DealZone

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.

The afternoon deal: Summit themes

Sovereign wealth funds are finding new territories to play in, pension woes are creating deal-making opportunities and investors suddenly find themselves wielding new-found power.  Those are some of the themes spotlighted on the last day of the Reuters Private Equity and Hedge Funds Summit.

Here is a selection of the best from the summit:

Hedgies, private equity dance to investors’ tune
Buyout exec Moulton says pension woes drive deals
Search for growth seen driving mergers
SWFs muscling in on funds business

From around the Web:

True Love: Who Wants to Buy JDate? (WSJ)
“Spark says it is reviewing the proposal. In the end it will depend on whether it takes its own advice and gives up the single life.” – WSJ

Elliot’s Novell buyout approach to making money

When activist hedge fund Elliott Associates made its unsolicited offer for business software maker Novell public on Tuesday, the thinking among analysts and reporters was that Elliott didn’t t really intend to buy the company, but rather force it into running a sale process and eventually finding a bigger tech company — like an HP or a Microsoft — to buy it. That may well be how it plays out, but Elliott spokesman Scott Tagliarino said that the firm is dead serious about its offer.

In fact, Elliott is no stranger to this type of deal, having made similar offers to a handful of small tech companies in the past. Typically, it owns large stakes in the companies it goes after. Last year, it was part of a private equity team that acquired MSC Software for about $360 million.

Elliott also offered to buy Packeteer, another small Nasdaq-listed tech company it owned a large stake in, but it was eventually acquired by Blue Coat Systems in 2008. Another company Elliott went after was Epicor Software, but that bid was unsuccessful.

The Afternoon Deal: Reuters Summit exclusives

USA/At the Private Equity and Hedge Funds Summit, Primus co-CEO Robert Morse tells Reuters the opportunities in real estate in the U.S. are extraordinary. The $1.2 billion financial investment firm is now setting its sights on property owned by distressed sellers in the United States.

Here is a selection of the best stories from today’s summit:
BC Partners boss sees mini-bubble brewing
CQS raises $750 million for convertibles
BC Partners to court sovereign fund investors
Toscafund says UK stocks’ low value “absurd”

From the Web:

Buffett Casts a Wary Eye on Bankers (NYT)
“”Don’t ask the barber whether you need a haircut.” That little nugget was buried in Warren E. Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders published over the weekend.” – NYT

This Year’s Huge (So Far) M&A Deals And The Lawyers Masterminding Them
(Business Insider)
A slide show of the big deals and the lawyers behind them.

The Afternoon Deal: Follow the money

currencyFollow the shifting money patterns into Asia and the secondary market at the Reuters Private Equity and Hedge Funds Summit. Later this week look for exclusive interviews from top management at Blackstone, 3i and THL.

Private Equity and Hedge Funds Summit:
-Asia set to grab a 5th of hedge fund flows
-PE secondary deals seen picking up
-Hedge funds, private equity face profit squeeze

Deals from the Web:

‘Golden Era’ May Elude Private-Equity Investors as Prices Rise (Bloomberg)
“Private-equity firms tell investors that the years following recessions offer the best opportunity to make money. This time may be different.” – Bloomberg

The afternoon deal: When to go to market

GERMANYRunning the gamut from “bloodied” private equity firms to an oversubscribed Man Infra initial public offering, stories from today show the IPO market is on shaky ground and, as always, finding the right valuation is vitally important.

IPO stories from the Web:

Bloodied buyout firms sit tight for IPO return (Reuters)
“Private equity firms are putting flotation candidates back in the box after receiving knock backs from angry fund managers, and will try again in a couple of years when they hope the market will be more receptive,” reports Reuters.

Mega IPO of AIG’s AIA unit faces headwinds (Reuters)
“For handlers of AIG’s massive IPO of its Asian life insurance unit, getting investors to recognize the name and the size of the business is the easy part,” reports Reuters

DealZone Daily

U.S. drugstore operator Walgreen is to buy rival Duane Reed for $618 million from private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, giving the company the market lead in New York. The acquisition brings the company 257 new stores in the city and has prompted analysts to think that struggling chain Rite Aid might make an attractive target for Walgreen rival CVS Caremark as it looks to catch up.

Britain’s Babcock International has increased a proposed offer to buy defence firm VT Group to as much as 1.29 billion pounds, but its advances have again been rejected.

For more Reuters deals stories, click here.

In other media:

Beijing’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp, is investing $1.5 billion with three private equity secondary specialists – firms that buy positions in buyout funds from other investors – the FT reported. CIC will put $500 million with each of Lexington Partners, Goldman Sachs and Pantheon Ventures in special accounts that will be kept separate from the firms’ main funds.

The afternoon deal: IPO gloom

IBERIA/

Few like to hear words like “softening” or “plateauing” but they’ve been thrown around today after Travelport axed its planned $1.8 billion IPO. A cautious eye is now being cast upon planned sales of travel firm Amadeus and retailer New Look.

Of the 62 IPOs launched globally since December 1, 2009, 32 were shelved — 15 in the U.S., 7 in Europe and 10 in Asia.

“The market remains open for good companies with good prospects that have a sensible raison d’etre for listing, but as a dumping ground for private equity? No, thank you,” says a UK fund manager.

The afternoon deal: Taxing PE

USA/OBAMAAs a political move, raising the taxes on private equity firms seem a no-brainer but as Megan Davies and Kim Dixon report, gaining tax dollars from the easy target may not be a simple process.

The tax is likely to be a hot issue at one of the private equity industry’s biggest conferences, Super Return International, which starts on Tuesday in Berlin and is attracting heavy hitters from major American buyout firms such as Carlyle and Apollo.

More PE news:

DealZone Daily

Shares in Russian aluminium group Rusal fell heavily on their debut, as a broad market slump across Asia and worries over the group’s debt and legal issues dogged its landmark $2.2 billion Hong Kong IPO.

And in other media:

Greece is wooing China to buy up to 25 billion euros of its bonds in its efforts to avert one of Europe’s biggest debt crises, the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal reported.

Private equity groups including CVC Capital Partners and Carlyle are preparing to finance a 5 billion euro bid for German cable provider Kabel Deutschland, the FT reported.  Read the story here.