M & A wrap: Can Facebook live up to the hype?

As Facebook is expected to submit paperwork to regulators for its initial public offering, Reuters Social Media Editor, Anthony De Rosa, uncovers three problems standing in the way of Facebook’s future growth.

Which exchange will Facebook choose to “friend”? Bloomberg reports NYSE and Nasdaq are competing now for what may be the biggest ever by a technology company.

European Union regulators have blocked the merger of exchange operators Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext to avoid giving them a stranglehold on the European futures market. “The merger between Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext would have led to a near-monopoly in European financial derivatives worldwide,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

The failure of the NYSE Euronext/Deutsche Borse tie-up is a stark reminder to dealmakers that the fate of their work often rests in government hands, Deal Journal writes.

from Breakingviews:

Forget the IPO, Facebook could reverse into Yahoo

By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Now that Yahoo has fired its chief executive, anything could happen to the rudderless Internet hodgepodge. Private equity firms, one of Yahoo's founders and even AOL are said to be mulling bids. But consider a more radical option: a takeover by the rival most responsible for Yahoo's fall from grace -- Facebook.

It's of course easy to marshal arguments why Facebook's creator, Mark Zuckerberg, should avoid staining his company Yahoo purple. The social network is already growing rapidly. Revenue doubled in the first half to $1.6 billion with profit of nearly half a billion.

from Breakingviews:

Upstart M&A boutiques earn place at fee table

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Upstart M&A boutiques are eating from Wall Street's table. Two newish shops -- Blair Effron's Centerview and Frank Quattrone's Qatalyst -- helped Motorola Mobility strike a deal to sell itself to Google for $12.5 billion earlier this week. Along with two other firms opened over the last five years by Ken Moelis and Joseph Perella, this quartet is gnawing at the fee pool of big investment banks.

It wasn't always clear there would be enough work to go around. In the aftermath of the crisis, flocks of bankers either went solo or joined veterans like Bob Greenhill and Roger Altman, who had done so years before. Effron, Perella and Moelis -- who started their boutiques in 2006 and 2007 -- had a head start on the 2008 crunch, enabling them to woo disenfranchised colleagues with the promise of independence and equity stakes. Meanwhile, Quattrone's return to the industry in 2008 neatly coincided with resurgent demand for his Silicon Valley M&A expertise.

Deals wrap: Cooling off on IPOs

Samsonite, the world’s biggest luggage maker, dropped 7.7 percent in its Hong Kong trading debut on Thursday, underscoring tepid investor appetite for initial public offerings as global markets struggle.

Pipeline operator Energy Transfer will buy smaller rival Southern Union for about $4.11 billion to bolster its natural gas gathering and transportation capacity amid burgeoning production from U.S. shale fields.

Alibaba Group said it has reorganized Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce website, into three separate companies, squashing any chance of a Taobao public offering.

DealZone Daily

Cerberus Capital Management said it would buy defense contractor DynCorp International for about $1 billion in cash in one of the biggest leveraged buyouts of a publicly traded US company since the global financial crisis.  Read the Reuters story here.

A subsidiary of China’s Sinopec Group agreed to pay $4.65 billion for ConocoPhillips’s stake in a Canadian oil sands project, marking the country’s second largest investment in North America.  Read the Reuters story here.

And in stories reported by other media on Tuesday:

Buyout lender Intermediate Capital Group has raised 843 million euros for a new fund that will invest in debt-burdened private equity deals, the FT said. The fund will buy debt at a discount and provide fresh capital for European companies worth as much as 500 million euros.

DealZone Daily

Britain’s ruling Labour government would seek to extend its powers to scrutinise foreign takeovers of UK companies if it wins an election on May 6, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.  The source played down a BBC report that the plan would amount to a “Cadbury’s Law”, to protect UK companies against hostile takeovers .

Shares in Macarthur Coal leapt 10 percent as investors bet a global bidding war for the Australian miner could escalate, amid talk that Xstrata may enter the fray.  A bid would pit Xstrata against Peabody Energy of the US and and local miner New Hope Corp.

And in news from other media over the weekend and on Monday:

National Australia Bank is working on plans for a 2 billion pounds flotation of its UK operations, according to the Sunday Times. The plan would be put into action if NAB fails to acquire 318 branches being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland.

DealZone Daily

Monday’s top stories:

* Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, China’s largest private-run car maker, agrees to buy Ford Motor’s Volvo car unit for $1.8 billion, the country’s biggest overseas auto purchase. (See how the two carmakers stack up here, and read a profile of Geely founder Li Shufu here.)

* Sinopec , Asia’s top oil refiner, will buy a stake in upstream assets in Angola for $2.46 billion and said it wanted more such deals.

For more on these and the rest of the latest deal-related news from Reuters, click here.

DealZone Daily

The Dubai government unveiled plans to recapitalise its indebted Dubai World flagship and repay Nakheel bonds in full, injecting what it said was $9.5 billion in new funding, but without new aid from Abu Dhabi. Read the Reuters story here.

Bharti Airtel looked set to wrap up its $9 billion deal to buy most of Kuwaiti telecom group Zain’s African assets, giving India’s top mobile operator a foothold in the frontier market after two failed attempts to buy South Africa’s MTN. Read the Reuters story here.

For more on these and the rest of the latest deal-related news from Reuters, click here.

DealZone Daily

Arrow Energy says discussions with Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina over their $3 billion joint takeover offer for the Australian group are continuing. That is despite a story in the Australian Financial Review that says Arrow is set to reject the bid as too low. Read the Reuters story here.

Also in energy, China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) is planning a joint venture with Argentina’s Bridas Energy Holdings. It will pay $3.1 billion to take a 50-percent stake in subsidiary Bridas Corporation. Incidentally, Bridas owns 40 percent in Pan American Energy — which is 60-percent owned by oil major BP.

For these and all other stories, click here.

And elsewhere in media:

The Japanese government is considering spinning off Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp’s fibre-optic businesses into a separate company, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.

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.