DealZone

Deals wrap: Are hedge funds losing their sex appeal?

GM/IPOA small but growing number of hedge fund investors believe the once-free spirited portfolios, viewed as the cutting edge of finance for most of the past decade, have become too conservative and boring.

Goldman Sachs, responding to pressure from shareholders, regulators and clients, said it will disclose more information about how it makes money.

The U.S. power sector could be among the hottest industries for deals in 2011, but shareholders may not see the benefits for some time.

Simon Property walked away from a $4.5 billion bid to take over Britain’s Capital Shopping Centres.

“Monday Monday” lived up to its name yesterday and the deal bonanza heralds optimism for 2011 M&A.

Deals wrap: Threat to cross-border M&A

MARKETS-AUSTRALIA/STOCKSRising protectionism could kill off some multi-billion-dollar Asia takeovers this year, bankers say, noting that governments are increasingly keen to protect their national icons.

Qualcomm plans to buy Atheros Communications for roughly $3.2 billion in cash. Atheros makes chips for Bluetooth wireless and global positioning system devices.

Goldman Sachs is not giving its multimillionaire clients a lot of time or information to think about investing in a $1.5 billion Facebook private offering. The WSJ asks if Mark Zuckerberg is ready for prime time.

Deals wrap: Powering up China’s IPO market

A power-generating wind turbine is seen in a wind farm of Alpiq in Le Peuchapatte in the Jura region, western Switzerland October 7, 2010. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer Sinovel, China’s top wind turbine producer, plans to raise up to $1.4 billion in one of the most expensive main board IPOs in Shanghai. The listing may well be a test for China’s IPO market, which had a mixed performance late last year.

Shares in BP hit a six-month high after reports rival Royal Dutch Shell considered a takeover bid, and that economic damages from its oil spill will be lower than forecast.

Brazil’s Petrobras offered to buy Eni’s 33.3 percent stake in Portuguese oil company Galp for 4.7 billion, business daily Diario Economico reported without citing sources.

from Breakingviews:

Goldman’s old-school Facebook deal sets new tests

Goldman Sachs' old-school Facebook deal brings a new set of challenges. The bank is raising up to $1.5 billion from clients to invest in the social network while putting in $450 million itself. Like Morgan Stanley's reported deal with online coupon service Groupon, it looks like classic merchant banking. With hot firms in the driver's seat, however, the banks could find themselves in for a wild ride.

Internet darlings, with their growth, profitability and cash, face little pressure to go public yet still have some use for what a fundraising can provide. So instead of an IPO, they rely on so-called D-rounds. This allows them to raise money at favorable valuations for internal use, while buying stock back from employees or early-round investors who want to cash out.

It's a calculated pay-to-play on the banks' part. By stumping up for Facebook and Groupon, Goldman and Morgan Stanley put themselves in a strong position to underwrite the eventual IPOs. They make the tech firms happy by providing stronger headline valuations, in Facebook's case $50 billion. And the intermediaries score points with their well-heeled clients by enabling them to put money into hard-to-access investments.

from Breakingviews:

Buffett may struggle to repeat his Swiss Re exit

Warren Buffett may struggle to repeat his Swiss Re exit. The legendary investor bailed out three big beasts during the financial crisis: the Swiss insurer, GE and Goldman Sachs. The Sage of Omaha has allowed Swiss Re to buy back its expensive convertible stock early. He may have less scope to be as generous with the other two.

Of the three deals, Buffett's $3.1 billion investment in Swiss Re convertible shares had the most strings attached. Negotiated at the depths of the market slump, the stock paid a 12 percent annual coupon until March 2012, when it would convert into ordinary shares at a price of 25 Swiss francs.

As Swiss Re's share price is now twice that level, the insurer was keen to buy back the convertibles. But it had also agreed to pay Buffett a hefty 40 percent premium if it redeemed before March 2011, and a 20 percent premium after that.

Deals wrap: Cracking down on hostile bids

Demonstrators protest near Britain's Houses of Parliament in central London February 2, 2010.   REUTERS/Toby Melville “Britain’s takeover watchdog has unveiled proposals to make hostile bids harder but stopped short of endorsing the most radical proposals floated following the controversial takeover of Cadbury by Kraft Foods,” writes Quentin Webb. *View article

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan dismissed the idea that a hostile offer from BHP Billiton for Potash Corp would bring net benefits. *View article

“Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts is hiring part of Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s proprietary trading team, which is being shut down due to new restrictions on such trading,” write Steve Eder and Megan Davies. *View article

Deals wrap: Dealing with regulation

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange near the Goldman Sachs stall July 16, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidBanks are self-regulating in advance of new financial reforms. Are recent moves by Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan “smoke and mirrors” or a way to subtly shift the form of impending regulation? *View analysis *View Q&A on Wall Street reform*Full coverage of regulatory news

“Unlocking the potential of Genzyme’s experimental multiple sclerosis drug Campath could be key to prying a higher price for the U.S. biotech from Sanofi-Aventis,” writes Lewis Krauskopf and Ben Hirschler. *View analysis *View WSJ blog

General Electric is building up its industrial business with a $3 billion bid for Dresser Inc. The deal announcement came the same day as oilfield services company Wellstream rejected GE’s takeover approach. *View article

Deals wrap: Where’s the bid?

A sign on the fence marks Genzyme's plant in the Boston, Massachsetts neighborhood of Allston March 24, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder Chances are, every big pharmaceutical company is running the numbers and weighing the pros and cons of acquiring Genzyme, but the focus is on French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis, which has yet to deliver a bid. Citi expects a Genzyme deal to be worth $19.7-20.5 billion. * View article * More coverage

The merger market is crawling at its slowest pace ever, with deals taking longer to close as players at every step move with extra caution amid fluctuating stock prices. * View article

WSJ takes a look at Goldman and its dealings with AIG. * View WSJ article

The afternoon deal: Being Goldman

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: The Role of Investment Banks" on Capitol Hill in Washington April 27, 2010.     REUTERS/Jason ReedGetting raked over the coals for allegedly shady trading practices does nothing for the public’s trust in a company. But if the bottom line is affected, then it gets real serious.

Goldman’s top brass, along with other executives, are scurrying around the globe to meet with jittery corporate clients. They are holding phone calls with anxious customers and taking hedge fund trading partners out to sushi lunches, all in a bid to prevent business from going to one of its competitors.

For our special report on the impact on Goldman, and the companies response to the SEC’s civil fraud charges, click here. Find a graphic of Goldman’s share price and significant events here, or a look at Goldman’s shrinking U.S. IPO proceeds here.

The afternoon deal: Regulation overdrive

MOTOR-RACING-NASCAR/A joint Senate-House of Representatives conference committee convened at 2:15 p.m. EDT to begin merging competing bills from each chamber into what will be the biggest overhaul of the financial rules since the 1930s. Columnist John Kemp explains the simple conference process and the not so simple reality of merging the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the financial reform bill. The “base text” for the regulatory bill is here.

Not to be overshadowed by the financial regulation bill, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it plans to boost scrutiny of high-frequency trading, which now accounts for as much as half of all U.S. futures volume, and was fingered for its role in the May 6 stock market “flash crash.” Get the details of the co-location proposal here.

The SEC approved new so-called circuit breakers. The rules will require the exchanges to pause trading in certain stocks across U.S. equities markets if the price moves 10 percent or more in a five-minute period.