DealZone

Deals wrap: Takeda offers $12 billion for rival Nycomed

Takeda Pharmaceutical is in talks to buy privately-held Swiss rival Nycomed for more than $12 billion, said sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Japan’s largest drugmaker is seeking to boost its presence in Europe and emerging markets, as well, the acquisition would help them gain a lung disease drug from Nycomed which has just been approved in the U.S. Japanese drugmakers have been actively pursuing acquisitions to boost growth as they face the loss of patent protection on key medicines.

A planned rescue deal involving Saab and China’s Hawtai Motor Group collapsed after it failed to get necessary approvals, leaving Saab’s owner, Spyker, chasing new funding alternatives to restart production at the Swedish automaker. Spyker said it was continuing talks with Hawtai, while a Reuters exclusive reported the Dutch sportscar-maker was also talking to another Chinese company, Great Wall Motor about a possible tie-up.

Glencore’s CEO Ivan Glasenberg said recent falls in commodity prices were due to “froth” in the market and had not affected strong demand for the company’s IPO. Commodity price volatility in the past week has prompted worries over Glencore’s planned $11 billion IPO, with fund managers sensing an opportunity to drive down prices. The commodities giant recently unveiled the prospectus for their IPO, detailing plans to raise funds in a dual listing in London and Hong Kong.

Hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam was found guilty on all 14 counts of insider trading, and could face at least 15 years in prison. The Galleon founder was at the center of the biggest insider trading investigation in decades and the use of phone taps in his conviction may have marked a turning point in prosecution of Wall Street crimes. This piece in the New York Times by Peter Lattman and Azam Ahmed takes a look inside Rajaratnam’s circle of friends and business associates, and how they played a crucial role in his scheme.

 

The afternoon deal: Tiny Spyker wins a car

USA AUTOSHOWIt’s been an auto-fueled day with investors on tenterhooks awaiting  the now announced $400 million Spyker/Saab deal. Although Saab kept the spotlight, there is news from Chrysler, Opel, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Geely’s Volvo.

From Reuters, get the Saab deal wrap up here, along with a Saab factbox, timeline and profile of Spyker’s CEO Victor Muller. Find some additional facts about Spyker from The Swedish Wire here.

The Guardian has a great story on the mystique around the car brand called, “How did it all go wrong for Saab?”, and in a warning before the deal was announced, Fiat and Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said: “Marginal players will continue to be marginalized.”

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The pursuit of Cadbury is rapidly becoming a one horse race after Italy’s Ferrero ruled itself out of the fight and cut off talks with potential bid partner Hershey, leaving only the U.S. chocolate maker to declare its hand in the battle for the British confectioner. Cadbury, meanwhile, yesterday put the finishing touches to its defence against U.S. food giant Kraft’s 10.5 billion pound hostile bid by promising an improved performance and a raised dividend.

Luxembourg-based investment firm Genii Capital intends to improve its bid for Swedish carmaker Saab in order to catch the eye of seller General Motors. Bids from Genii, which is working with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and Dutch carmaker Spyker have failed to prevent GM from appointing advisers to oversee the wind-up of the business.

India telecoms group Bharti Airtel has created a new unit to pursue emerging markets acquisitions after failing to reach a deal with South Africa’s MTN last year.

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Cadbury posts its final defence against Kraft’s hostile takeover, but a muted share price reaction shows it is not changing market views about the deal much.  Ferrero, the Italian chocolate maker, is “very close” to taking a decision on whether to launch a counterbid together with U.S. group Hershey, a source close to the operation tells Reuters. Italy’s Il Messagero reported earlier Ferrero was securing a $4.5 billion syndicated loan.

General Motors repeats it is closing down Saab, because it has not yet received a credible bid. Dutch group Spyker meanwhile, says it remains hopeful that a deal can be reached.

And in other media:

Ford remains open to talks with potential bidders for its Volvo cars unit, despite a commercial agreement on a sale with China’s Zhejiang Geely, Sweden’s Dagens Industri says.

On Wind Down Avenue, Saab Sees More Signs of Interest

Good thing for Saab that shutting down a car business is a lengthy process. There are orders to fill, inventories to clear and various other contracts to conclude. Bidders for Saab know this, so even as the deadlines come and go,  signs of life for a deal are going to have plenty of room to grow.

So now, even as General Motors starts turning off the lights, new bidders are emerging. Formula One motor racing boss Bernie Ecclestone (pictured left) has, according to the BBC, joined forces with Luxembourg-based private investment company Genii Capital to pitch a rival proposal, and of course Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker has come through with an improved bid for the struggling maker of the 9-3 and 9-5 sedans, as promised.

