DealZone

from Felix Salmon:

Justice makes the right decision on AT&T

The Justice Department's official complaint seeking to stop AT&T from taking over T-Mobile minces no words:

T-Mobile in particular - a company with a self-described "challenger brand," that historically has been a value provider, and that even within the past few months had been developing and deploying "disruptive pricing" plans - places important competitive pressure on its three larger rivals, particularly in terms of pricing, a critically important aspect of competition... unless this acquisition is enjoined, customers of mobile wireless telecommunications services likely will face higher prices, less product variety and innovation, and poorer quality services due to reduced incentives to invest than would exist absent the merger. Because AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile likely would substantially lessen competition in violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 18, the Court should permanently enjoin this acquisition.

One thing which fascinates me is the way in which neither the complaint nor the press release makes any mention of the fact that the proposed deal would give the merged company substantially all of the market in GSM cellphones -- the only ones which work in most of the rest of the world. Americans who travel internationally pretty much have to get their cellphone service from one of these two providers -- and they're highly sensitive to exorbitant international roaming fees. Which would almost certainly go up in the event of this merger.

The noises coming from the FCC in the wake of this suit are supportive, with FCC chairman Julius Genachowski saying that he too has "serious concerns about the impact of the proposed transaction on competition." He adds for good measure that "vibrant competition in wireless services is vital to innovation, investment, economic growth and job creation, and to drive our global leadership in mobile."

AT&T hasn't officially given up, but I can't see it winning this particular fight with the law. This, then, is a good day for the American consumer, not to mention a great day for Sprint and Verizon. AT&T and T-Mobile have both put enormous amounts of management time and shareholders' money into putting this merger together, all of which will now be for naught. Rather than fight the inevitable, they should go back to fighting each other where it matters: in the marketplace.

Deals wrap: Waiting for a hostile bid

The head of TMX Group said on Friday a hostile bid could come “any day now,” as a consortium of banks and pension funds prepares to take their approximately $3.7 billion offer for the Canadian exchange operator straight to its shareholders.

Live Nation Entertainment is in talks with its largest shareholder Liberty Media on taking the concert promoter and ticketing company private, the New York Post reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Nokia said it was still in talks with “multiple parties” about its stake in Nokia Siemens Networks, after a report that U.S. private equity firms had backed away from bidding for a majority stake.

Deals wrap: Key facts about the Sanofi/Genzyme deal

Chris Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi-Aventis, gestures as he speaks during a news conference to present Sanofi-Aventis' 2010 annual results in Paris February 9, 2011.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau  French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis agreed to buy Genzyme with a sweetened $20.1 billion cash offer, plus payments tied to the success of the U.S. biotech group’s drugs, the companies said. Reuters has a factbox about the two companies, a timeline of Sanofi’s quest for Genzyme and a look at Sanofi’s patient CEO.

The London Stock Exchange’s bid to take over Canada’s TMX Group  is likely to navigate through a battery of regulatory reviews and emerge intact, even though investors are nervous about its chances.

In Asia however, tough regulatory regimes, cumbersome ownership structures and protectionist-minded governments mean cross-border mergers involving regional markets will be difficult.

Deals wrap: Potash Corp repercussions

The Cory Potash Corp mine site west of Saskatoon is pictured on November 3, 1010.   REUTERS/David StobbeAustralia’s farm sector would have too much of an advantage if BHP Billiton was allowed to buy Potash Corp, argued Canada’s farm minister. While Canada’s decision to block the deal stunned many, most Potash Corp investors seem unperturbed, eying its long-term growth prospects.

Alastair Sharp looks at what Ottawa’s market-rattling decision could mean for Canadian tech giant Research In Motion.

The terms of GM’s upcoming share sale show that, once public, the stock will have to as much as double before its biggest shareholder, the U.S. government, gets close to breaking even, writes columnist Antony Currie.

Deals wrap: BHP blocked

A man walks past the head office of BHP Billiton in central Melbourne October 18, 2010.  REUTERS/Mick Tsikas By blocking BHP Billiton’s $39 billion bid for Potash Corp, Canada reveals it’s not entirely “open for business.” Like many countries, it has become more wary about allowing foreign investors to gain control of companies that hold strategic resources. Reuters takes a look at BHP’s tenacious CEO, what’s next for the company and if other Canada-Australia deals can expect some backlash.

