DealZone

Deals wrap: AOL still eying Yahoo deal?

AOL Inc has tapped Bank of America to explore strategic options including a potential Yahoo Inc merger, according to people familiar with the matter. The idea of combining AOL with Yahoo is still considered in an early stage and may not materialize into a deal, the sources said.

“First of all, Yahoo has to be approached and this is nowhere close to that point,” said one of the sources.

China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, has reportedly been approached by a group of private equity investors to gauge its interest in joining a bid to buy Yahoo. Alibaba is 40 percent held by Yahoo and it was unclear if the bid attempt was part of the AOL deal.

Chevron Corp agreed to buy U.S. natural gas producer Atlas Energy for $3.2 billion, excluding debt, becoming the latest energy giant to break into the lucrative Marcellus shale field. Chevron’s move into the Marcellus follows acquisitions by Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell  earlier this year.

Sanofi Aventis CEO Christopher Viebacher and Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer have exchanged letters over Sanofi’s $18.5 billion hostile takeover bid for Genzyme. M & A Law Prof Blog editor Brian JM Quinn says Viebacher is attempting to assert pressure on his counterpart to do the deal by appealing to Termeer’s “fiduciary duties as a director of a MA (Massachusetts) company.” In related news, the vice chairman of investment advisory firm Peter J. Solomon, Frederick Frank, said “Genzyme is history.”

Deals wrap: Appeasing Saskatchewan

Rocanville Potash Corp underground production supervisor Dave Esslinger displays a sample of potash 3280 feet below surface at the potash mine in Saskatchewan September 30, 2010. REUTERS/David Stobbe BHP is offering more concessions to Canada’s Saskatchewan province to get a $39 billion deal for Potash Corp approved. “I think it’s wrangling rather than anything more serious. There’s a lot that BHP is willing to do in order to ensure that this deal is a success,” said analyst Charles Kernot at Evolution Securities in London. *View article *View timeline *View scenarios for Potash

“General Electric, Honeywell International and United Technologies are among the suitors for BAE Systems’ aerospace unit that could fetch up to $2 billion for Europe’s top defense group, people familiar with the matter said,” writes Soyoung Kim. *View exclusive *View analysis on defense stocks

Sanofi has received the green light from U.S. antitrust regulators to take-over Genzyme. *View article *View analysis on how  Sanofi could raise bid *View article on Genzyme earnings

Deals wrap: Genzyme stand-off

“It is a game of nerves at this point,” said a banker familiar with the Sanofi-Aventis bid for Genzyme. The transatlantic takeover fight descended into an ill-tempered stand-off on Friday over the price of the deal. *View article *View WSJ article *View article on why banks are scrambling to fund Sanofi’s bid

Transatlantic deals this year have been about buying existing products and established brands in the mature markets of the U.S. and Britain. *View article

European banks and insurers will be forced to consolidate in response to new regulations, a top Credit Suisse investment banker told Reuters. *View article

Deals wrap: Getting hostile

A sign points the way to the headquarters of Genzyme in Cambridge, Massachusetts August 3, 2010.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder   Sanofi is getting hostile in its bid for Genzyme, after Genzyme management refused to negotiate. The $69-per-share offer will be taken directly to shareholders but will they be looking for more? *View article *View graphic on hostile deals  *View WSJ article on pharma M&A

Growth in emerging markets is aiding a global M&A boom and with large cash piles in hand, companies are finding it hard to resist the urge to acquire. *View article

Coca-Cola has completed its deal to take over North American operation of its top bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises. Reuters interviewed Coke Chief Executive Muhtar Kent about what the deal will mean for the remaining independent bottlers. *View article

Business Insider makes the case for Yahoo and AOL merging, immediately. *View Business Insider article

Deals wrap: Vaccine makers all the rage

A first aid kit made by Johnson & Johnson for sale on a store shelf in Westminster, Colorado April 14, 2009. REUTERS/Rick WilkingJohnson & Johnson, looking to catapult itself into the global vaccine market, is in talks to pay $2.3 billion to buy Dutch biotech Crucell. The potential deal may be more proof it was a question of not if, but rather when other successful biotech companies with late-stage products will be bought. The potential deal also signals that J&J is most likely out of that race for Genzyme.

“The bid price on the remaining shares can be considered as a knock-out price and is substantially higher than the analysts’ consensus target price,” one analyst said. *View article*

Speaking of Genzyme, one of the keys to a successful bid for the biotech company may lie with the heavyweights on the board of Sanofi. The French based pharmaceutical group, which has just lost its flamboyant, long-standing chairman, is dominated by representatives of top shareholders Total and L’Oreal , but is also brimming with pharma experts brought in via acquisitions.

Deals du Jour

Cars dominate headlines again, with a GM bankruptcy looming and Chrysler CEO Nardelli saying he expects a deal with Fiat on Friday. In other news, Chartered Semiconductor denies a newspaper report that Advance Technology Investment has bid for Temasek’s majority stake in the firm. For today’s headlines, click here.

And here is what we found of interest in newspapers:

Credit Suisse has begun a plan to sell its London property estate and raise up to 500 million pounds ($800 million), the Financial Times reported.

Terra Firma has been forced to inject more cash into EMI after the debt-laden UK music group missed targets imposed in banking covenants, the Financial Times said. The Wall Street Journal separately said Terra Firma had put up an additional 28 million pounds to bail out EMI.