Deals du jour

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross says he plans to invest further in banks, but new capital requirements for private equity investment in the sector are still too tight. Meanwhile, a senior German government official says Opel has the liquidity to operate until next year, as a rift appears to develop in the ruling party over whether the General Motors Co unit should be sold to Canada’s Magna International (MGa.TO).

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

Here’s what else we found in the papers (some external links may require subscriptions):

* Main shareholders in the British bus and rail operator National Express (NEX.L) have indicated that they will continue to back a rights issue plan instead of a revised takeover offer, the Financial Times says.

* Two Chinese industry groups will kick off IPOs worth more than $2.5 billion in Hong Kong soon after they received a green light from the city’s stock exchange, racing to beat a possible market downtrend, the South China Morning Post says.

S&P: No subtext in industrial exodus from benchmark

Manitowoc Co is set to be the third U.S. manufacturer dropped from the Standard & Poor’s 500 index this year — but the brains behind the benchmark said the shift does not reflect a desire to soft-pedal the sector. 

David Blitzer“Our general concern about sectors is the proportions of sectors in the market and the index should be close to one another, and close is around a percentage point or so,” said David Blitzer, an S&P managing director who chairs the index committee. “Given that the 500 is 75 to 80 percent of the total market cap of the U.S. market, we’re never going to be too far off.”

S&P said late on Monday that it would remove Manitowoc, a maker of cranes and ships, from the benchmark S&P 500 after the close of trading on Aug. 31, noting that its market capitalization ranked it last in the group.

Deals du jour

The Obama administration pledges to stay out of General Motors’ choice of a buyer for its European Opel unit, while union leaders in Germany put more pressure on the U.S. automaker to make a decision. Meanwhile, Lowe’s Companies Inc (LOW.N), the No. 2 U.S. home improvement chain, is making its first foray outside North America through a joint venture with Woolworths Ltd (WOW.AX), Australia’s largest retailer.

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

And here’s what’s in the papers (some external links may require subscriptions):

Deals du Jour


Details emerge of the Swiss government’s disposal of 9 percent stake in UBS. Traders snapped up the 332 million shares at the top end of the expected price range in a heavily oversubscribed sale, a source told us. 

Talks over a complicated merger between telecommunications firms MTN and Bharti Airtel are extended for a second time until the end of September. As uncertainty over a successful completion drags on one shareholder we talked to said the extension showed that the deal may be too complex.

For the latest Reuters stories on M&A and investment banking, click here.

For a round-up of other stories featured in the media today take a look at our market chatter.

Deals du Jour

The logo of an Opel car dealer is pictured in Himmelkorn, near Leipzig August 9, 2009. With Magna and GM finally agreeing terms on Opel, more deals are on the horizon.

Mergers and acquisition stories in the media on Friday include:

A Canadian bank has approached Allied Irish Banks and the Irish government with a proposal to buy a stake in Allied when it has been cleansed of its risky loans, the Irish Times reported on Friday

India’s federal government will offer its 49 percent stake in Bharat Aluminium Co (Balco) to Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd for about 20 billion rupees ($416 million), the Economic Times reported on Friday.

Barclays Capital has prepared a database of more than 100 private-equity owned companies ready to be listed in the next 12 to 18 months, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Deals du Jour

Library photo of the Prudential Center. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES)The acquisition of Friends Provident by Resolution is a reminder that financial services deals have not gone away. A steady stream of deals have made headlines in recent weeks.

On Thursday an online report said Prudential Financial Inc is in the early stages of talks with KB Financial to sell its South Korean brokerage arm, a deal that could fetch an estimated $680 million. Here’s the Reuters story.

Other deal-related stories appearing in the media on Thursday include:

State-run miner Coal India Ltd plans to raise up to 60 billion rupees ($1.25 billion) by selling 10 percent of its equity through an initial public offer expected within a year, the Business Standard reported on Thursday.

Deals du Jour

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Fritz Henderson addressses the media during a news conference at GM's Warren Technical Center in Warren, MichiganGeneral Motors’ upcoming Volt model will run up to 230 miles per gallon of fuel, but the saga to sell off its European operations seems equally long-lasting. The bidding process is now between two bidders — Magna International and RHJ International — with GM’s CFO Ray Young telling Reuters earlier that “everyone is anxious to get this thing done”.

In other M&A related stories reported by media on Wednesday:

Indian state-run explorer Oli and National Gas Corp is in talks with three Russian firms about a joint bid for a stake in YPF the Argentinean arm of Spanish oil major Repsol YPF SA, the Economic Times reported.

JP Morgan is looking to sell 23 office properties in what may be the country’s largest office real estate sale this year, the Wall Street Journal said. Here’s Reuters’ report.

Deals du Jour

library photo of A man and a security guard are reflected behind a logo of a Japan's insurance company in Tokyo November 26, 2008. Japanese life insurers are shying away from investing in U.S. Treasuries because of their falling yields, officials at the insurers said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN)Clive Cowdery’s Resolution has won over shareholders of Friends Provident, agreeing to pay 1.86 billion pounds for the British life insurer. Here are some facts about the pair. Whether the move will lead to a wave of consolidation in the sector remains to be seen, though last week the head of rival Standard Life told Reuters that it had no plans to make any deals.

Other M&A news today includes:

The total value of distressed-debt deals totalled $84.4 billion this year, the Wall Street Journal said, almost double the figure last year. Here’s Reuters’ story.

Private equity fund Dubai International Capital and distressed debt investor Oaktree Capital have abandoned plans to team up to restructure the debts of German aluminium firm Almatis, the Financial Times said.

Deals du Jour

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group agreed to pay $550 million to buy some Asian units from British lender Royal Bank of Scotland , taking Australia’s fourth largest bank closer to its goal of generating a fifth of its revenue from Asia by 2012, Reuters reported.

In other M&A related stories reported by Reuters and other media on Tuesday:

Miner Xstrata posted a sharp drop in profit as a result of weak metal prices and warned hopes of a quick recovery may be premature, adding it still sought a “merger of equals” with rival Anglo American, Reuters reported. But Xstrata unveiled no new initiatives related to the courtship.

HSBC Holding is in talks to set up a joint venture in China, Vincent Cheng, HSBC executive director and chairman for Asia Pacific told Reuters.

Deals du Jour

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd will likely clinch a deal this week to buy some Asian assets from British lender Royal Bank of Scotland Group for about $775 million, a source briefed on the situation told Reuters, marking it the Australian bank’s biggest overseas purchase.

In other M&A related stories reported by other media on Monday:

British-based, US-listed cable operator Virgin Media is considering a secondary listing of its shares in London to attract UK-based investors, according to a report in the Times newspaper. Virgin will make an announcement about its decision at its second-quarter results this month, the report said.

The biggest private equity groups are sitting on $400 billion of debt that needs to be repaid over the next five years, putting the future of some of the largest buyouts in doubt, the Financial Times said, citing data from S&P LCD.