Deals wrap: A Blockbuster deal for Dish?

A Blockbuster movie rental store is seen in Golden, Colorado September 16, 2009. REUTERS/Rick WilkingActivist investor Carl Icahn may have shown up in person at Blockbuster’s bankruptcy auction to place his bid, but it was U.S. satellite TV provider Dish Network that walked away the winner.

Dish, led by satellite billionaire Charlie Ergen, won the assets of the once-mighty video rental chain for about $320 million, beating out Icahn and at least two other bidders in an auction that lasted into the early morning hours on Wednesday.

NYSE Euronext will “absolutely not” be placing a counterbid for Nasdaq OMX, a source close to the Big Board told Reuters corresondent Paritosh Bansal in an exclusive interview. The source said such a combination would be strategically unattractive and face “insurmountable antitrust problems.”

Embattled clothing retailer American Apparel is exploring a possible sale as it grapples with a lagging share price and persistent financial problems, sources close to the matter told peHUB.

Private equity-backed deals drove the U.S. market for initial public offering in the first quarter of 2011 and look set to continue doing so for the rest of the year, bankers told Reuters at the Global M&A Summit in New York.

The Great American IPO?

GMWe (the taxpayers)  paid some of the $50 billion to bail General Motors out of its bankruptcy misery last year.  Now, the former American industrial icon is going to launch one of the biggest U.S. IPOs  of the decade.

According to estimates by Independent International Investment Research, GM’s initial offering would raise $12 billion, higher than any U.S. IPO this year and exceeding all over the last ten years, except for Visa’s offering in 2008 and AT&T Wireless in 2000.

The Wall Street Journal said this morning that GM is close to picking JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley as lead underwriters for the IPO. The U.S. Treasury, which owns  a 61-percent stake in GM, said on Thursday that the timing would be decided by GM, based on market conditions.

Keeping Score: South Korean IPOs and MetLife record

An overview of the week in M&A, capital markets and syndicated loans — with league tables, up-to-date industry and country trends, as well as top transactions for the past week — from the Deals Intelligence team at Thomson Reuters:

South Korean Offering is Third Largest IPO of the Year

The recently announced $1.6 billion IPO from Korea Life Insurance Co is the largest South Korean IPO of the year and the largest offering from a South Korean company since January 2006. The listing is also the third largest global IPO in 2010. Year-to-date, IPOs in South Korea total nearly $1.9 billion from 13 issues, up nearly seven times from the same time last year.  This IPO bolsters South Korea’s ranking in the global IPO market, accounting for 8% of total proceeds this year.

MetLife Announces Largest Acquisition on Record

US-based MetLife Inc’s $15.5 billion announced acquisition of American Life Insurance Co Inc from AIG is the company’s largest acquisition on record. So far this year, insurance M&A activity in the United States totals $18.7 billion, just over 11% of total United States M&A.  Overall, M&A transactions in the United States are up 12% from the same time last year and deals in the global insurance industry are up over six times compared to 2009.

DealZone Daily

Top stories:

Schlumberger Ltd agrees to buy Smith International in a $11.34 billion all-stock deal that will boost the oilfield services leader’s revenue to double that of its nearest rival.

Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance, Japan’s second-largest life insurer, will sell about 1.07 trillion yen ($11.7 billion) of shares in Japan’s largest initial public offering in more than a decade.

EMI wants to keep ownership of the Abbey Road recording studios, immortalized by the Beatles album of the same name, though it is talking to other parties about revitalizing the site, the Terra Firma-owned music company says.

DealZone Daily

Three U.S. private equity firms have been shortlisted to buy Morgan Stanley’s more than $1 billion stake in China International Capital Corp, a holding the Wall Street bank has been trying to sell since late 2007.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and TPG Capital are competing to win the chance to acquire a stake in China’s best known and most profitable investment bank, sources tell Reuters.

In other M&A and corporate finance news from Reuters and other media on Tuesday:

DealZone Daily

Shares of China XD Electric Co, which raised $1.5 billion this month in a Shanghai IPO, unexpectedly fell in their trading debut on Thursday, serving a stark warning to China’s securities regulator that it may have gone too far in trying to cool the overheating stock market.  Read the Reuters story here.

And in other news:

Keolis, the transport unit of France’s state railway group SNCF, and British transport operator Arriva, are studying a possible equity link-up, French daily La Tribune reported.

DealZone Daily

Monday’s highlights:

London-based oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW.L) exercises a right to buy Ugandan oil fields which its partner in the fields, Heritage Oil (HOIL.L), previously agreed to sell to Italy’s Eni (ENI.MI) for $1.5 billion.

Some of Cadbury’s (CBRY.L) biggest shareholders, led by Legal & General, continued to reject Kraft Foods’ 10.5 billion pound ($17.2 billion) bid and will look for an increased offer.

Brazil’s Camargo Correa Group reiterates its interest in cement maker Cimpor and says it is pondering its options after the Portuguese stock market regulator turned down its merger proposal.

Keeping score: HK IPO, M&A picks up

Highlights from this week’s Thomson Reuters Investment Banking Scorecard:

In this week’s second largest ECM transaction Sands China, the Macau operations of US based Las Vegas Sands raised $2.5 billion on the Hong Kong stock exchange. It is the 6th largest IPO of the year and the second of its kind in a couple of months after Wynn Macau, a subsidiary of US based Wynn Resorts raised $1.9 billion in September.
Follow On activity is up 35% when compared to the same period last year with $528 billion and it also accounts for 75% of total ECM activity so far this year.

The top two bonds issued this week are both investment grade corporate debt issues which are both above the $1 billion mark. UNEDIC and CDP Financials with $5.9 billion and $4.9 billion.
Global corporate bonds reached $2.4 trillion so far this year up 11% when compared to the same period last year. Corporate bond issuance also makes up 46% of total bond activity this year.

Global announced M&A in November totaled $234 billion and marks the second busiest monthly level of activity of the last twelve months after June 2009 ($275 billion).
There were ten transactions in excess of $1 billion announced this week, including the $1.7 billion takeover of UK based JPMorgan Cazenove by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Keeping score: Brazilian IPOs and Russian M&A

Highlights from the Thomson Reuters Investment Banking Scorecard:

Banco Santander (Brasil) SA raised $7.0 billion in an initial public offering in New York and Sao Paulo, marking the largest IPO by a Brazilian company on record and the second largest IPO this year behind an offering from China State Construction Engineering, which raised $7.3 billion in July.
Global initial public offerings for year-to-date 2009 total $59.4 billion, a 35% decline from last year at this time.  Despite a flurry of recent offerings, nearly 80% of IPOs this year, by proceeds, have come from companies based in China, Brazil and the United States.

An $11.7 billion bid by Russia’s Vimpelcom for Kyivstar, a Ukrainian provider of wireless telecommunications services partly owned by Norwegian state-owned Telenor ASA ranked as the week’s biggest deal and the largest acquisition by a Russian company this year.
Overall, worldwide M&A totals $1.5 trillion for year-to-date 2009, a 38% decline over last year.  Acquisitions by Russian companies total $28.6 billion so far this year, a decrease of 53% compared to 2008.

In its second common stock offering this year, Nomura Holdings Inc, raised $5.1 billion, marking the third largest Japanese follow-on offering this year behind Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group ($9.4 billion) and Mizuho Financial Group ($5.9 billion).
The volume of follow-on offerings in Japan totals $35.6 billion for year-to-date 2009, nearly eight times greater than the volume seen during year-to-date 2008.  Capital raising by financial issuers dominates the market this year, accounting for 77% of total issuance.

Did he say IPO?

Speaking in New Delhi, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt said “Discussions are ongoing whether it is an IPO or another partnership,” in response to a question on whether GE was talking to Comcast to sell a stake in the fourth-placed TV network and movie studio. With Vivendi possibly just a couple weeks away from unloading its 20 percent stake in the NBC venture, and all the talk this week about Comcast gathering coins to add the content trove to its cable mix, it might seem as if Immelt is trying to conjure something like a rabbit from a hat – or a peacock from a beret.

GE and Comcast are discussing a deal under which the largest U.S. cable firm would take control of 51 percent of NBC Universal with GE, which has the right of first refusal to pick up Vivendi’s stake if the French company exercises its annual option to sell, taking the rest. “The capital markets have definitely improved,” Immelt said. There is reason to see stability and some optimism for the future,” he said.

Set aside for a moment that the sickly advertising market that NBC already faces. The market for IPOs is picking up nicely right now, but is still in an early stage of recovery, making do with a ragtag bunch of real estate investment trusts and Chinese new-market plays. What effect do you think a big media play splashing into that pool would have on investor demand for new issues?