DealZone

M&A wrap: Amazon, Nokia, Microsoft weighed RIM bids

Research In Motion has turned down takeover overtures from Amazon.com and other potential buyers because the BlackBerry maker prefers to fix its problems on its own, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Amazon hired an investment bank this summer to review a potential merger with RIM, but it did not make a formal offer, said one of the sources. It is not clear whether informal discussions between Amazon and RIM ever led to specific price talk.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft and Nokia have discussed the idea of a joint bid for RIM, but the status of those talks remains unclear.

HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, is retreating from Japan’s private banking market, selling a business that serves the wealthy to Credit Suisse, which is raising its profile in the world’s second-largest market for millionaires.

Tokio Marine said it will buy U.S. insurer Delphi Financial Group for $2.7 billion and is eying other acquisition targets, as Japan’s No.2 property-casualty insurer looks to expand outside its mature home market and diversify geographic risks.

Dozens of black-suited investigators, marching double-file, raided the office building of three small Olympus Corp subsidiaries Wednesday, one of 20 sites searched in a probe of a $1.7 billion accounting scandal that threatens the once-proud Japanese medical device maker’s survival.

Deals wrap: Zynga files for IPO

Zynga Inc filed paperwork for an initial public offering on Friday, the latest in a series of hot social media companies to seek capital in the U.S. public markets. The company, which is behind a series of popular games on Facebook, said it hoped to raise up to $1 billion. It did not specify the number of shares it plans to sell or give an expected price range.

A group including Apple, Research In Motion and Microsoft will pay $4.5 billion to snatch Nortel Networks’ patents from under the noses of Google and Intel, stealing a march on their rivals in a litigious market. Bankrupt Nortel had put up for sale 6,000 patents and patent applications in the largest public sale of its kind, a potential treasure trove for latecomers to the market such as Apple, Google and Intel.

Belgium’s KBC Group  is expecting around eight to 10 first-round offers for its private banking arm KBL, people familiar with the matter said, after attempts to sell the business for $1.9 billion failed in March. Bidders are expected to include corporate suitors and private equity firms from across the globe, the person said, and a shortlist for the next round will be drawn up in about a week.

Deals wrap: Battling for TMX

The London Stock Exchange faces a nail-biting fight for Canadian peer TMX Group after aggressive rival bidder Maple trumped its sweetened offer by a whisker overnight. Proxy advisory firm ISS recommends TMX shareholders back the LSE offer.

Hulu has defied early skeptics that old-school media companies could collaborate to create a successful service for a new generation of TV watchers. But joint ventures have a knack for degenerating and an unsolicited approach for Hulu creates a perfect opportunity to find it a better home, writes Breakingviews columnist Jeffrey Goldfarb.

“Hulu LLC may cost potential buyers from Yahoo! Inc. to Amazon.com Inc. as much as 50 times earnings for a chance at owning what may be the next Netflix Inc,” reports Bloomberg.

Palm looking for an old China hand?

Our report that the money-losing smartphone maker went to China in February in an attempt to sell itself to telecom/tech titan Huawei Technologies makes perfect sense. The mystery is that the talks appeared to go nowhere. Huawei and ZTE, the two big Chinese telecom equipment makers, both have money and ambition and would only be helped by a well-known brand like Palm, right?

Unfortunately, Palm is currently well known for being the laggard behind Apple and RIM, so any buyer will have to have a sensible plan for revitalizing the brand against two of the best in the business. But if Huawei and ZTE are holding out for a better brand, they could be in for a long wait. Palm may not be number one, but it is still a premium brand in a shark-infested marketplace.

After a big run-up on takeover speculation, the stock has fallen back as investors start to expect a take-under – meaning whatever price a buyer does come up with will not match the market’s heady expectations.