DealZone

Deals wrap: Dealmakers play it safe

USA/Bankers taking part in the Reuters Global M&A Summit this week told correspondents Quentin Webb and Victoria Howley that despite a recent pickup in global dealmaking, economic fragility, natural disaster and political tumult in the Middle East are hurting corporate confidence and holding back a more robust M&A recovery.

“A new guard of private equity bosses has emerged at the top of the industry, striving to make their business more open before investors and policy makers, and alter preconceptions of this at times secretive industry,” writes Reuters private equity reporter Simon Meads.

Pfizer said it struck a deal to sell its Capsugel unit, the world’s largest maker of hard capsules, to private equity firm KKR & Co for nearly $2.38 billion.

Deutsche Boerse won’t make a decision on a higher bid for NYSE Euronext until the U.S. exchange’s board reacts to last week’s counter-offer from Nasdaq and IntercontinentalExchange, sources said.

Struggling pizza chain Sbarro said it filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, in a move aimed at eliminating about $200 million of its debt.

Deals wrap: Nasdaq triumphant?

Trading specialists glance at each other as they prepare to leave the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 26, 2009.  REUTERS/Chip East Nasdaq OMX and IntercontinentalExchange unveiled a rival bid to buy NYSE Euronext for about $11.3 billion in cash and stock, a 19 percent premium to the offer made by German competitor Deutsche Boerse. The move could raise new antitrust questions as it would combine the two largest U.S. stock exchanges. The new offer is valued at $42.50 per share, Nasdaq and IntercontinentalExchange said. The offer represents a 19 percent premium to NYSE’s closing price on Thursday and is 27 percent above the company’s valuation before Deutsche Boerse’s $10.2 billion bid in February. Analysts were skeptical about whether Deutsche Boerse would launch a counterbid.

Citigroup might be uncomfortable sitting on information needed to determine whether the onetime successor to Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett violated securities laws when he personally traded in shares of Lubrizol, which Berkshire acquired for $9 billion, but it doesn’t have to be damaging territory for Citi, writes Rob Cox.

No.1 concert promoter and ticketing company Live Nation Entertainment is in the running to buy the recorded music assets of Warner Music Group, the world’s third largest music company, according to a person familiar with the talks. Bids have come in valuing Warner Music Group at around $3 billion on an enterprise value basis, which includes both debt and equity.

Deals wrap: Japan crisis may delay some IPOs

  The Glencore logo is seen on a sign in front of Swiss commodities trader Glencore building in Baar near Zurich January 5, 2010.

Extreme market volatility tends to make investors a jittery bunch. The deadly earthquakes and nuclear crisis in Japan will obviously have an immediate impact there, but the fallout from the catastrophe is expected to spread across the globe where it could delay or even cancel a slew of new share offerings and debt deals.

According to IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication, one major deal in the pipeline that’s at risk of cancellation is the planned $6-$8 billion London-Hong Kong IPO of Swiss commodity trading group, Glencore, a deal expected in May.

Institutional investors will be demanding a higher return on their investments, forcing stock and bond deals to expect lower valuations, or face being pulled all together. Glencore’s IPO may be the victim of bad timing.

Deals wrap: Nasdaq getting hostile with NYSE

Chief Executive Officer of The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. Robert Greifeld speaks at a news conference at the Nasdaq headquarters in New York, April 22, 2005.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc, not wanting to be left out in the cold of the global mergers frenzy among exchanges, is closer to making a counter-bid for NYSE Euronext, a source familiar with the situation said. Nasdaq would finance the transaction with up to $5 billion in debt and would most likely have to sell Euronext’s Liffe derivatives business to IntercontinentalExchange Inc to raise the needed capital.

If successful, such a counter-offer would redraw the global exchange map and thwart yet another merger plan by Germany’s Deutsche Boerse.

Even though the Nasdaq group has several options to go forward with a bid for NYSE,  Michael J. De La Merced of The New York Times thinks Nasdaq will find itself hard pressed to stay alone as its competitors bulk up through a series of mergers.

from Global Investing:

Do southern Europeans know something?

Slightly strange data from Deutsche Börse. Its latest survey of what top European executives have been doing shows increasing signs of optimism.  That is, management board and supervisory board members and their families have been buying shares in their own companies.

All well and good. But the strangeness kicks in when it becomes apparent that a lot of this buying has been done by the top people in the south.  Of 10 companies listed for the largest insider buying, seven were from southern Europe. Of the top sells,  seven were from more northern climes.

Deutsche Börse notes this -- "After Spain posted high purchase volumes last month (January), Italy has now awakened from hibernation" -- but gives no particular guidance.

from Summit Notebook:

How to gum up an exchange merger: salt water

It's a puzzle M&A bankers and corporate executives have been trying to solve for years: how far from your home market can an acquisition take place and ultimately stumble over cultural differences? It's a question that looms large as quintessentially Italian automaker Fiat prepares to swallow up Chrysler -- inventor of the K-car and the minivan -- and which reportedly haunts St Louis-based employees of Anheuser Busch in the aftermath of their company's takeover by the penny pinching Belgians and Brazilians at InBev.

Gary Katz, CEO of Deutsche Boerse unit International Securities Exchange, insisted during his appearance at the Reuters Exchanges and Trading Summit that all has been sweetness and light since the Germans assumed control of the upstart American options exchange and that there has been "nearly zero turnover" since the takeover.

But Thomas Kloet, Chief Executive of Canadian exchange powerhouse TMX, was one of several executives at the summit who insisted that cross border mergers can often be a recipe for disaster and that the ideal mergers are "domestic roll-ups" like CME Group's takeover of Nymex and the Chicago Board of Trade or indeed TSX Group's takeover of the Montreal Exchange, which created TMX.