DealZone

Deals wrap: GM to file for IPO in August?

Government-rescued automaker General Motors plans to file its registration for an initial public offering during the week of August 16, according to a Reuters report that cited two people with direct knowledge of the preparations.

The public offering is seen as necessary for GM to reduce the government’s ownership in the company after it was forced to accept a $50-billion bailout last year.

The Reuters story puts the potential move in perspective:

“An IPO for the U.S. automaker, which was restructured in bankruptcy last year, would be the biggest U.S. stock offering since Visa Inc’s $19.7 billion March 2008 IPO and one of the biggest IPOs of all time.”

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Talk about odd timing. After guiding De Beers – the world’s biggest diamond producer – to first-half net earnings of $255 million, compared to just $3 million for the same period the previous year, CEO Gareth Penny announced his resignation. “I think you have to signal this quite openly to the market that you’re going to engage in this sort of process otherwise the rumor mills just start,” Penny told Reuters.

An analyst quoted in the Reuters story, said Penny’s sudden departure after 22 years with the firm may be due to De Beers being forced into a $1 billion rights issue last February after debt piled up and revenues dried up during the global downturn.

Deals wrap: No timeline for Facebook IPO

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not tip his hand about when the social networking giant would go public, when he sat down recently for an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.

“When it makes sense, right,” Zuckerberg told Sawyer, adding: “I mean, what we’re most focused on is just building these tools that help people stay connected with the people that they care about. And at some point along the path, I think it’ll make sense to have an IPO. But we’re not running the company to do that.”

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General Motors has announced it intends to purchase auto finance company AmeriCredit Corp for $3.5 billion. According to the Reuters story the deal “removes an uncertainty for GM as it prepares for a stock offering intended to reduce the U.S. government’s nearly 61 percent ownership stake.”

Deals wrap: SSL is on the market

Models pose with a replica of a condom during the 2001 Durex Global Sex Survey Press conference in Hong Kong November 27, 2001. REUTERS/Kin CheungReckitt Benckiser agreed to buy Durex condoms maker SSL for $3.8 billion. SSL stock jumped on the news as potential counterbidders could include Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline, which are looking to expand their over-the-counter businesses. * View article

AIG is set to elevate Goldman Sachs to the top role for handling the initial public offering of its Asian life insurance unit, sources said. Morgan Stanley was an early favorite to lead AIA’s aborted IPO last year, before Prudential offered to buy the unit and IPO plans were shelved. The Prudential deal subsequently fell apart. * View article

Is Facebook worth $11 billion or $30 billion? Investors, and underwriting banks, have been salivating over an IPO for months. MSN Money takes a look at how to value the social-networking company. * View article

GM IPO gassing up

It looks like the long-awaited return to market for GM is only weeks away. The listing could raise up to $20 billion, we’re told by a person with knowledge of the preparations. That would be quite a bit more than the $15 billion that has been talked about. But wait, there’s more!

What does a car company with a solid financing business do to keep the wheels moving? Sources tell us that GM is also in talks with JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo on deals aimed at providing improved access to consumers for auto loans at its U.S. dealerships.

GM Chief Executive Ed Whitacre and other executives have said they favor an IPO as early as this year. Bankers had expected a stock listing to raise between $10 billion to $20 billion by selling part of the U.S. government’s 60.8 percent stake in GM to investors.

The afternoon deal: Weak markets + big IPO = ?

Pedestrians walk past the logo of the Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) at its branch in Shenyang, Liaoning province June 18, 2010.  REUTERS/Sheng Li Kuwait has confirmed its investment in the China Agbank IPO and others are expected to step forward shortly.

The driving force behind Agbank public offering is Vice President Pan Gongsheng. The IPO is being hammered out in a classroom and attendance is monitored. Find out more of how this deal looks and feels here.

Here are some key facts about the bank and its cornerstone investors.

The IPO, expected to raise $23 billion, has faced serious global headwinds. Specific to the region, the main Shanghai index has fallen 21 percent this year, making it one of the worst performers in the world.

AIG won’t haggle?!

