DealZone

from Breakingviews:

Forget the IPO, Facebook could reverse into Yahoo

By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Now that Yahoo has fired its chief executive, anything could happen to the rudderless Internet hodgepodge. Private equity firms, one of Yahoo's founders and even AOL are said to be mulling bids. But consider a more radical option: a takeover by the rival most responsible for Yahoo's fall from grace -- Facebook.

It's of course easy to marshal arguments why Facebook's creator, Mark Zuckerberg, should avoid staining his company Yahoo purple. The social network is already growing rapidly. Revenue doubled in the first half to $1.6 billion with profit of nearly half a billion.

Moreover, Facebook is a private company without the $20 billion or so of cash needed to buy Yahoo. Since Facebook is just starting to profitably harvest its audience of 750 million users, the firm should stick to its knitting, or so the argument goes.

But Facebook has the ingredients to make Yahoo succeed, starting with a clear mission. Yahoo has struggled to articulate a vision beyond being the first page people see when they open a browser. Beyond that, nothing binds Yahoo's pieces -- news, photo albums, stock quotes, email, job listings and entertainment -- together. They look like orphaned applications for a social network.

M & A wrap: A Buffett bailout for BofA

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will invest $5 billion in Bank of America, stepping in to shore up the company in the same way he helped prop up Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis.

Bank of America shares rose 20 percent in pre-market trading on the news. Shares for the largest U.S. bank by assets have lost roughly a third of their value in August, and half their value since the beginning of the year.

The news of Steve Jobs’s resignation had many of his peers weighing in on the Apple co-founder’s legacy. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Jobs is the “most successful CEO in the U.S. of the last 25 years,” while former eBay CEO Meg Whitman said his contributions are “unparalleled in the business world.”

Deals wrap: Copycats sure to follow LinkedIn

A day after LinkedIn’s shares more than doubled in their public trading debut, analysts are scrambling to explain why the stock exploded and figure out what happens next.

The professional networking site’s IPO was being closely watched by Facebook, Groupon, Twitter and Zynga to gauge investors’ appetite for Internet companies.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg described a public offering of Facebook shares as “inevitable,” while Evelyn M. Rusli over on DealBook predicts a surge in Internet IPO’s but doesn’t think the market is setting itself up for another tech bubble burst.

Deals wrap: Blavatnik’s Access Industries wins bid for Warner Music

The headquarters of Warner Music Group is pictured in Burbank, California August 5, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries has won control of Warner Music Group with an offer of $8.25 a share, according to a source familiar with the matter. The agreement would set the world’s third-largest music company’s enterprise value at approximately $3.3 billion.

The NYTimes’s Ben Protess shines a light on Len Blavatnik, chairman of Access Industries and the new controlling stakeholder of Warner Music Group. Well-known for his investing prowess, he came to America as a penniless teenager and after building a fortune on oil and metal companies, he’s worth roughly $10 billion.

Deals wrap: Facebook, Google dueling suitors for Skype

Internet giants Facebook and Google are separately considering a tie-up with Skype after the Web video conferencing service delayed its initial public offering, two sources with direct knowledge told Reuters. A Skype deal could be valued at $3 billion to $4 billion, according to one of the sources.

Swiss commodity trader Glencore’s planned $11 billion listing was fully covered on its first day as investors rushed to take part in the mega-float, two sources close to the deal said on Thursday. Investors placed orders for all the shares on offer, including a 10 percent overallotment option, sources said, adding it was too soon to say where in the indicated 480-580 pence ($0.79-0.95) range the shares would be priced.

Warner Music Group could reach a deal to sell itself as soon as close of business on Thursday when the board meets to make a final decision, according to two sources. The world’s third largest music company is expected to be sold for over $3 billion and leading the bidding is Russian-American industrialist Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.

from MediaFile:

Tencent, De Wolfe among interested buyers for Myspace

De Wolfe and Murdoch in happier times (Photo: Reuters)

De Wolfe and Murdoch in happier times (Photo: Reuters)

Chinese Internet holding company Tencent, Myspace founder Chris De Wolfe and Myspace's current management team are among the 20 odd names kicking the tires at the once might social network to see whether it's worth buying outright or partnering in some sort of spin-out with current owner News Corp.

