Deals wrap: Another potash miner in play?

The $1.2 billion sale by Swiss German chemical company BASF of its stake in K+S could trigger a battle amongst global mining giants for the German potash miner.

BASF sold its roughly 10 percent stake in the company as part of a shift away from the nitrogen fertilizer business in the face of competition from lower-cost producers in the Middle East. If Russian fertilizer company EuroChem sells its own K+S stake of 14% it could push the German miner into play, with majors such as BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto amongst the potential buyers.

The lagging economic recovery has made discount stores an attractive destination for pinched consumers and big investors alike. The Schiffer-Gold family, which currently owns 33% of 99 Cents Only Storesis teaming up with buyout firm Leonard Green and Partners in a $1.34 billion bid to take the retailer private.

Leonard Green has embarked on a retail acquisition spree, having recently pitched up billion-dollar offers for J.Crew and craft products retailer Jo-Ann Stores.

Sources tell Reuters that Bain Capital is on the verge of completing the biggest private equity purchase of a company in Japanese history by buying the restaurant chain Skylark Co. from Nomura Holdings.

Deals wrap: Steel of a deal

File photo of coils of steel, May 6, 2010. REUTERS/Umit Bektas Japan’s Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal plan to merge to create the world’s second-largest steelmaker in an effort to fend off tough competition from Asian rivals and offset shrinking demand from domestic automakers.

Sanofi-Aventis could announce a deal to buy Genzyme early next week if final negotiations between the companies go smoothly, Le Figaro reported.

The quote of the day goes to Infineon’s CEO explaining why the chipmaker is not at risk of a hostile takeover. “We are more of a shark and the others are the goldfish,” he told reporters.

DealZone Daily

Nomura (8604.Tis to buy Tricorn Partners, a London corporate finance boutique. The Japanese bank is making the acquisition to beef up its corporate broking business. It is currently corporate broker to eight British companies including Tesco. The value is not disclosed.

Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund is serious about mitigating losses it faces from its purchase of securities in Citigroup (C.N) in 2007. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has filed an arbitration claim against the US bank alleging  misrepresentation. It wants Citigroup to rescind on the investment agreement or pay more than $4 billion in damages.

In Australia, BHP Billiton (BHP.AXoffers to buy Queensland’s coal freight business. The state government of Queensland last week announced plans to float the business, a move which wasn’t popular with miners and rival rail groups who had expected the business to be separated.

from Clare Baldwin:

Nomura banker says singing for karaoke only

Takeo Sumino, chief operating officer of Nomura Holding America Inc, wants to make one thing clear: neither he nor his Tokyo colleagues are into the habit of breaking into song first thing in the morning at the office.

A Wall Street Journal story in July said that one group of Nomura traders sang a company song in morning meetings.

“Japan created the video game, Japan has created the karaoke culture, but that does not necessarily mean that Nomura as a company will ask people to sing a song every day,” he said, trying to debunk reports of culture clashes between Nomura bankers and their new colleagues at the former Lehman Brothers empire in Asia and Europe.

Nomura targets cross-border, Asia focused M&A

In these times of banking bailouts and gloomy results, it’s refreshing to read about a firm that is bucking the trend. Nomura Holdings Inc unveiled its biggest profit in nine quarters on Wednesday, suggesting that its push into overseas bond and equity markets is paying off.

But as Sadeq Sayeed, chief executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told reporters on a conference call, it doesn’t take much to get clients to transact with an investment bank. “They will trade with you if you provide them with systems, prices, liquidity and clear and careful settlements,” he said.

Nomura’s mergers and acquisitions business is expected to take longer to mature. “The fact that we are even in the top 12 (for European M&A) is quite remarkable given that we were essentially a start up in the investment banking world as of January this year,” Sayeed added. 

Deals du jour

A man rides past a newsstand with French daily newspapers in Nice, southeastern France, February 24, 2009.

AIG plans to float its Asian crown jewel, Volkswagen halts talks with Porsche, Nomura hires for a massive push in U.S. equities, and more. Here are the latest deal-related stories:

AIG to launch IPO for Asia crown jewel

Volkswagen halts tie-up talks with Porsche

Nomura hires for massive U.S. equity push

Cubs’ offer won’t be voted on next week: sources

Babcock & Brown infrastructure fund gets acquired

China pension fund plans foreign PE deals: sources

China government OKs Minmetals’ OZ Minerals deal

Daiwa SMBC to buy unit of Britain’s Close Brothers

Whitehaven says to drop merger deal with Gloucester

Metro to present Karstadt deal outline: sources

And in Europe’s morning papers:

* Hedge fund manager Noam Gottesman, co-chief executive of GLG Partners Inc (GLG.N), plans to move to New York from London to build up the fund’s U.S. assets, the Daily Telegraph said.

* Alan Miller, former fund manager at New Star, plans to launch two new funds in a joint venture with Alexander Spencer Churchill, the Daily Telegraph said.