Deals wrap: Ghana oil fields targeted

China’s top offshore oil company CNOOC has made a joint $5 billion bid with Ghana National Petroleum Corp for Kosmos Energy’s assets, a source close to the deal told Reuters. Kosmos is prized for its stake in Jubilee, one of the largest oil discoveries in the world in recent years.

Previously a $4 billion bid by Exxon Mobile for Kosmos failed because it was unable to secure Ghanaian government support. GNPC sources have told Reuters since last year that it had been talking to CNOOC about a possible bid. *View article

FT’s Alphaville blog breaks down the ramifications of Barclays losing its court battle with Lehman Brothers over its purchase of Lehman’s brokerage unit in bankruptcy proceedings in 2008. A loss could cost Barclays as much as $10 billion. *View article

Healthcare real-estate investment company Ventas Inc is looking to corner the U.S. senior housing market by announcing it intends to buy the real-estate assets of Atria Senior Living Group for about $1.5 billion. *View article

Iconic investor Warren Buffett, aka The Oracle of Omaha, makes $15 per second according to the WSJ’s Deal Journal. *View article

Deals wrap: Mulling a Whopper of a deal

A meal is pictured at a Burger King at a restaurant in Annandale, VA, August 24, 2010.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  Burger King,which has underperformed rivals and has forecast weak demand, is considering a sale, a source familiar with the situation said. One potentially interested party is 3i Group, a source told Reuters.  *View article

August’s unseasonable burst of dealmaking — the busiest in over a decade — could herald a wider rebound in M&A for the remainder of the year as low interest rates, record cash piles and low stock-market values encourage chief executives to strike deals. *View article *View Seeking Alpha article on how the deals boom means trouble ahead

Regulators did not grant Lehman Brothers the same assistance as its competitors and thereby aggravated the global crisis, former Lehman Chief Executive Dick Fuld will tell a “too big to fail” commission. *View article *Full coverage

DealZone Daily

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc used accountancy gimmicks and had been insolvent for weeks before it filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, a court-appointed examiner has found. The good news is, but there was not extensive wrongdoing.  Read the Reuters story here.

Norway’s Yara International said on Friday it would not raise its offer for Terra Industries to match or exceed a rival bid from CF Industries Holdings Inc, Reuters reported. Yara agreed last month to buy Terra for $4.1 billion to create the world’s biggest mineral fertiliser producer.

And in news from other media on Friday:

Buyout firm Advent International has appointed advisors to assess a possible sale of budget store chain Poundland, the Financial Times said. The group has hired Close Brothers to look at options.

from Clare Baldwin:

Nomura banker says singing for karaoke only

Takeo Sumino, chief operating officer of Nomura Holding America Inc, wants to make one thing clear: neither he nor his Tokyo colleagues are into the habit of breaking into song first thing in the morning at the office.

A Wall Street Journal story in July said that one group of Nomura traders sang a company song in morning meetings.

“Japan created the video game, Japan has created the karaoke culture, but that does not necessarily mean that Nomura as a company will ask people to sing a song every day,” he said, trying to debunk reports of culture clashes between Nomura bankers and their new colleagues at the former Lehman Brothers empire in Asia and Europe.

Dealzone Daily

Ferrero — the maker of Nutella — might be considering an offer for an alliance with Cadbury, Il Sole 24 Ore says, saving the British group from Kraft’s clutches. Cadbury shares aren’t moving much, which says something about how the market sees the story. Elsewhere, Austria’s Erste Bank closed its rights issue late on Monday, with demand less than stellar.

The Lehman estate files its long-expected lawsuit against Barclays Capital, according to court documents. And with UBS’s investor day and the Euro Finance Week conference in Frankfurt on elsewhere, all eyes are on Europe’s banks again.

For all other Reuters stories about deals, click here.

Everything you ever wanted to know about getting a hug from Dick Fuld


Clare Baldwin and her colleagues had a big scoop this weekend: An exclusive interview with former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld. Clare flew out to Ketchum, Idaho to interview the man nicknamed “The Gorilla,” where she got some unguarded comments about the Lehman anniversary, not to mention a hug.

It was the hug that caught the attention of New York Magazine’s Intelligencer blog. Their interview with Clare is excerpted below:

Okay, re-create the hugs for me. I want to feel like I am there.
There were two of them. The first one happened on Friday afternoon. We had been talking for about ten minutes. He had been kind of leaning against my car. He reached out to shake my hand, then he just kind of leaned in and gave me a hug.

That’s Mr. Geithner to you, Jamie…

USA/CEO-SURVEY“Dear Timmy, we are happy to be able to pay back the $25 billion you lent us. We hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did.”

That’s JPMorgan ChUSA-CHINA/GEITHNERase CEO Jamie Dimon’s biting sense of humor on display yesterday as he read a  mock letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner before the Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York. Dimon’s sarcastic tone shocked some participants and cheered others, according to sources who attended the meeting.

“I congratulate him not only for his candor but for his wit,” said Mark Grant, managing director of structured finance at Southwest Securities in Dallas. “The fact that Jamie Dimon had the self composure, the sense of humor and the fortitude to make such a statement in public not only made me smile but it reminded me of days seemingly long past when men stood up on their own two feet and played the Great Game with style.”

Merrill losses shocked Flowers

Merrill logoMerrill Lynch’s losses shocked even Christopher Flowers, the private equity guru who advised Bank of America on its purchase of the Wall Street firm last fall.

“Yes, I was appalled. Yes, I was shocked,” Flowers said during a panel discussion in New York when asked about what he thought of Merrill’s losses. Merrill lost a record $15.31 billion in the fourth quarter.

Merrill agreed to be bought by BofA in a weekend deal in mid-September as the financial crisis peaked. Lehman Brothers went bankrupt the same weekend, and the U.S. government had subsequently to rescue AIG.

Insider trading spreading in M&A?

moneyYet another case of insider trading in the M&A space.

A Blackstone investment banker is alleged to have shared information on the buyout of grocery chain Albertsons with a friend, who went on to make $3.6 million from the friendly chats. (The lawsuit says the banker passed on the tips in at least 20 telephone calls and at least 18 text messages)

33-year-old Ramesh Chakrapani was a vice president working on the deal, advising Albertsons as part of a Blackstone team. Wall Street firms are teeming with vice presidents — relatively junior bankers who work their way up to the first coveted title of managing director. Chakrapani himself was subsequently promoted to managing director and sent to the firm’s London offices.

Media reports have cited senior bankers from the Albertson deal as barely remembering Chakrapani. Some told the Wall Street Journal Chakrapani played a junior role and did not have much involvement with the negotiations.

Bank dealmaking circus=recruiting bait?

Some in the financial industry apparently smell opportunity in the latest round of mergers and blood-letting among top banks.

Referring to the Wells Fargo takeover of Wachovia as the WWF and placing Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis atop a bucking Merrill Lynch bull are just a couple of the attention-getting devices financial sector recruiting firm RJ & Makay uses in its latest promotional You Tube video.

Branching out from a previous video aimed at Merrill Lynch brokers, the new “Billion Dollar Video” (the company claims assets from advisers brought to them via these viral recruiting tools represent billions of dollars) targets all financial advisers but specifically appeals to those currently at Merrill Lynch and Wachovia.