U.S. regulators have quietly been warming to the idea of private equity playing a bigger role in rescuing banks, as they deal with hundreds of institutions that are hurting for capital, writes Paritosh Bansal.

Private equity firms are on the prowl for more technology targets, said several senior sector bankers, but investors should not expect a mad rush of deals before the end of the year, writes Nadia Damouni.

Deals wrap: Weighting the benefits of a Potash deal

A reporter looks at a sample of still warm potash at the Rocanville Potash Corp mill in Saskatchewan September 30, 2010. REUTERS/David Stobbe Canada insisted it had made no decision yet on what to do about BHP Billiton’s $39 billion offer to buy Potash Corp, even as two newspapers reported that bureaucrats were advising that the bid should go ahead. A decision by the Canadian government is due by the end of Wednesday.

General Motors plans to sell just over $13 billion of shares in its IPO, people familiar with the matter said. GM could file an updated prospectus for its IPO today.

Spanish bank BBVA has bought joint control of Turkish peer Garanti Bank in a $5.8 billion deal to escape a price war for deposits and high funding costs in its sluggish home economy.

Deals wrap: The deals are back

Buoyed by the busiest August in more than a decade, global mergers and acquisitions have risen 21 percent so far this year, but the outlook for the rest of the year remains cautious. Reuters takes a look at the deal flow in the third quarter, who the top advisors are and why. *Full Coverage

Brazil’s federal government increased its total stake in oil company Petrobras to about 48 percent from 40 percent after a massive stock offering. U.S.-traded shares of the company fell 0.7 percent in early trading. *View article

Britain’s markets watchdog told investment banks to adopt “a much stricter culture” to prevent leaks to journalists about takeovers and other deals, and said it might impose new rules if nothing improves in a year. *View article

from Financial Regulatory Forum:

Financial regulation scorecard

A House-Senate conference committee must find a middle ground between financial regulation bills passed by the two chambers. The committee's final report could differ from earlier versions.

Once approved by both chambers, the compromise legislation will go to President Barack Obama to sign it into law. That could happen by July 4, analysts say.

Here's a look at the status of major points in the House and Senate financial regulation bills.

The afternoon deal: Regulation overdrive

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo arrives at a news conference in New York, February 24, 2010.     REUTERS/Brendan McDermid It’s been a busy day on the regulatory front. The New York Attorney General’s office is investigating eight banks for possibly misleading ratings agencies on the quality of mortgage securities, a source says. The Fed is conducting a broad criminal investigation into whether major Wall Street financial firms misled investors on mortgage bond deals, another source says.

Adding to the mix:
–the Senate voted to impose tighter regulations on credit-rating agencies.
–Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is concerned about a Senate proposal that could force banks to spin off their swaps business
–the White House and two state attorneys general said they don’t like an amendment to the Wall Steet reform bill that would give the federal government more power than states to regulate banks

From the Web:

Goldman, BofA, Citigroup….Did Prosecutors Leave Anybody Out - WSJ
“It’s Thursday, and one thing is clear from this morning’s headlines: Pretty much all of Wall Street is under investigation.”

from Summit Notebook:

Tax evaders on the run

  By Neil Chatterjee
    The U.S. has promised it will hunt down tax evaders.
    And it seems tax evaders are on the run.
    DBS bank, based in the growing offshore financial centre of
Singapore, told Reuters it had been approached by U.S. citizens
asking for its private banking services. But when told they would
have to sign U.S. tax declaration forms, the potential clients
disappeared.  
    Swiss banks also approached DBS on the hope they could
offload troublesome U.S. clients to a location that so far has
not been reached by the strong arms of Washington or Brussels.
    DBS said no thanks. In fact many private banks and boutique
advisors now seem to be avoiding U.S. clients.
    Will this spread to other nationalities, as governments
invest in tax spies and tax havens invest in white paint?
    Is this the end of offshore private private banking?