DealZone

DealZone Daily

With just over two months to the end of the year, there is a sense that time is running out for getting deals done in 2009. Many of the long-running deal sagas are coming to a close, or are getting done. Overnight, news emerged that BAA has finally agreed a 1.5 billion pound sale of British airport Gatwick.

Other deal news in the papers on Wednesday include:

* U.S. Bancorp is eyeing FBOP Corp, an owner of eight banks that may be put up for sale by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the situation.

* National Express’s largest shareholder, Spain’s Jorge Cosmen, supports a merger proposal by British bus and rail operator Stagecoach, the Financial Times reported.

DealZone Daily

The end of the year looks set to be full of news of rights issues and IPOs as share investors are offered a bet on next year’s economic recovery.

The travails of UK transport firm National Express fill many of Tuesday’s business pages, with rivals First Group and Stagecoach both in the frame for a bid, while the debt-laden company finalises plans for a rights issue. For other Reuters stories on deals, click here.

Other stories in Tuesday’s newspapers include:

- Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management is in advanced preparations to take rifle and ammunition maker Freedom Group Inc public, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Sovereign Funds sextuple down

They may be placing smaller bets, but sovereign wealth funds were back with a vengeance in the third quarter.

Global corporate mergers and acquisitions activity involving sovereign wealth funds jumped sixfold to nearly $22 billion in the quarter, with 37 deals completed. Global announced M&A volumes involving state investment vehicles stood at $21.8 billion, up from $3.6 billion in the second quarter, according to our data.

The number of deals more than doubled from 17 in the April-June period. Only two weeks into the fourth quarter, there were five pending or completed deals with a combined value of $164.7 million. At the height of the boom in the first quarter of 2006, sovereign wealth funds sealed 35 deals worth $45.7 billion.

Brocade: Deal or no Deal?

rtri2ikIn an October 11 research note titled “Castles in the Air, Downgrading to Perform,” Oppenheimer & Co analyst Ittai Kidron throws cold water on expectations that Brocade will be bought anytime soon.

The speculation began last week, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Brocade was “quietly” shopping itself, and that Oracle and Hewlett-Packard could be potential buyers.

Later, Reuters reported more details: Brocade had in fact been trying to sell itself for several weeks, and HP had kicked the tires — going as far as to begin due diligence — but stopped short of making an offer for the company because they were only interested in certain assets. Then, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison publicly said his company wasn’t about to buy Brocade. Apart from HP and Brocade, analysts have speculated that IBM and Juniper Networks could also be interested.

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 .

from MediaFile:

CSC: No comment is the safest

I was rather surprised yesterday to see an e-mail from Ogilvy PR pitching an interview with Dave Booth, the Chairman President of Global Sales and Marketing at Computer Sciences Corp, only a couple of hours after Xerox announced its $6.4 billion planned purchase of Affiliated Computer Services.

After all, CSC -- an IT services company that competes with ACS, and has a market value of $8.1 billion -- was the first company that came to bankers' and analysts' minds when I asked them who else could be in play, as tech companies look to buy into new growth opportunities.

Given how market sentiment works, any comments from the chief senior executive of a potential acquisition target like CSC could easily move the stock. As a rule, that's why, companies typically don't comment on rumor or speculation about themselves. So naturally, an on-the-record interview with the CSC chairman executive wasn't something I could pass up.

Deals du Jour

Xerox Corp says it plans to buy Affiliated Computer Services Inc for $5.5 billion to  expand from a document-management company into the outsourcing business. ACS would be the first big deal for new CEO Ursula Burns.

Taiwan says it will allow contract chipmakers and flat-panel firms to acquire rivals in China, a move analysts said will help cement TSMC and UMC’s lead in the semiconductor sector.

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

Deals du Jour

Belgium’s Solvay is selling its drugs unit to U.S. partner Abbott Laboratories for 4.5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in cash and reinvest in chemicals and plastics. Sources familiar with the deal have earlier told Reuters Abbott had agreed to buy the unit to bloster its flagging prescription drug business.

Australia’s biggest department store chain Myer plans to raise up to $2 billion in a share offering that will test investor appetite for retail stocks.

In M&A news reported by Reuters and elsewhere on Monday: 

* A Saudi prince is set to spend up to 350 million pounds ($558 million) to buy a 50 percent stake in English soccer club Liverpool, al-Riyadh newspaper quoted him as saying on Sunday. 

from MediaFile:

Who runs mergers and acquisitions at Dell?

(Update: Dell PR misspoke about Johnson's responsibilities, and we've made changes below as indicated.)

Dell, which announced plans to buy Perot Systems for $3.9 billion on Monday, completed the deal without help from an executive in charge of mergers and acquisitions.

It's a touchy subject for Dell, which earlier this year named David Johnson to its executive team, poaching him from IBM where he served as head of M&A. IBM filed a lawsuit, saying that Johnson violated a non-compete agreement by taking the job with Dell. But IBM failed to persuade a judge to bar Johnson from working at Dell while the litigation is pending.

The Car Business: Self-loathing and Chinese Takeaways

Nobody hates cars as much as the car industry does these days. The business is crippling some of its biggest players and behold the dearth of industry names queuing up to buy other automakers.

Opel in Germany is being sold yet are Volkswagen, Porsche, BMW or Daimler anywhere to be found? Spot the empty parking lot.

Without the Chinese, auto sector M&A right now is about as exciting as a 1981 Yugo.