Swedish media reports on Friday named Jan Nygren, formerly a  Saab aerospace executive and senior defence ministry official, as the head of a group of Swedish investors submitting a last-minute bid for the ailing carmaker. Nygren confirmed the group’s interest but declined to give details.

Saab rolls into 2010

Saab workers are probably reminding themselves it is always darkest just before the dawn, which takes a lot longer to arrive in the Scandinavian winter than anywhere else. With the lights set to start going out at Saab plants, word surfaced that parent General Motors’ Dec. 31 deadline for bids was being extended into early January.

GM had given itself to the end of this month to consider bids for loss-making Saab while continuing a process to wind down the company, which has drawn interest from Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker and others. Spyker Cars Chief Executive Victor Muller said in a text message GM had extended the deadline for a final offer from Spyker Cars until Jan. 7, and added he believed there are multiple bidders for Saab.

As we’ve noted previously in DealZone, having emerged from bankruptcy means GM doesn’t have to manage deadlines for asset sales with creditors breathing down its neck. Sure, they have to keep an eye on Congress, which holds a majority stake of the company. But with healthcare, the financial overhaul and terrorism to worry about, GM could well keep extending the deadline for a few months. Plus, its worth keeping in mind what kind of exposure GM is running here, and what a week or two really means for GM to keep the lights on at Saab.

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Wednesday’s highlights:

Ford Motor Co (F.N) and China’s Geely are set to report progress as soon as Wednesday in talks to sell Ford’s Volvo unit to the Chinese automaker, two people with direct knowledge of the matter say.

Spyker Cars presses ahead with efforts to cut a deal for Saab with General Motors, with talk of possible backing from a Dutch billionaire fanning the Swedish carmaker’s faint hopes of an eleventh-hour reprieve.

Chinese Internet firms are eyeing more spin-off offerings after raising nearly $1.5 billion this year as they bank on strong foreign interest in high growth China plays.

Saab gasps and splutters

GM says is now evaluating not just a revised offer from Holland’s Spyker, but several new expressions of interest as well. It says that since Friday’s announcement that it would start the orderly wind-down of Saab, it has received inquiries from several parties. Perhaps GM calling it a day its Saab brand was a negotiating tactic meant to draw Spyker out on some of the finer points in their presumed-dead negotiations over salvaging the Swedish car maker.

Spyker said its renewed offer included an 11-point proposal addressing issues that arose during the due diligence process, one that eliminates the need for a European Investment Bank loan approval prior to the end of the year. That would allow it to beat GM’s deadline end-of-year deadline.

Ok. So we may have been premature in pronouncing Saab’s demise.  GM’s deadline – to keep this ghastly metaphor running – is more like a ventilator. Having already gone through its bankruptcy, GM executives may feel they have less reason to pull the plug than they did when they were themselves facing the end of the road. But is the prospect of a deal going to be enough to convince them to keep loss-making Saab alive for another month or more?

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“Saab story ends” we wrote on these pages last week. Now it has begun again, after Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker raised a last-minute bid over the weekend. It looks as if there are other options, with General Motors saying it will look into several new expressions of interest for its Swedish unit. That’s only two days after it said it would start an orderly wind-down.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) is buying 60 percent in Turquoise, its rival launched by a group of investment banks with a lot of fanfare two years ago. The centuries-old bourse will merge Turquoise with Baikal, its dark pool platform.

Kraft’s (KFT.N) hostile bid does not reflect Cadbury’s (CBRY.L) value, a significant number of big Cadbury shareholders thinks — that’s what Cadbury Chief Executive Todd Stitzer told my U.S. colleagues on Friday. ”It appears that the stand-alone value of the company has risen in the eyes of shareholders,” he said. Meanwhile, the New York Times writes that Britain is going “into an emotional tailspin” over the prospect of losing Cadbury. If that’s the case, they’re hiding it well — must be the stiff upper lip.

Saab story ends

It’s official. General Motors will wind down operations at its loss-making Swedish unit Saab after an attempt to sell it to small Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker Cars failed. Things were already looking dire for a deal weeks ago. GM said early in the month it would consider offers for Saab until the end of the month and move to close the Swedish unit then if it appeared that it couldn’t be sold. Given it couldn’t save Saturn or Pontiac, Saab’s prospects for a GM-engineered solution had been slim at best.

GM said the move was not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process. Saab will satisfy debts, it said, including supplier payments, and Saab operations will be wound down in an orderly fashion.

Niche luxury carmaker Koenigsegg was another last-ditch possibility that fell through for the Swedish automaker, which did manage to sell some assets to China’s BAIC. Saab has around 3,000 staff, and about the same number in other businesses are going to find the Scandinavian winter particularly cold this year.