DealZone

M & A wrap: Glencore and Xstrata in mega merger talks

Xstrata and Glencore are in talks over an all-share merger that could create a combined group worth more than $80 billion, shaking up the industry with its biggest deal to date.

Glencore, the world’s largest diversified commodities trader, already owns 34 percent of mining group Xstrata and a tie-up between the two Swiss-based companies — in a deal which would trump Rio Tinto’s $38 billion acquisition of Alcan in 2007 — has long been expected, as Glencore aims to add more mines to its trading clout.

Now that Facebook has filed its hotly anticipated initial public offerings, analysts told Reuters correspondents Alexei Oreskovic and Alistair Barr that the social networking company’s honeymoon with investors may already be over.

Despite the massive IPO, CEO Mark Zuckerberg will exercise almost complete control over Facebook. Here is Zuckerberg’s letter to investors.

The graffiti artist who took Facebook stock instead of cash for painting the walls of the social network’s first headquarters made a smart bet, The New York Times says.

Deals wrap: What drives insider trading culprits?

Paul J. Fishman (C), United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, announces insider trading charges against Garrett Bauer and Matthew Kluger during a news conference at the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark, New Jersey April 6, 2011. Bauer and Kluger were charged Wednesday with running a 17-year conspiracy to trade on corporate merger secrets stolen from three of the nation's most prominent law firms, in one of the largest U.S. insider trading cases on record. REUTERS/Mark Dye The U.S. government’s crackdown on insider trading continues. On Wednesday, two men were accused by federal prosecutors of carrying out a 17-year conspiracy to trade on corporate merger secrets stolen from three major U.S. law firms.

As this latest case makes clear, non-disclosure rules and clever systems of checks and balances are only so helpful in preventing insider trading.

“You can’t legislate human behavior. People will act as people will do,” David Lazarus, senior managing director, co-founder, EdgeRock Realty Advisors, said at the Reuters Global M&A Summit in New York, adding there’s always people whose greed will push them over the line.

Deals wrap: Who will Sprint call?

A woman talks on her phone as she walks past T-mobile and Sprint wireless stores in New York July 30, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidBankers said Sprint had a handful of options after AT&T swooped in to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, but none of them would give it the clout to compete in a market dominated by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which would collectively hold an almost 80 percent market share. Verizon Wireless CEO Daniel Mead said he had no interest in buying Sprint.

Charles Schwab will buy online brokerage optionsXpress Holdings in a $1 billion deal that gives Schwab a stable of the most active retail traders, as options continue to boom.

Shutterfly said it agreed to buy privately held card design company Tiny Prints in a $333 million cash-and-stock deal, as the photo-sharing service tries to win back customers in a market increasingly dominated by social networking sites like Facebook.

Deals wrap: Activist investors team up

A traffic light is pictured beside the Wall Street road sign in the financial district of New York September 19, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson Activist investors are back and flexing their muscles again after fading into the background during the credit crisis, though they are now dependent on cutting deals with big institutions to get their way.

As technology giants and private equity firms look for potential acquisition targets, customer relationship company Convergys may spark renewed interest, several sources familiar with the situation said.

Putin and Medvedev, Gazprom and Rosneft: the key players in Russia tend to come in pairs. Now state banks Sberbank and VTB are set to strengthen their duopoly as Russia’s financial sector emerges from crisis.

from Breakingviews:

Skype IPO may add dose of healthy hype to Valley

Skype's initial public offering may add a dose of healthy hype to Silicon Valley. The Internet telephony group's $100 million float should be red hot. While there have been several tech offerings this year, investor reception has been uneven. A bit of justified excitement over Skype's growth and its backers' gains is just what the Valley's capitalists -- and entrepreneurs -- need.

With hot companies like Facebook and Zynga ruling out public floats in the near future, that leaves growth investors hungry for the next big ticket. Skype obliges. It has 560 million registered users and continues to grow. It added 86 million in the first six months of the year. Moreover, it is in the black. Skype has totted up $116 million of adjusted EBITDA since January, and this figure could grow rapidly if the company succeeds in cracking the lucrative enterprise market.