With an outstanding IOU to Uncle Sam of more than $50 billion, AIG hardly seems to be in a position to turn up its nose at a lower bid for AIA from Britain’s Prudential. The message was pretty clear to Pru’s CEO Tidjane Thiam that his shareholders were in little mood to approve a $21 billion rights issue to fund a $35 billion purchase of AIG’s Asian assets. So he came back with a $30 billion offer. No surprises there. He’d be mad not to haggle, particularly given it looks like Pru is the only buyer out there.

Suggestions that AIG would opt for an IPO of the Asian business shouldn’t have been much of a threat to Pru’s bid. Expectations were that AIG would get around half what Pru was offering – after haggling – if it went to market, and that assumed a market with a whole lot more appetite for new issues than the one AIG is now looking at.

So what gives? Does AIG have some mystery buyer waiting in the wings willing to hit its magic price tag? Or has AIG CEO Robert Benmosche been given some secret blessing by the U.S. Treasury to slow down the asset sales and try to rebuild the business? That’s almost harder to believe than the white knight suggestion. This is an election year, and politicians will smell blood if it starts to look like AIG is dragging its heels in paying its bills.

DealZone Daily

British insurer Prudential is to list in Hong Kong on May 11 and announced a secondary listing in Singapore to fund its $35.5 billion takeover of rival AIA, AIG’s Asian life insurance business.  Prudential said it would publish prospectuses for each of the listings on May 5.

U.S. air carriers United Airlines and Continental are considering a nil premium all stock merger to create the world’s largest airline valued at about $6.6 billion.  US Airways earlier dropped out of merger discussions with United. Many believed United had only entered talks with US Airways to draw out Continental, arguably a better match for it.

CenturyTel is to buy Qwest Communications in another stock deal, valuing the combination of the U.S.’s third and fourth largest landline telephone companies at $10.6 billion. The deal is designed to let the new business, CenturyLink, cut costs and compete more effectively, as consumers increasingly unplug their phone lines and go mobile.

DealZone Daily

The world’s largest credit and debit card processor Visa is to pay some $2 billion for CyberSource, a company that helps retailers take online payments, including from mobile phones. Analysts estimate Visa already has 45 percent of the online market and the deal will only serve to boost the company’s position further.

The U.S.’s largest mall owner Simon Property Group has sent a revised recapitalization plan to rival General Growth Properties, which would see new investors, including Oak Hill Advisers, RREEF, ING Clarion Real Estate Securities and Taconic Capital, inject a further $1.1 billion into the business. Simon has already offered to invest $2.5 billion for about a quarter of its rival, while  Paulson & Co — the U.S. hedge fund that bet against Goldman Sachs Abacus mortgage product — injecting a further $1 billion.

Film moguls Bob and Harvey Weinstein and backer Ron Burkle could reach a deal for Walt Disney’s Miramax Films within days, despite a rift between the Weinsteins and one of their minority shareholders Mark Cuban.

The afternoon deal: Citi spinoff rings up strong debut

CITIGROUP/Another day, another sign of renewal for initial public offerings. Primerica co-CEOs John Addison and Rick Williams capped the day off by ringing the closing bell after the Citigroup life insurance spinoff’s shares soared in their April Fool’s Day debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Appetite for the company’s stock remained strong throughout the day, with shares jumping more than 30 percent above the initial offering price in afternoon trade as investors bet that the life insurer will reap rewards as the economy continues to mend.

Primerica priced at $15 a day earlier, above the $12 to $14 range that was expected. Citigroup sold 21.3 million shares in the offering and raised a total of $320 million in the deal. The bank will retain up to a 43 percent stake in the insurer, with plans to reduce it over time.

DealZone Daily

Auto partners Renault and Nissan are in the final stages of talks with Daimler to obtain symbolic stakes in each other as they look to share technology amid intensify competition, according to reports. For the Reuters story click here.

Canada’s largest pension plan, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, is buying Camelot, the British national lottery operator, for 389 million pounds. It saw off rival bidder CVC.

In other M&A and corporate finance news reported by Reuters and other media:

South Korea’s top insurer Samsung Life is expected to raise an estimated $4.7 billion in its upcoming initial public offering, the country’s biggest share float, after a major shareholder group agreed to sell the bulk of their holdings in the offering.