DealZone

M&A wrap: T-Mobile “crying out” for Sprint tie-up?

Deutsche Telekom may be forced into a tie-up of its sub-scale U.S. wireless unit with Sprint Nextel after a $39 billion deal with AT&T collapsed. While Deutsche Telekom is now walking away with a $6 billion breakup package, its chief executive Rene Obermann has lost a lot of time and will now have to invest in the U.S. market or find a new way to exit the country, an option analysts regard as unlikely. T-Mobile USA “is just crying out for a merger with Sprint. That’s the only long-term solution for Deutsche Telekom,” Will Draper, head of telecoms research at Espirito Santo, said.

Goldman Sachs claimed the spot as the top U.S. M&A adviser in 2011 as rivals JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley fell in the standings due to the collapse of AT&T’s $39 billion deal to buy Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA unit. JP Morgan, which had previously been the top U.S. M&A adviser for the year, advised AT&T along with Greenhill and Evercore. Morgan Stanley, which had been No. 2 in U.S. M&A based on the dollar value of transactions on which it had advised, was working for Deutsche Telekom along with Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.

Olympus Corp is preparing to issue about $1.28 billion (100 billion yen) in new shares to bolster its depleted finances, with Japanese high-tech stalwarts Sony and Fujifilm seen as possible buyers, the Nikkei business daily reported. The report comes after a warning from one of the camera and endoscope maker’s leading shareholders that the scandal-tainted board may try to retain control by issuing new shares to dilute the power of existing shareholders.

The New York Times Co is nearing a sale of 16 regional newspapers spread across the U.S. Southeast and California to Halifax Media Holdings, it said on Monday. The possible sale, news of which comes just days after the Times Co announced the sudden retirement of its chief executive, is the latest in a series of steps the company has taken to cut costs and focus on its most important newspapers and their websites.

Qatar and Luxembourg are to buy bailed-out Dexia’s private banking arm for 730 million euros ($950 million), less than analysts had estimated, as the Franco-Belgian group is broken up.

from MediaFile:

Allan Sloan spots New York Times tax genius

The New York Times might not have figured out its long-term strategy to survive just yet, but Fortune columnist Allan Sloan discovered that someone working for the company is a genius when it comes to taxes.

The Times this week said it will borrow $250 million from companies controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, also the world's second-richest man. Slim also is getting warrants that he can convert into stock, something that will make him one of the company's largest shareholders. Aside from questions about whether he will take over the TImes, the aspect of the Slim deal that turned business reporters' heads was the crazy interest that the Times will pay -- 14 percent.

Sloan has a way of explaining how there is a way around this. Here are some excerpts, but for the full effect, go read his column. While Sloan is a master of converting complicated financial practice into plain English, this one is pretty tough for the layman.

from MediaFile:

Madoff pays dividends in book deals

Not everyone in the orbit of accused mega-thief Bernard Madoff wants to give him the old pitchfork-and-torches treatment. In the past 24 hours, I received two press releases touting book deals for reporters who are going to write about the man who purportedly stole $50 billion from a variety of rich people, hedge funds, charities and universities.

Here is an excerpt from the first one:

The Portfolio imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. has acquired DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL by Erin Arvedlund, a journalist who in 2001 wrote one of the first critical articles about Bernard Madoff, the recently indicted financier. World rights were bought by Adrian Zackheim, President and Publisher of Portfolio, from Esmond Harmsworth of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. Publication is planned for the spring of 2010.

Arvedlund's book, combining narrative and analysis, will share the same title as her May 2001 article in Barron's -- one of the first to ask tough questions about Madoff's surprising results and unusual practices. That article, based on a four-month investigation and hundreds of interviews, was recently cited in an SEC complaint.

Is CNET losing the war?

dictionary2.jpgIn the war of words between CNET and its biggest shareholder, a group led by hedge fund Jana Partners, the two sides might as well be speaking in different tongues.

Jana proclaims that its motives are driven by a desire to rescue CNET — best known for tech-news site News.com, which has been hit by stiff competition from blogs — from irrelevance.

CNET prefers to speak the language of corporate bylaws that it believes will protect the company from unwanted attention, despite a recent legal setback that it plans to appeal.

Stockholder activism: just a game of chess

chess.jpgThe Delaware court ruled in favor of Jana Partners, allowing the hedge fund and its partners to nominate directors to CNET Networks’ board, come the next shareholder meeting.

But that decision is “just another move on the chess board,” according to CNET’s CEO Neil Ashe. In an e-mail to employees, Ashe compared fights between activist shareholders and managements for board control to chess matches.

“Remember, stockholder activism is more common place today,” Ashe wrote. “We are not alone. The New York Times and IAC are both addressing similar situations. As I’ve said since the beginning, this is like a chess match.”