Tencent has previously said it is interested in possible US acquisitions.

The names come up in Reuters' Special Report on 'How News Corp got lost in Myspace',  a behind the scenes tale on how the focused Facebook beat the partying Myspace. (We have the story in a handy PDF format here)

In the story, we highlight some of the key problems Myspace faced,  some well-known and some not often mentioned:

Deals wrap: Singapore Exchange’s ASX bid in trouble

Singapore Exchange (SGX) Chief Executive Officer Magnus Bocker (R) talks as Australia's ASX Ltd Managing Director and CEO Robert Elstone listens during a media briefing in central Sydney October 25, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz Consolidation in the Asian exchanges industry hit a roadblock on Tuesday when Australia said it intends to reject Singapore Exchange’s proposed $7.8 billion bid for Australia’s ASX on “national interest” grounds.

Although a final decision has yet to be made, share moves hinted that the market doubts the deal can be salvaged. All eyes will now be on other major exchange deals awaiting approval from regulators and politicians.

Texas Instruments is buying National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, paying a hefty 78 percent premium to merge two of the industry’s oldest firms into a dominant force in analog microchips.

Deals wrap: Groupon’s new deal, a $25 billion IPO

An online coupon sent via email from Groupon is pictured on a laptop screen November 29, 2010 in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Daily deals website Groupon, which last year turned down a $6 billion bid from Google, has held talks with banks about an initial public offering that would value the company as high as $25 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The Chicago-based company ballooned to 50 million users in 2010 and is available in 500 cities in 40 countries. Not bad considering the two-year-old start-up was valued at $1.3 billion just last April.

Shira Ovide of the WSJ.com wonders if Groupon’s massive valuation, coupled with the reported $75 billion worth for Facebook, has the makings of another 1990′s tech bubble.

Deals wrap: An all-Japan exchange?

A man walks past a glass wall with logos of the Tokyo Stock Exchange at the bourse in Tokyo November 4, 2010. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao Call it the survival instinct. The flurry of mergers and alliances underway in the global exchanges industry has served as a call to action for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which may begin merger talks with its main Japanese rival Osaka Securities Exchange as it seeks out ways to survive consolidation sweeping the sector.

Meanwhile, some of Canada’s big banks are protesting the London Stock Exchange’s proposed $3.2 billion takeover of Toronto Stock Exchange parent, TMX Group. Bank executives told a hearing that the deal threatens Toronto’s status as a global financial hub and could harm the prospects of Canadian companies looking to raise funds on public markets.

HCA, the biggest U.S. for-profit hospital chain, made history on Wednesday when it pulled off the largest private-equity backed initial public offering ever. Investors snapped up more shares than expected in the $3.79 billion IPO, shrugging off the hospital operator’s high debt levels as the market for newly traded shares heats up. Check out our list of the ten largest U.S. private equity-backed IPOs.

Deals wrap: Just one word – plastics

A worker sorts plastic bottles at a recycling centre in Hefei, Anhui province November 10, 2010. REUTERS/StringerPlastics. They don’t glitter like gold does, but more top hedge fund managers are betting on the chemical commodities that go into making plastics and buying up shares in the companies that produce them.

The Smart Money 30, a group that includes some of the biggest stock-picking equity funds, also trimmed bets on tech giants Apple and Google while favoring General Motors and Citigroup, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

What’s the easiest way to boost your company’s reputation? Buy up a top global brand. At least that’s the advice being given to top Chinese companies by the country’s commerce minister, who is urging the country’s firms to seek out new foreign acquisitions in an effort to secure more name recognition abroad.