DealZone

Deals du Jour

General Electric Co’s (GE.N) Jeffrey Immelt has just come out to say it is holding discussions on partnerships or an IPO for its NBC Universal unit. Sources familiar with the talks have told Reuters that GE and cable operator Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) are discussing a deal.

Mexican brewer FEMSA (FMSAUBD.MX)(FMX.N) has talked with Britain’s SABMiller Plc (SAB.L) and Heineken (HEIN.AS) from the Netherlands about a possible sale of beer operations that could be worth billions of dollars, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Last but not least, the UK Takeover Panel has given Xstrata PLC (XTA.L) a deadline to “put up or shut up” on its proposal to merge with rival miner Anglo American (AAL.L).

For more Reuters stories on deals, click here.

Deals du Jour

French food group Danone has agreed to sell its 51 percent stake in its joint ventures with China’s Wahaha group, putting an end to legal proceedings related to the disputes between the two. In 2007, Danone accused Wahaha of illegally setting up parallel business outside their ventures. 

McGraw-Hill Cos is leaning toward selling its money-losing BusinessWeek magazine to Bloomberg LP, a person familiar with the matter tells Reuters. Bloomberg Markets, a financial news magazine that produces feature stories, and the 80-year-old BusinessWeek could be blended to make a title that would expand Bloomberg’s presence beyond its financial data clients and reach a mainstream audience.

For more on these stories and the rest of the latest deals news from Reuters, click here .

Deals du Jour

The world’s second largest confectionery group Cadbury has rejected a $16.7 billion bid approach by Kraft Food. But North America’s top food group still hopes it can clinch a deal to create a global powerhouse in snacks and quick meals.

For more from Reuters on the latest deals, click here.

Below is a round-up of all the market chatter from the press on Monday:

* South Korea’s No. 4 lender Hana Bank will buy a 18.44 percent stake in the Bank of Jilin in northern China for $316 million, said Yonhap news, citing an unnamed Hana Bank official.

* Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s carmaker, GAZ, the Russian industrial partner in a Magna-led bid for Germany’s Opel, is not interested in an equity stake in Opel, Deripaska told Vedomosti newspaper.

Deals du Jour

An unusual Credit Suisse Group compensation plan could lead to hefty year-end payouts for bankers, The Wall Street Journal said. The newspaper said that the bank told 2,000 top bankers that a $5 billion fund of toxic mortgages and bonds, which it granted as a big portion of 2008 pay, has returned 17 percent since January, citing people familiar with the matter.

The following M&A related stories were reported by media on Friday:

French advertising group Publicis  is poised to buy U.S. digital specialist Razorfish from Microsoft Corp, Les Echos reported in its Friday edition.

Citigroup Inc may give control of its Phibro commodities business to Andrew Hall, the energy trader making headlines for demanding a $100 million payday under his contract, The New York Times said, citing a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

Energy asset on block at Blackstone?

USAOne intriguing remark that Blackstone COO Tony James let slip on today’s earnings call is that it could be gearing up to sell an energy asset. 
James explained that while opportunities to exit investments weren’t numerous, it had succeeded making a profit on the sale of pharmaceutical company Stiefel. 
“We have another company in our portfolio… in the energy sector, which had some very, very exciting results finding unbelievable amounts of hydrocarbons and… that might be something we’d look to exit,” James said on a call to the media. 
He didn’t identify the company so we’re doing the guessing ourselves — out of the current energy investments Blackstone lists on its website, we reckon Kosmos Energy, which has a significant oil field in Ghana, could fit the bill.

(Additional reporting by Mike Erman)

from MediaFile:

Outlook grim for media and entertainment deals

Deal-making in the U.S. media and entertainment sectors is going to be down this year, says a new PricewaterhouseCoopers survey (request a copy here). Now, that's not a new or startling conclusion given the state of the economy, but it's just another piece of evidence that when consumers and advertisers get thrifty, deal makers can end up become benchwarmers as companies struggle with cost cuts and other exigencies.

Here are some industry trends for 2009 from the PWC survey:

    Declining consumer spending is hitting many media and entertainment companies. What's more, these declines were exacerbated by technological convergence, as these firms adapt to and look for ways to make money off new Internet technologies. Overall U.S. advertising market is going to shrink as sponsors cut ad budgets across retail, consumer goods, automotive, financial and other sectors. Companies will continue to divest their non-core assets, but those that don't get a good price will prefer to hold on rather than sell at bargain prices. Bolt-on deals will likely be popular for risk-averse companies, so deals below $1 billion -- mostly small and mid-market companies -- will be a rising trend. Private equity will remain quiet since the debt markets aren't really healthy yet. Deal structures will change this year, given the difficulty of getting debt financing. The strategic rationale for doing a deal will be more important than getting a favorable capital structure.

But all hope is not lost, according to PWC's Transaction Services Entertainment & Media Leader Thomas Rooney:

With M&A activity ingrained in the DNA of so many companies and the ever growing presence of private equity, E&M deal activity might not be as quiet as many expect in 2009... History has shown the E&M industry to be one of the more active M&A sectors irrespective of market and economic conditions.