DealZone

Deals du jour

Top deals news today includes LSE boss mulling new acquisitions, BC Partners downing tools on a BGI bid and Fiat signing a big Chinese joint venture. All the latest deals news here.

In the morning papers:

The new chief executive of London Stock Exchange Xavier Rolet has told La Tribune newspaper that he is ready to look at acquisitions and alliances but is not treating them as a priority. Reuters story here.

Borders UK, the bookshop chain owned by private equity firm Risk Capital Partners, has appointed restructuring experts RSM Bentley Jennison to advise on closing underperforming stores, The Independent reported.

Billionaire investors the Reuben Brothers have put in a 40 million pound ($63 million) bid to acquire Premium Bars & Restaurants (PBR), The Times said.

The Obama administration is preparing to steer General Motors into bankruptcy next week, The Washington Post reported. Reuters story here.

“Tourists” arrive in private equity

Opportunistic buyers, lovingly dubbed “tourists” by those in the industry, have moved into the secondary private equity market. They’re looThe cruise ship from Mediterranean Shipping Company Musica dwarfs Via Garibald as it arrives in Veniceking for positions in brand-name private equity funds at knock-down prices. As I wrote in a DealTalk today:”Pension funds and wealthy middle-east sovereign wealth funds are buying up investments in private equity funds, pushing up prices and sidelining secondary firms that specialise in acquiring the assets.”The market for second-hand private equity assets — where private equity investors offload assets to specialist buyers — has mushroomed as the credit crisis has intensified. And increasing numbers of cash-strapped investors are concerned about meeting their future commitments to buyout funds.”New investors have been attracted to deals by steep discounts to net asset value, forcing up prices for specialist buyers, such as Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and HarbourVest Partners (HVPE.AS) that last month closed secondary funds after reaching their $5.5 billion and $2.9 billion targets respectively.”Read the full piece here.

Deals du jour

Top deals news today includes Fiat boss’s confidence about an Opel takeover, Regions Financial planning a $1.25 billion stock offer, Aussie Rio shareholders seeking a new Chinalco deal and Novartis buying cancer drugs unit. All the latest deals news here.

In the morning papers:

Fiat SpA has more than a 50 percent chance of successfully linking up with Opel, La Stampa said, citing chief executive Sergio Marchionne. Reuters story here.

British pub company Mitchells & Butlers is in talks with banks over a possible rights issue, the Financial Times reported.

Deals du jour

A man looks at local newspapers, with articles regarding France's President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit on their front pages, at a news kiosk in Mexico CityA Facebook IPO is a few years off, Bank of America raises $13.47 billion in a share sale, GM’s bankruptcy plan envisages a quick sale to government, and more. Here are the latest deal-related stories:

Facebook CEO says IPO a few years out

Bank of America raises $13.47 billion in share sale

GM bankruptcy plan eyes quick sale to government

SolarWinds IPO prices at $12.50, above range

IBM to continue being active dealmaker

Itau interested in buying small banks in Brazil

Broadcom urges Emulex investors question rosy view

Viterra to buy Australia’s ABB for $1.2 billion

Investors expect better hedge fund terms

And in the morning papers:

Global mining company Rio Tinto may replace the $7.2 billion convertible bond that is part of its tie-up with Chinalco with a capital raising underwritten by the Chinese firm, The Australian newspaper said. Reuters story here.

India’s Religare Enterprises and Australia’s Macquarie Group have jointly bid $500 million to buy AIG Investments, which manages $100 billion in client funds globally, according to The Times of India.

MACs are big

A demonstrator wearing a model of a hamburger on his head protests in Munich

And earn-outs are in. So says a new survey looking at almost 500 European deals from 2007-08 (most below $500m). As I wrote:

“The balance of power in European mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has shifted towards buyers, with deals containing more legal safeguards against a purchase turning sour, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

“The survey, by lawyers and accountants CMS, found more deals now contain ‘earn-out’ or ‘material adverse change’ clauses to protect buyers, and they often get longer to assess if a business is all it was promised to be.”

Better late than never?

A giant sculpture constructed with the faces of clocks is seen outside a Paris train station

Is now the time to be bulking up in M&A and other kinds of corporate finance advice?

