Unstructured Finance

Deals wrap: Blackstone expands property empire

CENTRO/SHARESBlackstone has struck a deal to buy nearly 600 U.S. shopping malls and other properties from Australia’s Centro Property Group for about $9.4 billion, a person with direct knowledge of the transaction told Reuters on Monday.

Large financial institutions may need to make significant and potentially costly structural modifications to comply with new rules, bank regulator Sheila Bair told the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit on Monday.

A new J.P. Morgan investment fund that targets privately held Internet and digital media firms is in talks to acquire a hefty stake in social networking and micro-blogging service Twitter, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times. According to the report, the fund hopes to acquire 10 percent of the Internet messaging service for $450 million, which would value the company at about $4.5 billion.

“Glencore is priming analysts with in-depth briefings on its business ahead of a possible mega-float which could involve Qatar taking a stake in the world’s largest commodities trader,” write Reuters correspondents Kylie MacLellan and Regan Doherty. If it goes ahead, an IPO of privately held Glencore could value the company at as much as $60 billion according to Liberum Capital estimates, making it one of Europe’s biggest listings ever.

Ventas said it will buy Nationwide Health Properties for about $7.4 billion in stock, creating the largest healthcare real estate investment trust in the United States.

Investing in Egypt after the revolution: A fund manager’s view

Traders work at the Egyptian stock market in Cairo October 28, 2008. REUTERS/Amr Dalsh (EGYPT)

Traders work at the Egyptian stock market in Cairo October 28, 2008. REUTERS/Amr Dalsh (EGYPT)

It has been two weeks since Hosni Mubarak was removed from his 30-year rule in Egypt. Banks are open and many Egyptians have resumed their jobs, but the country’s stock market remains closed and investors are wary about region. Should they be?

Ahmed Fattouh, an Egyptian-American investor and chief executive of hedge fund and private equity firm Globalist Capital Management,  spoke to Reuters about his thoughts on investing in Egypt after political turmoil.  Fattouh, whose firm has offices in New York, London and Dubai, oversees about $300 million in assets and has been investing in the Middle East since 2005.  He visited Cairo and Tahrir Square in the past few weeks and shared his thoughts.

Railway budget: Reactions from the common man

Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee unveiled a populist budget on Friday that froze both passenger and freight fares, disappointing hopes for major reform in a lagging sector key to the country’s infrastructure growth.

Reuters spoke to people at the New Delhi railway station to get their reaction to the railway budget.

Deals wrap: The biggest company you never heard of

A worker of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. takes an anode sample at the copper smelting plant in central Philippines.  REUTERS/Cheryl RaveloGlencore is Switzerland’s top-grossing company and has been compared with investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. It’s the biggest company you never heard of.

Global listings activity has been the highest on record so far this year, with firms raising a total of $24 billion from IPOs, according to Thomson Reuters data.

A Renaissance Capital report looks at what is driving this year’s surge in U.S. IPO activity.

Deals wrap: Sexy but risky IPO

Formula One team Williams is on the final straight toward its market debut next week, the first of its kind to float, and while its novelty will attract some, others are unconvinced by the investment case.

Western investment banks are keen to underwrite more IPOs on China’s Shenzhen exchange this year as a surging economy turns the once insignificant market into a fundraising hotbed.

Italian fashion house Prada is quickly moving toward a Hong Kong listing thanks to a more favorable regulatory environment in Asia, Chief Executive Patrizio Bertelli told an Italian newspaper.

Deals wrap: A second NYSE bidder?

A pedestrian walks past the NASDAQ building in New York City, April 30, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas JacksonNasdaq OMX Group could launch a rival bid for NYSE Euronext to avoid being left on the sidelines, a source said.

The recent wave of exchange mergers marks an era of consolidation that will leave no more than four global trading firms in five years’ time, said Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange.

Merger and acquisitions activity in the global mining sector is expected to accelerate in 2011, fueled by strong commodity prices and repaired balance sheets, Ernst & Young said.

Deals wrap: Betting big on gas

BHP Billiton struck a deal to buy shale gas reserves from Chesapeake Energy for $4.75 billion, pitting itself against oil giants and China in the battle for the fast-growing energy source in North America.

China should account for 8-9 percent of global mergers and acquisition activity this year, continuing close to its strong levels in 2009 and 2010, JPMorgan’s head of China M&A said Tuesday.

Europe is braced for a flurry of stock market listings in the next two months as firms use annual results as launching pads for share sales — and hope to complete deals before investors disappear for the Easter break.

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