DealZone Daily

Friday’s highlights:

Bonus watch: Goldman Sachs Group Inc plans to pay top managers their 2009 bonuses in stock, rather than cash, as it seeks to deflect outrage over a near-record pay haul months after it repaid billions of dollars in taxpayer aid.

UK fund manager Gartmore has lowered price guidance on its initial public offer (IPO) and restructured the deal after investors balked at the valuation, a banking source close to the sale says.

Swedish private equity firm EQT says it, together with the Singapore government, will buy scientific journal publisher Springer Science and Business Media for an undisclosed sum. EQT’s purchase of Springer, from rivals Candover and Cinven, was first reported by Reuters on Wednesday. (See some of the articles Springer has published by Nobel Prize winners here.)

French bank Societe Generale says it is close to reaching a definitive deal with rival Dexia over buying Dexia’s 20 percent stake in Credit du Nord to give SocGen full control.

Oracle Corp’s customers tell concerned European Union regulators the U.S. software company’s $7 billion deal to buy Sun Microsystems Inc will not curtail competition in the database market.

Brief respite from brickbats

London’s bankers were hardly in celebratory mood last night, post-Darling, but Financial Times unit mergermarket persevered with their 2009 M&A awards, crowning Lazard financial adviser of the year for working on deals such as BGI-Blackrock and Glaxo-Stiefel, and lauding Swiss drugmaker Roche for its $47 billion buyout of Genentech. See the extensive list of winners — including Financial Adviser of the Year, Visegrad Group [that's the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia] — here.

Curiously, though, there was nothing for Morgan Stanley — the No. 1 bank year-to-date for announced M&A globally and in the United States, according to Thomson Reuters data. And arch-rival Goldman Sachs was awarded just for its work in Germany, while Europe’s top M&A house in 2009, Deutsche Bank, also went empty handed.

Thomson Reuters magazine Acquisitions Monthly hosts its bash in January.

DealZone Daily

Thursday’s top stories:

Dubai’s Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU) says it will not merge with Dubai Holding’s property units, a move analysts said protected the developer from Dubai Holdings’ vulnerable debt position.

Sempra Energy (SRE.N) may join Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L) in selling off their entire joint commodities business, offering quick entry into a lucrative market with a diverse, global trading book.

When AOL Inc Chief Executive Tim Armstrong rings the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, he hopes to put behind one of the most disastrous mergers in corporate history. The question is, Yinka Adegoke writes, whether investors will take to the newly independent Internet company, especially since the spin-off was structured so the first holders of the stock are Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) shareholders.

DealZone Daily

Wednesday’s top stories:

Japan’s Suzuki Motor will sell a 19.9 percent stake to Volkswagen for $2.5 billion and use half the proceeds to buy shares in the German automaker, as the two firms form a formidable force in the auto industry.

Dutch mail group TNT (TNT.AS) needs to be a part of consolidation in the fragmented European courier market, a new shareholder says, fuelling investor pressure for TNT to sell its express business.

Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) agrees to buy BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) closed Ravensthorpe nickel mine for $340 million, paving the way to revive 5 percent of world nickel capacity.

DealZone Daily

Citigroup Inc and the U.S. government disagree over how much the bank should raise to repay taxpayers and talks may not finish for weeks or even months, people briefed on the matter say.

General Motors Co is talking to BAIC, China’s fifth largest car maker, about a partial sale of assets associated with its Saab brand, including tooling and technology, two people with direct knowledge of the discussions say.

State-controlled Dubai World is discussing with its bank creditors a new date for $3.5 billion in debt maturing on Dec. 14, a Dubai newspaper reports, citing British bankers.

DealZone Daily

Monday’s big deal stories:

Dubai moves to ring-fence prized assets from the $26 billion debt restructuring of Dubai World, denting already fragile investor sentiment ahead of talks between the struggling conglomerate and key creditors.

British confectioner Cadbury (CBRY.L) gives itself a week to post a formal response to Kraft’s (KFT.N) $16 billion takeover offer.

