DealZone

InBev’s slammer

A police officer walks past the Chancery courthouse in Georgetown Delaware.InBev, seeking to avoid a lengthy courtroom battle in its takeover attempt of Anheuser-Busch, has asked a court to make a summary judgment on its suit over the removal of all 13 Anheuser board directors. Inbev had previously filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to confirm the right of Anheuser shareholders to remove the entire board without cause, and Anheuser has said it would challenge InBev’s claim. The court of public opinion may move more slowly than the one in Delaware in this case, as politicians weigh in about the potential tragedy of Budweiser becoming a little less American if the Dutch Belgian brewer’s $46.3 billion offer wins.

WPP Group, the world’s second-largest advertising company, made a hostile 1.08 billion pound ($2.13 billion) bid for Britain’s Taylor Nelson Sofres, challenging its agreed merger with GfK Holdings. TNS is the world’s third-biggest market research company with clients such as Procter & Gamble. The WPP offer has a significant amount of cash, so the lack of a premium to current prices may not bother TNS shareholders wanting to reduce exposure to the advertising environment, with the pervading frosty economic conditions. A source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Wednesday that Germany’s GfK was considering making a counter-offer for TNS with a co-investor to head off the WPP bid and safeguard its own deal.

Other deals of the day:

* Huron Consulting said it bought management consulting firm Stockamp & Associates for about $219 million in a cash and stock deal to expand its footprint in the hospital consulting space.

* Chinese logistics giant Sinotrans has agreed to merge with China Yangtze Transportation, the listed units of the two companies said.

* Belgian-Dutch financial services group Fortis said on Wednesday it had sold former ABN AMRO unit International Asset Management as part of a strategy to bolster its balance sheet.

He’s over here…

samuel-israel.jpgIn the end, he wasn’t in some sub-Saharan refuge, an Asian island paradise or a secluded European spa … fugitive former hedge fund manager Samuel Israel III (pictured right) was holed up in a mobile home (pictured below). Israel handed himself over to authorities in Massachusetts to start his 20-year prison sentence after having faked his suicide to avoid doing camper1.jpgtime. Israel, who co-founded Connecticut hedge fund Bayou Group, in 2005 pleaded guilty to a scheme to fabricate returns and cheat investors out of $450 million. He was sentenced in April. Police said his mother convinced him to turn himself over to police. If he was hoping for another shot at fleedom, he can forget about it. “There is not the slightest possibility that I or any other judge would release you at this point,” Judge Michael Ponsor told Israel before turning him over to U.S. Marshals.

Landmark Communications could announce the sale of the Weather Channel to a group made up of NBC Universal, Blackstone and Bain Capital in the next day or two, sources briefed on the matter said. The final price on the cable network, which produces national, regional and local weather-related programs, is expected to be between $3 billion and $3.5 billion, and likely at the higher end of that range, the sources said. The parties have been negotiating directly with Landmark since Time Warner withdrew its bid two weeks ago. There is always a small chance things could fall apart or slow down at the last minute, but absent any such unforeseen problems, the deal should be announced in the next couple days, one of the people said.

BHP Billiton said U.S. antitrust authorities have cleared its unsolicited $170 billion bid for rival miner Rio Tinto. The company’s announcement said the clearance satisfied part of U.S. antitrust law requirements. U.S. law gives antitrust authorities the right to re-open their investigation if new information comes to light before the transaction closes, experts say. However in reality, the United States has now given full clearance to the deal, not that U.S. opposition is a major issue for the mega merger. Problems are more likely to be raised in Asia and Europe.

Wagging the dog

Follow Carl, from the Good Dog, Carl series of Classic Board Books published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989Yahoo has struck an advertising partnership deal with WPP Group that will let WPP units GroupM and 24/7 Real Media buy ads on Yahoo’s online ad exchange. Yahoo said the deal would first involve WPP units GroupM and 24/7 Real Media. It may be a stretch to expect this shake off the dogs of war unleashed by Carl Icahn, who is trying to unseat the Yahoo board for its failure to deal with a $47.5 billion unsolicited takeover bid from Microsoft. If the ad tie-up deal with Google that’s still in the trial phase hasn’t done so, why would a deal with WPP? But at the same time, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang can hardly be seen to be sitting on his hands.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has pulled out of the bidding in Royal Bank of Scotland‘s 7 billion pound ($13.62 billion) auction of its UK insurance business, according to the Financial Times. Berkshire told the FT it had looked at the business, which includes the insurers, Direct Line and Churchill, but had decided not to bid, without giving a reason.

Japan’s Bridgestone said it was forming a strategic alliance with rival Toyo Tire & Rubber aimed at coping with high materials prices and intensifying competition. The two companies plan to team up in developing advanced tire technology and procuring raw materials. They will also use each other’s production facilities and said they would take stakes in each other worth 8 billion yen ($76 million).