of Dubai World, denting already fragile investor sentiment ahead of talks between the struggling conglomerate and key creditors.

British confectioner Cadbury (CBRY.L) gives itself a week to post a formal response to Kraft’s (KFT.N) $16 billion takeover offer.

British waste management firm Shanks Group Plc reveals a 536 million pound ($889 million) buyout approach, sending its shares soaring, but says its board and key shareholders were looking for at least 10 percent more.

DealZone Daily

General Electric and Vivendi agree to a deal in which GE would buy the French company’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal for $5.8 billion, a source familiar with the matter says, paving the way for Comcast Corp’s proposed joint venture with GE.

Geely, the Chinese carmaker picked as the preferred bidder for Ford Motor’s Volvo unit, is seeking at least $1 billion in loans from Chinese banks to finance its $1.8 billion bid, sources say.

Zijin Mining Group, China’s largest listed gold company, offers $498 million for Indophil Resources, chasing the Australian miner’s one-third stake in a big copper and gold lode in the Philippines.

DealZone Daily

Pubs operator Mitchells & Butlers will ask Britain’s takeover watchdog to rule whether rebel shareholders are attempting to gain control of the group after they blocked the appointment of a chairman.

Piedmont, an investment vehicle owned by billionaire Joe Lewis that owns 23 percent of M&B, obstructed the appointment of an independent chairman and vetoed three candidates at the final stage despite being involved in the hiring process from its beginning.

In other M&A and corporate finance news reported by Reuters and other media:

Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC) might still be interested in buying General Motors’ Saab unit, the Chinese car company’s general manager says. “I would just say, ‘stay tuned a little bit’,” he says.

DealZone Daily

British Airways and Iberia finally agree to a merger that will create the world’s no. 3 airline by revenue. The all-stock deal, giving BA shareholders about 55 percent of the combined company, is just the (airline) ticket for the columnists: it’s cleared for takeoff after a long time on the runway and so on.

Alistair Osborne in the Telegraph says on “pure current valuation grounds, it’s not an amazing deal for BA. But strategically it presses most buttons – and there’s plenty of extra value to come from the mooted €400m of synergies, which are bound to prove an undershoot.”

Nils Pratley in the Guardian says the deal is not a glorious victory for BA, which still faces big challenges in both short- and long-haul business. While the deal is “significant, BA’s more important proposed deal is probably the attempt to secure anti-trust immunity for an alliance with American Airlines.”

DealZone Daily

A couple of nuggets from transport-land. Britain’s National Express unveils a 360 million pound rights issue and buyout giant TPG emerges as a potential investor alongside American Airlines in Japan Airlines.

For the latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

And in the papers:

* Fubon Financial, parent of Taiwan’s No.2 insurer, and China’s State Development & Investment Corp will set up a 3 billion Chinese yuan ($440 million) private equity fund, the Commercial Times reported, citing a Fubon executive. Reuters story here.

* Indian software services firm Patni Computer Systems (PTNI.BO) has shortlisted four firms for a multi-million dollar acquisition, the Mint newspaper reported, quoting Chief Executive Officer Jeya Kumar.

DealZone Daily

Chocolate and macaroni cheese aside, a trio of tech deals to mull over:

* Google Inc will buy AdMob, one of the largest mobile advertising networks, for $750 million, widening its bet that cell phone advertising could become the Internet’s next-big money maker.

* Electronic Arts Inc acquires Playfish for $275 million as the maker of the “Madden NFL” series expands in the growing social gaming sector.

* And Cisco Systems Inc says shareholders holding just 9.37 percent of shares in Tandberg have accepted its $3 billion tender offer for the Norwegian videoconferencing company.