British waste management firm Shanks Group Plc reveals a 536 million pound ($889 million) buyout approach, sending its shares soaring, but says its board and key shareholders were looking for at least 10 percent more.

Comcast: the antitrust sequel and the M&A trilogy

If you were all twitchy with anticipation about Comcast’s NBC Universal deal, just wait for parts two and three! The gathering storm over the merger in Washington and other political power points not only promises to be more riveting, but the rights to part three are already being sold to a wave of media mergers hanging on the outcome.

As Anupreeta Das reports, media dealmaking could pick up if regulators impose minimal conditions on the NBC Universal transaction. But U.S. regulatory scrutiny is expected to be heavy, and the deal could take more than a year to be cleared. The LegalTimes blog notes that even the beauty contest among regulators hoping to oversee the process promises to have many twists and turns.

That might sound like a long wait, but it’s not likely to stop M&A lawyers from booking lunches and logging hours to get the balls in place to roll if the deal goes through. That kind or pressure could also work its way behind the scenes in Washington, where lobbyists will be armed with the argument that the merger will save capitalism as we know it by reigniting the dealmaking powderkeg of the early part of this century.

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: Breaking records in Qatar, Taiwan

Highlights from the Thomson Reuters Investment Banking scorecard:

This week’s $7 billion offering from the State of Qatar marked the largest bond offering from a Middle Eastern issuer on record and the second multibillion dollar offering from Qatar this year.  For year-to-date 2009, debt capital markets activity from Middle Eastern issuers totals $38.6 billion, a 120% increase over last year at this time.
The offering, which was led by Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Qatar National Bank, bested the previous Middle Eastern record, a $3.2 billion offering from UAE-based real estate developer, Nakheel Co PJSC.

Taiwan’s Innolux Display Corp agreed to merge with Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp, a manufacturer of LCD TV panels in a merger valued at $13.1 billion, including debt.  The deal ranks as the largest merger in Taiwan’s history.
M&A activity in Taiwan totals $26.1 billion for year-to-date 2009, nearly five times last year’s total and the largest annual period for M&A activity in Taiwan on record.  High technology mergers account for just over 60% of activity in Taiwan this year, while financials account for $6.1 billion or 23%.

Germany’s Unitymedia GmBH, a provider of cable television and internet services was acquired by Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Global Inc in a deal valued at $5.2 billion.  A portfolio company of BC Partners and Apollo Management LP, the sale marks the biggest M&A exit for a buyout consortium this year.
Worldwide M&A activity for buyout-backed companies totals $75.0 billion for year-to-date 2009, a 58% decrease from last year at this time when activity totaled $177.5 billion.

Keeping score: Asian IPOs, Oz M&A, tech debt

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

Malaysian telecommunications provider, Maxis Bhd, raised $3.3 billion in an initial public offering this week, the biggest IPO from a Malaysian issuer on record.  Asia Pacific offerings account for 59% of global IPO activity this year and total $49.2 billion for year-to-date 2009, a 65% increase over last year at this time.
In Asia, China International Capital Co, CITIC and UBS account for nearly 35% of overall IPO activity, by proceeds, this year while Morgan Stanley has lead managed the most offerings in the region, with 14.

Australian target M&A activity totals $130.9 billion for year-to-date 2009, a 58% increase over the year ago period.  Deal activity in the materials, financial and industrial sectors accounts for nearly 80% of overall activity.
A bid for Melbourne-based Transurban Group, an operator and developer of electronic tolling systems by an investor group comprised of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for $8.9 billion topped the list of biggest deals this week.

This week’s $4.9 billion bond offering from Cisco Systems brings year-to-date corporate debt volume in the high tech sector to $56.9 billion, a 34% increase over last year.  Ranking as the largest US high tech bond for year-to-date 2009, it also marks Cisco’s second debt offering this year.
As the global credit markets have rebounded this year, a number of high technology names have stepped into the bond market with multi-billion offerings including Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM.