M & A wrap: Icahn bids for Commercial Metals

“Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has launched his $1.73 billion unsolicited buyout offer for Commercial Metals Co., threatening to take the company’s board of directors to court if it does not allow the purchase,” the Washington Post reports.

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting Commercial Metals has changed its mind and will review Carl Icahn’s $1.73 billion buyout offer after all, just days after dismissing it as “substantially undervalued” and “opportunistic.”

“The SEC served notice that it will likely sue billionaire Phil Falcone and other people affiliated with his Harbinger hedge fund,” the Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal reports, while the impetus is yet to be revealed.

The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it would seek to stay or dismiss its lawsuit to stop AT&T Inc’s purchase of T-Mobile USA because AT&T withdrew its application with the Federal Communications Commission, which must approve the deal.

Two of Canada’s largest telecom and media companies will take control of the lucrative Toronto sports empire that owns the NHL’s Maple Leafs in a $1.30 billion deal that brings more premium content to their competing sports channels, Reuters reports.

Own goal?

Standard Chartered bucks the trend of banks making a dash from sports sponsorship deals and will pay $130 million to put its name on Liverpool Football Club’s shirts for four years from next summer. It is one of the most lucrative deals in soccer history.But AIG, Citi, RBS and Northern Rock offer a stark reminder that big sports deals can be high-profile signals of waste. AIG sponsored Manchester United and RBS and ING pumped millions into Formula One, and Northern Rock was better known to millions as the sponsor of Newcastle F.C. than as a mortgage bank — until its collapse.Citi raised anger after sticking with a controversial $400 million deal with baseball team the New York Mets. All those banks needed taxpayer rescue funds.Critics say big sports deals can reflect poor corporate governance and misguided priorities. Advisory firm Advisor Perspectives this year said a study of 69 U.S. sports “naming rights” deals showed the performance of the companies buying the rights trailed the S&P 500 index by almost 5 percent over the course of the deal.But it could be a good fit for StanChart, which gets 80 percent of its profits in Asia. Liverpool is a big, iconic name in Asia and English Premier League games are screened into millions of homes each week. The prize for the bank is not the domestic or European fields where Liverpool has enjoyed regular success, but the potential customers in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and across the region.At least there can be few complaints the bank’s board is following its heart. Former chairman and CEO Mervyn Davies was a staunch Spurs supporter, current CEO Peter Sands is an avid Arsenal fan and Finance Director Richard Meddings may have struggled to find a global reach with a deal with his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers.