Deals wrap: RBC offloads U.S. assets

PNC Financial Services Group will buy Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. retail bank operations for $3.45 billion in cash and stock, making it the fifth largest bank in the United States. The WSJ gets some early reaction to the deal.

ING said it has put its car leasing business up for sale, in a deal Dutch media reported may be worth $5.7 billion.

Japan’s industrial, healthcare and technology sectors are the main focus for the Carlyle Group, the co-head of its Japanese unit told the Reuters Rebuilding Japan Summit in Tokyo on Monday.

Rio Tinto, Xstrata, Nyrstar and Noble Group in the past week have announced plans to merge or expand output or capacity — risky bets if famed market bear Nouriel Roubini’s dire warnings about China come to pass.

The rash of accounting scandals at Chinese companies could spell defeat for investment banks in Hong Kong in their long-running battle to avoid being made liable for the prospectuses of IPOs they sponsor.

Deals wrap: Conoco may double assets sale

ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, said it might double its planned sale of less-desirable assets to $20 billion, with proceeds going to buy back stock.

Conoco is executing a plan, first announced in late 2009, to increase shareholder value through debt reduction, stock buybacks and increased dividends. Conoco did not immediately specify what might be sold, but did say those assets targeted would be mature, high-cost projects.

Consumer goods group Colgate-Palmolive has agreed to pay around $940 million for Sanex, a shower gel and deodorant brand which owner Unilever had been ordered to sell. The sale comes just a week after Unilever announced it was stepping up new product launches to drive growth.

Deals wrap: Seeking clarity on Fannie and Freddie

A foreclosed home is shown in Chicago June 29, 2010.   REUTERS/John Gress The Obama administration will pick the brains of housing finance leaders on how to fix Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but made one thing is clear: there is no going back to their pre-crisis structure. *View article

BHP Billiton may see potash as an ideal fit within its portfolio but today Potash Corp’s board rejected BHP’s unsolicited $38.6 billion offer, terming it as “grossly inadequate.” *View article

Energy stocks ranked among the worst performers in the second quarter on jitters about a double-dip recession. What did the top fund managers do? They staked out the sector much like they did with financial companies earlier in the year. *View article

Volvo’s Chinese journey

News that Ford expects to finalize the sale of Volvo to China’s Geely in the first half of 2010 caps a year that saw China overtake the United States as the world’s biggest auto market, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. With Geely rival BAIC announcing its intention to harvest intellectual property from Saab, Chinese automakers are going into high gear in both their short-term goal of serving the high-octane domestic market and their longer-term ambition of retooling their manufacturing base to better serve the global automotive market.

Geely is China’s largest private automaker. Its charismatic founder, Li Shu Fu, is known as the Chinese Henry Ford. He has shown global ambitions and has pushed for Geely to become a global brand.

It’s a road well traveled, the highway from Asia’s industrial heartlands to the world’s garages. Japan and South Korea have blazed the trail thoroughly. Rather than ponder the significance for lumbering Western automakers who are shedding assets to stay alive, it’s worth wondering what Toyota and Hyundai make of their Chinese cousins.

Keeping score: Buffett, buyouts, Japanese M&A

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

Berkshire Hathaway’s $35.9 billion bid for the remaining share capital of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, ranked as the fourth biggest M&A deal this year in the United States and the largest acquisition for Berkshire Hathaway on record.
Since 1980, Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries have announced nearly 200 acquisitions, with 43% of those deals in the industrials sector, 34% in the financials sector and 12% in energy & power.   Just over 90% of the acquisitions announced by Berkshire Hathaway have been based in the United States.

IMS Health agreed to be acquired by TPG and the investment board of the Canada Pension Plan for $5.2 billion, marking the largest leveraged buyout in the United States since the $27 billion buyout of Hilton Hotels in July 2007.
Eight investment banks provided financial advisory services to IMS and the private equity consortium, including Evercore Partners which currently ranks fourth for year-to-date M&A in the United States, up from 16th last year at this time.

This week’s $11.3 billion merger of Nippon Oil Corp and Nippon Mining Holdings Inc brings the volume of Japanese target M&A to $90.1 billion for year-to-date 2009, a 41% increase over 2008 levels and one of the few regions to see year-over-year M&A growth.
Merger activity in the Japanese financial sector accounts for 38% of year-to-date activity, followed by high technology and real estate with 17.1% and 13.3% respectively.  Energy & power mergers account for 13.0% of announced volume this year, nearly three times last year’s total.