DealZone

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.

DealZone Daily

American International Group could learn the fate of the stalled $2.2 billion sale of its Taiwan unit Nan Shan Life Insurance as early as Thursday, when Taiwan’s parliament will review a report on the deal from the top financial regulator.  Read the Reuters story here.

A clutch of private equity firms have bid up to 400 million pounds for British greetings card retailer Card Factory, sources familiar with the process told Reuters. Here is the story.

And in news reported by other media on Wednesday:

Barclays is looking to buy a retail bank in the US to extend its presence after buying Lehman Brothers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Barclays is not in talks and no deals are imminent, but has designated an internal team to assess possible targets.

DealZone Daily

Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, is lining up a bid for the 21 percent stake in Turkey’s Garanti Bank that is being sold by General Electric, a source close to the deal tells Reuters. The stake in the most actively traded stock on the Istanbul bourse is worth $3.7 billion at current market prices. Read the story here.

And in news from other media on Tuesday:

Marsh & McLennan, the number two global insurance broker, has put its security consulting business Kroll up for sale for $1.3 billion, the Financial Times said.  Carlyle, Apax, BC Partners, General Electric and two trade bidders made first expressions of interest in late February, the report says.

Prudential shareholders have been given assurances they will share in the lucrative underwriting of the insurer’s record $21 billion rights issue to head of a brewing row between investors and the company, the Telegraph said, citing sources close to the company.

Keeping score: Food and drink M&A, sovereign debt

Highlights from the Thomson Reuters Investment Banking Scorecard:

“Food and beverage accounts for 10% of M&A

Coca Cola’s $12.1 billion offer to purchase Coca Cola Enterprises, an Atlanta-based producer and wholesaler of bottled beverages, brings the total of M&A activity in the food and beverage sector to $32.4 billion, an increase of 257% compared to the same period in 2009.

Deals in the food and beverage industry account for nearly 10% of all global activity this year and are second only to activity in the oil and gas sector.  Credit Suisse, an advisor to Coca Cola Enterprises, ranks as the top advisor in the food and beverage industry with $26.7 billion from 11 deals for year-to-date 2010.

European issuers power agency and sovereign debt market

This week’s $6.2 billion sovereign debt offering from the United Kingdom bolsters Europe’s stronghold in this market.  For year-to-date 2010, European countries have issued nearly 78% of all sovereign and supranational debt with 285 issues and proceeds of $206.5 billion.  The Americas region follows in second place with $23.3 billion from 52 issues. This week’s offering is the largest debt issue in the United Kingdom this year and the seventh largest agency and sovereign offering in Europe.

DealZone Daily

British fashion retailer New Look scrapped its planned flotation. Blackstone dramatically pulled two IPOs this week, blaming weak markets. There has been a string of scrapped IPOs across Europe, involving Belgian, British and German companies.

Motorola wants to split into two companies in the first quarter of next year, one to focus on cellphones and TV set-top boxes, the other on enterprise networking. The plan should give it more focus in the two markets.

Camargo Correa buys an additional 6.5 percent of shares in Portuguese cement-maker Cimpor. It already had a 22 percent stake.  In Portugal, a company must make a takeover bid if it holds 33 percent or more in another company.

DealZone Daily

Blackstone suffered a setback when travel services provider Travelport, which it owns, pulled its $1.8 billion IPO. Travelport blamed volatile markets, but it had earlier tweaked a bonus scheme for management that investors said was overly lavish. A last-minute cut in the price range didn’t help either. Is the IPO window in Europe closing before it even opened?

Things are looking better in Asia, where AIG has made the long-awaited choice of underwriters for the listing of its Asian life insurance unit, according to our sources. The share sale could raise more than $10 billion. Elsewhere, Korea Life Insurance Co Ltd plans to raise up to $2 billion in an IPO.

For these and all other stories about deals, please click here.

And elsewhere in media (some links may require subscription rights):

Motorola Inc may spin off its TV set-top box and cellphone businesses into a publicly traded company, and sell its wireless network equipment unit, says the Wall Street Journal.

DealZone Daily

Japan Airlines will keep its partnership with American Airlines, due to concerns that forging ties with rival suitor Delta Air Lines would make it difficult to achieve a quick turnaround, a source tells Reuters. Delta and American have been courting JAL, now bankrupt, for months, looking to gain access to its vast network in Asia.

British pay-TV group BSkyB sold a 10.4 percent stake in commercial broadcaster ITV, finally bringing an end to a long-running legal battle. BskyB had been ordered to cut its stake to below 7.5 percent in 2008. Since then, it has been through a series of appeals, all of which it lost.

For these stories, and all other Reuters news on deals, click here.

And for a selection of news in rival media:

The government of Ghana has blocked the estimated $4 billion sale of a stake in its Jubilee oil field, foiling months of talks between potential buyer Exxon Mobil Corp and the stake’s owner, Kosmos Energy LLC, the Wall Street Journal says.

DealZone Daily

ING Group completed the sale of its Asian private banking unit to Singapore’s OCBC, the biggest deal in the private banking sector since the financial crisis. Netherlands-based ING said the sale is in line with its strategy to focus on fewer franchises and reduces the group’s complexity.  Read the Reuters story here.

Spain’s Ferrovial has no plans to tap equity markets in 2010, though its British airport operator BAA will continue to raise cash through bond issuance, chairman Rafael del Pino told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

And in other news:

Bank of New York Mellon Corp is in late-stage talks to buy a PNC Financial Services Group business for about $2.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Pittsburgh-based PNC has been shopping its PNC Global Investment Servicing business and a deal could come as soon as next week, says the report.

DealZone Daily

Shares of China XD Electric Co, which raised $1.5 billion this month in a Shanghai IPO, unexpectedly fell in their trading debut on Thursday, serving a stark warning to China’s securities regulator that it may have gone too far in trying to cool the overheating stock market.  Read the Reuters story here.

And in other news:

Keolis, the transport unit of France’s state railway group SNCF, and British transport operator Arriva, are studying a possible equity link-up, French daily La Tribune reported.

DealZone Daily

Kraft’s acquisition of Cadbury is expected to trigger the next blockbuster sale in the global corporate bond market as the company refinances an $11.5 billion bridge loan used to temporarily fund the deal.  The world’s second largest food group Kraft is expected to have no trouble drawing demand for a bond sale, thanks to its investment grade ratings. Read the Reuters story here.

Private equity giant KKR is to launch a partnership to invest in consumer services, education and media businesses, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday. It will launch the business with Jonathan Grayer, former chairman and CEO of Kaplan, a unit of Washington Post Co.  Grayer was CEO of Kaplan for 14 years in 2008.

And in other media:

American International Group has decided not to sell its aircraft leasing unit International Lease Finance Corp, the Financial Times said, citing people close to the situation.  AIG has realised that it will not reap a big profit from the divestment of the business, ptompting it to scrap the sale plans.