DealZone

Deals wrap: Yoplait to split a yogurt with General Mills

General Mills cereals are displayed on a kitchen counter in Golden, Colorado December 17, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

After months of tense negotiations that involved members of the French government, management disputes and influence from an agricultural lobby General Mills is set to pay $1.12 billion for private equity fund PAI Partners half of the Yoplait yogurt brand.

The General Mills bid was attractive for several reasons. It has a long standing relationship with Yoplait, holding the license for the companies yogurt in the United States since 1977. General Mills was also able to pay for the transaction off its balance sheet. Sodiaal, which controls the other half of Yoplait, was also attracted to the idea that General Mills could use its international reach to boost sales in emerging markets, particularly India and China.

For its part General Mills protects its U.S. distribution rights and eliminates the risk of a competitor edging in on that business. The Deal Journal has some early market reaction.

News that Groupon could be valued as high as $25 billion is being met with skepticism.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the site was unlikely to command such a lofty valuation so shortly after it turned down a $6 billion buyout offer from Google in December.

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: Taxing Sara Lee

U.S. dollar bills are displayed in Toronto in this posed photo, March 26, 2008. REUTERS/Mark BlinchAvoiding being clobbered with a huge tax bill is a key consideration in deciding on a sale, break-up or spin-off for a large company like Sara Lee.

Activist investor William Ackman and Vornado’s Chief Executive Steven Roth will join the board of J.C. Penney next month, the department store operator said.

Google needs to buy a Groupon clone, reports GigaOM.

The retail sector is ripe for M&A activity, reports Morningstar.

Deals wrap: TD Bank’s $6.3 billion deal

TD Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Clark looks on during the annual shareholders meeting at the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, March 25, 2010. REUTERS/Mathieu BelangerToronto-Dominion Bank will buy Chrysler Financial from private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for $6.3 billion. The deal is the latest in a series of foreign asset purchases by Canada’s big banks. For some back of the envelope math on the deal see Fortune.com’s Term Sheet.

Google is in talks with smaller players in the online discount coupon market after Groupon turned down the Web giant’s $6 billion buyout offer, the New York Post said, citing a source close to the situation.

M&A bankers should prepare for a surge. If deal activity follows a similar pattern to previous cycles, 2011 ought to be a considerably better year, writes columnist Jeffrey Goldfarb.

Deals wrap: Genzyme addresses investors

A sign on the fence marks Genzyme's plant in the Boston, Massachsetts neighborhood of Allston March 24, 2010.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder Genzyme, which is fighting off a hostile $18.5 billion bid from Sanofi-Aventis, will on Monday take another stab at persuading investors that its experimental multiple sclerosis drug is worth more than Sanofi’s projections.

AT&T said it agreed to buy spectrum licenses in the Lower 700 MHz frequency band from Qualcomm for $1.93 billion, to provide advanced 4G mobile broadband.

Sara Lee has been in talks to sell itself to Brazilian meat producer JBS, but the pair are at odds over price and it is unclear if a deal can be reached, a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday.

Deals wrap: Is Google getting a deal for Groupon?

Google Inc is inching toward buying e-commerce coupon website Groupon Inc for as much as $6 billion, the New York Times said on Tuesday. A deal, which could be in the range of $5 billion to $6 billion, could be struck as soon as this week but people with direct knowledge of the matter cautioned that the talks between Google and Groupon might still fall apart, the paper said. See Reuters analysis on how Google plans to spend its $33-billion cash hoard.

If completed, the acquisition would be Google’s most expensive to date. But is the price tag too steep? Groupon has so far raised $170 million in venture capital and reportedly hauls in upwards of $50 million every month.

All Things Digital tech columnist Kara Swisher, who first reported Google was interested in buying Groupon, calls the potential blockbuster a “killer move” for Google and writes: “While the $6 billion Google is considering paying seems high, Groupon’s fast-growing revenue and profitability make its multiples less daunting, said those familiar with the matter.”

Deals wrap: Power merger

A sign is pictured on Wall St. near the New York Stock Exchange in New York November 25, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson Northeast Utilities will buy peer NSTAR in a $4.17 billion all-stock deal to create one of the largest U.S. utilities. *View article

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto scrapped a plan for a $116 billion iron ore joint venture. The announcement was widely expected and could result in both miners stepping up competing expansions. *View article *View reaction

“The strong interest from traditional funds and high-profile Chinese investors in the sale of the unit of American International Group comes amid a flood of Asian IPOs that have cemented the region’s dominance in initial public offerings this year,” reports Denny Thomas and Kennix Chim. *View AIA article *View article on the IPO fee bonanza

Groupon’s valuation has been growing fast but don’t expect the company to have the same success as Ebay, writes TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington. *View article