Deals wrap: 3PAR bidding war hits $2 billion

What’s another $200 million between rival bidders? Less than three hours after Dell matched HP’s $1.8 billion bid for data storage specialist 3PAR, HP upped the ante to an even $2 billion. The HP offer shakes out to $30 per share. 3PAR shares were up another 20 percent to $31.29 in early trading, according to Reuters. *View article*

FT blogger Gwen Robinson wondered how 3PAR became the target of such an intense bidding war and suggested it may be “simply a throwback to those crazed acquisitive days of the dotcom boom.” *View article*

In another software play, HP is rumored to be a potential bidder for security software maker ArcSight Inc. According to the Wall Street Journal, bidders, including Oracle and HP, could pay up to $1.5 billion for the company. Other ArcSight competitors could include EMC, IBM and CA Inc. *View article*

This month’s $200 billion in takeover announcements is unlikely to assuage fears of a double-dip recession, analysts told Reuters. “For now, the dominant factor on the market remains the U.S. and Chinese slowdown in growth,” Alain Bokobza, head of global asset allocation at Societe Generale CIB in Paris, told Reuters. *View analysis*

World’s financial center is moving, Carlyle co-founder says

USA/The financial crisis has made the world less focused on the U.S., which will have to face up to the fact that it is not as significant as before, Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein told a large audience at the World Business Forum in New York:

“After World War II we were 48 percent of the world’s GDP; now we are about 20 percent of the world’s GDP… We have to get used to the fact that the dollar is relatively cheap and … that the dollar is probably not going to be the reserve currency that it’s been for so many years.”

Rubenstein said the center of the financial world won’t just be New York, but spread between here, London, Shanghai, Dubai, Sao Paulo and a few other cities.

3M’s eyes wide open for deals

As they headed into 2009, chief executives at top U.S. manufacturers were licking their chops at the thought of the M&A bargains they would find in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The takeover feast they hoped for has not materialized, but the chief financial officer of 3M Co said on Wednesday he believes that may start to change.

“I honestly had anticipated that the M&A market was going to be a better market during this recessionary period. It really hasn’t panned out that way,” Patrick Campbell, CFO of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company told an investor conference in New York. “A lot of companies were either holding their breath waiting for the recovery to happen or they were looking back to where their stock price was before. And honestly that’s the price they wanted and we weren’t ready to pay a price that was based on a previous peak.”

Deal flow may start to pick up when the economy begins to turn and companies find themselves needing money quickly to respond to returning demand, Campbell said.
“Maybe it’s yet to come,” he said. “As volume comes back for many suppliers, many companies, this may actually be the stress point for them relative to their financing needs, as they need to fund working capital requirements and so forth … This could actually be the point where maybe we start to see some companies that maybe become a little more distressed in the recovery phrase. We’ve got our eyes wide open on that.”

from MacroScope:

Canada dresses up for bears

For all the designer drinks and gourmet foods - from raw oysters to sushi, and the sea of men in expensive suits and bejeweled women in elegant gowns, the setting seemed fit only for celebration.

But dressed as they were to the nines, investors attending "A Night with the Bears" at Toronto's upscale Elgin Theatre, were eager to hear the worst, on the edges of plush seats amid predictions of market doom from some of the continent's savviest
financial minds.

"I only wish we'd sold tickets," said a smiling Eric Sprott, arguably Canada's best known hedge fund manager and chairman at Sprott Asset Management Inc, as he looked out at the 1,500 or so crowd.

A Killer Economy

This economy is a killer. Just ask New Yorkers on Craigslist. 

You may not have heard of the Killers, a music group from Las Vegas that’s been variously called the next U2 and the best Mormon rock band of all time. They are playing tonight at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

Tickets, at $45, sold out in a few minutes when they went on sale in late September, and have been reselling for 10 times that amount on the secondary market.  That’s where Craigslist, and a former hedge fund associate, come in.

A Reuters reporter was not willing to pay the $350 asking price per ticket to see the show, and emailed the seller, pointing out a recession is under way.  The former hedge fund associate emailed back: “I’m not a scalper. I’m a ticket arbitrageur.”  So we called him up.