On Monday, Societe Generale trumpeted the hire of a top French dealmaker from JPMorgan — the auspiciously named Thierry d’Argent — and reiterated its big plans for European M&A. Daiwa Securities SMBC agreed to buy mid-market corporate finance house Close Brothers Corporate Finance. Meanwhile Barclays Capital is making lots of equity markets hires, and says it aims to be one of the world’s top full-service investment banks.

As I wrote:

“A clutch of banks with previously limited reach in European takeovers and other corporate advisory work are betting now is a good time to grab market share — before the dealmaking business recovers.

Deals du jour

A journalist inspects a board with newspapers and magazines during the annual news conference of German publisher Axel Springer in BerlinState Street is selling $2 billion of stock, Morgan Stanley expects more listed company share sales and billionaire Kirk Kerkorian strikes his latest deal, and more. Here are the latest deal-related stories:

State Street sells stock, takes $3.7 billion charge

Morgan Stanley exec sees more follow-ons

Kerkorian buys MGM Mirage shares, stake now 42 percent

Fujitsu eyes more M&A to boost software operations

Lehman seeks OK to probe Barclays payment

Kona Grill shareholder offers to take company private

Morgan Stanley to sell remaining stake in MSCI

And in the morning papers:

The U.S. Treasury has preliminarily granted BlackRock Inc a second-recond interview to buy toxic assets from U.S. banks, using taxpayer money, the Wall Street Journal said on its website.

German retailer Arcandor AG‘s Chief Executive, Karl-Gerhard Eick, said he opposed Metro AG‘s proposal to combine the two companies’ department store chain, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported. Reuters story here.

Could market rebound ease way for M&A?

The drop in U.S. stocks through the first three months of 2009 did little to spur merger activity in the U.S. industrial sector, but a top executive at blue-chip manufacturer United Technologies Corp argued on Thursday that the recent rebound in share prices could spur buying.

“This recovery that we’ve seen in the market probably helps because it sets a more realistic baseline from which to negotiate,” said Greg Hayes, chief financial officer of the world’s largest maker of elevators and air conditioners, which has said it plans to be aggressive in seeking acquisitions this year. “Obviously you’d like to buy everything as cheaply as you can, but you have to be realistic. It’s probably a better market today than it was even six weeks ago.”

The rest of the year may put his thesis to the test, as the falloff in M&A activity was dramatic in the first quarter. Data from PricewaterhouseCoopers showed just 13 industrial sector deals worth a total of $1.6 billion. That’s down from 43 deals worth $8 billion in the first quarter of 2008.

Graduating MBA? Tough luck

GraduatesThe bear market’s message to MBA graduates – tough luck.

MBAs who graduate during a bear market may never get the chance to start a Wall Street career, which means they would earn significantly less over their lifetime than those who graduated when things were rosy around them, a Stanford business school study shows.

The proportion of graduating MBAs who manage to get hired into lucrative investment banking positions shrinks or expands depending on how well the stock market is performing in a given year, according to the study by Paul Oyer, an associate professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The study is based on the long-term career choices and salaries of the school’s graduates over 35 years.

More than a quarter of Stanford MBAs who graduated two years before the stock market crash of 1987 became investment bankers, but only 17 percent graduates two years after the crash took that career path. And investment bankers were estimated to make a lot more over their lifetimes than those who went on a different path.

No more rushing to the mailbox for those AmEx bills?

MASTERCARD/AMERICANEXPRESSRemember a couple of years ago, when it was discovered that an executive used his corporate American Express card to pay for $241,000 worth of “services” at a New York-based “gentleman’s club” then tried to stiff AmEx on paying the bill?

How might someone explain a $241,000 charge on his or her statement, to his or her boss (or his or her spouse, for that matter)when it gets sent to the home office — or worse, the home — at the end of the month?

“Wow, those steaks really WERE expensive.”

“We all had dessert.”

“There must be a missing decimal point somewhere. I hope.”

Well now, that problem might be a little easier to manage as American Express said on Tuesday it will no longer send paper copies of their bill to clients at large companies.