Moreover, Skype is big. Place estimated 2011 revenue of $1 billion on the same multiple as Google, and the company may be worth more than $5 billion. That would be a huge gain for the private equity backers at Silver Lake who led the firm's carve-out from eBay, clarified copyright issues with Skype's founders and tweaked its software. They valued the firm at $2.75 billion at purchase in 2009.

from Entrepreneurial:

Hot prospects: Top 10 VCs under 36

-- Lawrence Aragon is the Editor-in-Chief of Thomson Reuters publication the Venture Capital Journal and compiled this list with the help of his VCJ staff of editors and contributors. --

Let me introduce you to 10 young venture capitalists who are poised to do great things. All of our “Hot Prospects” are 35 years old or younger and all have yet to make their mark in VC.

While you may not be familiar with Chi-Hua Chien, 32, of Kleiner Perkins, Phin Barnes, 34, of First Round, Alex Kinnier, 33, of Khosla Ventures, Ken Howery, 34, of Founders Fund or Ann Miura-Ko, 33, of Floodgate, we’re sure you will be in the next several years.

Deals wrap: Coke acting like a VC

The Coca-Cola Co – the world’s largest beverage producer – has been thinking and acting more like a venture capital firm over the last few years, as it attempts to find new ways to increase profits and stay ahead of the competition,  according to a Reuters exclusive.

Coke’s Venturing and Emerging Brands unit, dubbed VEB, was founded in 2007 with the purpose of investing in independent brands, like Honest Tea and Zico coconut water. VEB president Deryck van Rensburg told Reuters the venture arm currently receives three to four unsolicited pitches per week from entrepreneurs. Van Rensburg added it was “not inconceivable” for it to work in other places, such as China, where there is “a huge entrepreneurial community.”

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Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is also looking at smaller strategic acquisitions. Glaxo CEO Andrew Witty told French daily La Tribune: “We may do small targeted deals, but nothing big. We will not do a large transaction in pharma nor in generics.”

GE: bringing small things to life

GENERALELECTRIC/With talk about a multibillion-dollar deal to sell NBC Universal to Comcast burbling away, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt popped the top on a $250 million venture fund designed to buy stakes in small healthcare technology companies.

“What we’re trying to do is embrace the venture community, try and do a series of early-stage and later-stage type investments,” Immelt said in an interview. “We don’t do everything inside our four walls.”

Competing venture capitalists might consider Immelt’s embrace more of a bear hug. GE is taking a similar approach to the energy industry. It has a stake in A123 Systems, the battery maker that was one of the best-received initial public offerings of the year. Scott Malone, our reporter who interviewed Immelt, notes that taking stakes in smaller companies rather than buying them outright gives GE more flexibility. It gains exposure to a wider array of technologies, any one of which could take off.

Can this hybrid jump-start the IPO market?

nyse1One of the biggest criticisms made of the IPO process is that investment banks turn around and flip hot new stocks for a big, quick profit, crowding out institutional investors with a longer attention span, and showing with no regard for a company’s long term prospects.

But Menlo, California-based InsideVenture, which is backed by major venture capital firms such as Venrock and Frazier Ventures, major institutional investors such as T Rowe Price, and even the New York Stock Exchange, thinks its new Hybrid Private-Public Offering (HPPOs) method of launching IPOs, introduced this week, is a way around that problem and a way to spur a recovery in the IPO market.

Here’s how an HPPO would work: small and mid-cap companies would still have to file standard IPO registrations with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. But the company would then work with InsideVenture to allocate about half the shares to its existing shareholders and any of the 225 long-term fundamental investors that are InsideVenture members. Once it had lined up a roster made up of enough long term investors, the company would launch its IPO.

Customer to Venture Capitalists: Please, go out of business

rebecca-s-connollyEven in the depths of a recession, venture capitalists are relentlessly upbeat, but one of their big customers poured cold water on that Thursday, asking some members gathered in Boston for the annual meeting of the National Venture Capital Association to go out of business.

“I hope some of you go out of business. I hope that does happen,” Rebecca Connolly, a partner in Fairview Capital, said on a panel. Her West Hartford, Connecticut, firm has about $3 billion under management, 70 percent of it in venture capital funds and the rest with private equity.  Fairview, a fund of funds, manages money for pension funds and endowments

Connolly said that until 2000, venture capital provided good returns but since the dotcom bubble burst in 2001 returns have been very disappointing, hardly justifying the investment. Venture capitalists are supposed to find small companies with big potential and help them grow into big companies, like Microsoft, Starbucks or Intel.