One deal in particular was on everyone’s lips at a two-day private equity conference sponsored by Dow Jones this week – Clear Channel. Leaning against walls in corridors and settled in armchairs, conference-goers had hushed cellphone conversations about the $20 billion deal, still to close.
The BHP-Rio Tinto saga is heating up again, with a growing consensus among investors that BHP will issue a sweetened offer by next Wednesday’s “put up or shut up” deadline set by Australia’s Britain’s Takeover Panel. Rio Tinto shares surged 7.6 percent and BHP climbed 2.6 percent. “I just expect them to come back with a definite offer and get the ball rolling. And their first offer won’t be their last offer,” said Warwick Cumming, deputy head of equities at Tyndall Investment Management, which holds shares in both companies.
Talk of a potential bid by BNP Paribas for its rogue trading-stricken compatriot Societe Generale pushed up SocGen shares by more than 10 percent on Tuesday, and BNP isn’t doing much to squelch the rumors. Chief Financial Officer Philippe Bordenave ducked questions on whether BNP might bid for its French rival, which it previously tried to buy in 1999, saying: “My team and I have worked around the clock to get the figures that we are publishing today. During that very short timeframe I have not had much time to elaborate much further on SocGen.” Given the French government’s determination to fend off foreign aggressors, the market seems to like BNP’s chances.