If Jimmy Cayne’s investments are anything to go by, Bear Stearns is unlikely to get a higher bid. Bear’s chairman sold his entire stake in the company for $61 million according to a filing on Thursday afternoon. That’s a lot of bridge tournament entry fees, but nowhere near the $1 billion that the 5.66 million shares would have been worth last year, when Bear’s stock peaked at over $170. JPMorgan agreed earlier this week to increase its original bid for Bear Stearns. Some investors, hoping JPMorgan Chase would increase its bid again or that Bear would find another buyer, pushed the bank’s stock up to $11.23, about 20 percent above the current value of JPMorgan’s offer. Cayne would have as clear a view as anyone if a higher bid were likely, so his actions speak volumes.
Italian power generator Enel looks set to sell $21 billion in assets to Germany’s E.ON after all sides involved agreed the valuation, marking the final chapter in the world’s biggest utility takeover. The assets up for sale from Enel’s Spanish unit Endesa were valued at 11.5 billion euros ($18.15 billion), Endesa said, while the value of Enel assets up for sale was 2.025 billion euros, Enel said separately on Thursday. E.ON said its supervisory board would meet on Friday to decide whether to go ahead with the purchase — jumping the gun on a 10-day deadline outlined in the statements.
Global mergers and acquisitions slumped by almost a third in the first quarter to $661 billion, according to preliminary data from Thomson Financial, as banks reined in borrowing and economic uncertainty weighed on CEO confidence. Buyout firms led the decline with a 77 percent drop-off as their buying power evaporated, halting six straight years of growth. Investment bank Goldman Sachs rose by one spot to top the Thomson table of worldwide M&A advisers, followed by Lehman Brothers and Citigroup. Morgan Stanley, which had led the rankings in the same period last year, dropped to #6.