DealZone

Kraft’s anti-climax?

North American food giant Kraft is due to post its offer documents to Cadbury shareholders by Dec. 7, but this latest milestone in the 10 billion pound takeover saga may turn out to be more damp squib than giant Toblerone.

Kraft could indeed post the documents ahead of time as the Times reported this week. With no significant changes to the structure or value of the offer anticipated, the event is unlikely to captivate or move the markets, however.

Keeping the terms exactly the same would be typical behaviour for Kraft, as we said last month here. The company formalised its indicative offer in the hope that no rival bidders would emerge to pressure it to up its bid. Despite Wispas — sorry, whispers — about Hershey, Nestle, and Ferrero, no rival has come forward yet.

For our latest take on Kraft’s long-game pursuit of Cadbury, click here

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General Electric and Vivendi agree to a deal in which GE would buy the French company’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal for $5.8 billion, a source familiar with the matter says, paving the way for Comcast Corp’s proposed joint venture with GE.

Geely, the Chinese carmaker picked as the preferred bidder for Ford Motor’s Volvo unit, is seeking at least $1 billion in loans from Chinese banks to finance its $1.8 billion bid, sources say.

Zijin Mining Group, China’s largest listed gold company, offers $498 million for Indophil Resources, chasing the Australian miner’s one-third stake in a big copper and gold lode in the Philippines.

Reliance aims big with $12 bln bid for LyondellBasell

Ranked by Forbes as India’s richest man with a net worth of $32 billion, Mukesh Ambani Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, is no stranger to taking risks.

The move by conglomerate Reliance Industries, controlled by Ambani, to bid for bankrupt LyondellBasell is a calculated one. Markets seem to think this is a bargain and investors pushed up Reliance’s stock nearly 4 percent on Monday.

If the deal, which sources say may be worth $12 billion,  goes through, it would catapult Reliance into the ranks of top petrochemical makers such as Saudi Arabia’s SABIC, Germany’s BASF and Dow Chemical Co.

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For the latest deals news from Reuters, click here. And here’s the top stories from the newspapers (some external links may require subscription):

Italian chocolate maker Ferrero could be interested in Cadbury‘s gum and candy division, a unit worth about 5 billion euros ($7.4 billion), in a possible joint takeover bid, business daily Il Sole 24 Ore said on Friday.

TPG, Blackstone, Warburg Pincus, BC Partners and Advent are among the first-round bidders for discount retailer Matalan, which is being auctioned with an estimated price tag of about 1.5 billion pounds, the FT said.

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Reckitt Benckiser shares rise 2 percent — so markets are taking notice of the Daily Telegraph’s “latest tale” that the UK group could link up with Colgate-Palmolive. Benckiser is worth roughly $37 billion in the market, Colgate some $41.2 billion, so a deal would be humongous. And this just in: J.P. Morgan Cazenove will become a fully-owned part of J.P. Morgan, as the U.S. investment bank buys out its joint-venture partner Cazenove Group.

Finally, Blackstone Group’s Pinnacle Brands Corp is likely to buy U.S. frozen vegetable company Birds Eye Foods for more than $1.3 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

For the latest deals news from Reuters, click here.

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Sigh of relief for Cadbury? Hershey and Ferrero may join forces to launch a rival bid for Kraft‘s offer for the British confectioner, a source tells us. On a rather much smaller scale, Cosmo Pharmaceuticals plans to buy rival BioXell for around $40 million, it says. For these and all other Reuters stories on deals, click here.

Plus a look at other media (some links may require subscription):

Hyundai Motor Co is planning to sell off its stake in affiliate Hyundai Mobis Co in a block trade to comply with antitrust rules, according to online media provider eDaily.

Apollo Management, the private equity firm headed by former Drexel Burnham Lambert executive Leon Black, is planning to list on the New York Stock Exchange, the Financial Times says.

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Cisco says more than 40 percent of Tandberg shareholders are backing its bid for the Norwegian group now that Cisco has raised its offer to value the group at $3.4 billion.

Canon plans to buy Dutch copier and printer maker Oce for $1.1 billion. For these, and other merger Monday stories, click here.

And here’s what we found of interest in other media.

U.S. investment bank J.P. Morgan will offer 500 to 525 pence per share to buy out the 50 percent stake it does not already own in its UK stockbroker joint venture with Cazenove, according to media reports, such as in the Financial Times.

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Poland’s top utility PGE jumped 13 percent at its market debut on the Warsaw bourse today. The IPO, at $2.1 billion, is Europe’s biggest this year.

And IPO flows from Asia continue — South Korea’s No. 2 insurer Korea Life Insurance may raise around $2 billion in the country’s biggest IPO since Lotte Shopping’s $3.8 billion listing in 2006.

For more on deal-related stories from Reuters, click here.

And here’s some picks from the papers:

* Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker, is planning to participate in bids invited by Indian state-owned telecom equipment maker ITI Ltd. to set up joint ventures, the Business Standard reports.

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Mergers and acquisitions activity may be predicted to increase over the next year but in the short-term it may provide another reason for deals to be postponed. Just ask General Motors.

Other deals news in the media on Thursday:

* An investment company controlled by the Shanghai city government will own a majority stake in a planned Disney theme park that won key government approval this week, the People’s Daily reported on Thursday.

* Scripps Networks (SNI.N) is close to an agreement to acquire a majority stake in the Travel Channel from Cox Communications, the nation’s third-largest cable company, the DealBook blog reported on Wednesday.

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General Motors abandons a long-expected sale of Opel, saying it is now keeping its European arm rather than selling it to a group led by Canada’s Magna.

Goldman Sachs has agreed to sell half of its holdings in Shineway Group, China’s top meat processor for $150 million, earning five times its investment from a 2006 deal.

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