DealZone

Deals wrap: AES powers up in U.S. midwest

An electric tower is shown in this file photo. REUTERS/Francesco SpotornoMore consolidation is on the way in the power industry as global power provider AES is buying smaller Ohio-based rival DPL for $3.5 billion. The acquisition will help the company beef up its regulated power business that tends to provide steady returns even during tough market conditions.

Just days after posting a sharp drop in first-quarter profit, Bank of America said it plans to spin off its last large private equity unit, BAML Capital Partners, which has more than $5 billion in assets. It’s the latest in a series of moves the bank has undertaken to comply with new U.S. regulations that limit how much of their own capital banks are allowed to invest.

U.S. based hard-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology is buying Samsung’s loss-making disk drive unit for $1.4 billion in an attempt to take on rival Western Digital, which bought Hitachi’s global hard-drive business last month.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has started talks on forming a consortium to make a bid for Formula One motor racing, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Watch the trailer for HBO’s Too Big to Fail, a star-heavy film adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book about the financial crisis.

Nokia’s Symbianic relationship

nokia.jpgFresh from having Yahoo slip through its fingers, Microsoft‘s plan to leapfrog into Consumerville takes another hit with news that Nokia is paying 264 million euros ($410 million) to buy out other shareholders of Symbian, the dominant player in smartphone software. Nokia says it will dissolve royalty payments for the platform, making it more attractive when compared to Google‘s rival free platform, Android. Symbian’s operating systemis already used in two-thirds of smartphones; Nokia makes 40 percent of all phones sold globally. “This puts a lot of pressure on Microsoft right at a time when they are trying to really push into the consumer space,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. “For operators this offers a good alternative to Android.”

British gas producer BG Group launched a hostile $13.1 billion bid for Australia’s Origin Energy, as it seeks to boost its position in Asia-Pacific’s fast-growing gas market. BG is taking its A$13.8 billion all-cash bid, valuing Origin at A$15.50 a share, direct to shareholders after Origin’s board rejected it last month. Origin claimed then that its coal seam gas reserves alone were worth over $15 billion. Shares in Origin, which have surged over 85 percent this year, rose 6.2 percent to a record A$16.48 before closing up 5.8 percent at A$16.42, indicating investors expect an even higher offer. If successful, the deal would be the second-largest foreign takeover of an Australian company after Cemex, North America’s largest cement producer, bought Rinker Group last year for $14.2 billion.

Russian oil major Lukoil bought a 49 percent stake in Italian refiner ERG SpA‘s Mediterranean plant for 1.35 billion euros ($2.1 billion), in a sign of the growing energy ties between Russia and Italy. Lukoil and ERG, Italy’s second-biggest refiner by market share, agreed a joint venture valued at 2.75 billion euros to control ERG’s Isab di Priolo refinery on Sicily. ERG will have 51 percent of the new company.