DealZone

The afternoon deal: Shanghai IPOs

CHINAIs China First Heavy setting its $1.67 billion Shanghai IPO price below the top of its range a sign of growing realism as markets weaken and regulators demand more rational pricing?

Reuters’ Samuel Shen and Edmund Klamann report mainland IPOs are confronting a market that is sagging under the weight of heavy share supplies, fed by authorities who have approved a steady stream of new share issues to keep the market cool and avert asset price bubbles.

The FT has a story on Bejing possibly putting a clamp on “irresponsible” IPO pricing.  See the FT’s blog on the issue as well.

More from Reuters:

Comcast: the antitrust sequel and the M&A trilogy

If you were all twitchy with anticipation about Comcast’s NBC Universal deal, just wait for parts two and three! The gathering storm over the merger in Washington and other political power points not only promises to be more riveting, but the rights to part three are already being sold to a wave of media mergers hanging on the outcome.

As Anupreeta Das reports, media dealmaking could pick up if regulators impose minimal conditions on the NBC Universal transaction. But U.S. regulatory scrutiny is expected to be heavy, and the deal could take more than a year to be cleared. The LegalTimes blog notes that even the beauty contest among regulators hoping to oversee the process promises to have many twists and turns.

That might sound like a long wait, but it’s not likely to stop M&A lawyers from booking lunches and logging hours to get the balls in place to roll if the deal goes through. That kind or pressure could also work its way behind the scenes in Washington, where lobbyists will be armed with the argument that the merger will save capitalism as we know it by reigniting the dealmaking powderkeg of the early part of this century.

Truth in tender offers? An eyewitness account.

U.S. Securities regulators on Thursday sued a well-connected Kuwaiti financier, saying he reaped millions in suspicious profits after false takeover reports briefly sent shares of Harman International Industries soaring this week.

Reuters reporter Ransdell Pierson was in the office working the Sunday shift when he received a fax with the purported takeover offer.  Unable to verify the authenticity of the fax, Reuters did not publish the story.  Here is Ransdell’s first person account of what happened, and a copy of the fax. Would you have questioned its veracity?

Ransdell Pierson:

I was scouring newspapers on a Sunday shift in the Reuters New York bureau and waiting for news about distressed lender CIT Group, when the phone finally rang and broke my reverie. “Newsroom,” I said, and the caller replied, “Your Jeddah bureau is closed today. Can I send you a fax?” The male caller, who I imagined to be a middle-aged office aide frustrated by the thankless chore of delivering his fax, said it was a press release about a deal. Something about one company buying another for about $3 billion.
“If it’s such a big transaction, shouldn’t this news be coming over the PRNewswire or BusinessWire?” I asked him. He explained that it was the weekend, so faxing a press release was the best route.
I gave him a fax number and he called back, irritated the document hadn’t gone through. I gave him another fax number and he soon called back again, more irritated than before. So I gave him the number of a third Reuters fax machine, but told him that it needed to include contact information for all the parties. “Otherwise, we can’t authenticate it.” “OK, you’ll have it,” he replied.

Old faces, new roles

BankUnitedThe financial crisis appears to be creating some jobs for at least one group of people – former banking executives.

As private equity firms turn their attention to banks, they are seeking out retired chiefs and other senior executives with banking experience to lead their investments and run the banks they buy. 

Besides their operational experience, these executives bring to the table a crucial quality that can sometimes make or break a group’s bid to take over a bank – street cred with U.S. banking regulators.

The clock is ticking for BankUnited

Florida condominiumsSome people thought Florida lender BankUnited would be sold months ago as regulators fretted over its health amid the housing downturn. 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp tends to take over banks on Fridays as it gives them the weekend to put an institution’s business in order and re-open it under new management by Monday. So the question was, is this the Friday?

The government has given BankUnited some leeway to try to work out a deal. That flexibility may be because the bank has some $13 billion of assets, and disposing of a bank that big could result in a real hit to the FDIC’s insurance fund, Raymond James analyst Michael Rose told Reuters in February.

Another deal in healthcare: what’s the magic pill?

pillsAs dealmakers everywhere struggle to get deals done, the healthcare industry seals yet another one.

Express Scripts has agreed to buy health insurer WellPoint’s prescription business for $4.68 billion in a significant expansion for the U.S. pharmacy beenfit manager. The deal will be a concoction of cash and up to $1.4 billion in common stock, and will generate more than $1 billion of incremental EBITDA.

This comes on the heels of Pfizer’s $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth, Merck’s $41.1 billion takeover of Schering Plough and Roche Holding’s $46.8 billion buyout of Genentech. Granted, this isn’t a pharma deal, but it still falls under the umbrella of the healthcare sector.

from Funds Hub:

Turn! Turn! Turn!

For all the political noise about hedge fund regulation, today's Turner review looks like a relatively easy set of rules for the industry to stomach.

rtrixobIn his 126-page document, mostly about the banking sector, FSA chairman Adair Turner says the watchdog will demand more information from hedge funds and says regulators should be able make rules in areas such as capital and liquidity if hedge funds start to pose systemic risks or become "bank-like" in their activities.

And while Turner points out hedge funds can pose systemic risks, he notes the FSA's already-extensive regulation of hedge fund managers.